Madrid: Novak Djokovic has echoed Rafael Nadal's criticism of the ATP for allowing Madrid Open organizers to change the colour of the clay court from red to blue.
Djokovic, who starts defending his title on Tuesday, believes the governing body of men's tennis didn't adequately consult with the top players before allowing the change.
"The only thing that is a little bit disappointing from a player's standpoint is that this is decided without players agreeing on it," Djokovic said on Monday from the Magic Box center. "If you don't have, especially, top players testing the court and agreeing for this change, that should mean something. They should have value in what they say."
"Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. The ATP should have done a better job in representing the players' rights."
On Friday, Nadal said the ATP made a mistake by allowing the surface change at a Masters Series event.
The ATP said it approved the move after all necessary tests were performed on the Madrid court, and that the surface's future will be evaluated after it receives feedback from players this week. The ATP calls the change "innovative" and says the colour makes it easier for players, fans and TV viewers to follow the ball.
After a few days play, the main criticism has been that the surface is too slippery.
"I hope that we don't have injuries and that we can have a decent week of tennis here," Djokovic said. "It's definitely interesting for everybody to see what will happen throughout this week. It is different. I tried to prepare for it as best as I can."
Spanish clay-court specialist Nicolas Almagro did little on Monday to ease the world number one's concerns about the controversial blue clay court after beating Santiago Giraldo 6-7, 6-3, 6-3.
Djokovic gets his first opportunity to play on the surface when he starts his title defence against qualifier Daniel Gimeno-Traver on Tuesday after a two-week lay-off.
Eleventh seed Almagro came back to beat the Colombian qualifier for his 17th clay-court win of the season, more than any other player on the ATP world tour this year, but was far from happy with the new courts.
"Being so close to Roland Garros, we would prefer to play on red clay. This surface isn't in the best of conditions," Almagro told reporters at Madrid's Magic Box Arena. "It is very slippery and I hope there aren't any injuries."
Meanwhile, Serena Williams won her first match on the "Smurf" clay " as Canadian player Milos Raonic labelled it " on Monday.
"I don't think there is a big difference between the blue and the red," Williams said. "I think it's the same except for it's a different colour and you don't get as dirty, which I love."