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SBD Global/June 28, 2013/Events and Attractions
Wimbledon Head Groundsman Defends Court Conditions After Record-High Withdrawals
Published June 28, 2013
WIMBLEDON'S DEFENSE: In London, Josh Burrows reported Wimbledon officials Wednesday issued a statement "assuring players that the surfaces are no different to previous years." The statement read in part, “There have been no changes in the preparation of the courts and as far as we are aware the grass court surface is in excellent condition. In fact we believe that it is drier than last year when the prevailing conditions were cold and wet." As players "continued to hit the turf with regularity, Azarenka was vocal in questioning the condition of the grass." Azarenka said, “The court was not in a very good condition that day (day one). My opponent fell twice and I fell badly. I don’t know if it’s the court or the weather. I can’t figure it out. There is nothing I could have done to make that better. There is nothing I’ve done wrong that cost me to just withdraw from Wimbledon" (LONDON TIMES, 6/27).
SEEKING EXPLANATION: Also in London, Simon Briggs reported anyone who knows the All England Club "will appreciate that this is nonsense." You might as well accuse Rolex, one of the club’s sponsors, of supplying clocks with no minute hand. For a sense of Wimbledon's painstaking preparations, "consider that they will not introduce a new fertiliser or piece of machinery to the outside courts until they have trialled it for at least two years on the practice facility." From there, it will gradually creep toward Centre Court but "only after regular checks and measures." In short, this "is not the local croquet club." The mower blades "will not be set to the wrong height, any more than the keys to Holloway Prison will be left in the locks." How, then, do we "explain the spate of slips and falls in the first three days?" As head groundsman, Stubley points out, "grass courts are a living, breathing organism." Former British No. 1 Jeremy Bates said, "The courts are in pristine condition. I'm just not sure how used the modern players are to grass-court tennis" (TELEGRAPH, 6/27).