Hot weather is creating concern about the state of the courts at Wimbledon, with steps being taken to repair the worn grass on Centre Court.
There have been complaints by players, with Kristina Mladenovic and Alison Riske asking to be moved from Court 18 because of the state of the court. Officials, including the Grand Slam supervisor, inspected the court and said it was fit for play. But Mladenovic took a fall on court, and following the match said other players had also criticized the conditions.
Timea Bacsinszky, who played on Court 18 in the first round, said she was "kind of pretty disappointed about the quality of the grass of this year," adding that the court on the second day of play looked like it would in the second week.
"The court preparation has been to exactly the same meticulous standard as in previous years. Grass is a natural surface and it is usual for the baselines to start to be showing signs of wear and tear four days into the Championships," the All England Club said in a statement.
It appears the grass is dryer than usual because of the heat, and is getting scraped off the court at a higher rate.
Speaking on BBC, commentator and former player Andrew Castle said the groundsperson in charge of Centre Court was "concerned" about the hot temperatures. On Friday morning, he added, the Centre Court roof was shut and the court was watered to repair the turf. This was confirmed by officials to British press.
Roger Federer, who played on Centre Court on Thursday, said that the heat could be contributing, but grass is often slippery whether it is in dry or moist conditions.
"I saw it in Halle too, because we had a good, warm, nice week and here it's the same now," he said. "[It's] where we stand the most, the grass gets beat up and used and sometimes it's not attached anymore.
"So it makes moving hard. I don't know if that's tougher than just green grass, you know. It's been extremely hot today and yesterday. So that's why, maybe, that's what we are hearing. It's not a good sign, and you should always take the players' opinion serious, especially when both say it. But to postpone a match because of slippery grass, I have never heard that."
The worn grass could also be slowing down conditions, with Dustin Brown and Mladenovic among those commenting on the speed of the courts.
A full-time grounds staff is employed to attend to the courts at Wimbledon.
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