One Last Day of Rest at Wimbledon and One Last Crazy Monday


WIMBLEDON, England — Wimbledon On Sunday, the middle tournament was suspended for the last time. The training grounds were busy, but as usual, no fans were taken onto the field and no official matches were played, despite the occasional sunshine.

The players walked peacefully on the field and Taiwanese player Hsieh Su-wei took a photo on an empty Henman Hill.

So far, Wimbledon has been the only tour level event with a scheduled rest day, but rain has occasionally forced tournament organizers to cancel it.

Wimbledon dates back to 1877. The pause is a relic of the days when sports were not played on Sundays for religious reasons. Until 1982, the tournament ended with the men’s singles final on Saturday. But over the decades, the Sunday holiday has become, above all, a moment of collective respite for players, officials, staff, and tournament neighbours.

Next year will bring change, and the traditional Sunday calm will be replaced by the hustle and bustle of a full day of competition as Wimbledon moves from 13 days to 14.

According to All England Club spokesperson Alexandra Willis, with the added day, there is no longer any concern about the playability of Center Court.

“We felt that the tradition of not playing on Sunday filled its time,” Willis said. “If we were confident that Center Court could handle the extra day’s play, why not open it so that all the people who are available on the weekends have one more chance to watch Wimbledon and come to Wimbledon and come to Wimbledon?”

That’s a good question, and while tradition has its own appeal and gives all players at least one full day off to enjoy their second-week qualifying success, it’s doubtful the majority of fans will miss it.

I conducted two unofficial polls on social media: the first in April after the initial announcement of the change, and the second on Sunday. In April, 74 percent of the 2,162 respondents approved of the move. On Sunday, more than 69 percent of the top 2,000 respondents approved.

This is in line with the All England Club’s research and it is suspected that television broadcasters will all agree. Why should I black out from Wimbledon on a day off from audiences around the world?

“They were delighted,” Willis said of the publishers. But to be very clear, this was our initiative, not theirs.”

The decision will increase the tournament’s revenue, but Willis said the primary motivation is to increase access.

“Our modeling shows us that it will give us a roughly 10 percent increase in viewership numbers,” he said.

Players, some of whom appreciate the pause, seem to agree. Tour officials and many players were upset when the French Open was handled unilaterally on the 15th day of the game in 2006. However, this move extended the duration of the tournament and violated other events. Wimbledon will make its move within its current window.

“Everybody wants more days,” said eight-time Wimbledon singles champion Roger Federer. “Look, more days means more income, more choices, more this and that. I get it. I don’t think they’re just doing it for income. I think they think it’s progressing over time too.”

There will be a knock-on effect on that so-called Manic Monday, normally reserved for the fourth round of men’s and women’s singles matches, and this day will become significantly less manic.

Maybe it’s a better concept than reality. With all these meaningful matches vying for attention on all these different courts, it’s like picking up seashells when the tide is rising fast.

Starting next year, the fourth round will be split into Sunday and Monday, aligning Wimbledon with the other three Grand Slam tournaments.

“We think this will help Monday and provide an increase in viewers,” Willis said. “While manic Monday is loved by a lot of people, it’s actually incredibly hard to follow, and if you think about the challenge of planning and handling that day, our media partners often tell us, ‘It’s too much tennis and we just can’t give it the attention it deserves.

But there will be another Manic Monday, and the forecast looked more promising than for most of this tournament played in wet, cloudy conditions.

This can help players foot after all the slips and falls of the first week. Even the smooth-moving Federer fell many times, but Wimbledon officials continued to insist that they prepare the lawn as usual, mow to a height of 8 millimeters, and expressed their belief in the integrity of the surface.

Referring to Wimbledon’s cancellation in 2020, Willis said, “Obviously it hasn’t been played like it was last year. It’s been played a little bit by some members, but the team has renewed the pitch in exactly the same way, so it’s all new grass.”

Of the remaining 16 men, only Federer and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic have won the Wimbledon singles title.

Of the 16 women, only Angelique Kerber won the tournament and none of the other competitors made it to the quarterfinals.

While Djokovic stays overwhelming favorite For the men’s championship, the women’s draw seemed particularly open again. For the first time in the open period, two wildcards have reached the round of 16 – Liudmila Samsonova from Russia and Emma RaducanuThe 18-year-old Brit was ranked 338th, the first to appear at any tour-level event.

Five of Monday’s eight matchups are played for the first time, and no matchup has been played more than twice. This is a sign of the surge in women’s tennis. But while only five of the top 16 seeds remain, this is partly because the rankings do not reflect the current form of the players at this stage, with the rankings partially frozen due to the pandemic.

The season-long live points race seems to be a better indicator of reality, and the top four players – Ashleigh Barty, Barbora Krejcikova, Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek – are still on the hunt.

Two Americans remain, Madison Keys and 17-year-old Coco Gauff, who will face Kerber on Center Court in one of the better matches on Monday. Other notable players included Swiatek against 21st seeded Ounce Jabeur, 18th seeded Elena Rybakina and Sabalenka, and Krejcikova and Barty, who continued their 15-game winning streak. Won the French Open.

In the men’s competition, Sebastian KordaA seedless American playing at his first Wimbledon will celebrate his 21st birthday by pitting him against Russia’s 25th seed Karen Khachanov.

Out of 16, only Djokovic, Federer and Roberto Bautista Agut made it through the fourth round at Wimbledon. Bautista previously lost to Djokovic in the 2019 semi-finals. Djokovic rally to beat Federer in final after recording two match points.

There is no rematch, but FedererThe 39-year-old will likely have to beat three seeded players to reach another final. The first is Lorenzo Sonego No. 23, a dynamic and proving Italian who will be as rested as Federer and everyone else on the pitch after the last Sunday of Wimbledon.

Ben Rothenberg contributing reporting.


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