'Additional moisture': Organisers speak out over Wimbledon 'disgrace'

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·Sports Editor
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Adrian Mannarino and Serena Williams, pictured here retiring hurt in back-to-back matches at Wimbledon.
Adrian Mannarino and Serena Williams retired hurt in back-to-back matches at Wimbledon. Image: Getty

Wimbledon organisers have addressed concerns after Adrian Mannarino and Serena Williams were injured in back-to-back matches on Centre Court on Tuesday.

Mannarino was forced to retire hurt in the opening game of the fifth set against Roger Federer when he slipped on the grass and injured his knee.

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And in devastating scenes about an hour later, Williams suffered the same fate when she slipped and fell during the first set against Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Fans were left raging that consecutive matches had been ruined seemingly because of the surface on Centre Court, with many labelling it a "disgrace".

The All England Club has since issued a statement conceding that the grass was slipperier than usual.

Organisers said the wettest two opening days of Wimbledon "in almost a decade" indirectly led to "additional moisture" on the grass at Centre Court while the retractable roof has been closed for long periods.

But it wasn't just Centre Court where players had problems with their footing.

Coco Gauff on Court Two was unable to stay on her feet on numerous occasions as she managed to get past Francesca Jones 7-5 6-4.

"I think everybody saw me slipping and sliding," American teen Gauff said.

"With Serena, it was hard for me to watch that... She got me into tennis, so it is hard to watch any player get injured but especially her."

Serena Williams, pictured here slipping and injuring her right leg at Wimbledon.
Serena Williams slipped and injured her right leg. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Federer, who conceded he was lucky to advance after Mannarino's retirement, suggested the court was slipperier when the lights came on and the roof was closed.

"This is obviously terrible that it's back-to-back matches and it hits Serena as well," Federer said.

"Oh, my God, I can't believe it.

"I do feel it feels a tad more slippery maybe under the roof...You do have to move very, very carefully out there. If you push too hard in the wrong moments, you do go down."

Andy Murray, who beat Nikoloz Basilashvili on Centre Court on Monday, tweeted: “Brutal for @serenawilliams but centre court is extremely slippy out there. Not easy to move out there.”

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Serena Williams issues statement after sad retirement

Williams, a seven-time champion at Wimbledon, slipped during the fifth game against Sasnovich and needed a medical timeout.

Even though she returned after a 10-minute delay and hit a handful of winners, the pain in her right leg appeared too severe and she had to quit in tears.

"I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg," she wrote on social media.

"My love and gratitude are with the fans and the team who make being on Centre Court so meaningful.

"Feeling the extraordinary warmth and support of the crowd today when I walked on - and off - the court meant the world to me."

It was a sad end to her pursuit of a record-equalling 24th grand slam and sparked a debate about the impact of the roof being closed on Centre Court.

"It was very slippery. I fell as well," Sasnovich said.

with agencies

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