With two key warmup events before the French Open remaining, the talk in the tennis world is not about the return of Roger Federer after a relatively extended break. Nor is the conversation centered around the possibility of yet another Rafael Nadal-Novak Djokovic final. Rather, the topic consuming the sport the last few days is the color blue. More specifically, the blue clay courts used at the Madrid Masters event this week.
Legendary tennis figure and Madrid tournament director Ion Tiriac never lacks for innovative and controversial ideas, such as his use of models as ballgirls during the tournament. And he decided to use blue clay to make the ball more visible for fan and player alike. Of course, the clay isn't naturally blue. It's really the natural red clay that is altered to attain its bluish hue. Iron oxide is extracted from the clay, producing a white clay, which is then dyed before drying. The clay is then heated to more than 900 degrees. Like flour, it is then ground and sifted to a specific grain size.
But early reviews from the players are negative.