Wimbledon forced into drastic last minute change that could cause chaos for fans | Tennis | Sport

Wimbledon organisers have shifted the start of play on the outside courts for Wednesday’s action to 10:30am in order to deal with the backlog of matches.

Poor weather has plagued the Championships so far, with the Great British summer-time having caused plenty of headaches for the tournament organisers.

Seven of the first nine days of tennis action saw matches scratched from the running order, with the mixed doubles event hit the hardest.

The mixed doubles final has already been forced to move from Thursday to Sunday while the women’s doubles final has been shifted from Saturday to Sunday too, with the latest solution deemed to be starting play on the outside courts earlier.

A Wimbledon statement read: “Please note we will be moving the start of play on the outside courts to 10:30 tomorrow [Wednesday]. This will not alter gate opening times which remain at 10:00.”

It could cause problems for tennis-goers looking to sample the action in SW19, who may have to alter their own plans for Wednesday’s action.

But further problems could lay ahead for the organisers, should the weather continue to cause problems in Wimbledon‘s final week, with moving matches to the indoor courts still a possibility.

Speaking about the disruption, All England Club chief executive Sally Bolton said: “We now have an extra day, we’ve got the two roofs, so, in terms of resilience to get through the Championships, we’re confident we can still do that despite the continuing variability of the weather.

“We’ve got a range of contingencies. Going indoors is one of those options but that really would be a bit of a last resort.”

Bolton also believes the weather has impacted attendance figures at this year’s Wimbledon, with figures from the first week a reported four per cent lower than last year.

The chief executive said: “The weather has been so terrible that perseverance in the queue has been even greater this year than it ordinarily is.

“We’re never about maximising our attendances, we’re all about protecting the queue and making sure that we have still got that accessibility, accepting that as a result of that was some variability on the numbers that we will end up achieving.

“Every year when we get back to the end of the championships we look back and try and analyse the data to understand what might drive that. But this year the weather has been so variable and so bad at times, that at the moment our assessment is it’s almost certainly the weather that’s impacting it.”

Despite the dismal conditions, the Championships haven’t been short of drama, with reigning Carlos Alcaraz through to the semi-finals after a commanding victory over Tommy Paul.

The Spaniard will take on Daniil Medvedev in the last four, whereas in the women’s draw, Lulu Sun’s fairytale run came to an end at the hands of Donna Vekic.

The standout contest on Wednesday sees ninth seed Alex de Minaur take on seven-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic – a centre-court clash which is unlikely to be impacted by the weather.

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