Agony at Wim­ble­don Knee in­jury causes Mattek-sands to scream in pain

The Scotsman - - Sport -

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.

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