In a dramatic turn of events, the ongoing clash between Andy Murray and Stefanos Tsitsipas at Wimbledon’s All England Championships faced an unexpected interruption. The match, which had reached its third set, was abruptly suspended due to the tournament’s curfew.
Wimbledon has long utilized the roofs on Centre Court and No. 1 Court to allow matches to extend into the late hours. However, even with these technological advancements and the aid of floodlights, there are limitations to how late the action can continue at SW19.
The commencement of Murray and Tsitsipas’ encounter was delayed due to the preceding marathon match between Liam Broady and Casper Ruud, which lasted five grueling sets. Furthermore, an injury to defending champion Elena Rybakina caused a further delay. These factors pushed back the start time for Murray and Tsitsipas, exacerbating the time constraints imposed by the curfew.
Notably, other Grand Slam tournaments have witnessed matches that extended well into the early hours. The US Open last year saw Carlos Alcaraz and Marin Cilic conclude their match at the staggering time of 2:23 am. Similarly, the Australian Open earlier this year featured Andy Murray’s second-round match against Thanasi Kokkinakis, which began after 10 pm and concluded at 4:05 am.
However, Wimbledon operates under different regulations. Let’s delve into the details surrounding the tournament’s curfew:
When is the Wimbledon curfew? The curfew at Wimbledon is enforced at 11 pm local time. This rule has been in effect since 2009 when Centre Court’s roof was introduced, following a requirement by Merton Council to obtain planning permission for the roof. The curfew serves as a balance between accommodating the international tennis event and considering the needs of the local residents. Safety concerns and transportation connectivity are also crucial factors in setting the curfew.
What are the curfew rules? According to the rules, no match is permitted to extend beyond 11 pm. Instances of matches being paused or suspended due to the curfew include Novak Djokovic’s clash with Rafael Nadal in their 2018 semi-final, which was halted after the third set, despite starting at 8 pm. Nick Kyrgios and Ugo Humbert also faced a suspension when tied at 3-3 in the fifth set.
Are there any exceptions to the curfew? In 2012, there was a slight extension to the curfew. Andy Murray managed to defeat Marcos Baghdatis with the clock striking 11:02 pm. Murray was just a single game away from victory as the curfew time approached. Merton Council’s leader, Stephen Alambritis, explained that “flexibility and common sense prevailed” in that instance. The council and tournament officials engaged in discussions during the match, demonstrating a willingness to exercise discretion in exceptional circumstances. Another notable finish just before the curfew occurred in 2010 when Novak Djokovic defeated Olivier Rochus, concluding their match at 10:58 pm.