Millennium Post

Nadal happy with return to red clay

Eleven-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal is hoping that a return to the traditional red clay at the Madrid Masters this week will help him continue his successful comeback from injury.

Nadal was one of the fiercest critics of the blue clay which was used at last year’s tournament and even threatened at the time to pull out of this year’s event if the red clay wasn’t returned.

However, after a complete overhaul of the courts for 2013, the World No.5 believes the surfaces at Caja Magica are in better condition than they ever were. ‘The courts were not at the level to play professionally last year,’ he told a press conference on Sunday. ‘Fortunately this year they are very good. I can only thank the tournament for the money they have invested to have the highest quality courts here. ‘Obviously the courts of the year before were better than the courts of last year, but they were still not great.

‘In Madrid, we have the problem of the dry climate, so it’s very difficult to have the clay that settles down properly, a clay that’s the same as in other places.

‘I think this year we have managed to have good clay here. The courts cannot be better.’

The Spaniard has won four tournaments and made two finals since returning from a seven-month layoff due to tendinitis in his left knee and he has been delighted with his form.

‘The results are hard to improve, but the play in the last two tournaments at Monte Carlo and Barcelona is certainly improvable. I will continue trying to improve and compete well.’
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