Tennis stars have taken a tumble while playing at Wimbledon for a second day after heavy rain led to slippery grass in the wettest start to the grand slam in ‘almost a decade’. 

Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori, John Isner and Bianca Andreescu slipped while playing on grasscourts during the legendary London-based tournament – a day after US tennis superstar Serena Williams was forced to retire when she fell over on Centre Court and appeared to hurt her ankle. 

Sir Andy Murray and Coco Gauff were among those to comment on the surface yesterday, while eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer said he had previously found the surface to be more slippery when the stadium roof was shut due to a build up of humidity. 

A Wimbledon spokesman has defended itself against criticism of its grass, claiming the club was satisfied with the quality of the surface and that it had been the wettest start to a tournament ‘in almost a decade’.

Mr Federer said this year’s problems are not new. ‘Those first two matches are always extremely difficult. But it’s always been like this,’ he said.  ‘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. 

‘As the tournament progresses, it usually gets harder and easier to move on.’ 

In 2013, several players slipped on one day, including Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, who was left injured. The day was dubbed ‘Wacky Wednesday’ by newspapers. 

Novak Djokovic (pictured), Kei Nishikori, John Isner and Bianca Andreescu were the latest to tumble today after heavy rain led to slippery grass

Novak Djokovic (pictured), Kei Nishikori, John Isner and Bianca Andreescu were the latest to tumble today after heavy rain led to slippery grass

Novak Djokovic (pictured), Kei Nishikori, John Isner and Bianca Andreescu were the latest to tumble today after heavy rain led to slippery grass

Djokovic is pictured as he slips during his second round match Wimbledon Tennis Championships

Djokovic is pictured as he slips during his second round match Wimbledon Tennis Championships

Djokovic is pictured as he slips during his second round match Wimbledon Tennis Championships

Kei Nishikori slips on the grass during his first round gentlemen's singles match against Alexei Popyrin on court 17

Kei Nishikori slips on the grass during his first round gentlemen's singles match against Alexei Popyrin on court 17

Kei Nishikori slips on the grass during his first round gentlemen’s singles match against Alexei Popyrin on court 17

Canada's Bianca Andreescu lies on the floor after a slip during her first round match against France's Alize Cornet

Canada's Bianca Andreescu lies on the floor after a slip during her first round match against France's Alize Cornet

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu lies on the floor after a slip during her first round match against France’s Alize Cornet

Nick Kyrgios of Australia reacts as he slips over in his Men's Singles First Round match against Ugo Humbert of France

Nick Kyrgios of Australia reacts as he slips over in his Men's Singles First Round match against Ugo Humbert of France

Nick Kyrgios of Australia reacts as he slips over in his Men’s Singles First Round match against Ugo Humbert of France

Australia's Nick Kyrgios falls as he returns to France's Ugo Humbert during their men's singles first round match on the third day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships

Australia's Nick Kyrgios falls as he returns to France's Ugo Humbert during their men's singles first round match on the third day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios falls as he returns to France’s Ugo Humbert during their men’s singles first round match on the third day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships

Serena Williams is one of the players to complain about the 'slippy' conditions at Wimbledon. She was seen falling to the ground on Centre Court yesterday

Serena Williams is one of the players to complain about the 'slippy' conditions at Wimbledon. She was seen falling to the ground on Centre Court yesterday

Serena Williams is one of the players to complain about the ‘slippy’ conditions at Wimbledon. She was seen falling to the ground on Centre Court yesterday

The seven-time singles' winner was visibly in pain after suffering an ankle injury six games in

The seven-time singles' winner was visibly in pain after suffering an ankle injury six games in

The seven-time singles’ winner was visibly in pain after suffering an ankle injury six games in

Williams later bowed out of the game just six games into her first-round match

Williams later bowed out of the game just six games into her first-round match

Williams later bowed out of the game just six games into her first-round match 

What was Wimbledon’s ‘Wacky Wednesday’? 

Today’s injury-hit Wimbledon is likely to remind tennis enthusiasts of the infamous 2013 ‘Wacky Wednesday. 

