Maria Sharapova described it as "unique." In Charleston, Serena Williams told me it was "ridiculous." And Rafael Nadal has been the most vocal critic of all, saying Madrid's blue clay is an affront to all that is holy in the sport of tennis (paraphrasing, of course). As the players are trickling into Madrid in order to get some early preparation we're finally beginning to get some feedback as to what the surface is actually like, as opposed to speculation and conjecture.
Initial reactions? It's messy, it's slippery, and it's bouncing lower than usual, which is a key observation given the fact that Madrid's altitude has typically led to a very fast, high-bouncing court. Oh, and it's blue. Oh so blue.
After the jump check out some of the players' initial reactions. I'm sure we'll get more as the tournament nears.