Novak Djokovic dragged into Wimbledon 'mess' amid tradition backlash

The World No.2 had to leave court after the second set at Wimbledon.

Novak Djokovic taking a drink and Djokovic walking off Wimbledon centre court.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) and Hubert Hurkacz were forced to suspend their match because of the Wimbledon curfew kicking in at 11pm. (Images: Getty Images/Twitter)

Tennis fans have been left slamming an old Wimbledon tradition after Novak Djokovic was forced off the court due to the tournament curfew stopping play in his round of 16 match. This year's Wimbledon has been hit with a number of disruptions with rain wreaking havoc in the first few days.

However, one of the biggest issues causing trouble at Wimbledon is the afternoon schedule on centre court. The 2.30pm start has now seen Djokovic enter centre court for his night session match at around 9pm.

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Against second round opponent Stan Wawrinka, Djokovic and the Swiss ace didn't walk onto the court till 8.30pm local time. This left them a little more than two hours to finish their match before the 11pm curfew struck.

Against his latest opponent, Hubert Hurkacz, the duo didn't walk onto the stadium till around 9pm. Djokovic ended up taking the first two sets in closely-fought tiebreaks. The second set finished at 10.35pm.

And to avoid the duo starting another set, court umpire Gerry Armstrong approached both Djokovic and Hurkacz as they were forced to pack up and leave to make way for the traditional curfew.

The 11pm curfew, introduced in 2009, continues to cause issues. The fans that are on centre court for the night session and are hoping to see a full Djokovic match would have left disappointed. Viewers have been calling for the centre court matches to start slightly earlier in the day to avoid disruptions later on in the evening.

Djokovic echoed this sentiment last year when he said starting earlier on centre court could prevent a match being delayed and continued the next day under different conditions.

Tennis fans hit out at Wimbledon curfew tradition

The curfew has already disrupted other matches in this year's Championship. And fans were left fuming at the tradition with many calling the curfew a big hit to the momentum of the match.

Others suggested moving the schedule forward or scrapping the curfew altogether, which is in place to appease the neighbours of the Wimbledon club, would rule out any drama from the players or fans.

Djokovic is looking to equal Martina Navratilova's record of nine Wimbledon trophies at this year's championship. He will also be looking to extend his lead with 24 grand slam titles having won both the Australian and French Open in 2023.

Novak Djokovic celebrates a point at Wimbledon.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) and Hubert Hurkacz will finish their round of 16 clash on Monday after the Wimbledon curfew stopped their match. (Photo by Shi Tang/Getty Images)

If Djokovic can avoid a collapse when he returns on Monday, which saw Andy Murray drop his set lead after play was suspended to lose his second round match, he will face Andrey Rublev. The Russian was taken to five sets against Alexander Bublik in one of the matches of the tournament.

Rublev set up match point with arguably the shot of the tournament in the fifth set, which sent John McEnroe absolutely wild.

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