Following a routine 6-2, 7-6, 6-4 win over Adrian Mannarino on Tuesday, former world number one Novak Djokovic had some choice words for Wimbledon organizers.
Wimbledon: Day 1 Highlights
Djokovic criticized the All-England Club’s decision to not move his quarterfinal match to Centre Court, which was available, but opting to push it to the next day.
“I obviously was not happy not to play last night,” Djokovic said. “I wanted to play. I thought we could have played. They said, ‘No, it’s going to take too long to get the crowd in (Centre Court).”
The match being rescheduled for Tuesday, ahead of women's quarterfinal, meant two things: the women would have a later start and Djokovic would not have a day off between the round of 16 and quarterfinal matches.
Tournament officials released a statement in response to Djokovic's grouse.
“The safety and security of all visitors to The Championships is of paramount importance,” the statement read.
“The preference was to play the Djokovic vs Mannarino match as scheduled on No. 1 Court. When that was no longer an option, it was determined the match could not be moved to Centre Court due to the number of spectators remaining in the Grounds. As late as 8:30 pm, 30,000 people still remained in the Grounds, and therefore moving the match would have created a significant safety issue."
Djokovic was also annoyed that, both he and his opponent, were not regularly updated while waiting to play their match.
“We were kept for two and a half hours in the dark, in a way, without knowing what we are going to do,” Djokovic said. “So you were warming up, cooling down. Referee’s office was completely indecisive.
For the history books
Not to be outdone, the women's draw produced its own flair and fireworks.
“I feel quite capable, to be honest, and very powerful,” Williams said, after consecutively dispatching opponents who are born the year she made her debut – 1997.
The most recent casualty being French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who journeywoman Williams sent packing 6-3, 7-5.
The five-time Wimbledon winner, 37-year-old Venus Williams, also etched her name into the history books, becoming the oldest women’s semifinalist in 23 years as well as playing her 100th match in 10 appearances at the All-England Club.
Up next for Williams is another history maker, Johanna Konta, who became the first British female Wimbledon semifinalist since 1978.
The hometown heroine displayed nerves of steel in a nailbiter against French Open runner-up Simona Halep – who she dug deep to edge 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 in front of Virginia Wade, the last Brit to make the semis.
“I feel very, very humbled, and I’m very excited to share the court with her again,” Konta said of Williams.
The encounter lasted just over two-and-a-half hours.
In other matches, 2015 finalist Garbine Muguruza dispatched the number eighth-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-3, 6-4. The Spaniard will face off with the world number 87, Magdalena Rybarikova, who took out American CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-3 – continuing her fairytale run in the tournament
“I have no idea how come I was this calm,” said Rybarikova in a post-match interview.
Men - Round of 16
Novak Djokovic def Adrian Mannarino 6-2, 7-6, 6-4
Garbine Muguruza def Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-4
Magdalena Rybarikova def Coco Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-3
Venus Williams def Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 7-5
Johanna Konta def Simona Halep 6-7, 7-6, 6-4
Gilles Muller vs Marin Cilic
Andy Murray vs Sam Querrey
Milos Raonic vs Roger Federer
Tomas Berdych vs Novak Djokovic
Venus Williams vs Johanna Konta
Garbine Muguruza vs Magdalena Rybarikova