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.