‘I don’t think it looks professional’: Andy Murray voices opposition to late matches

·3-min read
Britain’s Davis Cup clash with the USA on Wednesday did not finish until just before 1am (Action Images via Reuters)
Britain’s Davis Cup clash with the USA on Wednesday did not finish until just before 1am (Action Images via Reuters)

Andy Murray believes tennis needs to address the growing number of late-night matches.

Great Britain’s Davis Cup tie against the USA in Glasgow on Wednesday did not conclude until nearly 1am, with Murray and Joe Salisbury narrowly losing the deciding doubles to Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock.

That followed a number of matches at the US Open that carried on until the early hours, while it is an increasingly common scenario at some tour events.

Although a sizeable number of fans at the Emirates Arena did stay for the finish, many had to leave, with no public transport options at that time and work or school commitments to consider.

Murray said: “It would be better if they were earlier I think for everyone involved. I don’t think it’s ideal for you guys. I don’t think it’s ideal for the fans.

“That match that we played there, there’s probably half of the people in there at the end of the match that were there at the beginning. It’s a bit of a shame because they missed a great match.

“It’s not probably because they didn’t want to stay. If you’ve got children here, you can’t stay with them. You’ve got to get a bus or train home. Can’t do it.

“For the ball kids and things like that, it’s inappropriate. The players are still able to go out and compete. We’re still playing really well. But it’s not ideal for the US team to come back and play (on Thursday).

“They’re probably not going to be tucked up in their beds until probably 3.30, 4am by the time they’ve done their recovery and managed to sort of calm down after a tie like that.

“It’s not just here, obviously. We’ve seen it at the US Open even just last week. It’s something that tennis needs to have a bit of a think about. I don’t think it looks that professional.”

The tie did not begin until 4pm, with the Lawn Tennis Association concerned that fans would be put off buying tickets on a weekday if it started earlier for fear of missing much of the action.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

All three matches were tight and long, with the exceptionally slow surface compounding the issue.

Britain did well to battle back after Dan Evans was edged out by Tommy Paul in the opening rubber, with Cameron Norrie pulling off a gritty win over Taylor Fritz having been second best for much of the contest.

Murray and Salisbury were then a set and a break up against Ram – Salisbury’s US Open-winning doubles partner – and Sock before the Americans turned things around to win 5-7 6-4 7-5.

Captain Leon Smith described his team as “battered and bruised” but they are still well placed to qualify from the four-team group for the last-eight shootout in Spain in November.

Britain will be favourites to beat the Netherlands on Friday and Kazakhstan on Sunday, although both teams have the potential to cause an upset.

“It’s still going to be tough because the other two nations are strong,” said Smith. “We said that before this tie. I think a lot of the matches are 50/50, including the ones that are coming up.

“All the guys played really good matches, so it will take a lot of recovery. It’s obviously good that we’ve got a day’s grace before our next match.

“We’ve got a terrific bunch of players. They’re playing really well. So our aim is to qualify. It will start again on Friday.”