Tennis player Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Thursday "suffered a brutal injury while playing a singles match at Wimbledon," and her opponent, Sorana Cirstea, is "criticizing the response of emergency officials, who seemed slow to rush to help," according to Greg Hadley of MCCLATCHY NEWS. Mattek-Sands "approached the net to return a shot" when her knee "buckled beneath her and she fell to the grass turf, screaming in pain." She could "clearly be heard screaming, 'please help me, please, please'" on ESPN's live coverage. The broadcast "cut away from Mattek-Sands before medics could be seen reaching her, but there seemed to be at least a 15-second delay between the moment she collapsed" and when she "first received medical attention." Cirstea after the match said, "It took a really long time not only for the stretcher to get there but I would say she was on the ground from 10 to 15 minutes and for me that is really long" (MCCLATCHY NEWS, 7/6). Cirstea added, "For a long time it was me, her husband and my physio. ... There are sports where you see something's happening, you see straightaway the help. Like I know football, boxing, all the others, it's straightaway." More Cirseta: "You wonder what would have happened if it was a heart issue or something like this." The All England Club tweeted, "The first response to Court 17 was within one minute, by a qualified ambulance technician. ... The player was kept on court while pain relief was given. She was then transferred directly to an ambulance and taken under emergency conditions to a hospital'" (REUTERS, 7/6). ABC's T.J. Holmes asked, “What if this had been some kind of cardiac arrest, where seconds matter in life and death? It took too long for somebody to get out there" ("GMA," ABC, 7/7).
PLAYERS UNHAPPY WITH SURFACE: THE GUARDIAN's Jacob Steinberg noted there was "concern on one of the outside show courts" in the match between Kristina Mladenovic and Alison Riske about the playing surface. Mladenovic in her post-match press conference revealed "both players had unsuccessfully asked the umpire to stop play because they felt the court's surface was unsafe." She said that there was "no more grass and even a hole in the ground on Court 18." Mladenovic said, "You ask the referee to tell you what’s the rule if both players don’t want to keep on playing. And the answer is that they just can’t do anything, unfortunately, and you have to keep on playing." She added, "The colour of the court, the fact that there’s no more grass, the fact the baseline where we are running, it’s very slippery. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s not even clay. ... There was a huge hole on the sides where the referee came to take pictures of it." Steinberg noted the problems are being "blamed on the dry weather." Mladenovic said that Agnieszka Radwanska told her that playing on Court 2 was "'horrible' and there has been lots of grumbling in the locker room" (GUARDIAN, 7/6). Riske: "The patch near the baseline is eaten up and the dirt underneath is like ice. Look around, people are going down left and right" (AP, 7/6).
The U.S. Open tennis championships are preparing to "introduce a shot-clock at its qualifying event" in August in an attempt to "address concerns over slow play between points," according to Simon Briggs of the London TELEGRAPH. Observers have "long complained about warm-ups continuing beyond their allotted five minutes and medical time-outs beyond three minutes." Now with a 25-second "visible clock on the court, such details will be more transparent and defined." U.S. Open qualifying will also "allow coaching at any time during matches," except when the ball is in play. The moves are "part of an adventurous package of reforms that were put forward during the French Open" by USTA Chief Exec of Professional Tennis Stacey Allaster. However, the changes "do not have widespread support from the other majors at this stage," so the USTA has been "given a waiver to test out these ideas as an experiment." They will operate at the U.S. Open in "everything but the five main draws." Some are "concerned that the crowd" in N.Y. might "join in by shouting 'five, four, three ...' as the clock reaches its later stages." Again, the umpire would "have to try to control the noise, but this might become more difficult as the day wears on" (London TELEGRAPH, 7/7).
COACHES' CORNER: Allaster said the moves to improve tennis' pace of play will come "one step at a time." Allaster said that in addition to the shot clock, there has also been talk of a "prematch countdown clock that will limit the warm-up period to five minutes; and, potentially, a change-of-attire clock to control the length of time players are absent from the court." In N.Y., Christopher Clarey notes there is a "25-second time limit between points on the ATP Tour, and a 20-second limit at Grand Slam events, although players are rarely penalized." Allaster said that the chair umpire would "control when to initiate the countdown procedure after a point concludes." But Clarey writes the "most radical change" is the coaching component. Coaching during matches, although "allowed on changeovers on the WTA Tour, is banned at the Grand Slam tournaments and on the ATP Tour." But players are "rarely penalized for infractions." Allaster said that coaches "would not be allowed to disrupt the flow of play and could communicate verbally with their players only when they are on the same side of the court." Otherwise, they will be "permitted to use signals" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/7).
A deal brokered by AEG President & CEO Dan Beckerman has "solved the potential conflict of two strong boxing cards" competing for the same L.A. and national TV audience, according to Lance Pugmire of the L.A. TIMES. Beckerman said that his company will "now host a tripleheader of super-flyweight bouts at StubHub Center on Sept. 9, and the Leo Santa Cruz-Abner Mares featherweight world title rematch on Oct. 7 at Staples Center." It originally "appeared that rival premium cable networks HBO and Showtime were going to pit the prime cards against each other in the same town on Sept. 9." The quality of the StubHub card could "allow it to surpass the attendance record of 9,873 that showed for a previous middleweight title fight between Gennady Golovkin and Marco Antonio Rubio." Southland promoters Tom Loeffler and Richard Schaefer are "handling the shows." Beckerman said that his "interest as a fight fan prevailed as he considered the possible effect of splitting the market and the counter-programming of the cards." Beckerman: "Each (promoter) now has a clean night with separation (from other bouts), and the fans can watch both" (L.A. TIMES, 7/7).