Tennis-Players must be consulted on experiments, says Djokovic
MADRID May 11 (Reuters) - Players must be consulted in future before experiments can be allowed in tennis like the use of new blue clay courts, said world number one Novak Djokovic after losing in the Madrid Masters quarter-finals on Friday.
The ATP and tournament organisers have been subjected to widespread criticism after officials decided to use the blue clay instead of the traditional red at this week's event.
"They made a decision without the players agreeing on it so this is a rule that has to be changed immediately," Djokovic told reporters after his 7-6 6-3 defeat by fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic.
"The tournament have done their job, they represent their own interests so I cannot blame them. They are fighting for their own rights.
"The fault is from the people who gave them permission to do these things. This is just a clear example of how our system does not work in favour of players."
Djokovic and world number two Rafa Nadal have complained all week about the slippery surface and the Serb lashed out at former ATP chief executive Adam Helfant on Friday.
Helfant, whose two-year spell in charge of the governing body of men's tennis ended in December, took the decision to allow Madrid to switch to blue clay in order to make it easier for TV viewers to follow the yellow balls.
"It was the last president who made the decision," Djokovic said of the former ATP chief who has now been replaced by Brad Drewett.
"It's very simple. He was going away, he knew his contract was not being renewed so he made this decision on his own ... he didn't really care about tennis, about what the players think."
Earlier on Friday, Helfant told reporters he gave Madrid the green light only after receiving assurances the blue courts would play the same as red surfaces.
He said he consulted the players and tournament officials and, realising they could not agree, made the decision himself.
"The blue courts look terrific on TV," said Helfant. "The ATP has a responsibility to expand the fan base and increase revenue.
"That doesn't mean the ATP should throw tradition out of the window but if you don't try it, if you don't have innovation, you have no chance at all." (Editing by Tony Jimenez)
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