The Grass courts of Wimbledon are dangerous. Since the tournament started, a very large number pf players have been slipping on the courts. Just a scare ? Not quite. Adrian Mannarino had to pull out leading 2 sets to 1 versus Roger Federer, and was immediately followed by Serena Williams. What is happening? And what can be done?

I can’t seem to move on. Adrian Mannarino had a real chance to beat Roger Federer. It’s not just me. Roger seems to agree : « Mannarino was the better player out there ». Of course being better does not always guarantee the win. The Frenchman is the living proof of that, however it is a good advantage to have. And more importantly (JK) he would have made me right.

But, I’m not writing this article to say « I told you so ». The idea is to denounce the playing conditions at Wimbledon. How crazy is it that during Roger Federer’s post match press conference after his win due to the Mannarino retirement, a journalist informed him that the almost exact same thing just happened to Serena Williams on the very same court, and on the very same baseline.

These are not acceptable conditions for a Grand Slam

Let’s play the imagination game for a second. Close your eyes and imagine the same scenario taking place at Roland-Garros. The Parisian Grand Slam would get destroyed by the press, and those who would be loudest would of course be the British. But since, in this case, it is « the temple of tennis » we are dealing with, it’s all good.

I have, in no way, seen all the matches, but every time I watch one, there is a tumble. I still don’t understand how Nick Kyrgios, Gael Monfils or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga did not leave the court on crutches. Every time it’s the same story, a player get’s wrong footed, and when he or she tries to change direction, the foot, that is taking on the body weight, slips, due to the lack of response from the ground. The result is an almost front spit. During the same presser, Roger Federer admitted to very delicate conditions. No kidding. Rest assure, at no time did he mention that these are not acceptable conditions for a Grand Slam.

I, on the other hand, am saying it loud and clear. These are not acceptable conditions for a Grand Slam. Nor are they for a Masters 1000 or the for the tournament organized by your local club. It is extremely dangerous. I cannot believe that this situation comes as a surprise to the organizers. They must have known the grass conditions where what they where. Despite that we play on as if all is AOK.

Sir Andy Murray, tweeted the following :

 

He could have mentioned Mannarino as well but …

Novak Djokovic also ate some grass, non intentionally this time, during his 1st round match versus Jack Draper. The world number 1 admitted to not remembering having fallen and slipped so much on Center Court.

I’m no engineer but there must be some drying system

The tournament organisation has given some magical explanations : « The weather conditions on the opening two days have been the wettest we have experienced in almost a decade, which has required the roof to be closed on Centre Court and No.1 Court for long periods. This is at a time when the grass plant is at its most lush and green, which does result in additional moisture on what is a natural surface. With each match that is played, the courts will continue to firm up. ».

Well at least we now know that it’s no their fault and that everything is going to be alright. BTW, they keep mentioning Center Court and Court 1 but tumbles are taking place on other courts as well.

So is there not a way to fight this over humidity? And what if it rained every year at Wimbledon ? Do we just hope that nobody get’s injured. Too late for that. I’m no engineer but there must be some drying system, via ventilation of some sort that could help improve the conditions when it rains in London !

In it’s misfortune, Wimbledon ended up being lucky, because instead of Mannarino’s knee, had it been Federer’s then all hell would have broken loose …

Can you imagine the headlines « Federer retires after Wimbledon knee injury ».