Wimbledon chief defends playing surface

France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga receives treatment in his match against Latvia's Ernests Gulbis during their second round match at Wimbledon on June 26, 2013
© PA Photos
Wimbledon chief executive Richard Lewis insists that the number of player injuries this year are not due to the courts at SW19.

Wimbledon chief executive Richard Lewis has defended the playing surfaces at SW19 following injuries to seven players.

Women's second seed Victoria Azarenka and men's sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were among those forced to withdraw, but Lewis insists that the courts are not to blame.

"There has been a high number of withdrawals at the Championships today and we sympathise with all the players affected," he said in a statement.

"The withdrawals have occurred for a variety of reasons, but there have been some suggestion that the court surface is to blame. We have no reason to think this is the case."

Steve Darcis, Marin Cilic, John Isner, Radek Stepanek and Yaroslava Shvedova also picked up injuries, but Lewis is adamant that the playing surfaces are no different to last year's.

"The factual evidence, which is independently checked, is that the courts are almost identical to last year, as dry and firm as they should be, and we expect them to continue to play to their usual high quality," he added.

"Although a number of players have withdrawn injured, only one player has attributed this to slipping over on court."

Players including Andy Murray and Cilic have backed Lewis's claims, confirming that the court felt no different to any other year.

Marin Cilic returns the ball to Tomas Berdych during their quarter final match at Queens on June 14, 2013
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