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Many Wimbledon Entrants Are Apprehensive About Court Surfaces
     
 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Many big stars recall it as wacky Wednesday. The third day of last year’s Championships when Wimbledon’s grass began to play more like an ice rink of several big names, such as Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Marin Cilic all suffered bad tumbles while Victoria Azarenka was forced to withdraw because of an injury she suffered because of a slip on court a few days earlier.

At the time both Wimbledon chief executive Richard Lewis and head grounds man Neil Stubley were insistent that the quality of the grass was exactly the same as it was in preceding years. Now four times Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman, a member of the All England Club’s Committee of Management and many people’s tip to eventually succeed Philip Brook as chairman, insists there will not be any change in the preparation of the playing surfaces despite the controversy of 2013.

Henman revealed extensive research by the All England Club found no underlying cause for the amount of players who marked the first week by sprawling all over the courts. “It didn’t perturb myself or Neil Stubley because we collect and study so much information about the courts,’ said the 39 year-old former world no.4.

“We scientifically measure things like their hardness, the length of the grass, the moisture, the bounce. These were found to be identical to the year before.”

Henman will again have a busy fortnight, splitting with duties behind the scenes in the running of the Championship with being a lead commentator with the BBC TV broadcast team. He observed: “‘I was watching the Aegon Championships at Queen’s last week and seeing players sliding everywhere and nobody was commenting.

“There will always be some slips and falls on new grass courts early in a tournament and it’s understandable that there is more focus on Wimbledon.

I think it was emphasized a bit more last year because some high-profile players like Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki had falls.”

Henman is insistent the reason for so many accidents was the short turnaround time from the end of the clay court season at Roland Garros to the outset of play on grass. Many players barely had time to change their shoes before dealing with the vagaries of a completely different playing surface.

So Henman applauds the decision of the tennis ruling bodies to insert an extra week from the calendar of 2015 onwards between the two European majors. “One of the benefits of having a three-week gap between the French and Wimbledon from next year is that players will have more time to adjust and they will be moving better from the start,” he said.


 

 

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