Victoria Azarenka pulls out of Wimbledon along with Steve Darcis, John Isner, Marin Cilic and Radek Stepanek
- Victoria Azarenka twisted her knee badly during her first round match
- The Belarusian blames the courts for her nasty fall
- Steve Darcis, Rafael Nadal's conqueror, suffered a shoulder injury during their first round match
- Marin Cilic, due to play Andy Murray in the quarter-finals, suffers knee issue
- John Isner and Radek Stepanek pulled out during their matches
- Several other players have slipped over, many on Centre Court
By Neil Moxley
PUBLISHED: 07:58 EST, 26 June 2013 | UPDATED: 09:27 EST, 26 June 2013
Victoria Azarenka asked the All-England club to examine the state of the courts at Wimbledon after she became the second high-profile injury casualty this week.
The second seed slipped during the second set of her victory over Maria Joao Koehler, damaging her right knee.
Although she completed the match, the powerful right-hander follows Steve Darcis into pulling out of the tournament.
Painful: Victoria Azarenka slipped over on the baseline against Maria Joao Koehler
Scary: Azarenka looked to be in agony at the back of the court
American John Isner, known for playing the longest match in tennis history with Nicolas Mahut, stopped after just two games against Adrian Mannarino after a left knee problem reared its ugly head, while Radek Stepanek lasted two sets before succumbing to a thigh injury.
Tenth seed Marin Cilic was due to play Frenchman Kenny de Schepper in the second round, but withdrew before playing. It will make Andy Murray's path even easier as they were going to meet in the quarter-final.
Azarenka did not point the finger of blame directly at organisers, she said that her fall asked questions of the court's condition.
Assistance: Azarenka receives treatment on the ground
Wimbledon have confirmed that they have done nothing different to prepare the courts from previous years.
The Belarusian attempted a fitness test on the practice courts but had to admit defeat, Italian Flavia Pannetta awarded passage to Round Three.
Azarenka said: 'It was slippery out there on Monday - and obviously I slipped.
Bang: Belgian Steve Darcis falling on his shoulder in his match against Rafael Nadal
End of the line: Darcis walks disappointingly through SW19 after pulling out
Gone: Darcis was forced out of his second round clash with a shoulder problem
Going home: Unfortunately for Darcis he will not get to go on a dream run
'I think that (the condition of the courts) is something that could be looked into.
'I don't think it was in a good condition. I fell badly, my opponent fell twice.
'It would be great if someone who was responsible for these things looked at it because there's nothing that I did wrong to cause me to slip.'
Another: Marin Cilic, the Queen's Club runner up, has also pulled out from a knee injury
Trouble: John Isner needed to received prolonged treatment on a left knee problem
Fifth seed Sara Errani said she was afraid to run on the courts for fear of injuring herself on Monday after her defeat to Monica Puig.
Darcis picked up a shoulder injury during his tussle with the Spaniard and was given no option but to pull out of his second round tie with Lukasz Kubot.
He took to Twitter moments after the official announcement to explain his decision:'Have to throw the sponge without a fight after beating rafa? THE + the painful decision of my career!! @pourtantoutessaye!
Unable to continue: Isner decided there was no way of carrying on and called off the match
Hurting: Radek Stepanek receiving treatment in his match with the giant Pole Jerzy Janowicz
'Had to Effective withdrawn a win like this? THE MOST difficulty thing i had to do! @triedeverythingtoplaybutdidntwork !!'
6ft 9in Isner took a 10-minute break for treatment before attempting to carry on against Frenchman Mannarino, but his movement was clearly restricted.
He eventually went to umpire Enric Molina at the end of the second game to confirm he could not go on, before shaking hands with his opponent.
Crooked: France's Julien Benneteau went down after twisting his knee
Depressed: Benneteau needed lengthy treatemtn to continue against Fernando Verdasco
Taking a tumble: Caroline Wozniacki falls over in the fourth game of her second round match against Petra Cetkovska
Explaining how his injury occurred, Isner said: 'It was the third point of the match. I didn't do anything different. I went to serve, and I think it was as I landed.
'I always serve and land on my left leg, like I have done 20 million times playing this game, and this is the first time I just felt this sharp pain.
'It wasn't like a pop. There wasn't anything. It just grabbed really badly, and I knew I was in serious trouble then. I knew at that point it was not likely I was going to be able to play.'
He self-diagnosed the problem as a tendon issue but does not expect to require surgery.
Shock: She had boyfriend Rory McIlroy worried though when she was down
Worrying: Spain's David Ferrer also slipped on Centre Court
Tumble: Even world No 1 Novak Djokovic struggled to keep his footing
He said: 'I just can't bend my knee. I can walk as long as I keep it straight.'
The injury woes did not end there.
