Mutua Madrid Open gives up blue clay

The Mutua Madrid Open tennis championships will be played in the capital city from 3-12 May. Both Roger Federer and Serena Williams will be defending last year’s titles.

The championships for both men and women are held on the clay courts of Caja Mágica designed by Dominique Perrault. The Caja Mágica has a capacity for 20,000 spectators and was originally designed as part of Madrid’s (unsuccessful) bid for the 2016 Olympics. It is now a part of the city’s project for its 2020 Olympic bid.

In 2012 the matches were played on blue clay to increase visibility for television audiences but the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) decided after last year’s tournament that there were too many difficulties with blue clay to continue the experiment in 2013.

Champions Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in particular were critical of blue clay as being too slippery and too different from the traditional red clay courts such as Roland Garros in Paris, which holds the French Open straight after Madrid at the end of May.