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Wimbledon Groundsman defends court conditions

Wimbledon's head groundsman dismissed claims the tournament's court conditions are becoming dangerous after sustained criticism from top stars.

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Wimbledon head groundsman Neil Stubley, pictured in 2014, says that the conditions of the grass courts are closely monitored and within the normal range, even though the athletes have been claiming there are issues play

Wimbledon head groundsman Neil Stubley, pictured in 2014, says that the conditions of the grass courts are closely monitored and within the normal range, even though the athletes have been claiming there are issues

(AFP/File)

Wimbledon's head groundsman dismissed claims the tournament's court conditions are becoming dangerous after sustained criticism from top stars.

Several players have said the grass at the All England Club is more slippery than in previous years, with world number one Andy Murray claiming the courts aren't in as good condition as previous years.

France's Kristina Mladenovic branded Court 18 as dangerous after hot weather left many of the surfaces stripped of grass on the baselines.

On Court 17 on Thursday, American star Bethanie Mattek-Sands suffered an horrific right knee injury after her leg buckled.

It was not clear, however, whether the state of the surface was a contributing factor in the 32-year-old's accident.

Neil Stubley, the All England Club's head of courts and horticulture, is adamant Wimbledon's grounds team are on top of the situation and he doesn't expect further issues.

"Obviously we listen to players, because their feedback is important. But the data shows to us those courts that are in question are within range of the other courts, and they are within the range of previous years," Stubley said.

"That's all we can work to, is the data that we feel is best for the health of the courts.

"We set them up to the exact standard that we've done in many previous years.

"They have their reasons why they're saying that. More slippery? I don't know if there's been more slips this year or there's just been a couple of high-profile ones."

Mladenovic, who tweaked her knee, and Alison Riske asked for the court surface to be inspected after two games of their second-round match on Thursday.

Stubley inspected Court 18 and saw no problem with its condition.

"We go out, we have a look. We looked at the baselines and the areas that they thought there was an issue. We didn't feel there was," he said.

"The Grand Slam supervisor and Assistant Referee didn't believe that there was either."

Stubley acknowledged the heat of the first week, which has seen temperatures hit 30 degrees most days, has been a challenge but insisted the courts are no more worn than would have been expected.

"Obviously we're dealing with the extreme heat, which we're not used to every single Championships," he said.

"So from one Championships to another you will get variations in temperatures which will actually have an effect on how you manage the courts."

Asked if he was certain the courts would be fit for the men's and women's singles finals next weekend, he added: "Absolutely. There's not a doubt in our minds that the courts will be as good as they need to be for the end of The Championships.

"We have daily monitoring, we can keep a very tight rein on everything. It never gets to the point where it's ever going to get away from us because we're on top of it every single day."

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