Andy Murray snaps back at ‘shut up and get on with it’ criticism as Grand Slam ‘farce’ continues

Andy Murray in action

Complaints over the scheduling of late-night matches at Grand Slams are growing louder and Andy Murray insists matches finishing at 4am are “not good for anyone” and “it doesn’t help the sport”.

Tennis matches, especially at the four majors, appear to end later and later each year and back in January this year Murray was left unimpressed after his second-round clash against Thanasi Kokkinakis ended 4.05am Melbourne time.

The former world No 1 was critical of the scheduling at the time, stating: “I don’t know who it’s beneficial for. We come here after the match and that’s what the discussion is, rather than it being like, ‘epic Murray-Kokkinakis match’ – it ends in a bit of a farce.

“Amazingly people stayed until the end, and I really appreciate people doing that and creating an atmosphere for us. Some people obviously need to work the following day and everything.”

That theme continued at the French Open and Wimbledon with late-night finishes while a lot of matches at ATP and WTA events have also been affected by controversial scheduling.

Naturally, players have expressed their frustration but that often results in flak from social media users who feel they are living privileged lives and should just “get on with it”.

US Open organisers announced ahead of this year’s tournament that they won’t change their schedule despite complaints, but Murray feels it is not good for the sport as he also countered criticism from fans.

“I think it’s just generally not good for anyone. Obviously, when the players complain about that stuff, you sort of hear, ‘oh, shut up and get on with it’ or ‘try working in a warehouse from 9 to 5’,” he said.

“It’s like, yeah, I get that. I do get that. I know I’m fortunate to be playing tennis, but playing at four in the morning – tennis is also partly entertainment – I don’t think it helps the sport that much when you know everyone’s leaving because they have to go and get public transport home and you finish a match like that in front of 10% of the crowd.

“You don’t see it in other sports. It’s clearly wrong. And the reason for it is purely financial, it’s not because the people that are running the events believe that it’s good for the players, they don’t. It’s a financial reason for why they’re doing it.”

Wimbledon organisers have already been urged to bring the start play on Centre Court and NO.1 Courts earlier in 2024, but for now the status quo remains.

Murray feels it is about finding the right balance for all involved.

“If they [Grand Slams] want to start [night sessions] at 7.30, if they want to play two women’s matches, that time’s fine; if they want to play a men’s match, then I think you can only play one match, unless you’re going to start sooner,” he said.

“Wimbledon, they obviously need to change the start times of the matches and move it sooner, stop having the 20-minute breaks between the matches.

“It might still happen from time to time but you’re kind of doing the best that you can to avoid it. And I think that becomes fair on the players because you can’t really expect someone to recover if you finish a match at 4.30 in the morning.”

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic joins the debate over late-night matches in tennis