Wimbledon is a unique tennis tournament in all sorts of ways. But perhaps its most precious asset – beyond the Pimms, the strawberries, the green and purple, the military personnel who act as stewards, the day off in the middle of the fortnight, the predominantly white kit, the fact that it can be identified purely by its post-code, its quintessential Britishness – is the grass on which the tennis is played.
Everyone loves the grass. Or do they? Yesterday the No 3 seed Maria Sharapova went down to a shock defeat and responded by saying that the courts were “dangerous”. The No 2 seed, Victoria Azarenka, offered her own criticisms as she withdrew injured.
There seems no reason why the grass this year should be any slippier than previous years, but now Wimbledon has been put on the defensive. Let’s hope the reputation of this most magical of surfaces can be restored.