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Serena Williams backs off threat to sue Wimbledon over wet grass

Serena Williams
Serena Williams reacts after slipping and falling to the court during her match against Svetlana Kuznetsova on Monday at Wimbledon.
(Leon Neal / AFP/Getty Images)

Serena Williams doesn’t plan to sue Wimbledon, even though she made that threat during her match Monday when she was concerned she might slip on the wet Centre Court grass.

Williams, the defending women’s singles champion, didn’t like the suggestion that she and Svetlana Kuznetsova should continue playing at 5-5 despite a light rain.

She discussed the situation with umpire Marija Cicak and tournament referee Andrew Jarrett. In their initial conversation, Williams could be heard saying, “I’m going to fall. Can’t they just close the roof?”

Cicak’s response could not be heard, but Williams then said: “If I get hurt, I’m suing…”

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The world’s No. 1 women’s player, who went on to a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Kuznetsova, later explained she had no intention of actually suing the tournament.

“I was in the moment,” she said. “I was on the court. What I say on the court, whether it’s smashing my rackets or it’s in the heat of the moment … I have no plans, no future of suing Wimbledon. Let’s get serious. That’s not what I do. That’s not what I am.”

Last week, France’s Gilles Simon threatened to sue umpire John Blom if his match against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov were to continue during a drizzle. The match did go on, and Simon was defeated.

“I hate to play when it’s raining,” he explained later. “I never understood when they are forcing us to go on the court when the court is slippery. I understand. It’s just not acceptable for me.”

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Heading home

Coco Vandeweghe matched her best finish at a major by making it to the quarterfinals. But, like last year at Wimbledon, that’s as far as she got. She lost to Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-3, 6-3.

“A lot of things weren’t working,” said Vandeweghe, niece of former UCLA and NBA star Kiki Vandeweghe. “Missing easy first balls. I’m assuming I had a very low percentage of first serves [49% in for the match]. The fact that I was getting pushed around out there was kind of, that’s me not doing my job.”

Vandeweghe now heads to Stanford for the Bank of the West Classic, which starts July 18. She didn’t attend college — she played in her first Women’s Tennis Assn. event at 14 — and joked she wasn’t cut out for spending four more years in the classroom.

“I was never the studious type,” she said. “I just managed the grades that made my mom happy, which, you know, were A’s and B’s. If I had anything less, then I was in trouble. I hated studying.”

No satisfaction

At 21, Illinois native Madison Keys was the youngest player to get to this year’s round of 16. She played Romania’s Simona Halep on Monday and won the first set by tiebreaker, before Halep rebounded to win 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-3.

Keys, who suffered cramps as the match progressed, got little solace from the notion she figures to have many more chances at future Wimbledons.

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“I wouldn’t say like I’m behind schedule, but I’m also not satisfied with — I’m not totally satisfied with what I’ve achieved,” she said. “I think I can do more. I want to do more. So even being young, it’s great, but at the same time, I want more.”

Marathon to a sprint

A day after outlasting Jon Isner in a four-hour match, one that stretched to 19-17 in the fifth set, France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga caught a big break. His match against fellow countryman Richard Gasquet lasted just six games, with Gasquet trailing, 2-4, when he pulled out because of a back injury.

Tsonga moves on to face tournament favorite Andy Murray, who has beaten him in 13 of 16 previous meetings, including twice at Wimbledon.

Tsonga said he’s unfazed by that history.

“That’s why tennis is so great,” he said. “Two days ago, I was 5-all in the third set, 15-40 against me, two sets to love down … and I came back. I’m still alive in this tournament.

“So everything can happen in tennis. I know that. I’m also very confident in my capacity to play great tennis and beat players like Andy.”

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sam.farmer@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATimesfarmer


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