agencies
LONDON, 27 JUNE: Wimbledon has denied allegations that the courts at the All-England Club are "too slippery."
The comments follow an unusual Day Three in the competition, when seven players were forced to withdraw owing to injuries.
Belarusian Victoria Azarenka had to pull out of her match with Flavia Pennetta yesterday after she had suffered a knee injury from a slip during her first-round match.
Maria Sharapova fell three times during her game with world number 131 Michelle Larcher De Brito, even having to stop the exchanges to seek medical treatment.
Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki also slipped and played with tape on her right ankle, but she lost to Petra Cetkovska in the second round.
The other players forced to withdraw from tennis’ oldest competition, were Steve Darcis – who deafeated Rafael Nadal in the first round – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, John Isner, Marin Cilic, Radek Stepanek and Yaroslava Shvedova.
Richard Lewis, chief executive of the All-England Club, said: "There has been a high number of withdrawals at The Championships today and we sympathise with all the players affected. The withdrawals have occurred for a variety of reasons, but there has been some suggestion that the court surface is to blame. We have no reason to think this is the case. Indeed, many players have complimented us on the very good condition of the courts. The court preparation has been to exactly the same meticulous standard as in previous years and it is well known that grass surfaces tend to be more lush at the start of an event. The factual evidence, which is independently checked, is that the courts are almost identical to those of last year, as dry and firm as they should be, and we expect them to continue to play to their usual high quality."