The 2012 Madrid Open will be the first time an officially sanctioned tennis tournament has been played on blue clay.
Parisian red —
Roland Garros is the Mecca of clay tournaments, its distinctive red surface an enduring feature of the French Open, held every year in Paris.
The architect —
Madrid's blue clay is the brainchild of tournament consultant Ion Tiriac. He says the surface enhances the viewing experience for those in the stadium and watching on television.
The Caja Mágica —
The Madrid Open was a hard court tournament from 1990 to 2008 before it switched to clay in 2009. The 2012 version will take place at the Caja Mágica between May 4 and 13.
A history of clay —
Clay was regularly used as a surface for tennis in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the U.S. Open was played on clay for many years at West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, New York, seen here.