Last year’s second-round match between Andy Murray and Thanasi Kokkinakis, which lasted five sets and ended at 4:05am, was dubbed “ridiculously late” by the British former world number one.
The number of sessions in the three venues will rise from 47 to 52 with the new Sunday start.
A minimum of two matches will continue to be played during night sessions, and the John Cain Arena schedule will not alter.
Craig Tiley, the director of the Australian Open, is hopeful that the new arrangements would lessen the pressure on players and spectators to conclude matches late at night.
“We’ve listened to feedback from the players and fans and are excited to deliver a solution to minimise late finishes while continuing to provide a fair and equitable schedule on the stadium courts,” Tiley said.
This will be accomplished by adding a day, which will improve scheduling for both spectators and athletes.Instead of being played over two days, the opening round will now last three, providing fans an additional day of incredible tennis, entertainment, cuisine, and family fun.
Every year, our staff puts a lot of effort into bringing the fans an occasion that feels fresh and exciting, and this is an additional chance to expand what is already the greatest yearly athletic event in the world in January.
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The Murray-Kokkinakis epic last year may have been the turning point in this narrative, and players will welcome the move after an ongoing discussion about matches ending late in the previous year.
Alexander Zverev, who finished last in Beijing this week, became the most recent player to lambast the tournament’s administrators.
Zverev advanced to the China Open’s last eight after defeating Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in Beijing, although his match didn’t begin until after midnight.
After the match, which ended at 2.40 a.m. local time, Zverev was blunt in his criticism of the referees.
“Obviously, it’s difficult to play until 3:00 am. I’m not sure it was the right call to keep us on this court,” he stated.
“I think we should’ve changed courts. We should’ve gone on. There are so many great courts on the stadium. So many opportunities where we could’ve played.
“I’m not sure we should’ve waited until past midnight to start the match, to be honest.”
Zverev has already addressed the problem of late starts, criticizing the Madrid Open’s organizers after his semi-final match finished late and forced him to go to bed at 4 a.m.
A few hours later, in the final, he suffered a crushing defeat against Carlos Alcaraz and delivered this harsh judgement.
“The ATP’s job was an absolute disgrace this week,” Zverev said. “To play a final against Carlos Alcaraz, who for me is the best player in the world right now, in a Masters 1000 event… it is difficult.
“I had no coordination. I had no coordination on my serve, I had no coordination on my groundstrokes. I missed two overheads that were super easy because I see the ball and everything is moving in my eyes.”