Tennis player threatens to sue over safety on court

By Emma Drew

July 14, 2016

Tennis player threatens to sue over safety on court

A well-known tennis star competing in Wimbledon this year recently threatened to sue an umpire official after he allowed a match to commence in rainy conditions, which the player felt had made the grass courts slippery and unplayable.

The player criticised the umpire’s decision to continue the game, saying he would have been perfectly entitled to sue if he had been injured after being forced to play in what he deemed to be dangerous conditions.

The same level of risk equally applies at local level as well as at national level. For example, in a recent incident at a cricket club, two cricket umpires were sued by a player who slipped on a damp wicket and injured himself.

Cases like this highlight the duty of care and responsibility event organisers and match officials should have towards those participating in sports events. An injury to a player could not only jeopardise a players long term career but could also incur high costs for damages to the sports organisation itself. However, sportsmen and women participating in major tournaments too have a duty of care and responsibility to themselves to either accept the conditions or to decide not to participate at all if they feel endangered in any way.

Criticism was again directed towards umpires during the French Open when players were allegedly forced to remain on court for over two hours despite the drizzly conditions, which had already disrupted much of the tennis schedule for that week. It is thought the umpire continued the game, as the rules of the tournament state tickets cannot be reimbursed after two hours of play. However, in the event one of these players had been injured during the game, the cost of settling a claim could have been considerably more than the cost of refunding spectators tickets.

The tennis star is currently taking the issue up with the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) player council, calling for a review of safety conditions on court. Furthermore, with the Australian Open approaching, the tennis player has also raised his concerns about players being expected to play in extreme heat, sometimes reaching up to 44 degrees and the health implications this could cause to those competing in major tournaments.

The nature of the claims culture is a growing concern and it seems now if a player gets injured they instantly look for someone else to blame.

Fortunately on this occassion no one was injured but this case does highlight the potential risks tennis players face on court like breaking a leg or suffering some other similar injury.

How can we help?

Perkins Slade provide liability protection for all Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) clubs and officials as part of their registration. In the event a player does threaten to sue your club or an official at local level, your club would be protected by the LTA’s insurance.

For more information or to discuss your tennis clubs insurance requirements, please call us on 0121 698 8000.

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