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Italian Open: Top players lash out at officials over courtside holes

sports Updated: May 17, 2015 13:36 IST


Serbian Novak Djokovic was among three Italian Open finalists to hit out at organisers after a "dangerous" semi-final win in which he escaped twisting his ankle in holes that appeared on court.

Djokovic, the defending champion and top seed, will play Swiss rival Roger Federer in Sunday's final at the Foro Italico in Rome after ousting Spain's David Ferrer 6-4, 6-4.

But several times during his match, Djokovic called officials to fill in holes which began appearing near the baseline.

Afterwards, he admitted his frustration and criticised organisers for failing to have the court properly prepared in time.

"The thing I wish I'd done better was not to get frustrated that much, but people need to understand at this level every single thing matters to us, especially the court and the playing conditions," said Djokovic.

"It's obvious the court is not where it's supposed to be condition-wise. Last year was better, this year, as I understand, they started making the court too late, a few weeks ago,"

"And it's not enough for a professional tournament and a Masters 1000 event. So I hope for next year they will prepare it better because once you start playing there's not much you can do." Djokovic said.

With less than 10 days to go till the start of Roland Garros, the climax of the clay court season, Djokovic was in no mood for suffering an injury that would compound his bid for a first French Open title in Paris.

Djokovic added "We had some places where the holes are really deep... it's not just for the serve, if you make those holes and you're sliding and getting into that hole, you can twist your ankle easily.

"That was my point, that it's dangerous to really play in these conditions just overall for injuries. Not just for myself, for everybody,"

"But there's not much you can do except fix the hole that's going to be even bigger the next point,"

"It comes down to dealing with it and accepting it's the same for your opponent and moving on. I just hope for the sake of this tournament, which I like very much, next year they take more time in preparing the court." Djokovic said.

But he wasn't alone, both Maria Sharapova and Federer suffered similar experiences on centre court as they advanced to the women's and men's finals.

Sharapova, who will meet Spain's Carla Suarez in Sunday's final after ousting Russian compatriot Daria Galvinova in straight sets, said the court was below standards.

"It is definitely not up to the standards the court should be for this type of event, that's no secret," she said.

"Maybe it's something to reconsider for the tournament next year, there's definitely a lot of holes out there." Sharapova said.

Federer, who swept compatriot Stan Wawrinka aside in two sets on his way to a fourth final appearance, echoed their thoughts but was more upbeat about the condition of the court.

"The problem is, it kind of breaks away, so that's not ideal. When it happens once or twice, three times, you get a bit worried," said Federer.

"I don't think it's going to be an issue tomorrow it's the end of the tournament now and they'll do everything they can, it's clearly not ideal and I hope they can fix it to some extent for tomorrow." he added.