Djokovic’s PTPA wades into row over Murray’s late Aus Open finish

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

The Professional Tennis Players’ Association has issued a statement following a row over match scheduling after Andy Murray’s Australian Open second-round tie finished at 4.05am. The Brit claimed it was a “farce” to play so late into the night, and the Novak Djokovic-founded PTPA has now joined the debate, echoing Murray’s sentiment. 

Murray broke his own personal records for longest match and latest finish with his win over Thanasi Kokkinakis on Thursday, as he needed five hours and 45 minutes to defeat the Aussie 4-6 6-7(4) 7-6(5) 6-3 7-5. While it was an inspired comeback from the 35-year-old in the early hours, he criticised the rules allowing for the match to continue so late – both during and after the clash.

It has since sparked a debate, with Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley pushing back and claiming there was “no need” to adjust the schedule while several former pros including John McEnroe backed Murray and called the timings “crazy”. And the PTPA has now shared their own statement, claiming that the late matches “hurt” all involved.

“The PTPA is committed to advocating for and contributing to the best vision and structure of tennis globally, as indicated in our official principles,” it read. “That vision and structure starts with match and tournament scheduling.”

JUST IN: Novak Djokovic clashes with umpire during Dimitrov Australian Open tie

Referencing Murray and Kokkinakis’ 4.05am finish, the statement continued: “Having players compete past 4am local time, totalling nearly six hours, hurts the players, fans, event staff, and all involved. We look forward to exploring alternate means to scheduling that put fans and players and their wellbeing first.”

It comes after Murray himself raised concerns for the ballkids involved in the late-night match. “If my child was a ball kid for a tournament, they’re coming home at 5 in the morning, as a parent, I’m snapping at that,” he said when asked if tennis needed to do something to prevent 4am finish times.

“It’s not beneficial for them. It’s not beneficial for the umpires, the officials. I don’t think it’s amazing for the fans. It’s not good for the players. So, yeah, we talk about it all the time. It’s been spoken about for years. When you start the night matches late and have conditions like that, these things are going to happen.”

Dan Evans thrashed after friendly gesture as umpire issues apology
Murray injury fears raised as Aus Open star takes to practice court
Djokovic receives response from Aus Open boss after ‘drunk’ fan rant

But Tennis Australia CEO and Aussie Open director Tiley didn’t seem to agree, holding firm that there was “no need” to alter the 7pm start time to night sessions. While the tournament saw matches delayed for rain and extreme heat, he said: “Generally a women’s match is about an hour and a half and a men’s match a little over two and a half hours – that’s the length of match you work your schedule around.

“There is always one, and it is hard to schedule the entire event around the potential that happens one time. You’ve also got to protect the matches. If you just put on one match at night and there’s an injury you don’t have anything for fans or broadcasters. But you are always going to have an out-of-the-box situation where like last night it goes extra long unexpectedly.”

Source: Read Full Article