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‘No attempt to increase TV ratings’: Wimbledon refutes Novak Djokovic’s claim, defends stance on late finishes

Novak Djokovic said that the start times for the evening sessions at the All England Club were effectively turning Wimbledon into an indoor tournament for players scheduled to play late matches on the main showcourts.

Novak Djokovic has slumped to World No. 7. (Reuters)

A day after reigning champions Novak Djokovic questioned the scheduling of Wimbledon and how it is turning into an indoor tournament, the All England Club has defended their stance on late finishes on Centre Court.

“The reality of running a tennis event is that once you start the day, you have no idea when the day is going to finish. It is pretty unpredictable,”Sally Bolton, the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC) chief executive was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

Novak Djokovic had earlier said that the start times for the evening sessions at the All England Club were effectively turning Wimbledon into an indoor tournament for players scheduled to play late matches on the main showcourts.

“I don’t see a reason why there wouldn’t be an earlier start,” Djokovic had told reporters on Sunday.

“If you’re scheduled last on the Centre, you’re going to end up a match under the roof, which changes the conditions, the style of play, the way you move on the court. It’s more slippery. The lights. It’s really an indoor tournament in most of the cases when you’re scheduled last on Centre or Court One.”

Former Wimbleddon champion, Andy Murray, too had complained about the scheduling after his match against Australia’s James Duckworth was interrupted for 10 minutes as the roof closed. Duckworth twice complained about the quality of light as the sun began to set.

“It’s not that easy, changing conditions like that, and also having breaks like that, potentially key points in matches. I would much rather play outdoors. I prefer playing outdoors when we can,” Murray said after his four-set victory.

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“I wish there was a way of finishing the matches outdoors more often because it’s tricky stopping for 10, 12 minutes in the middle of a match at important stages. It kills the momentum a little bit. You cool off a little bit, as well. Again, it’s a change in conditions.”

However, Bolton feels ‘there haven’t been significant changes to the schedule.’ He said: “I think it’s understandable that players are providing feedback on the experience that they’re having at the Championships and of course we take account of all of that as we think about the way in which we plan our days.

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“There haven’t been significant changes to the schedule, we will always take account of the feedback we receive and look at what we do.”

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First published on: 05-07-2022 at 09:48:20 am
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