Day three at Wimbledon proved to be a shocker with plenty of talking points. Injuries and upsets have swept both the men's and women's side of the draw, with John Isner, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Victoria Azarenka all pulling out with injuries. Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic, meanwhile, join the vast pool of seeds already out in only the second round.
With injuries galore, tennis analyst Brad Gilbert presents the stunning facts.
Legendary tennis coach Nick Bolletieri is also aghast.
Former world No. 1 Andy Roddick had this to say:
Good question, Andy.
Certainly something is wrong with the grass surface.
In her first round match on Monday, world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka fell badly, twisting her knee. After the match, she assured her fans that she was fine.
She withdrew, however, before stepping out on the court against Flavia Pennetta in the second round.
Following Monday's match, Azarenka clearly was not impressed with the conditions of the court. In quotes given to the Telegraph she said,"The court was not in a very good condition that day. My opponent fell twice; I fell badly; there were some other people who fell after."
Azarenka was not the only one who suffered the slick grass surface. The former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki had to heavily tape her ankle after slipping in the fourth game of her loss to qualifier Petra Cetkovska.
No. 3 Maria Sharapova, in her worst loss at a Major since Wimbledon 2008, hit the turf three times before eventually bowing out to another qualifier, Michelle Larcher de Brito.
Although Sharapova didn't want to blame her loss on the surface, in quotes given to Sports Illustrated, she said, “I just noticed a few more players falling a bit more than usual...And understandably the first couple of days, they’re always a bit like that, but I don’t think I’ve seen as much as I have maybe in the last few years.”
On the men's side, No. 10 Marin Cilic pulled out of Wimbledon with an aggravated knee injury. He admitted the courts were “a bit quicker,” as the Telegraph reports, but did not say that the All England Club was to blame.
Meanwhile, America's top-ranked player, John Isner had to retire after only two games in his match against Adrian Mannarino because of a knee problem, as did No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after three sets against Ernests Gulbis.
They have not yet commented about the qualities of the grass.
In equally as shocking a match as Rafa Nadal's first round loss against Steve Darcis, Roger Federer also went out of Wimbledon to an underdog in the form of Sergiy Stakhovsky.
Tennis analyst Patrick McEnroe brings up the question that's on everyone's mind.
Chris Fowler of ESPN, meanwhile had this to say.
Stakhovsky himself can't believe what he's done.
Did this upset also have something to do with injury or the surface? The defending champion Federer, in a televised post-match interview on ESPN, said that it didn't: "I did not slip once today, so for me it was not a problem."
But in reaction to Azarenka's comments and inquiries into the playing conditions, Wimbledon has released a statement.
As quoted on Wimbledon's official website,"There have been some suggestion that the court surface is to blame. We have no reason to think this is the case," Lewis said.
He went on to say:
"Indeed, many players have complimented us on the very good condition of the courts...The factual evidence, which is independently checked, is that the courts are almost identical to last year, as dry and firm as they should be, and we expect them to continue to play to their usual high quality.”
The surface certainly did not seem to effect former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt from losing out to qualifier Dustin Brown, or Ana Ivanovic from falling to up-and-coming Eugenie Bouchard.
Giant slayer Steve Darcis, meanwhile, withdrew with a shoulder injury, rather than one affecting his lower body.
Perhaps it's just a strange day of tennis. Perhaps the moon is in a certain alignment with the planets. Maybe archaeologists should check the Mayan calendar again to see if we are in store for some more unpredictable tennis.
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