Wimbledon’s chief executive has defended court conditions at the world’s most storied grand slam after a spate of players had criticized the playing surfaces.
The courts at the All England Club are “as good as they’ve ever been” Richard Lewis said Monday, according to the BBC. “I haven’t seen anything in the first week that concerned me at all,” he added
But last week, Britain’s number one seed Andy Murray expressed the opposite. After his four-set dispatch of Italy’s Fabio Fognini on Friday, the 2016 champion described conditions on center court as “not as good as previous years.”
Fognini agreed, telling the BBC that they were “really, really bad.”
The day before, France’s 12th seed Kristina Mladenovic made similar complaints after she injured her ankle and knee during a three-set loss to the USA’s Alison Riske.
“It’s very slippery. There’s no grass,” Mladenovic said of the area around the baselines in Court 18. “You kind of have to run light and be careful, not to push or press too much, too hard, which is strange to play on,” she added.
Mladenovic and other players have suggested surface conditions could be down to lack of rain and relatively high temperatures — which reached 30C (86F) last week. But the BBC reports that Lewis attributed the complaints to players being in “the heat of battle” and insisted he’d seen nothing amiss.
Surface conditions are just one of the Wimbledon controversies playing out this year. Others include players pulling up early with injuries, a spate of unsporting conduct, and assigning higher-profile courts to men’s matches rather than women’s.