11 May 2012

Nadal rips into Madrid courts

5:43 pm on 11 May 2012

The Spanish tennis star Rafa Nadal suffered his first claycourt defeat in 23 matches and threatened to boycott next year's Madrid Open if officials didn't ditch the blue clay that players have labelled "too slippery" and only fit for "smurfs to play on".

After a shock three-set third round loss to Fernando Verdasco - his first-ever loss to his fellow Spaniard - the French Open champion vowed not to return to the Masters event unless traditional red courts, which are slower and more suited to his game, are reinstated.

The world number two says movement is very important for his game and he couldn't move on the Madrid courts and hit the ball the way he wanted.

Nadal and the world number one Novak Djokovic are among those who have complained that the courts are far too slippery.

The fourth seed Jo Wilfried Tsonga was another surprise loser overnight, going out in three sets to the Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov.

But Roger Federer breezed through to the fourth round beating the Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-2.

Others to progress included David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych.