Australian Open 2023: Craig Tiley defends 4am finish, no plans for match curfew in future

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Australian Open boss Craig Tiley is standing firm and explained why the farcical 4am finish was allowed amid widespread criticism from tennis stars and fans alike.

Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis fell in five sets to British star Andy Murray overnight with the final point played at 4.05am – leaving fans, players, tournament staff and viewers bleary-eyed and some calling for change.

Murray’s brother Jamie – who is playing doubles on Friday – said one match on the night schedule could avoid such a scenario, while Murray himself said is resembled “a farce”.

But Tiley maintained on Friday that that there would be no immediate alterations to the schedule.

“At this point, there’s no need to alter the schedule,” he said on The Today Show.

“We will always look at it, when we do the (tournament) debrief – like we do every year.

“But at this point, at what it is, we’ve got to fit those matches in the 14 days, so you don’t have many options.”

NAVRATILOVA CALLS FOR CHANGE

Tennis great Martina Navratilova said change was “essential”.

“It is essential we create better rules in tennis regarding the weather (light and wind) and starting times or cut-off times for matches,” the 18-time singles grand slam champion said.

“Murray and Kokkinakis will finish around 4am. Crazy- no other sport does this.”

Tiley said Melbourne’s week of wild weather had compounded the issue.

“It’s extremely difficult. There’s so many variables that go into thinking about how you’re going to make it work each day,” he said.

“Over the last three days, we’ve had extreme heat, over five breaks of rain, we’ve had cold, and it’s Melbourne … we’ve had three late nights with scheduling to try and catch up with matches.

“(We budget expected times for matches but) you are going to have an out of the box situation, like last night, where it goes extra-long, unexpectedly.

“There’s always one, and it’s always hard to schedule the entire event around the possibility that it’s going to happen one time.

“You’ve also got to protect the matches. If you just put one match at night and there was an injury, you don’t have anything for the fans or the broadcasters.”

He said there is “absolutely” a welfare element for players, many of whom he said opted into extra events like doubles that also affected their schedule.

RODDICK WEIGHS IN ON ‘BATHROOM-GATE’

Murray was denied a bathroom break at 3am – labelling the move “disrespectful” – which was backed by grand slam champion Andy Roddick.

“This is just so dumb,” he said.

Originally published as Australian Open 2023: Craig Tiley defends 4am finish, no plans for match curfew in future

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