Tennis

Mattek-Sands suffers horrific knee injury

All England Club under fire for inefficiency of medical crew and state of courts

Bethanie Mattek-Sands underwent more tests on her right knee yesterday, following her sickening injury at Wimbledon which left her screaming: "Please, help me, please, please."

The 32-year-old American was being treated in a nearby private hospital where she was taken to on Thursday after her knee appeared to buckle as she approached the net in her second-round clash with Sorana Cirstea on Court 17.

"Bethanie is currently undergoing more scans this morning and we should know more within the next few hours," said the WTA Tour in a statement.

"Bethanie of course thanks everyone for their kind wishes and messages of support."

Romanian player Cirstea was visibly upset and said her friend's knee was "out... And in a very weird position".

"I freaked out. I have never seen such an injury before, the knee was really in a bad position. It was like something you see only in the movies," said Cirstea.

"I tried to comfort her, but I panicked. I felt useless. All she kept saying was, 'Sorana, help me, help me'. I wish I could have done more. You wouldn't wish that on your worst enemy."

It was not clear whether the state of the surface on Court 17 was a contributing factor in Mattek-Sands' accident.

However, growing concerns have been raised over the state of the All England Club courts with some surfaces already stripped bare of grass after just four days.

  • Men's singles 2nd rd (Thursday)

    Novak Djokovic (x2) bt Adam Pavlasek 6-2, 6-2, 6-1

    Roger Federer (x3) bt Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7/0), 6-3, 6-2

    3rd rd (Yesterday):

    Roberto Bautista (x18) bt Kei Nishikori (x9) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-3

    Women's singles 2nd rd (Thursday)

    Angelique Kerber (x1) bt Kirsten Flipkens 7-5, 7-5

    Caroline Wozniacki (x5) bt Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3, 6-4

    3rd rd (Yesterday):

    Victoria Azarenka bt Heather Watson 3-6, 6-1, 6-4

Court 18, where John Isner and Nicolas Mahut famously played out their three-day match in 2010, has come in for the fiercest criticism.

French 12th seed Kristina Mladenovic said there was a hole on Court 18 and that she and opponent Alison Riske had wanted to stop playing.

"The colour of the court, the fact that there's no more grass, the fact that the baseline where we are running, it's very slippery. There's no grass," said Mladenovic, who was beaten in three sets.

"There was a huge hole on the sides where the referee came to actually take pictures of it. So it was not even flat."

But the All England Club Wimbledon officials dismissed the concerns raised over the state of the courts.

"The court preparation has been to exactly the same meticulous standard as in previous years," said the All England Club.

"Grass is a natural surface and it is usual for the baselines to start to be showing signs of wear and tear four days into the championships."

Concerns were also raised over the amount of time it took a medical crew to reach the stricken Mattek-Sands even though Court 17 is just a stone's throw from the tournament's Centre Court.

Cirstea said only she, her physio and Justin Mattek-Sands, the player's husband, attended to the American star and said it took around 10 to 15 minutes for a stretcher to arrive.

However, the All England Club insisted in a statement: "The first response to Court 17 was within one minute, by a qualified ambulance technician".

DJOKOVIC'S SLUMP

Meanwhile, American great John McEnroe caused a stir on Thursday when he compared Novak Djokovic's slump to Tiger Woods' similar decline and hinted at troubles in the three-time Wimbledon champion's private life.

"The person that comes to mind immediately is Tiger Woods," said McEnroe in reference to the golf superstar whose life and career imploded after a series of extra-marital affairs were revealed.

But, Djokovic, the winner of 12 Grand Slam titles, shrugged off McEnroe's comments.

"He's very well known for his kind of bold comments and not really caring too much about being politically correct but saying whatever is on his mind," said 30-year-old Djokovic.

"I really don't take anything personal. I always got along very well with John.

"You know, I guess whether that's his opinion or criticism or something else, I'm not really sure. But, at the end of the day, I respect everything he says."

McEnroe is no stranger to recent controversies having stated that Serena Williams would rank only 700th in the world if she played on the men's tour. - WIRE SERVICES

Wimbledon