By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon
- Novak Djokovic  def. Adrian Mannarino 6-2 7-6(5) 64
- Unhappy about the scheduling and the state of the courts as he joins the rest of the field in the quarter-finals to be played on Wednesday
LONDON, UK – The rain clouds brought a grey mood for No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic as he finally started and completed his fourth round match
Ad the last cheers rang around Centre Court after Roger Federer completed his match, Rafael Nadal and Gilles Muller were still locked in battle, and it was already going to be a long night as the Spaniard was looking at turning round a 0-2 deficit.
Novak Djokovic and Adrian Mannarino were the last match scheduled on No. 1 Court and had to warm up and cool down repeatedly, but more frustratingly they did not understand the All England Club’s decision-making, in not allowing play on Centre Court.
Djokovic said: “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.
“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.
“I just didn’t see any logic in not playing us on the Centre Court. If the Court 1 ticketholders cannot go to the Centre Court, only the second Centre Court ticketholders can go, which they were already at the hill. They could just make the announcement, move them in, and we could play.
“But, you know, the decision was made, and that’s all. I mean, I’m actually glad that at least we were scheduled to play on Centre Court today. That match was played without any interruption. It is what it is. I move on and look forward to next challenge.”
The All England club did release a statement declaring that with safety of paramount importance with 30,000 people in the grounds, the decision not to re-open Centre Court might actually have been understandable.
Add to that the logistics of hosting a match – the lines-judges, umpire, security staff and ushers – none of which at times is taken into consideration.
So a new day dawned and quite aside from the heat-wave we have been enjoying, the day started cool with damp in the air. The courts can still be a bit slick and sometimes the atmosphere under the roof makes it even more so. Centre Court is looking pretty beaten up already at the start of the second week, with Djokovic drawing attention to a ‘hole’ in the court.
He explained: “Grass is probably the most demanding and complex surface for maintenance. The more you play on it, the worse it actually gets, unfortunately, contrary to clay, for example.
“The chair umpire in the end of the match asked me about the hole, because midway through the match I mentioned there is a hole. He wanted me to show him, so I showed him. His reaction wasn’t that great (smiling).
“Well, I guess, you know, grounds-men and everyone is doing their best. I have no doubt that they are giving their best to have the court in a most playable condition possible at this moment. But, you know, it is what it is.”
Spectators or players
Sounding a little tired and croaky, he made his point that there is once more a case for Wimbledon to emulate the other Slams with having a tie-break at six-all in the final set of the Nadal/Muller match.
He added: “Any other Grand Slam has it. 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?
“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.
“If you are already getting to the 6-All fifth set, you might as well just decide it in a tiebreak.”
Djokovic will play Tomas Berdych n the quarter-finals, to be held on Wednesday.
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