Wimbledon organisers hit back amid ugly Ash Barty controversy

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Ash Barty, pictured here after her win over Ajla Tomljanovic at Wimbledon.
Ash Barty was given way more time than Ajla Tomljanovic and Emma Raducanu to recover. Image: Getty

Wimbledon officials have defended the scheduling of women's fourth round matches on Monday, which saw Ash Barty inadvertently handed a massive advantage.

Barty's fourth round clash with Barbora Krejčíková started at 1pm local time and wrapped up around 2.45pm.

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But Ajla Tomljanovic and Emma Raducanu didn't get on court until 8pm - and with the winner forced to back up and play again on Tuesday - it meant Barty had more time to rest and recover.

Tomljanovic's contest with Raducanu was the final match on Court One despite all the other women's ties having been played earlier in the day.

A five-set men's match between Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alexander Zverev meant Raducanu and Tomljanovic did not walk out on court until shortly before 8pm, which enabled the contest to be shown in primetime on BBC One.

Even more baffling was the fact that Auger-Aliassime got the day off on Tuesday ahead of the men's quarter-finals on Wednesday. 

“In respect of scheduling, as always, the scheduling of the order of play each day at The Championships is a complex operation, and although we take great care when scheduling matches and allocating courts on a daily basis, it is not an exact science,” a statement from organisers read on Tuesday.

“All decisions are made with fairness and the best interests of the tournament, players, spectators and our worldwide broadcast audience at heart, but the unpredictable nature of the length of matches and the British weather can and will cause disruption to any schedule.”

Ash Barty, pictured here after her win over Ajla Tomljanovic in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
Ash Barty celebrates her win over Ajla Tomljanovic in the Wimbledon quarter-finals. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)

But former Australian player and administrator Paul McNamee wasn't impressed.

“Doesn’t do it for me … all women’s singles matches had to be first, and worst case second, yesterday, as it’s the only day they are scheduled to back up,” he wrote on Twitter. 

“A simple ‘sorry’ would have sufficed.”

Stuart Fraser of The Times labelled the scheduling a “catastrophe”, while The Tennis Podcast called it “crazy”.

Barty was way too good for Tomljanovic on Tuesday, blitzing her compatriot 6-1 6-3.

Whether or not she was more refreshed after the longer turnaround remains to be seen.

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Wimbledon organisers express sadness for Emma Raducanu

Raducanu has since admitted that she was overawed by the occasion as she was forced to retire during the second set against Tomljanovic.

"We were very sad to see Emma forced to withdraw from her match last night and wish her all the best with her recovery," the All England Club said in a statement.

"She should be commended for the poise and maturity she has shown throughout the Wimbledon fortnight and we very much look forward to welcoming her back to Wimbledon next year and in the years to come."

Writing on Twitter, Raducanu said: "I wanted to let everyone know that I'm feeling much better this morning. First up I want to congratulate Ajla on an incredible performance and I'm sorry our match ended the way it did.

"I was playing the best tennis of my life in front of an amazing crowd this week and I think the whole experience caught up with me.

"At the end of the first set, after some super intense rallies, I started to breathe heavily and felt dizzy.

"The medical team advised me not to continue and, although it felt like the hardest thing in the world not to be able to finish my Wimbledon on the court, I was not well enough to carry on."

with AAP

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