Disgust at sexist tennis ‘bulls***’
IF Kevin Anderson and John Isner stunned the world with the longevity of their semi-final, then Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic left everyone in awe with the sheer quality of the tennis they produced.
In a crazy day on Wimbledon's Centre Court, fans were treated to something special.
Firstly, Anderson won a six hour and 36 minute slogfest against Isner in the second longest singles clash ever in grand slam history. That meant Nadal and Djokovic stepped onto the court far later than expected and could only mange three sets inside three hours before play was halted for the day.
Wimbledon is unique in that it has an 11pm curfew. No matter what's happening, all matches still going at that time are stopped and the players are forced to come back the next day.
That's what happened on Saturday (AEST), with Nadal and Djokovic to resume after a good - or perhaps not so good - night's sleep. The Serbian won a thrilling third set tiebreak to take 6-4 3-6 7-6 (11-9) lead into the following day.
Wimbledon officials have decided the match will recommence at 1pm local time (10pm Saturday night AEST), just an hour before the scheduled start of the women's final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber. That means, should the remainder of Nadal and Djokovic's match last longer than an hour - which, judging by what they dished up today, is a very real possibility - then the women's final will be delayed.
Furthermore, the women's doubles final may not even be played on Centre Court because as of Saturday morning, the schedule reshuffle had left it without an assigned court. It has been scheduled as TBA - to be arranged - and will not start before 5pm local time on Saturday.
That has sparked backlash among the tennis community, especially considering the All England Club insists the men's final would not move from 2pm local time - even for the football World Cup final.
WTA insider Courtney Nguyen was furious the women's showpiece could be affected. "It's bulls***," she tweeted, while Aussie tennis great Rennae Stubbs said the men should play after the women.
Nadal and Djokovic produced something special in the three sets they managed to complete. So even was the contest that at one stage late in the third set Djokovic had won 89 points and Nadal had won 88.
Only seven of the previous 51 meetings between Nadal and Djokovic had been won by the player who lost the opening set, so it was a major boost to the Serb's hopes when he took the opener.
But world No. 1 Nadal broke twice in the second set and fended off more break points to level the match.
With the time approaching 10pm, that made it highly unlikely there would be a winner and both players knew how important that third set was likely to be. The momentum was with Nadal but Djokovic's serve kept him just about out of danger.
A stunning tiebreak was a fitting conclusion to the day's play. After recovering from a poor volley that left him 4-2 down, Nadal did his best to pummel Djokovic off the court with his forehand, but the Serbian would not yield.
Nadal will rue missing two returns, while he got a taste of his own medicine on the second chance when Djokovic feathered a drop shot over the net. Djokovic missed a return as the clock ticked to 11pm but on the final lung-busting rally it was Nadal who faltered.
- with AAP