Johannesburg: World No. 1 Andy Murray has criticised the state of 2017 Wimbledon’s grass courts, thus joining the list of players who have expressed unhappiness over the same. The defending champion said the courts are not the same as they used to be in the past are not in good condition.

“The court I don’t think is in as good of condition as previous years,” Murray was quoted as saying by Sport24 after beating Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 on Centre Court on Friday to enter last 16.

“There’s 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,” he added.

However, the Wimbledon officials on Friday dismissed concerns over the state of the courts, saying, “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.

American tennis star Bethanie Mattek-Sands suffered a horrific right knee injury after her buckled at the Court 17 on Thursday. However, it was not clear whether the state of the surface had anything to do with Mattek-Sands’ accident. Other players have also criticised the state of courts with Kristina Mladenovic of France claiming that a hole had appeared in the surface of Court 18. Mladenovic, the 12th seed, had also criticised the state of the courts and said on Thursday that there 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.

“There was a huge hole on the side. It was not even flat,” she added.

Other players including Timea Bacsinszky and Caroline Garcia have also made similar complaints, with the latter claiming the court played differently depending upon on the time of day.

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