Skip to main content

Nadal threatens to boycott blue clay after shock Madrid defeat

May 11, 2012 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
Fernando Verdasco celebrates after ending Rafael Nadal's 22-match clay winning run at the Madrid Open.
Fernando Verdasco celebrates after ending Rafael Nadal's 22-match clay winning run at the Madrid Open.
  • Rafael Nadal loses to Fernando Verdasco in three hours at the Madrid Open
  • It's a rare loss for the King of Clay, who was on a 22-match winning streak
  • Loss will reopen debate on Madrid tournament's use of blue clay
  • Nadal says he will skip event next year if it is still played on blue clay

(CNN) -- World number two Rafael Nadal has sensationally lost to Fernando Verdasco 6-3 3-6 7-5 in the third round of the Madrid Open.

The loss was the first defeat of the clay court season for the six-time French Open champion.

Considered arguably the greatest player to ever set foot on clay, Nadal had recently won in Monte Carlo -- a record eighth title -- before clinching his seventh tournament victory in Barcelona. He had previously beaten Verdasco in all 13 of their previous meetings.

It took Verdasco three hours and 11 minutes to overcome Nadal in an error-strewn match. Verdasco hit nine double faults but Nadal somehow conspired to lose despite leading 5-2 in the final set.

It brought to an end a 22-match winning streak for Nadal that stretched back to 2011.

Madrid's new blue clay court
Rafael Nadal answers iReporter questions
Novak Djokovic under the spotlight

"I never was in control of the match, I didn't know how to win a point," Nadal told reporters, before suggesting he will not show up next year unless the controversial blue clay surface is changed.

"Movement is very important for me and I couldn't move. I couldn't hit ball the way I wanted. I lost because I deserved to lose."

The shock defeat will reopen the debate about the Madrid Open's use of blue clay. World number one Novak Djokovic has already been an outspoken critic of the surface.

"It's impossible to move," he told reporters earlier in the week.

"I cannot find the words to describe this court. It's really tough to play like this on a center court. We need serious discussion about the future of this blue clay.

"We cannot change anything this year, but my first impressions are not good. I don't want to be the one complaining, but I say honestly what I feel."

Ironically it was Nadal that refused to be drawn on the issue of the blue clay after he had comfortably beaten Russia's Nikolay Davydenko in straight sets 6-2 6-2 on Wednesday.

"It was my first match here in these circumstances," he said. "I am very happy about my result, about the way that I played."

But Nadal changed his tone after the defeat.

Next year this will be one less event for my calendar
Rafael Nadal

"I couldn't close out the match at 5-2. He played better than me," he said.

"The ATP and the tournament can do what they want, I tried my best, I've trained here since Thursday. I was as prepared as I could be.

"I was not good enough to adapt my game to this court. If things continue like this, it will be very sad. Next year this will be one less event for my calendar."

Verdasco will next play sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych in the next round.

Despite his complaints about the surface, Djokovic moved into the quarterfinals after beating Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 6-4.

Roger Federer also reached the quarterfinals after dispatching French 14th seed Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-2. The win, coupled with Nadal's shock loss, means that Federer will move up to second in the world rankings ahead of the Spaniard.

Meanwhile Serena Williams fought back after a disastrous start against Caroline Wozniacki to reach the quarterfinals of the women's event in Madrid.

The American lost the first set 6-1, before storming back 6-3 6-2 to set up a mouthwatering tie against Russian second seed Maria Sharapova, who made the last eight after Lucie Safarova withdrew citing an illness.

"I had a slow start today, I don't know why," said Williams.

"I was sluggish and mentally maybe fighting some demons."

Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska continued her fine form by beating Italy's Roberta Vinci 7-6 (7-1) 6-4.

Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1208 GMT (2008 HKT)
Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.
Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
A year that began in uncertainty for Roger Federer ended with a historic title for the 17-time grand slam champion and his country.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1716 GMT (0116 HKT)
The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
French Tennis player Rene Lacoste, one of France's 'Four Musketeers' who won the Davis Cup in 1932, at Wimbledon. He is wearing his embroidered crocodile motif. Original Publication: People Disc - HH0434 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0636 GMT (1436 HKT)
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
September 14, 2014 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.