Novak Djokovic has known as for Wimbledon to overtake its scheduling and begin play earlier on Centre Court docket.
The seven-time champion fell foul of the All England Membership’s insistence on starting matches at 1.30pm when his fourth-round match in opposition to Hugo Hurkacz needed to be suspended on Sunday night time as a result of council-imposed 11pm curfew.
Andy Murray’s match with Stefanos Tsitsipas final week additionally needed to be carried over right into a second day, whereas Djokovic’s third-round conflict in opposition to Stan Wawrinka concluded with solely 14 minutes to spare.
Wimbledon chief govt Sally Bolton stated on Monday morning that there isn’t any assure that an earlier begin time shall be thought-about on Centre Court docket for subsequent yr’s event.
I feel the matches could possibly be pushed not less than to begin at 12pm. I feel it might make a distinction.
However Djokovic, who returned to complete off Hurkacz in 4 units on Monday afternoon, was unequivocal in his response when requested if matches ought to begin earlier.
“I feel so. I agree with that,” stated the 23-time Grand Slam winner. “Clearly curfew might be one thing that’s way more troublesome to alter, I perceive, due to the neighborhood and the residential space we’re in.
“I feel the matches could possibly be pushed not less than to begin at 12pm. I feel it might make a distinction.”
Two years in the past organisers cited Covid for the choice to stagger begin instances on the 2 principal present courts, retaining Court docket One at 1pm and pushing Centre again to 1.30pm, whereas additionally including breaks between the matches.
This had the consequence of constructing the ultimate match of the day a prime-time event on the BBC and it seems very a lot that’s now the purpose, with Bolton reporting file viewing figures.
She didn’t appear to view the problem of the late finishes as a selected drawback, saying: “Traditionally over many, many a long time we have at all times began play on our present courts round early afternoon.
“And that is very a lot about making certain folks have the chance to get on court docket so, as a lot as is feasible the case, we’ve got full courts for when the gamers stroll on, and that is nonetheless completely our intention.
“And the opposite factor we expect rigorously about is, when folks purchase a ticket to come back to Wimbledon, they need to expertise a day on the Championships and that includes going and seeing some play on exterior courts, maybe going to get one thing to eat, getting some strawberries and cream.
“We perceive that our visitors need that complete day. After all yearly we take a look at every thing and we get suggestions from all of our visitor teams, from the participant teams and all of our stakeholders.
“We’ll take a look at that past this yr’s Championships however that is the actual background to why we’ve got the beginning time after we do.
“Matches are taking place at a time once they’re accessible to folks. We’re seeing (TV) viewing figures which are past our expectations and past earlier years so I feel they most likely communicate for themselves.”
Bolton denied the 1.30pm begin time was straight influenced by the BBC, saying: “The broadcasters are one of many stakeholders we seek the advice of as we put collectively all of the plans for the Championships however they are not having a direct enter into begin time on a court docket.”
The curfew is imposed by the native council to forestall late-night disruption from folks leaving the grounds in what’s a quiet, residential space, and Bolton stated the membership wouldn’t look to attempt to prolong it.
Bolton additionally stated there may even be no instruction to umpires to tell crowds to not count on a handshake if a Ukrainian participant faces a Russian or Belarusian, regardless of the boos aimed toward Victoria Azarenka after her match with Elina Svitolina.