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Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
Wimbledon deny 'slow courts' claim
Action from Wimbledon's Court One
Officials deny that the grass is slow

Greg Rusedski's claim that the grass at Wimbledon has been specially prepared to slow down the courts has been denied by tournament officials.


The grass is the same, and it's the same seed mix at the same height
Johnny Perkins
Wimbledon spokesman

Following his defeat to Xavier Malisse on Tuesday, the Briton suggested that the preparation of the grass was a leading factor in the perceived reduced speed of the courts.

"Everybody knows the grass is much slower," said Rusedski. "There's no question about it.

"You can see it from the rallies and how guys are getting hits on returns and all sorts of things.

"I think it's just the way they cut the grass, the way they grow it."

Rusedski was not about to use the grass as an excuse for his defeat, but his comments followed those of others, including Tim Henman, that referred to the slower pace of the courts.

"It's not fast at all," Henman said after his win over Michel Kratochvil on Monday. "It's just playing very, very sort of mediocre pace."

But Championships spokesman Johnny Perkins told BBC Sport Online that there had been no change in court preparation this year.

"Absolutely not," said Perkins. "The grass is the same, and it's the same seed mix at the same height.

Greg Rusedski believes the grass is slower
Greg Rusedski believes the grass is slower

"It was dry for longer beforehand so that makes the balls bounce more and gives the players longer to play their shots, so there are more rallies."

Wimbledon has made a concerted move to slow the courts over the last decade, but Perkins insisted the change would not be discernible from one year to another.

"Over the last 10 years the courts have gradually been firmed up in line with the movement of the game," said Perkins.

"As the number of serve-volleyers decreased it was just felt that the ball was going through a bit too quickly.

"But it has been a gradual change and not enough that you would notice in one particular year."

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03 Jul 02 | Wimbledon
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