Middle Sunday off a bad idea - Djokovic

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iol spt pic Novak Djokovic july 01

London - Wimbledon's routine of no play on the middle Sunday needs changing so that player interests are preserved and competitors do not have to endure best-of-five-set matches on successive days, said Novak Djokovic.

Two days of rain, on Saturday and Monday, at the grasscourt major have thrown the schedule into disarray and left players like Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka facing the prospect of three best-of-five-set matches in three days to reach the semi-finals.

Top seed Djokovic is lucky to have avoided the mayhem as he was not scheduled to play on Saturday and was given Centre-Court billing on Monday - with his match played under a closed roof.

While those players in the top half of the men's draw, which include Djokovic and defending champion Andy Murray, are already through to the quarter-finals, fifth-seeded Swiss Wawrinka is still in the last 16 having won his third-round match on Monday.

“I had a couple of days off and was then scheduled to play today on Centre,” Djokovic told reporters after his straight sets win over Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

“No interruptions, played the whole match under the roof, didn't think about the rain. This is the advantage of being scheduled on Centre Court.

“But I understand why Wawrinka was complaining because we have this tradition here of not playing any match on the middle Sunday. This tradition was broken a couple of times and I remember a few years ago it was the case when they actually had to play a few matches,” added the Serb.

“I think we have to rethink about this Sunday inbetween because the day was beautiful. There was no rain and the whole day there was no match played. No other grand slam has this particular rule.

“We all know tradition is something that is nurtured here at the All England Club and we respect that. But there are some rules I believe should be updated, changed for the better for the schedule and for the better of the players.”

While the French and US Opens are played over 15 days, the Australian Open lasts for 14 and Wimbledon is the only major where the action is spread over 13 days.

Organisers hope that plans to have a retractable roof on Court One too by 2019 will help alleviate the problem but that will be of little consolation to the players this year.

It is also the only grand slam where all 16 fourth-round matches - eight each in the men's and women's singles - are usually scheduled for the second Monday.

The bad weather this year meant only nine of the 16 were completed on day seven with competitors like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova all due to be playing catch-up on Tuesday.

Reuters


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