The famous grass-court grand slam experienced one of the weirdest days in its history as Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova were knocked out and seven players withdrew injured. 

Then women’s second seed Victoria Azarenka and men’s sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were among those that withdrew.  

Miss Azarenka’s claimed that the courts were of poor quality and Maria Sharapova described the surface as ‘dangerous’. She fell three times and required treatment on her hip in the second set before losing. 

Steve Darcis, who beat Rafael Nadal in the first round, pulled out with a shoulder problem, while both Marin Cilic and John Isner retired with knee injuries and a left hamstring problem ended Radek Stepanek’s campaign. 

Maria Sharapova of Russia gets up after slipping during her women's singles tennis match against Michelle Larcher De Brito

Maria Sharapova of Russia gets up after slipping during her women's singles tennis match against Michelle Larcher De Brito

Maria Sharapova of Russia gets up after slipping during her women’s singles tennis match against Michelle Larcher De Brito

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France receives treatment during his men's singles tennis match against Ernests Gulbis

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France receives treatment during his men's singles tennis match against Ernests Gulbis

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France receives treatment during his men’s singles tennis match against Ernests Gulbis

Yaroslava Shvedova then also withdrew ahead of her match with Petra Kvitova, citing an injury to her right arm.

Analysing the weather conditions for the BBC, former British number one seed Sam Smith said: ‘Players these days are more reliant than ever before on traction, especially on hard courts.

‘You need to be much gentler and lighter on grass and skip over the surface. You can’t be so dependent on pushing off. I think the players are trying to do the same things they do on a hard court and they can’t do that on grass.’

Wimbledon chief executive Richard Lewis had said: ‘There has been a high number of withdrawals at the Championships today and we sympathise with all the players affected.

‘The withdrawals have occurred for a variety of reasons, but there have been some suggestion that the court surface is to blame. We have no reason to think this is the case.’

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Now he knows how Goliath felt 

By Emine Sinmaz

At 6ft 10in, John Isner towered over his 5ft 7in Japanese opponent.

But Yoshihito Nishioka’s short stature did not stop him defeating the 28th seed.

World No 58 Nishioka, 25, beat the American in five sets. Isner, 36, wasn’t even the tallest player at Wimbledon – he’s an inch shorter than compatriot Reilly Opelka, 23.

At 6ft 10in, John Isner towered over his 5ft 7in Japanese opponent

At 6ft 10in, John Isner towered over his 5ft 7in Japanese opponent

At 6ft 10in, John Isner towered over his 5ft 7in Japanese opponent

 

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Mr Federer said he believed the Centre Court roof made the grass more slippy, saying: ‘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. 

Analysing why this may be the case, Joseph Page of Joe’s Lawn Care told MailOnline: ‘Moisture is more likely to build up in an enclosed space, particularly with fans and players in there.

‘It’s a bit like being inside a greenhouse. However, there will be ventilation and air con in there so I couldn’t comment on the technicalities of this particular situation. 

‘The groundsmen will be assessing everything by the hour and looking after things so well.

‘You need a higher level of moisture in the turf to keep it green in the first place, so it’s always a play off between keeping the surface moist but also dry enough so the ball can bounce.’  

Sir Andy, 34, said in a tweet he had found Centre Court slippery when he played on Monday.

He posted after Miss Williams retired: ‘Brutal for @serenawilliams but centre court is extremely slippy out there. Not easy to move out there.’ 

Mr Federer, 39, echoed his words saying that ‘you do have to move very, very carefully out there’.

He added: ‘I do feel it feels a tad more slippery maybe under the roof. I don’t know if it’s just a gut feeling. If you push too hard in the wrong moments, you do go down.’

Miss Gauff, 17, the youngest star ranked in the top 100, struggled during her match against the Brit Francesca Jones due to the surface.

She said after she won the match: ‘Today was tough, because it was a bit slippery and I slipped a lot of times.’ 

