After beating Granollers (In his second match of the day) at a reasonable hour yesterday (Thursday, 7th may) the studio hosts asked Andy Murray his thoughts re “walking out on court to start a match at 1am”. Andy then said something to the effect of “they don’t like it if we say anything bad about scheduling so we’ll let the ATP sort it out…”
Let’s go back to the beginning. Andy was ‘scheduled’ to play his first match against Philip Kohlschreiber at the Madrid tourney ‘not before 20:30’ on Wednesday night UK time. After a tough gig in Munich whereby he had delays to the extent that he played two matches in one day, and then the final being played on the Monday that Madrid started, ‘not before 20:30’ seemed a tad late for clay but we didn’t question it.
So, we ‘put the tennis on the tv, and waited for Andy Murray to appear. Then we waited some more, and then more. Eventually my husband begrudgingly went off to bed and I was left, as the ‘die-hard-live-sport-watcher-who-needs-sleep-anyway’ person to wait for Murray.
Now, I don’t profess to know the inner workings of a professional tennis player’s life, but I would wager if I were a betting person that, at midnight UK time, or 01:00 Spanish time, both of these elite athletes would be tucked up in bed getting their beauty/elite athlete sleep.
Yes, ATP, we know that the only match you may be absolutely certain of the timing on (weather permitting) is the first one of the day, and yes, ATP, we understand matches run on. We also know, ATP, that even though this is ‘men’s tennis’, the women play their tournament on the same courts, so even though we don’t see their matches, they are there adding to the time factor.
BUT THERE NEEDS TO BE A LINE.
A BIG, FAT, RED ONE!!!!!!
A line that is not crossed for many reasons. There needs to be common sense… Thought for the players, tournament workers, and spectators/viewers.
I suppose, ATP, that you are probably going to say the match had to go ahead ‘because people had bought tickets’…
THE PEOPLE WERE NOT THERE!!!
The stands were pretty much empty. The player’s teams, umpire, court attendants and I may have been the only spectators.
The crowd brings a lot to a match and the players were deprived of that element.
You may, ATP, say that the match had to go ahead because of scheduling.
They deal with more players and let’s face it, a two week long tournament during which time it
could probably will rain, and they aren’t allowed to play long into the night so must re-jig their schedules during daylight hours.
You might, ATP, suggest that you have a duty to the sponsors.
THE PLAYERS SHOULD ALWAYS BE YOUR FIRST PRIORITY.
Without the players you don’t have a tournament. Without spectators and viewers you may not have a tournament. Without a tournament you won’t need sponsors, and forgive me repeating myself…
THE PEOPLE (your sponsors are targeting) WERE NOT THERE (to see the sponsors ads) BECAUSE THE MATCH STARTED AT ONE IN THE MORNING.
You might guess, ATP, that I am more than annoyed about this scheduling debacle. I twitched with anger all the way through the match, but not for me, I ‘do’ live sport in the middle of the night. I twitched for the players that had likely been blindsided by your decision that the match start in the wee hours.
The result came down on my side, so I’m not ranting because my player lost. Mr Murray came through, then left the court at about three in the morning, no doubt to start his recovery FOR HIS NEXT MATCH LATER THAT DAY. But I was INCENSED that the players can be treated like this, and trust that something WILL BE DONE. It’s bad for the sport.