Grass and weather conditions a worry:-
There has been a general consensus that weather conditions are not ideal in the UK to play a tournament like Wimbledon. It’s been quite hot in the past week, making grass court very dry and inappropriate. This restricts fluid movements of a player while playing the game.
The Wimbledon officials are defending the situation and assuring players of quality surfaces. But, few instances in the past week clearly suggest certain measures are needed to make this tournament better for the coming week. The officials assure there will be solutions put up to protect the players. On Friday, the roof was closed in Centre Court between 8 am and 12 pm as the temperatures raised further.
Players struggling in these conditions:-
Yesterday, Murray dug deep to get past Fognini but concerns of conditions were evident. The British No.1 expressed his concerns for the court and said his restricted movements in the match was partly due to dry court bereft of grass. His Italian opponent too indicated that conditions weren’t perfect to play but admitted Murray was better than him.
Concerns about the grass were raised further when American Bethanie Mattek-Sands was taken to hospital on Thursday. She screamed “Help me, help me” of pain while playing her match against Sorana Cirstea on Court 17.
French 12th seed Kristina Mladenovic was also worried about playing conditions. She lost her match against Alison Riske on Court 18. But, she complained the surface to be dangerous for playing and was more about her health rather than the result. She said the court was very slippery as it had no grass and no clay to hold up the slipperiness.
It is understood that the grass is natural and it can get worn down after a week. But, a number of unsafe areas on the court so early in the tournament is concerning for one and all.
Exits Early-On strike fitness concerns:-
During first round games, there were about seven players who retired after playing a set or two. The main culprits were Alexandr Dolgopolov and Martin Klizan who played against Federer and Djokovic but retired after one complete set. This frustrated both the top seeds as players require game time in early rounds to get warmed up for the tournament.
These two were high-profile retirees but there were five others who pulled out of first round games. This raised a concerning question whether unfit players are also entering this prestigious tournament to take the money allocated for players. The first round prize money is 35,000 Pounds and is enough for a player if he/she is unfit.
The spectators also had a rough day when games featuring big players got pulled off so early. Federer raised a point suggesting players who aren’t fit should not start the game. The Swiss had a valuable case as mid-game pull outs frustrate fans and the opposition player who is just raring to play.
For sure, no grass issues would have been present in the first round games. Maybe, the Slam officials should check each player’s full fitness before allotting them a place to play. In such a prestigious event such as Wimbledon, the games should be good and played in the right spirit.
We are one week into the tournament and concerns have been aplenty which is overshadowing some good tennis played so far. Court concerns can be reduced if taken care. But, for future Slams, players’ fitness should be monitored as early pullouts make the money point very evident.