Wimbledon gets weird: Is it the grass?

Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova join Rafael Nadal in defeat. Who's next? Photo: Maria Sharapova is attended to by her physiotherapist after her injury at Wimbledon AP photo

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2013 — Today was one for the record books as the wonderful world of Wimbledon took a turn into the weird zone. Tennis fans are scratching their heads and Wimbledon officials are strangely mum.

Today saw 2011 Wimbledon champion and this year’s favorite Roger Federer get blitzed in the second round by Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-7, 7-6, 7-5, 7-6. Who? Sergiy Stakhovsky of the Ukraine. And everyone thought they would be talking about Federer’s orange-soled Nike shoes that apparently violated the white dress code.

SEE RELATED: Wimbledon 2012 Men’s Final results: Roger Federer beats Andy Murray, taking seventh Wimbledon title

Federer’s early exit comes on a day in which seven players also headed out the door, forced to retire abruptly or withdraw, as did Victoria Azarenka due to injuries. The other big shocker was watching third seed Maria Sharapova, who was supposed to give Serena Williams a run for the money in the women’s finals, toppled by No.131 Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal, 6-1, 6-4.

Sergiy Stakhovsky rolls on grass after defeating Roger Federer AP photo

And don’t forget that going into the tournament, everyone was talking about the 2013 French Open winner Rafael Nadal and Federer in the men’s finals, only to see Nadal gone on Monday in the First Round and Federer today.

When Stakhovsky was asked his secret to his victory over Federer, he answered with one word: “Magic.”

SEE RELATED: US Tennis Open: Serena Williams defeats Victoria Azarenda, clinches 15th Grand Slam

Was there pixie dust in the air? Or on the grass? Many are looking at the courts, saying they are not in that great of shape. True, grass courts are slippier in early rounds, but this year seems exceptionally slick. Others blame the groundskeeper for not having the grass pristine. Others blame overuse of Wimbledon last summer at Wimbledon followed by the Olympics, not allowing the grass to grow as well this season.

Still others say, don’t blame the grass. This is tennis and stuff happens, even to the best of players like John Isner and Steve Darcis. What is surprising is that so many are gone and some with injuries. The International Tennis Federation says that seven players forced out of the tournament in one day is the most in any one day in the history of Grand Slam event.

Here is the list of the walking wounded, all casualties of either grass, voodoo, anyone, or the court called the Graveyard of Champions:

Victoria Azarenka: walkover — right knee

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: retired — left knee

John Isner: retired — left knee

Steve Darcis: walkover— right shoulder

Marin Cilic: walkover — left knee

Radek Stepanek: retired — left hamstring

Yaroslava Shevedova: walkover — right arm

What will Day 4 hold for Wimbledon?

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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

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