Wimbledon 2013: Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova out, while seven players retired injured with slippery courts blamed for the carnage

 

Wimbledon

They came, they played, they fell. One by one at Wimbledon, neither the big hitters nor the lowest rankers were spared from the curse of the turf at the All England Club during a surreal Day 3.

Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova were the biggest names to fall, but the body countwas a record on "Wounded Wednesday", as it was quickly dubbed. Seven players were forced to withdraw, including the No 2 women's seed Victoria Azarenka, and the No 6 and No 18 men's seeds Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and John Isner.

As fans winced at the painful-looking contortions the players were pulling, many were asking whether the All England Club would investigate why so many had fallen foul of its perfectly-manicured grass.

Was it down to a freakish coincidence? The wrong shoes? Or perhaps an international conspiracy? Predictably, the Twitter hashtag "Slippygrass" marked the point as everyone began to weigh in.

The US coach Nick Bollettieri, who was shocked by the withdrawals, said: "I've been too many grand slams and have not seen so many people pull out. These are big pull-outs too. It is unbelievable. Grass is going to be a topic of conversation. You just don't have these many injuries happening."

Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker added: "A short grass court season is definitely part of the problem with the injuries. Grass court tennis is different to other surfaces, it is only two weeks of action after a long clay court season. Players need to give themselves more of chance. The grass is the same, the groundsman is the same."

Maria Sharapova slipped three times during her Court Two clash, eventually losing to Michelle Larcher De Brito, and was seen to mouth the words "this court is dangerous" to an official. In her post-match interview, she said: "I don't think I've ever fallen three times in a match before in my career … but I can't blame the court."

Wimbledon officials insisted the courts had been prepared in the same way as previous years. They were changed in 2001 to 100 per cent perennial ryegrass to improve durability and to minimise wear and tear.

But veteran groundsman Eddie Seaward, who retired last year, admitted in an interview in 2012 that new groundsman Neil Stubley would have a hard task ahead of him.

"At the end of the Olympics, my successor will have a month less time to prepare the grass for the 2013 Championships, and to do the renovation programme," he said.

An injury saw Azarenka pull out just before play was about to start in her Centre Court clash. Asked if she had noticed anything different with the courts this year, the 23-year-old said: "I'm wondering the same question, because the court was not in a very good condition on Monday."

She added: "My opponent fell twice; I fell badly; there were some other people who fell after. So I don't know if it's the court or the weather.

"It would be great if the club or somebody who takes care of the court just would examine or try to find an issue so that wouldn't happen. Because on something like this, there is nothing I could have done to make that better."

‘Dreddy’ Dustin ‘cried like girl’ after victory

When a despondent Lleyton Hewitt commented on Dustin Brown, the player who sent him home in straight sets at Wimbledon, you couldn’t be entirely certain whether he was talking about the player’s game or his lifestyle: “He’s very flashy – I wouldn’t say orthodox.”

The 28-year-old German-born Jamaica-raised player, who is ranked 189th in the world and had only once won a main-draw match at a grand slam before, is anything but ordinary. Until 2009, the dreadlocked music-lover travelled to matches in his beloved VW Camper Van.

In the usually dreary post-match address, Brown sported a large white Rasta beanie hat and T-shirt with his own face printed on the front and the word “Dreddy” underneath, admitting that at the end of his game against Hewitt – which he won 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-2 – he had “cried like a little girl”.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Life and Style
food + drink
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.

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas