Australian Open: Djokovic backs up Murray’s concerns over ‘gruelling’ schedule


 Novak Djokovic said on Saturday that Australian Open organisers should take player input into account when scheduling matches, adding that late night clashes are “gruelling” for players.

Andy Murray slammed officials as his epic five-set win over Thanasi Kokkinakis finished after 4 a.m. on Friday (1700 GMT on Thursday), well beyond the usual Grand Slam midnight madness.

Following his elimination from the tournament at the hands of Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round on Saturday, the Scot again criticised the scheduling, saying, “finishing matches at 4 in the morning isn’t good for the players.”

When asked for his opinion on Murray’s comments, nine-times champion Djokovic told reporters: “I think that players’ input is always important for tournament organisation.

“We know that it’s not (decisive) because it comes down to what the TV broadcasters want to have. That’s the ultimate decision maker,” added the Serbian after his 7-6(7) 6-3 6-4 victory over Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday.

“I would agree with his (Murray’s) points… For the crowd, it’s entertaining, it’s exciting, to have matches (end at) midnight, 1, 2, 3 am. For us, it’s really gruelling.

“Even if you go through and win, prevail in these kind of matches, you still have to come back.

“You have your sleeping cycle, rhythm disrupted completely, not enough time really to recover for another five-setter. Yeah, something needs to be addressed I guess in terms of the schedule after what we’ve seen this year.”

Djokovic next faces Australian Alex de Minaur in the fourth round on Monday.


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