Davis Cup Finals 2019: Organisers tweak timings for knockouts to avoid late finish as team captains slam scheduling

  • With a tie consisting of two best-of-three set singles rubbers and a doubles, that is potentially 18 sets of tennis on one court.

  • Britain's tie with the Netherlands on Wednesday lasted almost nine hours and caused a two-hour delay to the start time of the evening match.

  • Italy and the United States finished their tie at the ludicrous time of 4am. The previous evening, Spain's clash with Russia ended close to 2am.

Madrid: Organisers of the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid have brought forward the start times of Friday’s last-eight ties by half an hour after a week of late finishes at La Caja Magica.

Serbia’s clash with Russia will start at 0930 GMT with the matches between Britain and Germany and hosts Spain and Argentina beginning at 1630 GMT.

 Davis Cup Finals 2019: Organisers tweak timings for knockouts to avoid late finish as team captains slam scheduling

Australia captain (right) Lleyton Hewitt slammed the Davis Cup organisers as they played a third match on successive nights and lost to Canada. AP

The inaugural edition of the revamped competition featuring 18 nations playing off for the trophy has proved a scheduling challenge with two ties on each of the three courts each day.

With a tie consisting of two best-of-three set singles rubbers and a doubles, that is potentially 18 sets of tennis on one court. Britain’s tie with the Netherlands on Wednesday lasted almost nine hours and caused a two-hour delay to the start time of the evening match.

It was a similar story on Court 2 where Italy and the United States finished their tie at the ludicrous time of 4am. The previous evening, Spain’s clash with Russia ended close to 2am.

Players and captains have been reasonably understanding of the situation, but say the schedule will need to be addressed for next year when the Finals are also in Madrid.

“It’s the first year, and there’s going to be some things like that,” British captain Leon Smith said. “It happens at even more established events. Jo Konta v (Garbine) Muguruza at the Australian (Open).

“It’s sometimes bad luck, isn’t it? It’s something that they’ll look at next year, and look at the scheduling and how to mitigate against something like that happening.”

Rafael Nadal said the late finishes made trouble for players and fans while captain Sergi Bruguera said something would have to be done.

“You cannot finish the games at two in the morning. This must be adjusted next time.”

Australia, playing their third match in successive nights, lost Nick Kyrgios to a collarbone injury before the quarter-final and faced a Canadian team who has a day off on Wednesday.

“The scheduling is a big problem,” twice Grand Slam champion Hewitt told reporters.

“You know, for us to have had to play these three nights in a row, it’s not ideal.

“Yeah, I understand it’s the first time and you’re going to have hiccups and you’ve got to learn from it. But there’s been a lot of small problems, that’s for sure.”

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic had some sympathy.

“With the rest between matches and the singles players, double players, ceremonies, and all these different things that are part of the protocol, it’s always going to be very complicated to get everything done on time,” he said.

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Updated Date: Nov 22, 2019 10:39:32 IST