Caroline Wozniacki looks to be in some difficulty out on Court No 2
after falling very awkwardly during the fourth game of her match against
Wozniacki called for the trainer after appearing to twist her right ankle. She received treatment but was then broken in her subsequent service game. The world No 9 looked close to tears at 4-1 down.
Splits: Serbia's Jelena Jankovic ended up in a position very similar to Azarenka
Not impressed: Jankovic was clearly worried after her fall
Cilic was also vocal about the
players' problems: 'I would say very black day. I mean, the other days,
other weeks, there were no pull outs. I mean, just happened today
'So difficult to say what's the
explanation. But, I mean, everything is related to individual. Difficult
to say what the real issue is.
'It's more because of obviously much
lower bounces, putting more pressure on my body and my knees, as I'm
pretty tall. It also has a difficulty on movement. It's a bit tougher
to move on grass than other surfaces.
'I felt just that it's a bit quicker conditions this year than the last year. That's basically it.'
Down: Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych slips in his match against Slovakia's Martin Klizan
Crash landing: Canada's Eugenie Bouchard found it hard to stay on her feet
Full transcript of Victoria Azarenka interview
Q. Since the injury, can you just describe what happened the past couple of days? What's going on?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I mean, it was pretty obvious it was a very bad fall. I tried to stay optimistic as possible. Went to get an MRI, and I thought there was hope for some good news because MRI didn't show something really torn, something extreme. So that was a small positive note on that.
But in the other way, didn't show very promising near future for me. So we tried to do everything as possible, but it was just very significant fall. To recover in two days after that seems impossible with the compensation on the entire body by finishing that match.
The injury maybe takes 48 hours gap, and 48 hours just made it worse.
Q. It's torn? It's a strain? Do you know exactly what it is?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I forget the medical term. It's something with a bone bruise. It's kind of a bone bruise.
I'm sorry, I'm just not sure of the medical term. The tendon and the ligament was not hurt, which as I said was a positive news.
But the rest, no.
Q. How long will you be out now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I'm going to do more examination right now. It was very difficult to kind of accept that. Just a bad luck. Really bad luck.
Q. When did you decide to give up? When did you know that you were not going to play today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, before I tried to practice today a little bit to see if it's going to warmup or with the treatment get better.
It just didn't; just got worse. So today, I mean.
Q. We keep seeing pictures of people falling. Is there anything different with the courts this year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, I'm wondering the same question, because the court was not in a very good condition that day. I mean, my opponent fell twice; I fell badly; there were some other people who fell after.
So I don't know if it's the court or the weather. I can't figure it out it. Would be great if the club or somebody who takes care of the court just would examine or try to find an issue so that wouldn't happen.
Because on something like this, there is nothing I could have done, you know, to make that better. There is nothing I've done wrong that cost me to just withdraw from Wimbledon.
Q. Did the ball bounce any differently?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't think so. Not really sure.
Q. What was bad about the condition of the court?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Slippery. It was slippery. Obviously I slipped.
Q. The foot injury earlier this season, now this. Mentally I guess it's frustrating and tough at the moment.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Very tough. I mean, I couldn't be any more disappointed. Wimbledon is just a tournament I was looking so forward to. I love playing here.
To not be able to kind of play just because of something with such a bad luck is very, very frustrating. I couldn't be more disappointed.
Q. Did you feel in shape to be winning the tournament as well?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think so. I was playing well. I started my first match well. I mean, the game, I wasn't so worried about that. I think I did very good preparation. I was in shape and everything.
But as I said, I couldn't prevent something that happened.
Q. Now where are you going? Are you staying here?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: As I said, I need to do furthermore examination, because my body had to compensate a whole lot after that fall.
From there I will see where is the best place for me to recover. That's going to be the main priority right now.
Q. You said you were frustrated with the condition of the court. Did you speak to the club and let your concerns be known?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, I didn't say that, frustrated with the court. I think there might be a cause as I said, there's something that could be looked into.
I cannot take out my frustration on the court or something because it's out of my hands. It's something that maybe can be looked in the future.
Q. How do you get past this mentally? How do you get over the disappointment? How do you regroup and come back from this?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, right now I don't see anything positive as of today because I'm disappointed extremely.
But there is positive news. I'm pretty lucky that what happened to me is not critical. Could be, because after the fall the doctors saw and they are surprised that I'm even able to get up.
So I guess that's one of the positive things that I can look up to.
Q. Did they tell you how long before you could be back out?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. I don't know yet.
Q. Grass court is your biggest fear now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: My biggest fear is heights, not grass court or anything else. And spiders. So...
Q. Your hip too, or just the knee? I heard your hip was maybe injured at the same time.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: As I said, there has been compensation, because when I fell I had tremendous pain in my knee, and from stopping and loading I had to use my hip and my back.
So with that it's just the whole body has been compensating.
Q. Have you seen the video yourself?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I have. Couldn't miss that. It was on TV about hundred times.
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