Why are tennis players falling over at Wimbledon?

WIMBLEDON is back after two years of waiting.

The tournament was the only grand slam to be postponed due to coronavirus last year.

But a number of players are having a hard time finding their feet on the grass again.

Serena Williams and Roger Federer's opponent Adrian Mannarino were forced to retire after slipping over, while the likes of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have also suffered falls.

Why are players falling over at Wimbledon?

Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, who has slipped for a number of times, suggested he is falling for no other reason than he is not used to the grass.

Professional tennis players are being forced to readapt after going two years without a grass court season.

And Djokovic said after his win over Kevin Anderson: “I don’t think it’s about the courts.

“I think the fact that I didn’t play on grass courts for two years, the fact that I’m coming from several months of clay court . . . the surface in which you slide at all times.

"I think I’m still adjusting my movement, adapting myself to this surface.

"Hopefully as the tournament progresses, I’ll also fall less, even though I don’t mind falling more if the result is winning a match.”

However, Djokovic was heard complaining to the umpire after his slip against Anderson, saying: “I simply cannot work in these conditions”.

But Neil Stubley, head of courts and horticulture at Wimbledon, said the wet and humid weather in recent weeks has played its part.

He commented: “We always go into the championships with a percentage of moisture that sits within the plant itself and the soil, so that gives us the longevity for the courts to last for the duration of the championships.

“Normally the leaf will start to harden up.

“It’s just the two main stadiums where the roof is closed, it’s meant that the process is a bit slower than the outside courts.”

And Roger Federer also suggested the closed roof on Centre Court and No.1 Court has made both more slippery.

"Those first two matches are always extremely difficult. But it's always been like this.

"I feel for a lot of players, it's super-key to get through those first two rounds because the grass is more slippery, it is more soft.

"I do feel it feels a tad more slippery maybe under the roof.

"I don't know if it's just a gut feeling. You do have to move very, very carefully out there.

"If you push too hard in the wrong moments, you do go down."

Many feel that the greenhouse effect of the roof causes increased levels of precipitation on the court.

And former champion Pat Cash said: "Grass courts are slippy and that is the challenge of playing on them.

"They have three different phases – very slippery, slippery on the outside and then towards the end of the tournament we get dust. It makes it really tricky."

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