The Madrid tourny, which as we all know is making the change to blue clay this year, has gathered players to publicize the upcoming tournament. Top players such as Rafa, Roger and Djokovic have each spoken out against the change to blue clay. Rafa’s protests were perhaps the loudest and this will certainly generate a lot of interest in the tourny this year.
Madrid has done a countdown to the tourny, which starts May 6.
20 days to Madrid:
Berdy’s segment (at 0:13) is a real highlight. He sounds so robotic when he says “nos vemos in Madrid.”
15 days to Madrid:
Ferru saves this segment, although JJ is quite fascinating as well.
10 days to Madrid:
The best segment. Muzz is Muzz, although his Spanish accent is not too shabby. Basically, the players are repeating the same lines over and over again. Tipsy follows Vika — it’s like the video editors decided to group the unlikeables together. Thankfully, DelPo enters and saves this at 0:19. Followed by an adorably awkward Petra Kvitova! (Petra who is so obviously reading off the card in front of her).
5 days to Madrid:
Fed makes his appearance here. In an interview last week**, Fed said he was against the blue clay because Rafa was against the blue clay. Hence, it’s surprising that he makes his appearance in this video! Then again, Muzz and Novak made appearances, so it would be weird if Fed opted out. Only Rafa remains — will Rafa dare utter an encouraging word about blue Madrid? Stay tuned!
** Fed’s interview, as reported by Rene Stauffer (translated by La Rubia), has many interesting snippets. Among the highlights—
- Fed says that if Switzerland had defeated the USA in their R1 DC tie, then Fed would have considered skipping Indian Wells and Miami (which I think he’s eligible to do, given the ATP rule saying a player with a certain number of career matches can play a reduced schedule). SUI lost the DC tie, but I guess Fed’s IW title is consolation.
- About the blue clay in Madrid: “I’m against it because Nadal is against it and we would have other options.”
- Fed says he’d like to win either Wimbledon or Olympic gold — he doesn’t have a preference, although he says the Olympic gold has greater “scarcity value.”
Now this is where the interview gets more entertaining. Fed talks about the disagreements he’s had with Rafa about the tennis schedule. He also discusses the other players who publicly voiced disagreements with Fed’s presidency of the Player Council:
- Fed talks about Rafa:
We have a bit more distance at the moment compared to times when we saw each other for weeks nearly daily. That’s one of the reasons why there have occurred certain problems as we couldn’t communicate that often. That shouldn’t be an excuse though. But I also think it’s normal that we have differences in opinion. I don’t have a problem with Nadal no matter what he says or thinks. What’s important is that he keeps on being interested in the political goings-on on the tour and that he wants to actuate things.
It’s been mentioned on Twitter, but Fed really talks like he’s in the middle of a long-distance relationship with Rafa 🙂
- Finally, Fed manages a small dig against the players who accused him for being “too Swiss” or for not being more pro-active about Player Council Issues:
Q: There’s not much to win for you as president and you already got criticized by players such as Nadal, Stakhovsky or Davydenko. Haven’t you ever thought about chucking the job?
When I would react spontaneously I would have maybe already resigned. But I never felt personally attacked. Many players exaggerate with their threats and then nothing is gonna happen anyway. Some wanted to go against the Grand Slam tournaments way too aggressively as they think that they don’t get enough of the big profits. Roland Garros and Wimbledon have meanwhile reacted and gave answers and now everyone is more satisfied.
I LOL-ed at Fed mentioning he could have resigned, if he were more “spontaneous.” I know there’ll be fans who are miffed at Fed’s answers, but I think it’s balanced. He says he doesn’t take personal offense at the criticism, but he makes his point that he’s not going to cave in to spur-of-the-moment actions. I think he shows a level-headed side that is more realistically suited to the way the Player Council runs. The recent announcements of increased prize money for early-round losers at Wimby and RG indicate the Council’s progress, which should at least placate Stakhs and Davydenko.