Wimbledon Day 8 | Djokovic fills last place in the quarter-finals
The second Tuesday of The Championships is usually reserved for the last eight in the women’s draw but this year there was a male usurper in the schedule which rather marred the feminine flavour of the day.
I thought we could have played. We were kept for two and a half hours in the dark, in a way, without knowing what we are going to do. So you were on your toes warming up, cooling down. Referee’s office was completely indecisive.Novak Djokovic
And it was the fourth round match of Novak Djokovic and Adrian Mannarino which upset the tenor of the day but it wasn’t surprising considering they were due to play 24 hours earlier but couldn’t get on court because Rafa Nadal and Gilles Muller took nearly five hours to decide which of them would go through to the men’s quarter-final.
What was equally surprising was the match, which was due to be played on No1 Court, wasn’t quickly rescheduled to Centre when it became vacant at around 7.00pm the previous evening. Unfortunately the organisers held out and were caught rather flat footed when it went on to around 9.00pm before Muller emerged a 15-13 victor in the deciding set.
As a consequence, thanks to indecision, Djokovic and Mannarino found themselves opening play 24-hours later on Centre Court , under the roof, as rain also became a factor affecting some of the play on the outside courts.
The delay didn’t please the Serb and he didn’t hold back when asked about it after the match, stating: “ I obviously was not happy not to play last night. I wanted to play. I thought we could have played. We were kept for two and a half hours in the dark, in a way, without knowing what we are going to do. So you were on your toes warming up, cooling down. Referee’s office was completely indecisive.
“Finally when the [Nadal Muller] match was over, we thought, Okay, we have two and a half hours, we can go to Centre Court. They said, No, it’s going to take too long to get the crowd in. Anyway, it was frustrating last night, I must admit. But I quickly just turned the next page and just focused on what I need to do today. I’ve done it in straight sets. That’s all that matters. So I try to just be in this moment and look forward to next challenge.”
And as he mentioned, they could have completed the match in the time left for he required just two hours and 15-minutes to dispatch his French opponent who looked a bit bemused at the start of the match only to recover in the second set and lead 4-2 in the tie-break, falling away in the third as the former world number one, seeded two at these Championships, stepped into the men’s last eight for the ninth time, reasonably comfortably 6-2 7-6(5) 6-4.
Unlike the other quarter-finalist Djokovic will not have a day of rest and will be back in action on Wednesday. Hopefully, the right shoulder he required treatment for in both the first and third sets, will have recovered sufficiently for him to take on a well-rested Tomas Berdych, a player the 30 year-old holds a 25-2 record over.
Looking ahead to the match, Djokovic who lost to him in the 2010 semi-finals, said: “Obviously he’s been around many years. He’s an established top-10 player, big game, flat shots, which are pretty good for this surface where the ball bounces quite low. Yeah, he’s someone that understands the occasion of playing big matches, big tournaments. He will not get overwhelmed by the stadium or whatever. He’s got experience. So, for me, it’s important to start off well. I’ve played him many times. I know what I need to do. Hopefully I can execute that.”