LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) - World number one Novak Djokovic has slipped up with his footwear at Wimbledon, being told to get rid of the pimples on the side of his shoes days before he faces Briton Andy Murray in the final on Sunday.
Djokovic was the second of the top four male players to fall foul of footwear rules at Wimbledon after seven-times champion Roger Federer was told to change his orange-soled shoes.
Wimbledon, the world’s oldest tennis tournament, has a strict dress code, stating players must wear “predominantly” white, no solid mass or florescent colours, little or no dark colours, and preferably all white shirts, shorts and skirts.
On top of that the grand slam handbook for grass courts rules out shoes with pimples or studs around the outside of the toes, stating “the foxing around the toes must be smooth”, so all players have the same ability to grip on grass.
After the pimples on Djokovic’s Adidas shoes were pointed out, the Serbian player filed them down and downplayed suggestions that the alterations were behind several falls in his epic semi-final win over Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro.
“When you’re defending, especially the back of the court, it’s a little bit more slippery because there is a little bit more grass,” Djokovic, known for trademark sliding lunges, told a news conference on Saturday.
“My adjustments are made. I‘m fully fit for what’s coming up.”
A spokesman for the All England Club said Djokovic was one of five players this year asked to change or adjust footwear to comply with the rules. He did not have the names of the other three players.
Traction on the grass courts at Wimbledon has been an issue this year with seven players withdrawing due to injuries on “Wipeout Wednesday”, the third day of the two-week tournament.
Some of the injuries were longstanding problems but second seed Victoria Azarenka called on the organisers for an inspection after falling on what she called a slippery court.
Third seed Maria Sharapova was overheard on the court microphone calling her court “dangerous” as she slipped a number of times before being knocked out of the tournament.
It is the first tournament since the retirement of long-time head groundsman Eddie Seaward but a Wimbledon spokesman said there was nothing different about the courts this year.
Djokovic this year announced a new footwear deal with Adidas and debuted his Barricade 7 at the French Open in June. He has worn Barricades in all six of his grand slam wins.
“I have very specific dynamic movements, with a lot of splits and slides, so I need to have the right stability in the shoe,” Djokovic said in May.
No one from Adidas was immediately available to comment. (Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith)