French Open champion Maria Sharapova says that the red clay courts in Madrid are not playing as quickly as they did last year, when matches were played on blue clay.
“I've been practicing here for a few days already,” she told reporters. “Well, I think we all know that last year was a very hopeful experiment and it didn't turn out so well I think for — not for the tournament — or for the players as well. I think everyone kind of learned their lesson and we're back to normal now. It feels pretty good.
“I think it's quite heavy right now. I think also the conditions have been quite cold and muddy, so it's feeling a little bit thick. I think over time it's going to become a little bit faster.”