Djokovic advances, criticizes scheduling

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WIMBLEDON – Novak Djokovic got the job done Tuesday under the Wimbledon Centre Court roof.

He completed the men’s singles quarter-final lineup with a 6-2, 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory over unseeded Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

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But the three-time champion will have to play his quarter-final match Wednesday on about 24 hours rest. Opponent Tomas Berdych will have had more than a day’s extra time to recover and prepare.

And that, Djokovic blames on the Wimbledon schedulers.

“We spoke with the referee, supervisors, trying to understand the thought process that they are having. I just think it was a wrong decision not to play us last night, because we could have played. I think the last match on the Centre Court was done before 7:00. Having in mind that Centre Court has the roof and lights, we could have played till 11:00,” Djokovic said. 

“We went to the referee’s office before 8:00. There was security reasons. That was the only excuse, that basically there were explanations that we were getting,” he added. “I just didn’t see any logic in not playing us on the Centre Court. If the Court 1 ticket holders cannot go to the Centre Court, only the second Centre Court ticket holders can go, which they were already at the hill. They could just make the announcement, move them in, and we could play.”

At least, Djokovic said, they were scheduled on Centre Court Wednesday, first up, on a day that was forecast to be interrupted by rain (as it turned out to be). So they were able to play it on time, without any interruption, and move on.

The postponement was in large part due to Wimbledon not having a fifth-set tiebreak, which meant the match scheduled right before Djokovic’s match on No. 1 Court, Nadal vs. Muller, went on and on until it finally ended at 15-13 in the final set.

Third-set tiebreak, please

Djokovic is in favour of a fifth-set tiebreak at Wimbledon.

“I just don’t see any reason why not. Because Isner and Mahut made a history with an 11-hour match once. Is that a reason why we’re keeping it?” he asked. “Yeah, it is great drama. But that player has to go out tomorrow. It is, for a spectator. But for a player to play a five-, six-hour match, then come back the next day or within two days and perform, it’s not really what your body’s looking for, to be honest.”

More than the postponement, Djokovic had issues with the lack of information he and Mannarino were getting, and the failure to make a quick, firm decision. 

“Obviously was not happy not to play last night. I wanted to play. I thought we could have played. We were kept for two and a half hours in the dark, in a way, without knowing what we are going to do. So you were on your toes warming up, cooling down. Referee’s office was completely indecisive,” he said. “Finally when the (Nadal) match was over, we thought, ‘Okay, we have two and a half hours, we can go to Centre Court.’ They said, ‘No, it’s going to take too long to get the crowd in.’

“It was frustrating last night, I must admit. But I quickly just turned the next page and just focused on what I need to do today. I’ve done it in straight sets. That’s all that matters,” he added.

Physical issue for Djoko?

Djokovic had a medical timeout in the third set to have his upper arm/shoulder area treated.

He said in his post-match interview with the BBC that it was something ongoing. With the enforced shortened turnaround before his match against Berdych Wednesday, that’s 24 fewer hours he has to get any treatment required to recover fully and play another best-of-five set match.

We’ll see on Wednesday if there’s a spillover effect.

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