Wimbledon: Andy Murray bemoans state of courts
Defending champion Andy Murray added his voice to the growing list of players unhappy at the state of Wimbledon's grass courts, even claiming the hallowed Centre Court has developed divots.
World number one Murray said the courts were not in as good a condition as they have been in the past. Other players have criticised the state of Court 18 with France's Kristina Mladenovic claiming that a hole had appeared in the surface.
Weeks of hot weather and little rain have left many surfaces stripped of grass after just five days of the two- week long tournament.
"The court I don't think is in as good of condition as previous years," said Murray after beating Italy's Fabio Fognini 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 on Centre Court on Friday to reach the last-16 for a 10th straight year.
"There are quite a few spots on the court, like just behind the baseline and just in front of the baseline, where there's quite big lumps of grass, sort of almost like little divots there, which I don't remember really being the case."
Fognini agreed, saying the court "was really bad".
On Court 17 on Thursday, American star Bethanie Mattek- Sands suffered a 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.
Earlier Friday, Wimbledon officials dismissed concerns over the state of the courts.
"The court preparation has been to exactly the same meticulous standard as in previous years," said the All England Club.
"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."
However, French 12th seed Mladenovic said Thursday there was a hole on Court 18 and that she and opponent Alison Riske had wanted to stop playing.
"The colour of the court, the fact that there's no more grass, the fact that the baseline where we are running, it's very slippery. There's no grass," said Mladenovic, who was beaten in three sets.