Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley sees no reason to make changes to the schedule. After Andy Murray’s match, which was not finished until just after 4 a.m. local time, there is again fierce criticism of the planning of the grand slam tournament.
“You would expect to be able to play two matches in the time between 7pm and 12am. We also need to protect the matches. If you put only one match in the evening session then you have nothing else for the fans and the broadcasters if somebody gets hurt,” Tiley said on Channel Nine’s camera.
“We have to play all matches in fourteen days and don’t have many options. We have often had to deal with long games. After the tournament we evaluate annually, but at the moment there is no reason to change anything.” In 2008, a match between Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis ended even later, at 4:34 am.
On social media, many greats expressed their surprise at the marathon party in the middle of the Australian night. “There is no sport that does this,” wrote Martina Navratilova. “It is necessary that we set better rules with regard to the weather, start times for matches and times to stop.”
Murray already showed his displeasure during the match and even after the blistering five-setter he expressed his indignation. “I don’t know who benefits from this. We’re here after a game like this and the discussion is about this. Instead of being about an epic game, it ends in some kind of farce.”
The Australian Open showed images on social media that showed Murray was back at Melbourne Park about eight hours after using the match point. The 35-year-old Scot will face Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round on Saturday.
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