Fault! Wimbledon fans hit out at organisers for putting the big games on Centre Court so late they only see half the match after Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are stopped early
Wimbledon fans have hit out at organisers for putting the top players on Centre Court so late that they see only half the match.
Visitors paying high prices for the best seats were furious after Novak Djokovic’s game with Hubert Hurkacz was stopped after two sets.
But SW19 bosses have stood by their decision to start matches on show courts at 1.30pm – two and a-half hours after the outer courts start.
Murray previously slammed the tournament for prioritising hospitality packages and for broadcasters driving the schedule.
Visitors paying high prices for the best seats were furious after Novak Djokovic’s (pictured) game with Hubert Hurkacz was stopped after two sets
There is a sense that sponsors want guests to enjoy lunch before the games start on the major courts while TV stations want to show the biggest talent at primetime.
Among frustrated spectators was Ruari Walsh, who had Centre Court tickets for the first time ever on Sunday, only to see Djokovic’s match suspended at 10.30pm.
‘The scheduling is a joke,’ he said. ‘We arrived at 11am and finally got to see (Djokovic) at 9pm and then the match gets cut short due to the curfew.’
Defending champion Djokovic also called for change. Asked if the show courts should start matches earlier, he said: ‘I think so. I agree with that.
‘I think the matches could be pushed at least to start at noon. I think it would make a difference.’
Sally Bolton, chief executive of the All England Club, has previously admitted that the ability to show the likes of Murray at ‘primetime’ was ‘hugely appealing’.
But asked if she would apply to Merton Council to have matches run later, Ms Bolton said: ‘We haven’t and we’re not going to.’ She also suggested there is no intention to start matches earlier.
Ms Bolton said: ‘We’ve always started play on our show courts at around early afternoon. That’s very much about ensuring that people have the opportunity to get on court.’
But fans who had paid £155 for tickets said they would prefer an earlier start.
Andy Murray’s (pictured) thriller with Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was also halted last week
Katie Barber and Charlie Holt queued overnight for Centre Court tickets on Monday, arriving at 5pm on Sunday afternoon to get their front-row seats.
Ms Barber said: ‘We were here very, very early so we’d be very happy with an earlier start of play.’
Referring to those in hospitality, Ms Holt added: ‘We’re not going for a posh lunch so we don’t need it later.
‘Many of the people who go for a posh lunch don’t turn up for the first match anyway – so we’d be very happy with an earlier start.’
Last night, wildcards Naiktha Bains and Maia Lumsden became the first all-British pair to reach the quarter-finals of the Wimbledon women’s doubles in 40 years.
After beating Slovakians Viktoria Hruncakova and Tereza Mihalikova in three sets, the rookie pair said it felt ‘surreal’ to become the first home partnership to reach the last eight since Jo Durie and Anne Hobbs in 1983.