Wimbledon Centre Court: Wimbledon should reschedule and start play on Centre Court early, according to Novak Djokovic.
When his fourth-round match against Hugo Hurkacz had to be halted on Sunday night due to the council-imposed 11pm curfew, the seven-time champion ran afoul of the All England Club’s insistence on starting matches at 1.30pm.
Last week, Andy Murray’s battle against Stefanos Tsitsipas had to be extended into a second day, while Djokovic’s third-round encounter against Stan Wawrinka ended with only 14 minutes to spare.
Wimbledon chief executive Sally Bolton stated on Monday that there is no certainty that an earlier start time on Centre Court would be considered for next year’s competition.
When asked if matches should start sooner, Djokovic, who recovered to beat Hurkacz in four sets on Monday afternoon, was categorical.
“I believe so. I agree,” remarked the 23-time Grand Slam champion. “Obviously, curfew is probably much more difficult to change, I understand, because of the community and residential area we are in.
“I believe the matches could be pushed back to at least 12pm. I believe it will make a difference.”
Covid was mentioned by organisers two years ago for the decision to vary start times on the two main show courts, retaining Court One at 1pm and moving Centre back to 1.30pm, while also introducing intervals between matches.
This had the effect of making the final match of the day a prime-time event on the BBC, which appears to be the intention currently, with Bolton reporting record viewing figures.
She didn’t seem to mind the late finishes, stating, “Historically, over many, many decades, we’ve always started play on our show courts around early afternoon.
“And that’s very much about ensuring people have the opportunity to get on court so that, to the greatest extent possible, we have full courts for when the players walk on, and that’s still absolutely our intention.”
For tennis live score, tennis daily live, latest tennis news, tennis matches live, latest tennis live score, daily tennis update, tennis court, tennis championship, tennis tournament, tennis matches live update and other tennis news follow Livematchupdates.com.