It has been the biggest talking point of the Australian Open so far and now Boris Becker and Tim Henman have joined forces to add their voices to the debate over late-night finishes.
Suggestions that matches should be played over the best of three sets or only one match should be scheduled for evening sessions have been mentioned as possible solutions after Andy Murray’s match against Thanasi Kokkinakis ended after 4am Melbourne time on Wednesday.
Now former world No 1 Becker has told Eurosport that the time has come for tennis to make sure a repeat cannot happen.
“The question is whether it makes sense to play that long. It is also a bit of a distortion of competition,” said Becker.
“Murray wins here at five minutes past four in the morning, then there is the cool down and the press conference. He won’t get to the hotel before six or half-past six – and you can’t even think of sleeping then.
“He may have a day off from playing, but his entire body rhythm is disrupted. In which sport do you play until four in the morning?
“That is not fair for the players who go on there. However, he has to make sure that the blood is running again, and that he starts sweating again.
“Of course, he is very tired the day after the match and his joints hurt. But he can’t stay in bed until three or four o’clock in the afternoon because he might have to be back on the court tomorrow afternoon.”
Former Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander echoed those sentiments, as he suggested the current rules were ‘unfair’.
“When you have tennis matches finishing at four o’clock in the morning, I think it’s very unfair for the player that’s involved that’s winning,” he told Eurosport.
“Obviously going to bed at seven o’clock in the morning is very difficult and just because you get one day off it doesn’t really do enough,” said Wilander.
“So we have a lot of famous cases where that’s been a big problem in the past and it seems at the Australian Open it happens more regularly than at the US Open, where they also have a night session.
“I think they need to look at the schedule and maybe have a deadline where we’re not playing past – let’s say 2:00 AM – because for Andy Murray right now, it’s very, very difficult to come back.”
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