Wimbledon to break long-standing tradition and allow pre-tournament practice on Centre and No 1 courts after injury mayhem in previous years
- Wimbledon will allow players to practice on main courts after previous years
- Many players have suffered slips on the grass surface, risking several injuries
- Players have not traditionally practiced on SW19 courts before the tournament
- Preparation should allow them to get used to the surface and reduce slipping
Wimbledon are to break with tradition and allow limited pre-tournament practice on Centre and No 1 Courts to try to reduce injuries in the early rounds.
The decision comes after incidents in recent years which have seen players struggle to keep their footing on the slick virgin surface.
Serena Williams and Frenchman Adrian Mannarino are among those who have suffered problems after slipping over in the early days of the tournament on the main show courts.
Seven-time champion Serena Williams was among the players to slip at Wimbledon in 2021
Australian star Nick Kyrgios was one of the male players to fall during last year’s tournament
Williams injured her leg in the first round last year when the issue was exacerbated by the roof having to be closed for most of the first three days.
Traditionally the only play on the biggest arenas before the start has been a friendly match between All England Club members.
That will now be changed to allow roughly four sessions of practice between professional players later this week to help them prepare for the court surface.
Crowds will once again pile into Wimbledon as the 2022 tournament begins on Monday
Novak Djokovic (pictured) won the men’s singles title in last year’s Wimbledon competition
Australian Ashleigh Barty won the women’s singles in 2021 before her retirement in March
Wimbledon qualifying begins today at Roehampton with 128 players in both the men’s and women’s preliminary draws battling for a place in the main event.
That will now include one Russian doubles player, who has found a way around the ban on those from her native country and Belarus from this year’s tournament.
Natela Dzalamidze, the 29-year-old world No 44 in doubles who was born in Moscow, has taken advantage of dual nationality to switch to representing Georgia and will now be eligible to compete at SW19.
A number of Russians are understood to have investigated the possibility of changing allegiance but she is the first to have acted on it and will play with Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic.
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