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Should Wimbledon start earlier in the day? 



Should Wimbledon start earlier in the day? 

As the Wimbledon curfew ticked ever closer in Andy Murray’s match second-round clash on Centre Court, you already knew what might happen the next day. At least, it was evident that the Scot was going to run out of time on the night and would have to come back the following day to finish the game he was winning. The catch was that a break in play often comes to the rescue of a player who is losing.


Struck by the curfew curse 

Unsurprisingly, Murray cut a frustrated figure as the umpire announced that the curfew had been enforced and the match would be paused immediately. As sure as night follows day, Murray returned the following afternoon only to lose and would be dumped out of Wimbledon. 

A look at the latest tennis odds for Wimbledon no longer feature the two-time champion and instead price Novak Djokovic as the favourite at 1/2. There’s an unmistakable sense that Wimbledon has lost some of its aura without Murray in the draw for the next round given that the home fans aren’t able to cheer on a local hero.

However, could this scenario have been avoided? Murray certainly seems to think so.


Murray heads up a campaign for change 

Less than 48 hours after Murray’s unfortunate Wimbledon exit, the Scot retweeted an article calling for Wimbledon to start earlier in the day so that the current curfew wouldn’t affect matches. The article in question suggested that the integrity of the championship was being called into question while TV ratings were given priority. As things stand, the day’s play at Wimbledon begins at 13:30 which is half an hour later than in 2021.

In Murray’s opinion, a return to a 13:00 start time would see most games finish before play was temporarily halted for the day. Since the Scot’s loss, he has been doing his best to pressure the Wimbledon chiefs into making a change in time for 2024.

The official response from Wimbledon to this plea was that tournament-goers want a full-day experience at SW19 as it was in most cases, a once-in-a-lifetime experience for supporters. In the organisers’ opinion, a later start time affords fans with tickets this opportunity as they are able to watch matches on the outside courts and visit a few of the restaurants in the complex before heading to Centre Court for the afternoon’s games. 

The opposing view to this explanation is that it has little to do with creating a bucket list experience for fans with Wimbledon accused of pandering to the BBC’s scheduling. Over the last two years, TV viewing figures of Wimbledon have skyrocketed with the lion’s share being recorded in the evening. 

The truth is that a later start time does give fans at home a chance to get home from work and still be able to enjoy the biggest game of the day. 

The downside to a wider national audience is that every so often, a popular player will suffer from the pause in proceedings caused by the curfew and lose the next day.


Too little, too late? 

Going forward, Wimbledon have confirmed that they will review their times for next season in a bid to find a better balance. As promising as that might sound for Murray, it may be too late for a player that could have played his last Wimbledon.


We hope you enjoyed the article ‘Should Wimbledon start earlier in the day?’ Do you agree or disagree? Let us know!


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Jacob graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Reading. An avid footballer, he spent time under the FAW academy programme as well as Cardiff Corinthians. Later going on to play for his university and Wellington United whilst residing in New Zealand. He currently resides in Frome, Somerset. You can contact him at [email protected]


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