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Tennis Players Share Views on Novak Djokovic’s Late Finish at French Open: ‘It’s Unhealthy’

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Novak Djokovic, the French Open defending champion, recently played a marathon match against Lorenzo Musetti that ended at 3:07 a.m., marking the latest finish in the Grand Slam’s history. This late finish has sparked discussions about the health and well-being of the players involved, with top players like Coco Gauff and Iga Swiatek voicing their concerns. Gauff expressed that finishing a match at such a late hour can disrupt a player’s sleep schedule, making it hard for them to recover properly. Swiatek echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the challenges that come with playing tennis well into the early morning hours.

The ATP and WTA Tours have implemented a rule stating that no matches can start after 11 p.m., but this rule does not apply to the Grand Slam tournaments. Men play five sets in Grand Slams, while the ATP Tour finishes in best-of-three sets. This difference in format can lead to extended matches, as was the case with Djokovic’s match against Musetti. The decision to schedule matches on the main court at the French Open proved to be problematic when other matches went to five sets, causing delays and prolonging the overall schedule.

Despite the challenges of playing a late-night match, Djokovic found a silver lining in the experience, noting the beauty of winning a match so late. However, he acknowledged that his limits were tested during the match and that recovery would be crucial before facing Francisco Cerundolo in the fourth round. The physical and mental toll of playing tennis in the early hours of the morning can be significant, and it raises questions about the scheduling of matches in future tournaments. Players, fans, and officials will need to consider the impact of these late finishes on players’ well-being and performance.

Overall, the issue of late-night matches in tennis tournaments highlights the importance of balancing competition with the health and safety of players. While late matches can add excitement and drama to the sport, they also pose challenges for the athletes involved. Finding a solution that prioritizes the well-being of players while maintaining the integrity of the competition will be crucial moving forward. As the tennis community continues to discuss and debate the implications of late-night matches, it is essential to consider the physical and mental demands placed on players and work towards finding a more sustainable and player-friendly scheduling system.

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