Get ready for trampoline tennis!


The world number one is not a happy man.

Nope, not because he was hammered by Rafael Nadal in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters. Novak Djokovic was very chilled about that.

But the Serb seemed royally ticked off by the fact that he will be forced to play on blue clay when the world's best head to the Madrid Masters in May. Djokovic seems mostly annoyed that the decision was taken by the tennis authorities in conjunction with the sponsors, and without getting a rubber stamp from the stars themselves.

"There is a certain rule within the ATP that the president is able to make decisions by himself without having players agree to that. That rule has to be changed because it's not fair," said Djokovic.

This grumble is a bit rich considering that in spots like Shanghai and the UAE the world's best have been happy to pocket a few quid by pretending to play on everything from helipads to the surface of the sea to keep the people who pay the prize money happy.

For what it's worth - admittedly not very much - Tramlines thinks that a move to a new colour surface will add an extra bit of entertainment value and interest to a big event that has always become the poor relation of the big four tournaments that roll around this time of year.

Monte Carlo is special because it's the first event on clay, Rome always has its own special atmosphere and history, while Roland Garros is one of the world's great sporting venues.

But since its move to clay (and spring) three years ago Madrid has struggled to really capture the imagination of the tennis public. So the switch to blue clay seems a perfectly reasonable PR stunt to get people watching - and if nothing else, the yellow balls will be easier to see against deep blue than they are against the usual ochre-hued mud.

If anything, though, we'd argue that Madrid's makeover didn't go far enough. Why stop at mere changes of colour? Why not really push the boat out and axe the clay completely? Here's our suggestions for the top five surfaces that are just waiting for some bright spark to put a tournament on:

Trampoline tennis: Combines the high bounce of clay with the speed of carpet - and will add an extra tactical element by making players unlobbable.

Marshmallow tennis: Clay purists argue that it's the slower the better when it comes to tennis surfaces, and the plasticine-like stuff they use at Roland Garros certainly forces players to pull out some of the purest shots in the game. Yet that's nothing compared to the glacier-slow, yet still bouncy properties of the confectionery treat.

Mirror tennis: Madrid's blue surface will add visual pizzazz, but just think how eye-catching the game could be if played on a reflective surface. Chuck in some 1980s-style neon-lit costumes for the players - something like they wore in Tron, perhaps - and you'd be there.

Local rec concrete tennis: The pristine surfaces enjoyed by the world's best players are a world away from the courts endured by most tennis players. So why not, for just this one week a year, let them really show their skills by playing at an authentic local park in 'real world' conditions? Crumbling concrete, tree roots bursting through the surface and nets with holes in would add a thrilling element of unpredictability to the sport.

Ice tennis: Black balls and lines, white courts and ice skates for players help create the Fastest Tennis In The World, with rallies that would almost never last longer than two shots. Entire five set matches would be over within three quarters of an hour (an hour with ad breaks), thus fitting perfectly into people's busy lives and TV schedules.

- - - -

Speaking of tennis makeovers, Maria Sharapova sent the world into a spin when she Facebooked a snap of her fetching new hairdo. We thought she looked pretty good, but to fans it was apparently the least popular haircut since Rapunzel had her locks chopped:

Luckily for hair fetishists everywhere, it turned out that the Russian was playing a joke on her fans and had actually been wearing a wig. She posted another pic proving that she still has her famous hair. Unless it's all an elaborate double bluff, and the 'new' pic is actually the one where she's wearing a wig.

(Pics: Via Facebook)

- - - -

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Maybe in a few days I'll think it was a pretty good effort but right now I'm devastated." - Laura Robson, still just 18, after her loss in Britain's Fed Cup defeat by Sweden. Robson was beaten 6-4 1-6 6-3 by Swedish number one Sofia Arvidsson.

TWEET OF THE WEEK: "Bourbon Street ......... Yes." - Andy Roddick showing that the life of a top athlete isn't all work, work, work as he lets the world know he's living it large on New Orleans's legendary strip of bars and clubs.

What to read next

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes