World number 20 Gilles Simon lost to 37th-ranked Grigor Dimitrov in the second round of Wimbledon on Thursday, but it was his comments afterwards that were the real story.
The rain has been a factor through the first few days of Wimbledon, as many matches were either suspended or postponed due to the weather. But Thursday’s weather in London was fairly cooperative as the tournament played catch up.
But a light drizzle began to fall over Court 1 during Simon and Dimitrov’s match, and the Frenchman was unhappy with the umpire’s decision to resume play, and made that clear during his post-match press conference.
“I hate to play when it’s raining. I never understood why they forced us to go on court when it’s slippery. It’s not acceptable for me,” said Simon. “I feel today if I was going to get injured, I’m going to sue everyone in the stadium. I try to understand what is happening in both parties, but it is just ridiculous. The supervisor told me it’s raining, but that the water is not going to the ground, that it’s light rain, it stays in the air and is flying away so the grass isn’t wet. And I have to answer that. I’m pissed on TV, yes, because I want to destroy him, that’s how it is.”
Simon went on to say that this problem isn’t limited to Wimbledon, and cited the heat during the Australian Open as another example.
“It’s happening in every Grand Slam, not just here. Here, it’s always about grass that is wet. But in Australia when they force us to play in 44 degree weather [111 degrees Fahrenheit], the doctor says its fine,” Simon added. “The tournament got lucky … nothing serious has happened like someone breaking his leg on the court, or someone feeling bad in Australia when it’s 44. They just try to push, they want us to play. But we are just human.”
The tournament directors are in a bind when it comes to things like this as they need to balance the safety of the players with the paying customers who fill the seats. Simon said he will discuss this with the ATP Player Council and see if there is any action they could take, but one wonders if Simon would have had the same outrage had he won the match.
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at email@example.com.