Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras’ Shining Example Cited as Australian Open Brutally Slammed for Putting Players in Jeopardy – ‘Absolute Rubbish’

Published 01/24/2024, 3:58 AM EST

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via Reuters

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley and other officials of the Australian Open have been facing flak for late finishes over the past few days. Before the start of the tournament, Tiley had claimed to make the Australian Open a 15-day event starting on Sunday. And, having only 2-day session matches would address the issue. But it didn’t happen and here’s how the tennis world is now reacting to this issue.

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Eurosport expert, Tim Henman has recently cited the example of a match between Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras while brutally slamming the Australian Open scheduling. He said the Australian Open’s plan to avoid late-night finishes has just not worked out.

Tim Henman raises several questions on the scheduling of the first Grand Slam of the season

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Novak Djokovic took 3 hours and 45 minutes to clinch a hard-fought victory against America’s Taylor Fritz on Tuesday. This resulted in a delay of more than 2 hours at the start of Jannik Sinner’s match against Andrey Rublev. Here’s what the 49YO former tennis player had to say after seeing the consistent late finishes in the tournament.

via Reuters

The day session could have started earlier. And, then we wouldn’t have had a delay for the start of the night session. With those straight-set matches, the tournament and the players were lucky to finish at 1:20 am. We could have finished at 2:20 or 3:20, even more, if those matches go long. With the night session, the tournament doesn’t want to be selling a ticket with one match. They want two. That is your predicament.” Tim Henman.

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He then went on to raise several questions and asked, “Do you start the night session earlier? Is 6 pm the better time to start? That has some complications with the host broadcasters. Do we need to really think about speeding the balls and the courts up so the rallies aren’t quite so long? I reference one of the semi-finals between Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. Five sets in under three hours; that just doesn’t happen [now]. It’s now an hour a set.

Talking about the recent initiatives taken by the AO this year Henman said, “This tournament has tried to talk about how starting on Sunday was going to help the night sessions. But that was absolute rubbish. It just meant that the first round was played over three days. With the finishes we’ve had; Medvedev finishing at 03:45 am, this, something has to be done. We can’t carry on like this and say, ‘Well, the matches are taking a long time’, because it’s no good for anyone. The players, the spectators, the ball kids, the line judges, the tournament. Hopefully, this will be something that finally happens.

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A few days back Australian Open came under fire as ticket holders took a jibe at the organizers for their ridiculous day 7 scheduling. Now, yet again the tennis world is back criticising the scheduling of the 2024 Australian Open.

Mats Wilander has a say on this ongoing problem at the Australian Open

The 59YO Swedish former tennis player has used the US Open as an example of how to combat the issue. Talking about the current situation and lack of recovery time for the players in the Australian Open he said, “We don’t have that problem at the US Open. Because they always start the quarter-finals at noon. We often talk about Djokovic having the best schedule, because he plays at night. It turns out playing at night might not be the best thing, because you can have these situations. The luck of the draw.”

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Novak Djokovic also spoke on this issue and has even suggested planning fewer matches on the center court or holding them in one ongoing session.

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Written by:

Sayantan Roy

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Tennis has been my passion since my childhood. My sheer love and enthusiasm for the racket sport has been a major influence in me wanting to build a career in sports journalism. Additionally, being a die-hard Real Madrid fan makes me more connected to my tennis idol-Rafael Nadal, who himself is a huge Los Blancos fan and a contender to become its next President.
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Edited by:

Ananya Giri

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