After a string of complaints by the players about the unusual timing of the matches, the Australian Open has decided to increase the number of days the Grand Slam will go on. Tournament director Craig Tiley has announced the decision that has been taken to minimize the late finishing of the matches.
All the Grand Slams usually go on for two weeks, i.e., 14 days. But the first Grand Slam of the year has decided to add an extra day to the schedule. The matches that used to begin on Mondays will now start a day prior, on Sunday. This is the first time in history that something of this kind has happened.
The number of sessions across the three arenas will grow from 47 to 52 as a result. The night sessions will continue to have at least two matches. However, the revised schedule will have at least two matches in the day sessions on the Rod Laver Arena and the Margaret Court Arena, instead of at least three.
Craig Tiley released a statement saying, “We’ve listened to feedback from the players and fans and are excited to deliver a solution to minimise late finishes while continuing to provide a fair and equitable schedule on the stadium courts.” (H/T EuroSport)
Players have been demanding action as matches extend into unreasonable hours
The ATP and the WTA have come under severe criticism over the bizarre match timings of tournaments. The matches that start at night usually get delayed and then are extended till late into the night or in some cases, till early morning.
Petra Kvitova wrote on her social media that it was “far from ideal” to finish a match at 1 a.m… “and then be back on the schedule” the following day. “Please do better for your players,” she urged the WTA. (via – VOA)
Another such incident happened this year at the Australian Open, where Andy Murray’s match against Thanasi Kokkinakis went on for unbelievably 6 hours. The match ended early in the morning, at 4 a.m. Murray was seen complaining to the chair umpire regarding the brutal conditions that not just him but the spectators also have to face.
Even on the North American tennis circuit, several players complained about ‘tennis after dark, which has become a common aspect of the game. Elena Rybakina made an honest admission after her quarterfinal match with Daria Kastakina ended at 3 a.m in the morning. She admitted that she was “destroyed”. Joining her was then-world number 1, Iga Swiatek, who called for the WTA to take account of the physical needs of the player during the Cincinnati Open.
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