There are no plans for players to be handed more control over stoppages in play because of bad light or adverse weather during grand slams, despite several matches at Wimbledon featuring disputes with umpires about the conditions.
Tomas Berdych became the latest high-profile player to voice his frustration when he pressed the umpire in his fourth-round match against Jiri Vesely, Mohamed Lahyani, to suspend it or move it under the Centre Court roof as darkness descended on Court No3 on Monday night.
The 10th seed was still unhappy about the situation after returning on Tuesday to wrap up a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 win and set up a quarter-final against Lucas Pouille, the 32nd seed.
“I think we should have definitely some word in that because I think we are the one who are on the court,” Berdych said. “We are the one that are performing. The decisions are made by people who are sitting at the chair. That’s a bit unfair in this sense.
“That’s how it is. But we can’t really change much about it. We have to deal with the situation as it is. That’s all I can do. I have to be focused what I have to do on the court. When you feel that you can’t really change any decision, it’s really pointless to try to do that.”
However, the consensus among the authorities is that the umpire should have the final say, lessening the chances of a player trying to halt play to gain a tactical advantage. The Grand Slam Committee currently sets the rules for major tournaments and there is little desire for change.
Berdych is not alone in his frustration, though. The French player Gilles Simon threatened legal action after he was made to play on despite rain making the court slippery during his defeat to Grigor Dimitrov last week, while Serena Williams reacted similarly during her fourth-round win over Svetlana Kuznetsova on Monday. Williams later scoffed at suggestions she was going to sue the All England Club, however.
There was also controversy when Pablo Cuevas asked to go off court for a toilet break at 8-9 in the final set of the Uruguayan’s third-round doubles match with Marcel Granollers, of Spain, against Britain’s Jonny Marray and Adil Shamasdin, of Canada, on Monday, only to be refused by the French umpire, Aurélie Tourte. A claim by one witness that Cuevas urinated into a can, under the cover of a towel, was rejected by Wimbledon officials.
Berdych’s complaints began near the end of the fourth set on Monday. The 2010 finalist said that he could not see the ball properly and pointed out that it was too dark for Hawk-Eye to work. His protests fell on deaf ears as Vesely fought back from 3-5, saved five match points and won the tie-break to force a fifth set. Play was suspended shortly after 9.15pm.
“I don’t know why we have to play in that situation when a very accurate machine is not able to operate,” said Berdych. “I don’t think that the human eye can see better than that. That’s another fact.”
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