It was interesting to hear the comments of the top players in last weeks Madrid tournament about the new blue clay courts and to observe how they performed. The top two (though Nadal has now dropped to number three) both criticised the court surface and threatened not to play if the tournament retained blue clay next year.
Djokovic described the Madrid Open’s blue clay courts as “impossible” after his first round win and following his quarter final loss to Tipsarevic said that he would not play next year if the blue clay was retained.
“If things continue, [there] will be one less tournament in my calendar,” Nadal said.
Both players were knocked out earlier than would normally be expected, which is not surprising given their mental state of mind about the surface. Others were more sanguine, while nobody praised the surface and Federer said he understood the frustrations of Nadal and Djokovic, the conditions were the same for all in the tournament.
It’s a lesson for us in whatever field or activity we undertake, if we go into it with external factors as excuses the outcome is likely to be less positive. In managing change programmes one of the frequent symptoms in those that are failing is the teams belief that what they are trying to deliver can not be achieved – not surprising that they don’t achieve it then. However, what is often also true is that those managing or sponsoring the change don’t listen to the feedback from the team and address it.