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Wimbledon Woes: Top tennis stars explain why playing on grass is tricky

Wimbledon Woes: Top tennis stars explain why playing on grass is tricky

How tricky is the grass at Wimbledon? WTA Insider recently sat down with a number of top players to get their take on why the unusual, slick surface creates such problems for players on tour. Here's what they had to say.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek sums up her Wimbledon woes after a surprising third-round loss yesterday to Yulia Putintseva. She explained, "For me, going from this kind of tennis where I felt like I'm playing the best tennis in my life to another surface where I kind of struggle a little bit more, it's not easy."

Indeed. The harsh transition from clay courts to grass courts is extremely tough on the body. According to Aryna Sabalenka, "Physically on the grass you have to stay low. It's affecting your body, you're getting tired faster because you're staying [so] low." Jelena Ostapenko adds, "The bounce is two or three times lower than on any other surface."

Above: A closer look at why playing on grass is so tricky. YouTube: Reuters.

Zheng Qinwen explains, "Grass is more slice, hit the serve, you don't think." She adds, "I'm trying to put all the effort in the practices, but in the match you can't think too much. You believe your first instinct and let's go."

Linda Noskova explains, "I don't really know every time if the opponent plays [the next shot], where will it go and how will it bounce." Leylah Fernandez adds, "On grass, you don't have any options. Once you think of a shot you just have to commit to it. If it goes in, it goes in, if it goes out, ok next point."

Above: Years ago, the serve-and-volley strategy was popular on grass in order to avoid the low (and bad) bounces. Photo: vic15 via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

French Open finalist Jasmine Paolini says, "It's important here to accept that things may not be easy. The matches are changing in one or two points. If you get broken, it's tough to stay in the match...You have to be extra focused."

Paolini adds, "The most important thing is to play hours and hours and hours to get confident with the surface."

But then again, it's hard to practice on grass courts. Defending Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova lost in the first round this year. She explains, "We have one court near Prague so we practiced there... Well, we have two, but the other one is really bad."


Source: WTA Insider. Top photo: Paula Funnell via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

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