Jamie Murray takes aim at French Open chiefs as row kicks off after Novak Djokovic chaos | Tennis | Sport

Jamie Murray has questioned the French Open organisers’ scheduling logic after Novak Djokovic’s match was pushed back to accommodate Grigor Dimitrov and ended up finishing at 3.06am – the latest finish in tournament history.

The elder Murray brother, who is the new Queen’s tournament director, branded late finishes an “issue” and didn’t understand why the men’s singles matches carried over from Friday weren’t prioritised until it was too late.

The doubles star also raised concerns about Djokovic’s recovery, as the world No.1 will now have to return on Monday to face Francisco Cerundolo.

There was chaos with the Court Philippe-Chatrier schedule on Saturday when organisers panicked and put Grigor Dimitrov vs Zizou Bergs on before Djokovic’s clash with Lorenzo Musetti. Dimitrov and Bergs started their match on Friday but it was rained off and rescheduled for Saturday morning on an outside court.

Another downpour delayed them further and they had their court assignments changed before ending up on the main stadium with an all-important roof. But organisers made the decision before the match prior – Alexander Zverev vs Tallon Griekspoor – went to a fifth set. It meant that Dimitrov started at around 8pm local time, around 15 minutes before Djokovic was originally set to walk on against Musetti.

The world No. 1 took to the court more than two hours late and, after surviving a four-hour and 29-minute marathon, finished in the early hours of Sunday. Former doubles No. 1 Murray believes organisers went wrong by not prioritising postponed matches like Dimitrov’s in the first place. “Obviously it was raining and stuff,” Murray said.

“I mean their issue was that men singles matches, they hadn’t gone on court that needed to be finished. They should have been on at the start of the day on the covered courts probably.” Dimitrov wasn’t the only player affected. His next opponent, Hubert Hurkacz, found himself in the same situation.

Hurkacz’s third-round contest with Denis Shapovalov was also delayed to Saturday and eventually placed on Court Suzanne-Lenglen as an additional match to finish. And Murray was frustrated to see a point in the day when the men’s singles matches weren’t on court – a prime opportunity to let those who had been postponed take to the clay.

He continued: “And there was a stage where all the women’s matches were on court finished and there was four or five men’s match playing, which the men unfortunately has to be a priority to get those matches finished because there’s five sets, these guys are playing back to back five set matches, which obviously here there’s not always much you can do about it.

“Yeah, it won’t be easy for Novak to recover. It’s not like he’s 25 anymore either. So yeah, I was feeling for those guys last night for sure.” Although organisers had no idea that Djokovic would play a five-set thriller, or that the matches before his would go so long, Murray still thought the main issue was failing to prioritise the likes of Dimitrov and Hurkacz.

“There’s more important matches that probably should have been on those courts. I mean more important in terms of getting them finished than some of the matches that were on there,” he explained. “But yeah, that’s it. Hopefully it doesn’t happen, but it still seems to be an issue in tennis with these late finishes.”

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