Wimbledon’s Disrespect for Djokovic and Nadal in Court Selection is Appalling

In the last five years it’s been a rare sight to have Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer in the second week of Wimbledon. Either way, it’s 2017, and for the first time since Wimbledon 2014 those men are the top four seeds at a Grand Slam. While on paper it looks great to potentially have all four making the semifinals, it’s sad how the scheduling of this event puts two of these great champions completely above the others. If you don’t know, it’s pretty obvious which two I am on about, World #1 Andy Murray and seven-time champion Roger Federer.

To begin, sure there’s no rule about where players play their matches, although you would think with Wimbledon having four of the biggest names in tennis they would at least treat them in such a way in which all are treated somewhat equally. Sadly however, this isn’t the case.

Starting with this year’s championship, #3 seed Rafael Nadal, who’s just coming off a Roland Garros win, began Wimbledon on Court 1 against Australian John Millman while three-time champion Novak Djokovic also played on Court 1 for his Round 2 encounter again Adam Pavlasek. Meanwhile, defending champion Andy Murray and Roger Federer have yet to be off Centre Court. You might be wondering why this is a big deal, and that’s because Court 1 doesn’t have a roof or floodlights–while also plays differently, not suiting the likes of Nadal and Djokovic, making them more vulnerable due to the court being faster.


This here is precisely where the issue continues–for Manic Monday’s schedule both Murray and Federer are on Centre Court again. Sure, in the Swiss’ defense he is playing Grigor Dimitrov, the Bulgarian 13th seed who has shown signs of brilliance this year such as only being a few games away from making his maiden Grand Slam final in Australia. In the Brit’s case, however, he is playing Benoit Paire, a Frenchman who’s worst surface is grass and claims to hate this tournament. Rafael Nadal, on the other hand, is playing 16th seed Gilles Muller who pushed him here for the first two sets here in 2011 (Nadal 7-6(5) 7-6(5) ) while also having beaten the Spaniard on grass before too. So tell me, what’s the match that should be on Centre Court?

Yes, Andy Murray is British, but it gets to an extent where it’s used as too much of an advantage. Achievement wise he is nowhere near the level of Nadal and Djokovic and although fans want to see the Brit on Centre Court, you would have to think a much larger international audience would prefer to see the Spaniard or Serbian there instead. This is one of the biggest sporting events in the world; the sooner Wimbledon stop being idiots and realise that it’s not only Brits watching, the better.

As for Roger Federer, sure he’s won seven titles here, but the last came in 2012. Since then Novak Djokovic has won two titles here, but somehow Wimbledon seem to totally forget that. Even in 2015, when the 12-time Grand Slam champion was the top seed and defending champion they threw him out on Court 1 vs Kevin Anderson for his Round 4 match. Meanwhile, Roger Federer got Centre Court vs Roberto Bautista Agut–that alone says enough. Or how about last year when the Serb was thrown on Court 1 against a dangerous opponent, Sam Querrey, which ended up getting delayed due to rain and Djokovic ultimately losing. Who knows how different the result could have been on Centre Court? Maybe he still would have lost, but one thing for sure is that his gamestyle against someone like Querrey would have benefitted playing on Centre. But of course Federer and Murray got Centre Court for all of their matches even when they played the likes of grass court legends such as Guido Pella and Dan Evans.

Unfortunately, the same applies for last year’s Roland Garros champion. Even in 2010 when his quarterfinal was a rematch of the Roland Garros final just a few weeks before, he was thrown onto Court 1 while Andy Murray and Roger Federer got Centre. The same is true for 2011, where he played fellow top 10 seed Mardy Fish on Court 1 while Andy Murray and Roger Federer got Centre once again, in Murray’s case against an unseeded player too.

No doubt Andy Murray and Roger Federer are great players ,but then so are Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The sooner they’re treated fairer at Wimbledon the better. This has gone on far too long and assuming all four win on Monday, unless Nadal and Djokovic get Centre for their quarterfinals, at least one of them would have played on Court 1 three times while Federer and/or Murray will have once again played every match of theirs on Centre.

Combined, the Brit and Swiss have only ever played one quarterfinal off Centre Court, so it’s a long shot thinking that Djokovic and Nadal will get Centre if they win on Monday. I mean, just look at 2013–somehow Murray vs the unseeded Verdasco and Del Potro vs Ferrer got Centre over Djokovic playing former finalist Berdych. How does that even make any sense? Honestly, it’s ridiculous how two players with five Wimbledon titles and 27 Grand Slams combined can be so disrespected at any tournament, let alone at the biggest one in our sport.

