A prominent theme that dominated the 2023 Wimbledon Championships, much like many recent tournaments, centered around scheduling concerns.
Among the players expressing their desires for an earlier start time was Novak Djokovic, along with others. However, fulfilling their wishes may not happen anytime soon.
Both Djokovic and Andy Murray raised their voices against the 1:30 pm BST start time, which faced criticism due to matches running over and some players struggling to finish before the curfew. Murray’s match against Stefanos Tsitsipas, in particular, required him to make a comeback but ultimately ended in defeat, underscoring the unfavorable consequences of the late scheduling. Djokovic, having played several night matches, was all too familiar with the issue of late finishes.
Despite the evident need for addressing the matter, any discussions on the subject are likely to be deferred until the annual spring press conference, which is still nine months away, marking the lead-up to the next Wimbledon.
Currently, play at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club is restricted until 11 pm due to local curfews, and there seems to be little chance of changing this rule.
However, the possibility of adjusting the start time by moving it an hour back to align with the outside courts is being considered. This, however, clashes with Wimbledon’s long-standing tradition of maintaining the current schedule.
Interestingly, the tournament has shown a willingness to break with tradition in certain areas, such as accommodating Women’s players by removing the requirement for all-white clothing and introducing new changes behind the scenes.
This suggests that even established customs may not be immune to change, and Wimbledon could be on the cusp of breaking with tradition once more.
“I think so. I agree with that,” Djokovic said at the time. “Obviously curfew is probably something that is much more difficult to change, I understand, because of the community and the residential area we are in. I think the matches could be pushed at least to start at 12:00. I think it would make a difference.”