Another Indefensible Scheduling Decision at Wimbledon

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Wimbledon’s order of play during the Manic Monday has been enormously criticized. Most people complained about the fact that Murray and Federer played all of their matches on the Centre Court, ending in a big disrespect towards Nadal and Djokovic, relegated on Court 1 for their Round of 16 matches. Others (i.e. myself) find it unacceptable to put four Ladies’ R16 at the same time, making it impossible to follow them all, and forcing fans to miss some really high-quality matches.

If you thought that things couldn’t be worse, later in the day Wimbledon’s organizers made another decision which seemed actually impossible to understand. Indeed, the R16 match between Novak Djokovic and Adrian Mannarino was scheduled as the third match on Court 1, after Johanna Konta vs Caroline Garcia and Rafa Nadal vs Gilles Muller. The first match ended up in a tight three-setter, with the Brit winning it in more than two hours. However, what was actually unpredictable was that Nadal vs Muller would end in an epic five setter, finishing 15-13 in 4 hours 48 minutes. So that, as Muller finally converted his 5th match point to win the match, it was a few minutes before 9 pm. Clearly, it was too late for Djokovic to start his match on Court 1, since lights were starting to fade during the end of the previous match, and so there were absolutely no ways the match would end before sunset.

Based on that, it might seem that the Wimbledon organizers could do very little to avoid postponing the match to the following day. However, what I haven’t mentioned already is the fact that the last match scheduled on the Centre Court ended more or less two hours before the end of Nadal vs Muller. So that, everybody was expecting the remaining R16 match to be moved on Centre Court, in order to complete the daily schedule, giving all players the possibility to have the same rest before the quarterfinals. As time went by, no news about the match being moved came from the officials. As soon as Muller won his match, the Wimbledon organizers announced that no further matches would be played, resulting in the last men’s R16 match to be postponed to the following day, traditionally dedicated to the Ladies’ quarterfinals. Novak Djokovic vs Adrian Mannarino would therefore take place on Tuesday, as the first match on Centre Court, starting at 12 pm instead of 1 pm.

My question, therefore, is: given this year was probably the only year with no rain to make it harsh to follow the schedule, why complicate it? Why not move Djokovic on Center Court?

Possibly, the organizers were waiting to guarantee those who held a ticket for Court 1 to attend all of the matches they were supposed to. Probably, as some said, it was a matter of safety, since a big crowd moving towards the streets of the All England Club could have caused some big troubles. Or again, maybe the Wimbledon organizers felt a bit relaxed, given the absence of the rain, that even the possibility of postponing a match didn’t scare them.

Honestly, all of the above are reasons impossible to be understood. In other words, the decision of not moving the match on the Centre Court, thus postponing it, is totally indefensible, and there are no excuses. First of all, it seems unfair that the winner of this match won’t have a day to rest before the quarterfinals – unlike his opponent, Tomas Berdych, who, as all the other players, ended his match today. Secondly, putting a men’s match on Centre Court during the day dedicated to women’s quarterfinals seems to me another disrespect toward women’s matches, which won’t have all the spotlight put on them on the day they deserve to.

Once again, given the fact that there has been no rain to force some changes–and given the fact that weather forecasting says that it’s probably going to rain in the following days–not moving Djokovic vs Mannarino on Centre Court seems to be impossible to understand. I really can’t find a single excuse for this choice. Wimbledon is my favorite Slam, but it seems to be that its choices are sometimes illogical. And honestly, I am utterly disappointed with its decisions regarding this Manic Monday.

Moreover, it’s a pity, because I as a tennis fan wouldn’t mind some more tennis, even after a day full like the Manic Monday!