Wimbledon scheduling reeks of favouritism

 news.com.au  7/14/2018 5:37:30 AM  2

WIMBLEDON organisers are under fire for their decision to resume play between Djokovic and Nadal on Centre Court before the women’s final. And if one former champ’s intel is to be believed, it reeks of favouritism.

Herald SunJuly 14, 20183:44pm

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have been left stranded mid-match after a Wimbledon epic pushed the pair’s blockbuster into the tournament curfew.

Playing under a closed roof, Djokovic led Nadal 6-4 3-6 7-6 (11-9) when play was suspended after the pair had been delayed after Kevin Anderson took six hours, 35 minutes to down John Isner in the first semi-final.

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The All England Club has a strict curfew as part of its agreement with the local council, meaning play beyond 11pm is not allowed.

Djokovic and Nadal started their match at 8.10pm (local time) and played for just under three hours before referee Andrew Jarrett ordered a halt.

The duo will return to centre court from 10pm (EST), probably delaying the women’s final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber.

The fact the match will continue an hour before the scheduled start time of the women’s final has sparked debate and prompted a furious reaction form some fans and pundits.

A tweet from Kim Clijsters in particular has signalled some heavy favouritism.

“Interesting … the players can choose to play before or after the women’s final tomorrow. What do you think will happen ?,” she wrote.

Former Australian player Sam Groth was quick to suggest that things might not be this way if Isner and Anderson were yet to finish.

“If Anderson v Isner yet to finish where would they have been playing on the Saturday?” he said.

“Would they be on Court 1 not affecting the women’s final? I like to think not because you want consistency, but I think that would be the case.

“Clijsters tweeted that the guys were given the option of playing after the women’s final or before — if that is true then that reflects how the tournament thinks of these two players.

“You have a women’s final and you’re giving the guys the option?

“If you have got yourself in this situation surely the women’s final is the showpiece and not have them waiting and adjusting themselves around a semi-final.”

The failure to complete the second men’s semi hands Anderson the slightest glimmer of hope he can compete with either Djokovic or Nadal on Sunday.

— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) July 13, 2018

Anderson has taken 10 hours and 40 minutes and 10 sets to advance from the quarter-finals to the final.

His semi-final, which ended in near darkness, was longest-match in centre court history and the second-longest in tournament history behind Isner’s 11-hour clash with Nicolas Mahut in 2010.

The fifth set alone lasted almost three hours.

The South African was exhausted and battered after dispatching Isner.

“Obviously I need a lot of treatment in terms of getting the body back balanced and stuff, but at the same time obviously sleep is important, too,” he said.

“We’ll see how my body reacts in the morning. My feet are sore, they’re swollen. The legs are pretty jelly-like.

“I’ve never played a match this long, so it will be something we’ll have to see how things go tomorrow.”

Isner says Anderson is the clear underdog, regardless of who he faces.

“He’s got a tough task ahead of him. If I were to have won, I would have a very tough task, too,” he said.

“Watching these guys, I was in the training room getting my blister taken care of, and they’re moving like gazelles out there. Djokovic is sliding all over the place.

“Whoever wins this match you would think, because of how much time Kevin spent on court, will be the prohibitive favourite.

“If Kevin can serve like that, serve a high percentage like he did, he could have his shot, for sure.

“He’ll do everything possible to get ready for Sunday.”

Anderson, 32, is the first South African male to reach the Wimbledon final since Brian Norton in 1921.

Seeded eighth, the Johannesburg-born baseliner lost last year’s US Open final to Nadal.

Originally published as Wimbledon scheduling reeks of favouritism

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