• Wimbledon: What They Said

A lot of unhappy voices on 'Withdrawal Wednesday'

ESPN staff
June 26, 2013
Victoria Azarenka was fuming after being forced to withdraw © Getty Images

The big talking point of the day was the seven withdrawals - many caused by injury. And there was a lot of venom aimed at the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

Victoria Azarenka was particularly cutting. The No. 2 seed slipped during her first round match and, although she managed to see out her victory, the Belarusian did not recover in time for her second round match.

"The court was not in a very good condition that day. My opponent fell twice and I fell badly," Azarenka said. "I don't know if it's the court or the weather. I can't figure it out. There is nothing I've done wrong that cost me to just withdraw from Wimbledon."

Like Azarenka, Rafael Nadal's conqueror Steve Darcis also picked up a knock on the opening day and was forced to make "the most difficult decision of my life".

He added: "The injury happened against Rafa in the middle of the first set when I fell down. A few hours after the Nadal match, I start to feel so much pain, I couldn't sleep that night. I saw the physio and the doctor yesterday. They did a good job. It's a little bit better today. But no chance I can play."

Maria Sharapova did not WD, but she was caught mouthing the words "This court is dangerous" to umpire Alison Lang during her match.

Marin Cilic, however, was forced to pull out without even setting foot on court on day three.

"I would say this is a very black day," the No. 10 seed said. "I mean, the other days, other weeks, there were no pull-outs. It's difficult to say what the real issue is.

"I just consider my own case. It's more because of obviously much lower bounces, putting more pressure on my body and my knees, as I'm pretty tall. It also has a difficulty on movement. It's a bit tougher to move on grass than other surfaces."

John Isner's injury, meanwhile, was definitely not Wimbledon's fault. The 18th seed jarred his knee while serving in just the third game.

"I always serve and land on my left leg, like I have done 20 million times playing this game," the American sighed. "This is the first time I felt this sharp pain."

The AELTC hit back at those mouthing off about the state of their prized courts. A statement read: "There have been no changes in the preparation of the courts and as far as we are aware the grass court surface is in excellent condition. In fact we believe that it is drier than last year when the prevailing conditions were cold and wet.

"A grass court is a natural surface and will generally be slightly more lush in the first couple of days. Although a number of players have withdrawn injured, only one player has attributed this to slipping over on court."

On a lighter note, new fan favourite Dustin Brown, far from threatening to derail the momentum of his shock second-round win over Lleyton Hewitt, said it was something of a relief when the 2002 champion, who the Jamaican-bred German had grown up watching on TV, claimed the third set in a tie-break before falling in four sets.

"It made it a lot easier just knowing that I was playing Lleyton Hewitt - if I was playing someone else maybe it would have been tougher to focus. At that point I was like, 'if I do lose in five sets, I lost in five sets to Lleyton - he's a great player, so even being up two sets to love was a great result'.

"The way I was playing - serving good, volleying good, and returning sometimes good - I just had to play my game, then whoever comes has got to beat me the way I want to play, not their type of game."

Sergiy Stakhovsky, who ousted Roger Federer in a thrilling tussle, was delighted to record one of the biggest wins of his career.

"I'm in disbelief that it happened. I was playing my best tennis I ever played and it almost wasn't enough to beat Roger. I'm incredibly happy," he said.

Roger Federer on the other hand admitted the shock defeat would not hamper any of his future plans.

"You don't panic at this point, that's clear. It's normal that after all of a sudden losing early, having being in grand slam quarter-finals 36 [straight] times, people feel it's different. But I still have plans to play for many more years to come," he said.

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