Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates after winning her women's singles final match against Sara Errani of Italy at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris June 9, 2012.
Francois Lenoir / Reuters
Daniel Ochoa De Olza / AP
Rafael Nadal reacts during his match against Fernando Verdasco at the Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid on May 10, 2012.
The Associated Press reports — Rafael Nadal lost to Spanish countryman Fernando Verdasco for the first time in the Madrid Open on Thursday, then threatened, along with top-ranked Novak Djokovic, not to return if the new blue clay-court wasn't discarded.
Nadal blamed his first loss on clay in almost a year on the blue clay, which players have said was slippery, and sent an ultimatum to organizers, threatening to strike the tournament from his calendar if the traditional red surface was not restored.
"Being able to move is very important for me and if I can't move well, I can't hit the ball well either," said Nadal, the second seed and two-time Madrid champion. "If things don't change, this will be one less tournament on the calendar for me.
"This surface destabilizes the game. It is a completely different game and I don't want to take risks." Read the full story.
See more sporting images in The Week in Sports Pictures
Valery Hache / AFP / Getty Images
Spain's Fernando Verdasco and France's Jo Wilfried Tsonga play during the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament tennis match on April 19 in Monaco. This photograph was taken with a tilt-shift lens which uses selective focus to change perspective and depth of field. When shooting from a high vantage point, a tilt-shift lens can make the subjects appear to be miniature.
Hassan Ammar / AP
Feliciano Lopez of Spain reacts after he lost a point against Roger Federer of Switzerland during the Emirates Dubai ATP Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Feb. 29.
Marwan Naamani / AFP - Getty Images
Swiss tennis champion Roger Federer smiles to the crowd after beating Spain's Feliciano Lopez during their ATP Dubai Open tennis match in the Gulf emirate on Feb. 29.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Roger Federer defeated Feliciano Lopez of Spain 7-5, 6-3 on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of the Dubai Championships.
Federer broke the 15th-ranked Lopez in the final game to end a tight opening set. The second set was more routine, breaking the Spaniard to lead 5-3 and closing out the match with a volley winner from the net.
-- Associated Press
Ryan Pierse / Pool via Getty Images
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates winning championship point in his men's final match against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 29.
Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 2-6, 6-7 (5), 7-5 Sunday to win the Australian Open in the longest Grand Slam final in Open Era history.
Full story: Djokovic wins longest slam final ever
Aaron Favila / AP
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus kisses the trophy during the awarding ceremony after defeating Maria Sharapova of Russia in their women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship, in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 28.
"It's a dream come true," she said. "I have been dreaming and working so hard to win the Grand Slam, and being No. 1 is pretty good bonus. Just the perfect ending and the perfect position to be in."
Azarenka won 11 straight matches, including a run to the Sydney International title, to reach her first Grand Slam final. Her previous best performance at a major was a semifinal loss to Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon last year. Sharapova had all the experience, being in her sixth major final and having won three - dating back to her 2004 Wimbledon title.
Full story: Azarenka cruises to Aussie title
Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray after an epic five-set marathon that former Grand Slam finalist John Lloyd, commentating for the BBC, described as "one of the best matches I've ever seen."
Djokovic, who won 6-3, 3-6, 6-7, 6-1, 7-5 in just under five hours, will face Rafael Nadal in Sunday's Australian Open final. Read more at NBC Sports.
Daniel Munoz / Reuters
Novak Djokovic celebrates after defeating Andy Murray in their men's singles semi-final match at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Jan. 27, 2012.
Tim Wimborne / Reuters
Djokovic embraces Murray at the end of the match.
Paul Crock / AFP - Getty Images
Novak Djokovic hits a return.
Greg Wood / AFP - Getty Images
Andy Murray celebrates winning the third set.
Toby Melville / Reuters
Clive Brunskill / Getty Images
Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a backhand.
Torsten Blackwood / AFP - Getty Images
Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a return against Tommy Haas of Germany in their second round men's singles match on Tuesday.
AP reports: Second-seeded Rafael Nadal maintained his perfect record against Tommy Haas, beating the veteran German 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 Wednesday in a second-round match at the Australian Open.
With the knee heavily taped Wednesday, he showed no obvious signs of discomfort to advance to a third-round match against the winner of the Donald Young-Lukas Lacko match to be played later Wednesday.
William West / AFP - Getty Images
Serena Williams cries out after injuring her ankle during her second round women's singles match against Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia at the Brisbane International tennis tournament on Jan. 4, 2012.
Serena Williams twisted her left ankle late in her second round match against Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski and needed about 10 minutes of treatment, including having her ankle restrapped, before she went on to secure a 6-2 6-4 victory.
The American had scans on the ankle later on Wednesday, which confirmed she would need to withdraw from the tournament.
"I'm still hopeful of playing the Australian Open," Williams said.
The first grand slam tournament of the season starts on January 16. Read the full story.
Michael Regan / Getty Images for Barclays
Novak Djokovic of Serbia serves during the men's singles match against Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on Nov. 25, in London, England.
As a tennis fan, I enjoyed getting to see Novak Djokovic's serve captured in this way. While the end of this match didn't go well for Djokovic, he's had an impressive year, taking the number one ranking from Rafael Nadal. ESPN reports:
A weary Djokovic finished his spectacular season by losing more matches in three days than he did in the first seven months of the year, earning the top-ranked Serb an early exit in the ATP World Tour Finals.
After winning three Grand Slam titles and seizing the No. 1 ranking from Rafael Nadal before having the last few months derailed by injuries, Djokovic had simply run out of energy coming into the season-ending tournament.
Goh Chai Hin / AFP - Getty Images
Andy Murray unveils a terracotta statue of himself at the 2011 Shanghai Masters tournament at the Qizhong Tennis Center in Shanghai on October 11.
Andy Murray was once described as "gloriously truculent." Judging by the dour countenance of the statue he unveiled today in Shanghai, the Scotsman's teenage reputation for surliness continues to resonate despite his growing maturity.
Murray is not the only tennis star to be immortalised in clay by the Chinese. I'm pretty sure I recognize three of the players in the photo below, but I'm stumped as to the others. Can you identify all five?
Mark Ralston / AFP - Getty Images
A man walks past tennis player statues meant to look like Terracotta Warriors during the first round of the Shanghai Masters on October 10.
Keep up with the latest from the Shanghai Masters and all the rest of the tennis news at NBC Sports.
Marcelo Del Pozo / Reuters
Rafael Nadal of Spain serves to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France during their Davis Cup World Group semi-final match at the Cordoba bullring Sept. 18.
Novak Djokovic's ailing back didn't hold up Sunday, meaning Rafael Nadal won't have to face his main rival in the Davis Cup final.
Djokovic tried to help Serbia stage a comeback in its semifinal against Argentina despite a lingering back problem, but had to retire when trailing 7-6 (5), 3-0 against Juan Martin del Potro. That sent Argentina into the final against Spain, which advanced after Nadal routed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-0, 6-2, 6-4 on clay in Cordoba.
Read the full story here.