Agony at Wimbledon Knee injury causes Mattek-sands to scream in pain
A sickening injury suffered by American Bethanie Mattek-sands cast a cloud over Wimbledon yesterday.
The incident also called into question the response of the medical services at the All England Club as she lay screaming on the turf.
The 32-year-old’s knee appeared to buckle during her second-round match with Romanian Sorana Cirstea on Court 17.
“Help me. F***. Help me please,” Mattek-sands shouted.
Cirstea climbed over the net to check on Matteksands and was clearly upset by what she saw.
“It was heartbreaking to see her that way,” said Cirstea. “Her knee was in a very weird position. I’ve never seen anything like this, probably except in the movies.”
Wimbledon said it was
an “acute knee injury”, which Cirstea felt was a dislocated kneecap.
Mattek-sands was initially comforted by Cirstea, her own husband Justin and her opponent’s physio. When paramedics arrived they gave her lengthy treatment including oxygen, but her screams could still be heard across large parts of the grounds.
Mattek-sands was eventually taken to hospital but many spectators were visibly shaken by the events, as was Mattek-sands’ doubles partner Lucie Safarova. The duo were favourites to add Wimbledon to their US Open, Australian Open and French Open titles.
Cirstea was critical about how long it took medical assistance to arrive.
She said: “I called for help, but no one was coming. She went into shock. She kept saying, ‘Sorana help me, Sorana help me, Sorana help me’. I said ‘I’m here, I’m here’.
“It took a really long time for the stretcher to get there. I don’t know for how long she was on the ground, but I would say 10, 15 minutes. There are sports where you see something’s happening, and you see the help straight away. Like football, boxing, all the others, it’s straight away. Here, it took a while. So you wonder what would happen if it was a heart issue or something. I think she was too long on the ground.”
The fall happened at around 4.45pm, and Mattek-sands was taken away on a stretcher 25 minutes later.
The All England club said: “The first response to Court 17 was within one minute, by a qualified ambulance technician. The player was kept on court while pain relief was given. The player was then transferred directly to an ambulance and taken under emergency conditions to a hospital.”
2 Bethanie Mattek-sands is comforted, left, after suffering a serious knee injury against Sorana Cirstea before being taken away on a stretcher, top. Mattek-sands was favourite to win the women’s doubles with Lucie Safarova.