Most tournament organisers, when faced with a certain level of criticism from two of the world’s highest ranked men’s players including the current top-seeded player, would listen and eventually bow to the pressure. Not so Mr Ion Tiriac, the owner of the prestigious Madrid Masters tournament, who has unveiled plans to add even more dramatic elements to the on (blue) court action that kicked off during the tournament this year.
Unscathed by Serbian world No.1 Djokovic’s comment that to play successfully on the tournament’s brand new blue clay court this year he considered asking the one and only Chuck Norris for help, Tiriac has been thinking of inventive ways to improve the playability of games on the brightly coloured court – psychedelic tennis balls! Tiriac, a former Davis Cup captain and tennis coach, has recently informed the press that “we are going to improve the ball….we’re thinking fluorescent green or fluorescent orange, which hold light better and work better in contrast to blue clay”. For all its wacky connotations, there’s no denying that this measure would at least help the tennis balls stand out on the brand new court.
Although it would break with the conventions of what we consider to be traditionally coloured tennis balls, changing the colour of tennis balls in this way isn’t as revolutionary as it may seem. Just three or so decades ago, tennis balls were white in colour and not the sharp yellow that has now become such an iconic sight on tennis courts across the world. What the players think of this new measure remains to be seen, but regardless of the sarcasm that will no doubt be shown to him it doesn’t seem likely that the innovative Mr Tiriac will re-consider his plans.