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Busted Racquet

Novak Djokovic rips blue clay, former ATP chief after Madrid loss

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What Rafael Nadal can do, Novak Djokovic can do better.

The world No. 1 followed in his rival's footsteps on Friday by blasting the blue clay at the Madrid Open after an upset loss.

Djokovic was defeated in a quarterfinal match by countrymen Janko Tipsarevic 7-6 (2), 6-3. He appeared disinterested through much of the second set.

The world No. 1 had spent the previous few days criticizing the playing surface and his anger about the slippery conditions was evident during play. That frustration came out in the post-match press conference:

Transcript via BBC Radio broadcast:

"I really don't need to meet anybody. There is no discussion in my eyes, it's very simple. No blue clay for me. That's it. The test has failed. This is totally different in the middle of the red clay season. I'm coming here as a defending champion and I have a lot things which are important.

"If I cannot move and I put this pressure all the time on my muscles and the body and having it in my mind the worry of hopefully not getting injured and making some quick moves because the court is so unpredictable, then really, what's the sense in playing here?

"This is what it is for 2012, 2013 if hey still blue and come up for fluorescent balls, whatever they come up with, they can have their own tournament, but I'm not coming for sure."

Djokovic went on to criticize former ATP chief Adam Helfant, the man responsible for allowing the slippery surface to be installed in Madrid, insinuating that something nefarious happened behind close doors that resulted in the installation of the blue clay.

"It's very simple, he was going away he knew that his contract is not renewed and he made this decision on his own," Djokovic said, according to Tennis Grandstand. "I will not go into what was going on behind closed doors but something was going on definitely because he didn't care about tennis and what the players think, only himself and his own interests."

So harsh were Djokovic's words that the BBC's Jonathan Overend tweeted, "former ATP Chief won't be calling the lawyers, but only just."

If the ATP wasn't so toothless, Djokovic would be expecting a fine. Then again, if the ATP wasn't so toothless, maybe Madrid wouldn't have installed a subpar court surface.

Djokovic was out  slipped on a number of points throughout the match, far more than any other play I've watched this week. Was his poor footing due to the court or due to his perception of the court? Nobody seems to like the slippery surface in Madrid but Roger Federer has played well, as have top female players like Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams. How much of this was in his head?

Judging by his reaction, a lot.

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