Andy Murray has joined a chorus of players expressing concern that the surface of Wimbledon’s center court is too slippery after Serena Williams was forced to retire during her first-round match.
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, appeared to twist her ankle in the fifth game of her match against Belarusian world number 100 Aliaksandra Sasnovich, and was forced to retire a game later after her body buckled when trying return a attend.
It was the second consecutive retirement on the most famous court in tennis after Frenchman Adrian Mannarino sprained his knee while going two sets to one against Roger Federer.
Reacting on social media, Murray said: “Brutal for Serena Williams, but the center court is extremely slippery. It’s not easy to move there. “
Federer, meanwhile, was at a press conference when he heard that Williams had been forced to retire. “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it,” he said. “Obviously it’s terrible that they are back-to-back games and I also hit Serena. You have to move very, very carefully. If you push too hard at the wrong times, you fall. “
Speaking about Mannarino’s injury, Federer added: “It’s terrible, it shows that one shot can change the outcome of a match, a season or a career. He was the best player, so I was a bit lucky. “
Federer said he felt indoor matches had been a factor. “I feel like it’s drier during the day. With the wind and all that, it removes the moisture from the grass. “
Williams, sixth-seeded, had come onto the court with his hamstring tied, but seemed to have little difficulty until he injured himself while swinging back at the baseline to hit a forehand.
After staring intently at the grass, the seven-time Wimbledon champion went for treatment and limped back. Tears filled her eyes as she thanked the crowd by touching her heart. But moments later his body doubled over in pain as he prepared to receive a return and he had to limp away.
Numerous players had warned about the slippery courts on the opening day of the tournament, including Novak Djokovic. But conditions looked even worse on the second day, particularly on center court.
Mannarino, the world number 41, was the first to suffer after having Federer in all sorts of trouble until he suffered a heavy knockdown in the fourth set. “I slipped because it was so slippery,” he said afterward. “I heard a great crack and knew immediately that there was nothing I could do anymore.
“I am not used to playing center court at Wimbledon. I didn’t have much time to say it. “I was not feeling very well. Every time I tried to push my feet or change direction, I didn’t feel comfortable with it. “
Young American Coco Gauff, who defeated Briton Fran Jones, also said she had been “slipping and sliding on the court.”
He was looking in the gym when Williams got injured, but he had to turn around. “It was not easy to see,” he said. “I was in the gym stretching. I turned around because things like that excite me a lot.
“I am a huge fan of Serena, although now I am a competitor. She is the reason I started playing tennis. It’s hard to see any player get injured, but especially her. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism