Swiatek and Gauff Advocate for Earlier Matches at Grand Slams

Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff highlighted the need to start matches earlier at Grand Slams after Novak Djokovic's marathon third-round match concluded early Sunday morning. Both players emphasized that late finishes disrupt recovery and fan engagement, and suggested adopting scheduling limits similar to the WTA and ATP Tours.


Reuters | Updated: 02-06-2024 18:18 IST | Created: 02-06-2024 18:18 IST
Swiatek and Gauff Advocate for Earlier Matches at Grand Slams

Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff stressed the need to start matches earlier at Grand Slams after defending champion Novak Djokovic came through a marathon third-round clash that ended in the early hours of Sunday morning.

After rain delays forced organisers to wedge another match into Saturday's packed schedule, Djokovic was taken all the way by Lorenzo Musetti but fed on the crowd's energy to prevail in the latest ever Roland Garros finish at a little past 3 a.m. A few hours later, Swiatek romped to a 6-0 6-0 victory over Anastasia Potapova in 40 minutes and said late finishes were not ideal for fans or players.

"It's not easy to play and it's not like we're going to fall asleep one hour after the match. Usually, it takes us four hours to even chill and you need to do recovery, media. It's not like the work ends when the match point (is won)," Swiatek told reporters. "I was always one of the players that said that we should start a little bit earlier. Also, I don't know if the fans are watching these matches if they have to go to work next day or something when the matches are finishing at 2 or 3 a.m."

Former Roland Garros runner-up Coco Gauff echoed Swiatek's comments. "It may be not fair for those who have to play late, because it does ruin your schedule. I've been lucky, I haven't been put in a super late finish yet," said Gauff, who beat Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-1 6-2 in an hour on Sunday.

The WTA and ATP Tours made a joint announcement this year limiting the number of matches that can be scheduled on a court in an evening session and banning contests beginning after 11 p.m. in the interests of player welfare. Gauff said it was an idea that the Grand Slams could look into as well.

"Maybe if a match is going long, possibly moving courts," Gauff added. "I know it's tough because, especially here, it's only one night match, and people paid for those tickets. "It's a complicated thing, but I think for the health and safety of the players it would be in the sport's best interest to try to avoid those matches finishing -- or starting after a certain time.

"Obviously, you can't control when they finish." Scheduling issues often impact the Australian Open, French Open and U.S. Open, where tickets are sold separately for day and evening sessions. Wimbledon is limited to finish by 11 p.m. local time due to a curfew.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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