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49 COMMENTS

  1. This is a totally biased rubbish article.

    Andy Murray is not only the World Number one at the moment, but he’s also British, which gives him every right to play his matches on Centre Court. Roger Federer is the most successful player of the open era, which most likely is the reason why he gets to play his matches on Centre Court too. This issue is known as a protocol, surprising that a journalist isn’t aware of that. Or are you just trying to provoke an argument….if you are, shame on you !!!!

  2. Totally disagree. Relatively unheard of Americans play on Arthur Ashe court in the US open, the British public want to see Andy Murray on Centre, then let’s see Andy Murray on centre. Novak Djokovic is not number 1 in the world, and neither is Rafael Nadal. I totally understand the scheduling.

      • And I’m an American and you are wrong! Roger actually gets to play on Center Court more than the Americans do.

    • No, NOT every member of the British public ‘wants to see Murray on Centre’. Please do not speak on my behalf. We want to see FAIR PLAY which is supposed to be a British trait, not favouritism because the powers that be want a Federer-Murray final, which is what they tried to engineer last year except that Raonic inconveniently got in the way. I have nothing against Murray but this is not fair. We have come to expect them to do everything in their power to get rid of Djokovic, so this is nothing new, but still again grossly unfair. Personally I’m sick of the sight of Federer and the way he gets ‘special treatment’ all the time. I am ashamed of Wimbledon and their blatant bias. Thank goodness somebody has had the balls to speak out at last. Thank you.

      • Seriously, are you a paid spokesperson by the Djokovic camp? Are you Djokovic’s mother? I see you whining everywhere on social media about the injustices towards Djokovic! Give it a rest already or go to Serbia where all six Djokovic fans reside.

        Tournaments exist to make money. It’s a business. Andy Murray is from the UK and Wimbledon is a tournament played in the UK. It’s obvious why he’s the main attraction isn’t it? Federer is the most successful and beloved player of all time and he has 7 Wimbledon titles. He also may retire soon so people want a chance to see him while they can.

        • Seriously, is your life so sad and empty you have nothing better to do than stalk and abuse a total stranger, and get in a racial dig while you’re at it? Truly, ‘No Common Sense’ is a fitting name.

      • Dear me how can anyone be so harsh and speak of Federer in such a way. Don’t you realise that he’s the best thing that happened for the game of tennis in that he has made other players interested in the game and work harder to try and overpass his record

  3. In response to previous comments, when Djokovic was the world number one and defending champion here he was still treated far worse than Murray and Federer. Andy Murray is British for sure but him being the only one of the four to have a grand slam in his home country is simply coincidence, it shouldn’t yield as much as it does for him. If Murray and Federer are on Court One then fans can still watch and enjoy both, what’s the issue there? If TV broadcasters want to show Court One over Centre Court they can too, I don’t see the issue?

  4. Furthermore, given the roof situation at Wimbledon and the drastic difference in court speeds it would only be fair if all those guys had a relatively similar number of matches off Centre. The fact we even have a situation where Nadal/Djokovic could go into the semi-finals with three matches off Centre and Federer/Murray with none is embarrassing.

  5. its about time we started to show respect to our No 1 , of course he should be on centre. The royal box are made up mainly of British and most the fans are looking to have the No 1 on centre. He’s played on No 1 Court plenty of time when Djokovic was centre. Give him a break and start treating him with the respect he deserves. What he has achieved in the era he is in is nothing short of remarkable

  6. Well make the tournament longer then they can all play on centre court or make no 1 court, Centre court and build a roof over it. What do they do at other major tournaments.

  7. Oh dear, someone who lies awake at night trying to find grievances 🙄 How many other slams have such massive demand that they have to ballot tickets or has people camping outside for nights on end to get on centre court?
    Oops, none.
    Makes total sense and the fairest solution to put the main attractions on the centre court.

  8. Poor article with no real point. They can’t put all 4 on Centre court so who would you change? Please find real things to write about….

    • Only fair #1 and 2 on Center Court. Rafa #4 and Roger #3 on Court #1. I mean what did Novak gain by Wimbledon making him #2 this year? Absolutely nothing!!!

  9. Murray is #1 in the world now so it’s a no brainer.The reason Fed plays on center court apart from having won the tournament 7 times, he also pulls in the biggest crowds wherever he plays. Everybody wants to watch his graceful, stylish shot making.

    • Bingo You are spot on with your comment. Always been the same & won’t ever change he is loved & admired all over the world and is the biggest crowd drawer hence bringing the biggest money to the tournament’s.

  10. Great article, thank you. Finally someone wrote about it! It’s very unprofessional and unfair treatment of Nadal and Djokovic by Wimbledon.

  11. Murray and Federer draw the bigger audiences. It really is that simple. They don’t ask to be constantly scheduled on Centre Court (although I’m sure they’ll take it), they’re put there to pull in the TV crowd. Should the scheduling be fairer? Yes. Will it be? No – Wimbledon will continue to put their biggest draws on Centre. And those who aren’t fans will continue to complain. To no effect.

