Doubles specialist Jamie Murray has joined brother Andy in criticising the courts at Wimbledon. Jamie, a former mixed doubles champion at the tournament, and ex-singles champion Martina Hingis, top-seeds, progressed to the last 16 of this year’s event with a 6-3 6-0 victory over British pair Neal Skupski and Anna Smith.
Wimbledon think they're the best tournament in the world, so they need to be held to those standards, and I don't think that this year the courts were [of] as high a standard as they could have been Jamie Murray
It followed Jamie’s exit with Brazilian Bruno Soares in the men’s doubles the night before; the third seeds and Australian Open champions losing to French pair Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
Murray, a 2015 Wimbledon finalist, said in The Times: “Wimbledon think they’re the best tournament in the world, so they need to be held to those standards, and I don’t think that this year the courts were [of] as high a standard as they could have been.”
His younger brother and defending men’s singles champion said after reaching the fourth round of the singles: “The court I don’t think is in as good of condition as previous years. 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.
“I don’t know if it’s anything to do with the weather that they’ve had over the last few weeks and months. It’s been pretty hot, pretty extreme conditions. Not much rain. So I don’t know if that’s affected it. But the court, when I played the first match, was great. I think it’s just getting a bit beaten up early. A few of the players have said that about some of the outside courts, as well.”
Head groundsman Neil Stubley said: “The players have their reasons why they’re saying they’re more slippery. I don’t know if there’s been more slips this year or whether it’s just a couple of high-profile ones.
“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.”
He added to the BBC: “Obviously we’re dealing with the extreme heat, which we’re not used to every single Championships. 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.”
In the men’s doubles, it was a case of being careful what you wish for as wild-card senior debutants Scott Clayton, from Jersey, and Scot Jonny O’Mara were dismissed 6-3 6-4 6-4 in just 90 minutes by top seeds Henri Kontinen and former Jamie Murray partner John Peers.
The British pair wanted the showdown after easing through after opponents Adrian Mannarino and Paolo Lorenzi retired in the second set while a set down in the previous round.
Clayton, 23, and O’Mara, 22, found the favourites too hot to handle. Unsurprisingly as the Brits had emerged onto the big stage after experiencing the Challenger Tour this year while Finn Kontinen and Aussie Peers, Jamie Murray’s former partner, had won the Australian Open.
Clayton said: “We had two break points in the last game but they are the best team in the world for a reason. It was good fun but was always going to be tough. There serving was very good – first serve percentage was high. Don’t think we were outfazed at all. We played good but not great. It was an unbelievable experience. We’ve a lot to learn.”
British duo Heather Watson and Naomi Broady lost 6-3 3-6 6-4 in 1hr.46min to 13th seeds Kirsten Flipkens, from Belgium and India’s Sania Mirza in the second round of the ladies’ doubles.
GB Fed Cup mates Laura Robson and Jocelyn Rae were pipped 6-4 7-6 by Japan’s Makoto Nineomiya and Czech Renata Voracova in an unseeded second-round encounter.
Former British No.1 Robson, defeated by Beatriz Haddad-Maia in the opening round of the singles, said: “There was wasn’t much in it. We played them indoors last week and it felt a little bit different. They came out with some good shots at some good moments.”
Rae said: “It’s hard to see lot of positives when you come out of a loss.”
In the mixed doubles, Liam Broady gave himself a Pep talk before he and his sister Naomi took on Czech 16th seeds Roman Jebavy and Lucie Hrdecka for a place in the last 16 of the Wimbledon mixed doubles.
Football fan Liam, who is a supporter of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, said: “In Pep we trust – he knows what he is doing. We’ve signed a few class players already this summer and he is going to be able to build the team he wants.
“As well as the talk of Arsenal’s Alex Sanchez, I’ve heard rumours we are getting Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy, Tottenham’s Kyle Walker and Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand as well.
“They would all be class signings but I think not winning anything last season will make him and the players hungrier for success this season so, fingers crossed!”
Broady removed his sky-blue City shirt for an all-white one as he and his sister overcame Jebavy and Hrdecka 6-4 7-5.