Are the courts to blame for Wimbledon's injuries and withdrawals?

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Fingers were pointed at the surface after fall of top players, but there are few grounds for concern

How big a factor was the state of the courts for the record seven withdrawals in one day and the defeats of Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki?

click here

Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka both criticised the state of the courts. Sharapova fell three times on No 2 Court, where Wozniacki also took a tumble, though the Dane was reluctant to blame the surface. That court may have an issue, but there is little evidence there is any significant problem elsewhere. Azarenka, who withdrew, hurt her right knee on Monday when she slipped on Court One. Another who pulled out, Steve Darcis, hurt his shoulder diving to hit a shot on the same court but refused to blame the surface. The other withdrawals – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, John Isner, Marin Cilic, Radek Stepanek and Yaroslava Shvedova –mostly blamed pre-existing physical problems or one-off injuries that were not caused specifically by slipping on the grass.

Q. So how come there have been so many retirements and withdrawals?

The next day or two should tell us whether there is a serious problem with the courts. The evidence so far would suggest that the spate of retirements and withdrawals was little more than a freak sequence of events. There was a similar rash of pull-outs at the 2011 US Open, when 17 players quit during the tournament, including nine in the first round. For a few days there was talk of the calendar being too demanding, but the fuss soon died down. By the weekend the courts here will probably no longer be a subject of debate.

Q. Don't players always slip on grass courts?

Yes. The courts at the All England Club are always particularly slick in the first week but become less of a problem – in terms of their slipperiness – as the surface wears during the tournament. Every year players have a bit of trouble with their footing in the early rounds at Wimbledon.

Q. Has the weather been a factor in the condition of the courts?

It would be a surprise if it hasn't after one of the coldest springs in living memory, though the All England Club insists that the courts are in perfect condition. Colder weather early this week could well have had an effect with regard to the injuries. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga pointed out that cold conditions can make players more prone to injury.

Q. Are the players fit enough?

There has been a feeling within the game that the big increases in prize-money at Grand Slam events might tempt players to compete even if they are not fully fit. Players who lose in the first round of singles here this year earn £23,500, which is more than some may earn in a year.

Q. Wimbledon has a new head groundsman. How well will he have slept?

Neil Stubley had a hard act to follow when he took over last year from Eddie Seaward, who was head groundsman for 20 years and had the highest of reputations. However, it is not as though 44-year-old Stubley is as green as the grass he tends. He has worked on the Wimbledon ground staff all his working life, became senior groundsman in 2002 and for the next 10 years led the team's day-to-day work. A lifetime's experience in the business will be telling him that this was a one-off.

Q. Will it help when Wimbledon moves back one week later in the calendar from 2015?

Undoubtedly. The biggest problem that players have on grass is having to adapt so quickly to the surface. Having a three-week gap between the end of the clay-court season and the start of Wimbledon will give everyone more time to find their feet on grass.

News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In my grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service