Despite his title as “The King of Clay”, Rafael Nadal left the Madrid Open early. In a city where the clay turned blue, it was enough to keep everyone talking during the week. So much so that many players are already...

Despite his title as “The King of Clay”, Rafael Nadal left the Madrid Open early. In a city where the clay turned blue, it was enough to keep everyone talking during the week. So much so that many players are already thinking of boycotting the 2013 edition...

Madrid, la beaten clay

Sensational statements, polemics, threats. Beyond the surprises – which were huge, one must admit - with the inglorious eliminations of Rafael Nadal in the second round and Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals, the tournament and its organizers took a good bashing. The reason for this anger: the blue clay. On this subject, many barbs were launched. Djokovic ("I don’t call this clay") to Toni Nadal, Rafa's coach ("This is the last time we come here") through Rafa himself ("There are two options. Either it changes  or there will be one less tournament to my calendar next year "). It is not hard to recognise that the new surface - much more slippery - has not been unanimously accepted, far from it. This is how the Masters 1000 made much more noise off the courts than on it, and that's a shame. During that time, without acting the victim, Roger Federer got himself a final against Tomas Berdych (3/6 7/5 7/5) and, above all, a new title. This guy is a gentleman. And a champion.  

Tweet of the week

"First match on blue clay? Ouch. Next time I better bring my skates with me. So Slippery out there". So tweeted Novak Djokovic after his victory against Gimeno-Traver (6-2, 2-6, 6-3). The message is pretty clear. He’s not a fan of Madrid’s blue clay, unless skiing, because the surface is too slippery. http://twitter.com/#!/DjokerNole/statuses/199983211424653312  

The ranking

Number 2. In winning the Madrid tournament and with the early elimination of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer is the new dauphin of Novak Djokovic. Bad-ass.  

The quote

"It's an amazing honour and I’m extremely humbled by this gift." These are the words of Roger Federer. The Swiss, with his haul of sixteen Grand Slam titles, twenty Masters 1000 and his Olympic medal, has found himself a bit odd upon learning that the tournament in Halle, Germany, decided name a street to his name, "the Roger Federer-alley". A tournament that the Swiss has already won five times.  

The number: 263

His name is Samuel Groth. He is ranked 340th worldwide. In other words, he’s nobody. Or almost nobody. The giant Australian made some noise this week at the Challenger tournament in Busan, South Korea, with his service, clocked at 263 km / h. Simply put, it’s a new record. Groth has sent the previous mark of Croatian Ivo Karlovic to oblivion (251 km / h in 2011). Note that in the match, Groth also sent down two more missiles at 253.5 km / h and 255.7 km / h. Without even pushing.  

Serena Williams, the roaring 41st

So, the old-guard still have a future in women's tennis. Victoria Azarenka was on a series of 34 victories from 36 games in 2012 and was thinking to easily keep it going, except it wasn’t meant to be. In the final in Madrid, the Belarusian got crushed by a steamroller. Pushing 30, Serena Williams remains untouchable when she actually tries. Her tactics: make the exchanges as short as possible and send bombs on each shot. In 1 hour and 3 minutes, the final was settled (6-1, 6-3) and Williams claimed the 41st title of her career. The first on European clay courts since her consecration at Roland Garros a decade ago ... Above all, the younger Williams sister shows a positive balance sheet against the World No. 1 (12 wins, 11 losses). This is the only active player with as many victories. When the tiger is in the mood, she is unplayable. However, she’s not always into it. It’s a pity…  

The video: Serena takes down Maria

In the quarter-finals in Madrid, Serena Williams toyed  with Maria Sharapova, before dispatching the world N°2 with ease (6-1, 6-3). Between her ninja service and her baseline strength, Serena retains her unbeaten run against the beautiful Russian: eleven straight wins. Serena is undefeated against Sharapova since 2004. http://youtu.be/N2g1izw_IeQ  

The number: 27

Sara Errani has had the golden touch since the beginning of the season on clay with three tournaments in her locker (Acapulco, Barcelona and Budapest, Editor's note). Except that when it comes to battle with girls from the top 10, the Italian loses her nerve. When facing the Polish world No. 3, Agnieszka Radwanska in Madrid, the Transalpine was demolished 6-0, 6-1. This is the 27th time in as many games that Errani has lost against a Top 10 player in her career. Ouch.   By Mathieu Faure