World number three Stanislas Wawrinka has slammed the Wimbledon tournament officials over how his matches have been scheduled, as he may have to eventually play three matches in as many days if he wants to emerge victorious at SW19 this week when it matters most.
The Australian Open champion has accused the All England Club of ignoring requests from players and said they “do what suits them”, as rain delays on Saturday forced his third round match with Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin to be postponed until Monday.
That decision was taken just after 5pm on Saturday, though other matches were then allowed to be completed on Saturday evening, including junior and doubles matches on outside courts, with Wawrinka and Istomin being scheduled to play on Court One.
The Swiss star is unhappy about the situation, as after beating Istomin 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 he had to get past in-form Feliciano Lopez yesterday, before gearing up for a clash with countrymen and Davis Cup team-mate Roger Federer just 24 hours later.
The fifth-seed told the Guardian last weekend: “To play a five-set match, it’s never easy.
“But if you look at this week, me or López or Isner have to play three matches in three days, five-set matches.
“It’s terrible for the body.”
The organisers also postponed the entire bottom half of the men’s draw for Monday, with the tradition being that all fourth round matches in the men’s and women’s draw take place on the second Monday after a rest day on the middle Sunday.
Wawrinka complained about other matches being given time to be completed on Saturday, as it has given players in the top half of the draw two days extra rest moving into the business end of the tournament.
“I was surprised because they told us but then they started to play matches. It was a perfect day to finish actually and they played so many matches.
“Then they said for security reasons they didn’t want to put our match on a small court. But [Kei] Nishikori was playing on a small court, all the other matches were playing on small courts.”
The 29-year-old went on to criticise the attitude of the All England Club, who have had to deal with another scheduling crisis, with more rain delays on Monday causing more matches to be postponed in the women’s draw.
“They just say what’s going to be the schedule and that’s it. “Even if you want to talk to them, they’re not going to change anything.
“They don’t listen to the player. They just do what they think is good for them.”
Despite his potential heavy workload, Wawrinka seemed to be in strong form against Istomin, as he converted four out of five break points on the way to a comfortable victory.
It took him just 87 minutes to advance, and in Lopez he will be up against a player who has also had to play a second match in two days, as his third round match against America’s John Isner was also postponed on Saturday, which he eventually won 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 7-5.
It has been an historic year for the Swiss number one, as he completed his maiden Grand Slam victory at the Australian Open in January, and should he defeat Lopez, he will advance to his first quarter-final at Wimbledon.
His performance at SW19 this year has been a significant improvement on a first round exit in both of his previous two tournaments, and he had only won one match in the previous four years before the 2014 tournament.
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