Nick Kyrgios of Australia reacts as he slips over in his Men's Singles First Round match against Ugo Humbert of France during Day Three of The Championships

Nick Kyrgios of Australia reacts as he slips over in his Men's Singles First Round match against Ugo Humbert of France during Day Three of The Championships

Nick Kyrgios of Australia reacts as he slips over in his Men’s Singles First Round match against Ugo Humbert of France during Day Three of The Championships

Australia's Nick Kyrgios lies on court after slipping while playing France's Ugo Humbert during their men's singles first round match on the third day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships

Australia's Nick Kyrgios lies on court after slipping while playing France's Ugo Humbert during their men's singles first round match on the third day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios lies on court after slipping while playing France’s Ugo Humbert during their men’s singles first round match on the third day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships

Coco Gauff was also seen slipping and sliding during her first round game against Briton Francesca Jones yesterday

Coco Gauff was also seen slipping and sliding during her first round game against Briton Francesca Jones yesterday

Coco Gauff was also seen slipping and sliding during her first round game against Briton Francesca Jones yesterday 

The US star on the grass during yesterday's action at the All England Club

The US star on the grass during yesterday's action at the All England Club

The US star on the grass during yesterday’s action at the All England Club 

How Centre Court roof could be locking in moisture 

Assessing the situation on Centre Court, Joseph Page of Joe’s Lawn Care told MailOnline: ‘Moisture is more likely to build up in an enclosed space, particularly with fans and players in there. 

‘It’s a bit like being inside a greenhouse. However, there will be ventilation and air con in there so I couldn’t comment on the technicalities of this particular situation. 

‘The groundsmen will be assessing everything by the hour and looking after things so well.

‘You need a higher level of moisture in the turf to keep it green in the first place, so it’s always a play off between keeping the surface moist but also dry enough so the ball can bounce.’   

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Miss Williams bowed out of Wimbledon in tears last night after the ankle injury forced her to retire just six games into her first-round match.

Wearing a layered, floaty skirt the US superstar was overcome with emotion as she limped off Centre Court to huge applause from a sympathetic crowd.

The shock blow came after she slipped and appeared to hurt her ankle when she was 3-1 up against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.

The athlete – who was vying for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title – appeared to glare at the turf before going off court for treatment.

Although she returned ten minutes later, the pain was evident on her face as she tried to serve.

And, despite her best efforts, she decided she could go no further with the score at 3-3.

Her opponent said: ‘I’m so sad for Serena. She is a great champion. It happens sometimes in tennis, but all the best to her.’

France’s Adrian Mannarino also slipped on the same side of Centre Court as Miss Williams and was later forced to retire with an injury.  

The 33-year-old said: ‘I just slid down and it was really slippery. I heard a big crack and I knew straight away that I wouldn’t be able to do anything any more.’

It came after a day of heavy rain saw players slipping on outside courts and play delayed or cancelled. 

France's Adrian Mannarino (pictured) also slipped on the same side of Centre Court as Williams and was later forced to retire with an injury

France's Adrian Mannarino (pictured) also slipped on the same side of Centre Court as Williams and was later forced to retire with an injury

France’s Adrian Mannarino (pictured) also slipped on the same side of Centre Court as Williams and was later forced to retire with an injury

The Duke of Kent (bottom centre) watches the second round gentlemen's singles match between Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson from the Royal Box on Centre Court on day three of Wimbledon

The Duke of Kent (bottom centre) watches the second round gentlemen's singles match between Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson from the Royal Box on Centre Court on day three of Wimbledon

The Duke of Kent (bottom centre) watches the second round gentlemen’s singles match between Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson from the Royal Box on Centre Court on day three of Wimbledon

The Duke of Kent (bottom centre) watches the second round gentlemen's singles match between Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson from the Royal Box on Centre Court

The Duke of Kent (bottom centre) watches the second round gentlemen's singles match between Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson from the Royal Box on Centre Court

The Duke of Kent (bottom centre) watches the second round gentlemen’s singles match between Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson from the Royal Box on Centre Court

A Wimbledon spokesman said ‘the preparation of the grass courts has been to exactly the same meticulous standard as in previous years’.

They added: ‘The weather conditions on the opening two days have been the wettest we have experienced in almost a decade, which has required the roof to be closed on Centre Court and No 1 Court for long periods.

‘This is at a time when the grass plant is at its most lush and green, which does result in additional moisture.’  

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