As Novak Djokovic was walking off the court, having just won the third set tiebreaker 11-9, the Wimbledon tournament director came out to alert the players that the semifinal match will be suspended until tomorrow. When the chair umpire informed the fans of Centre Court this unfortunate news, the fans booed with sorrow and frustration.
This was the headline semifinal match. The 52nd meeting between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Nadal has 17 Grand Slam titles, Djokovic has 13. Both have produced stellar matches in the past, including the longest Grand Slam Final in history at the 2012 Australian Open. Djokovic led the head to head record 26-25, while Nadal has won nine times against the Serbian at Grand Slam tournaments.
A match of this allure and significance deserves to finish in its entirety on Friday. But instead, as a result of a British curfew at 11 PM, the match will have to be delayed until tomorrow.
The Wimbledon Committee should be ashamed for not finding a way to overrule the curfew. In Melbourne and New York, matches go well into the early hours of the morning. Centre Court has lights and the fans would love to continue to see these two legends deliver outstanding points.
Djokovic enters tomorrow with a two set to one lead. He will have to sleep on the lead, which is very difficult to do. For the Spaniard, the momentum that was gained by his opponent will be lost and now it’s a new day, where all Nadal needs to do is win two sets to advance to the Grand Slam Final. This simply would not have happened if the match had continued, as Nadal would have to dig deep to break the momentum in the never-ending roller coaster that is a tennis match.
This match would have concluded if Wimbledon had a fifth set tiebreaker. Earlier in the day, Kevin Anderson defeated John Isner in the second longest match at a Grand Slam tournament. As a result of no fifth set tiebreaker, the two big servers continued to hold serve, increasing the drama and length of the match. Anderson finally broke the American and won the fifth set 26-24.
As a result of this lengthy match, Nadal and Djokovic did not start on Centre Court until 8 PM Britain time. Perhaps the Wimbledon Committee could have put the two superstars on Court 1, especially when they knew that these two servers would go the distance.
But Wimbledon kept with the schedule and now Nadal and Djokovic have to play at 1 PM British time tomorrow. Even more unfortunate is that the second Saturday at Wimbledon is saved for the Ladies Final. That match should get all of the tennis world’s undivided attention. Now, Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber have to wait until after Djokovic and Nadal conclude their match before they take the court competing for a championship. That is ridiculous. Have you ever heard of a Grand Slam final not starting on time due to a match before it?
The set could be 30 minutes or five hours. Who knows with the great Serbian and Spanish tennis superstars. The Wimbledon Committee could easily start Nadal and Djokovic earlier or put the two on Court 1, while the Ladies playing for a Championship have center stage.
Regardless, we will have a winner of tomorrow’s men semifinal. Nadal or Djokovic will face off against Kevin Anderson on Sunday, meaning that one of them will have to play on three consecutive days. The Ladies Final will be fantastic, featuring two top players.
But matches aren’t meant to be delayed and started over again. A match featuring two superstar players deserves to be completed in its entirety on the same day.
And all who could be blamed is the Wimbledon Committee and obscure British curfew laws for preventing this from happening.