The recent 11pm curfew at Wimbledon has sparked controversy and dissatisfaction among players and fans alike. Several matches, including Novak Djokovic’s round of 16 clash against Hubert Hurkacz and Andy Murray’s second-round match against Stefanos Tsitsipas, were suspended due to the curfew.
Andy Murray and his brother Jamie have expressed their frustration with the curfew on social media. Andy retweeted a post suggesting that matches on Centre Court should start at least an hour earlier than the current 1:30pm start time. Jamie also voiced his agreement with the sentiment, tweeting “Another night. Confirmed.”
The curfew was introduced in 2009 after the roof was built on Centre Court, and it is a planning condition set by Merton Council. The council aimed to balance the needs of local residents with the scale of an international tennis event taking place in a residential area. Transport connectivity and ensuring the safety of visitors were also cited as important considerations.
While matches on other courts begin around 11am, Centre Court and Court One, the only courts with roofs, start much later. This has resulted in matches being played over two days, leaving fans puzzled and desiring earlier start times to allow for more flexibility.
There have been instances where the curfew was slightly extended. For example, in 2012, Andy Murray’s match against Marcos Baghdatis had the curfew pushed back to 11:02pm when the Scot was on the verge of victory.
Merton Council’s leader at the time, Stephen Alambritis, mentioned that flexibility and common sense prevailed on that occasion, and discussions took place between planning officers and the tournament director.
Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, is facing tough competition from top seed Carlos Alcaraz, as well as Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, who are still in the tournament. However, fourth seed Casper Ruud has been eliminated after losing to British player Liam Broady.