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ATP Bans Blue Clay In 2013

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In response to widespread criticism, the ATP bans blue clay in 2013.

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 09:  Nikolay Davydenko of Russia serves the ball to Rafael Nadal of Spain during the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open tennis tournament at the Caja Magica on May 9, 2012 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 09: Nikolay Davydenko of Russia serves the ball to Rafael Nadal of Spain during the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open tennis tournament at the Caja Magica on May 9, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
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After much controversy this spring, the ATP has decided to ban blue clay courts for next year. The Madrid Masters used blue clay for their courts this season and the surface instantly came under scrutiny. The top two players in the world, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, were particularly critical of the blue clay. The Spaniard Nadal was very outspoken about the surface, and said he would drop the French Open tune-up in his native country if they used the same blue clay again in 2013. Both men's superstars said the surface significantly affected play and ability to move, in addition to potentially increasing risk of injury

In response to this threat of a boycott and to assuage the injury concerns, ATP chairman Brad Drewett announced the ban:

"While the blue clay may have offered better visibility on television, there were clearly issues with the quality of the courts in Madrid this year, which were not acceptable at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, one of our top events worldwide.

"Regardless of colour, we must first ensure that courts are safe and fair for players."

The blue clay was initially an innovative step to try to enhance viewing on TV, but the side effects were immediately apparent during the Madrid Masters.

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