American star Jessica Pegula is the latest player to hit out at the Australian Open‘s nocturnal scheduling after Thanasi Kokkinakis and Andy Murray’s five-set epic finished after 4am on Friday morning.
Pegula, the No.3 seed in the women’s draw, called the late-night finish “crazy” and opened up on the aftermath for players after such matches.
“There’s no sport that does that,” she said.
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“I don’t think it’s very good. It’s long even for TV. I don’t know who wants to do that. I don’t think they want to do that.
“It is definitely something that needs to be talked about and changed.
“I know it doesn’t happen that often, but when it’s happening at a grand slam, at the biggest stage, those guys, that could be the next round for them or the tournament.
“Doing that is not healthy. The recovery, I can’t even imagine mentally and physically.
“People also don’t realise, you can’t sleep after that either. You’re so wired. I don’t even know if he (Murray) could get any sleep after that.
“It’s definitely something that needs to be talked about because I don’t think any of the players think that should be happening at all.”
Speaking post-match in the wee hours of the morning, Murray described the five-hour marathon as a “farce”.
“I don’t know who it’s beneficial for,” he told the media.
“We come here after the match and that’s what the discussion is. Rather than it being like, epic Murray-Kokkinakis match, it ends in a bit of a farce.
“Amazingly people stayed until the end. And I really appreciate people doing that and creating an atmosphere for us at the end. I really appreciate that.
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“But if my child was a ball kid for a tournament and they’re coming home at five in the morning, as a parent, I’m snapping at that.
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“It’s not beneficial for them, it’s not beneficial for the umpires, the officials, I don’t think it’s amazing for the fans, it’s not good for the players.
“We talk about it all the time, and it’s been spoken about for years.
“But when you start the night matches late and have conditions like that, these things are gonna happen.”
Tennis Australia chief executive and tournament director Craig Tiley defended the slam’s scheduling decisions.
Speaking on Nine’s Today, Tiley said the scheduling of majors was “extremely difficult”, however the late finish would be looked at in the Slam’s annual review.