  12. Correct article with 100% facts. Time someone spoke the truth about SW19 court scheduling! Roger is great but no longer No1 and Andy is British but has only three slams,. As a true tennis fan I wish to see two players reach a final playing on even ground with each having equal time on the the centre court which will determine the champion

  13. If Roger plays on a faster court, then he would anyways have the advantage. Making him play on a slower grass court actually puts him at a disadvantage.

  14. moron of a writer….murray is british he will attracmore crowd than nadal and djo..and federer is the all time crowd fav in thisbtournament..so who the ****ing else will playbon centre other than these two? the centre court is a crowds place and a place for vips…surely the matches of the crowd fav will be played gere and not the others…i guess youre just jealous of federers legacy here….oh and btw federer won his seven wimbledon before getting this vip treatment..and good players doestnt even whine about courts like youre crying..even if roger plays on court 1 he would demolish jisbopponent here

  15. Honestly? What a RUBBISH artcile. The much much much greater discresprect ist how the treat the ladies !!!
    Number 1 & 2 have to play on Court 2 … even with the fact that Kerber vs. Muguruza hold 3 of last 6 slams.
    And Svitolina (Nb 4) vs Ostapenko will be played on Court 12 !!!!!
    Can you imagine one of the Top 4 men put on Court 12 ?!?!
    Thats what we should talk about.
    The only way is: PLAY ON MIDDLE SUNDAY. All 4th round matches on Monday is horroble for the fans.

  16. This article is nonsense. If you’re a good tennis player, it doesn’t matter which court you play on and setting these standards and saying such ridiculous things means every single tennis player that has lost could blame it on not playing on centre court. Don’t open an unnecessary can of worms.

    • How many grass courts have you played on? I play at Queens and can guarantee there’s a huge difference between courts.

    • What are you talking about Jenny? Of course it matters which court you play on. There’s a reason why players tend to dominate on certain courts- Fed on Centre Court Wimbledon, Rafa on Philippe Chatrier, Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena. These are the courts that they excel on, so it shouldn’t be that much of a logical leap to imagine that there are also courts where they struggle on

  17. This is a totally ridiculous and biased article. Seems like a frustrated nadal fan.

    So the courts do not suit nadal/djokovic’s game. Then they better practice and try harder. It like saying roland garros tournament should be ashamed that they have clay courts-since they do not suit the style of federer,Djokovic,murray and heavily prefer spanish/french players.

    Murray the current no.1, last time champion and a brit playing at wimbledon entirely justifies him playing every match on centre court. Same for roger, Seeded higher than nadal, a 10 time wimbledon finalist and 7 time wimbledon champion. What does nadal have? 5 failed years of not even making the quarterfinals.

    I can understand djokovic’s match being unjustly postponed for today,but no way will I stand by the rubbish that others should play more on center court.

    If you want that, then complain about how world no.128 and qualifiers should be playing on center courts for the first few rounds since they rarely(only if they are against top players) get the chance. Totally biased article.

      • Just went through that article too. Then is the author trying to garner more views by using Djokovic/Nadal’s names? Seems like it happens in every Grand slam event,not just wimbledon(which is of course common knowledge). Why only point out the sufferings of these two and not of the remaining 124 players(only men’s).

        Point is,fast or slow,courts are in the same conditions for both the players in the match. Doesn’t matter where they play, it is not “disrespect” to them.It is the simple fact that they generate less revenue(to the officials and the analysts). No other player has ever cribbed and authors/journalists have not taken their issue.

        • Editor’s note: It seems there are two different issues. One is the issue of the general inequities. The other is an issue that, given the current situation, Nadal and Djokovic deserve more respect than they are granted at Wimbledon.

          • Isn’t playing all your matches on either a centre court/court 1 enough of a respect in the first place? Do any other players outside top 6 play all of their matches on these courts? In terms of “respect” and trying to quantify it, Federer and murray deserve more because of the reasons I just listed above.

            And since only a limited number of matches can take place on the centre court, someone has to adjust and given their previous histories(2 and 3 titles vs 7 and 2+no.1 ranking), adjusting djokovic and nadal is apt.

  18. Wimbledon has always favoured that nice Mr Federer. Always will. Bad luck for anyone else. He meets the requirements of the old duffers who rule Wimbledon. They don’t like too many Johnny Foreigners, wot wot.

  19. What a load of bull****!!

    Suck it up that Federer and Murray will never be taken off the center court, for obvious reasons. Well, sure, they should put Djokovic and Nadal on the centre-court too, but blaming court 1 conditions for their losses is idiotic and doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

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