Novak Djokovic has slammed Wimbledon officials for a scheduling debacle that has left the triple champion playing catch-up against his quarter-final rivals.
The 12-times grand slam winner also called for fifth-set tiebreakers to be introduced at the tennis showpiece after completing the men’s quarter-final line-up with a 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 victory over unseeded Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
The All England Club copped a pounding from Djokovic, who also complained of a hole in the middle of the world’s most famous centre court.
“The courts, honestly, are not that great this year and many players feel the same,” the Serb said after advancing to his 39th grand slam quarter-final.
But his biggest gripe was having his fourth-round clash with Mannarino postponed until Tuesday due to Gilles Muller’s four-hour, 48-minute win over Rafael Nadal on truly a manic Monday at the championships.
Djokovic said the scheduled Court 1 fixture should have been moved to Centre Court.
“We spoke with the referee, supervisors, trying to understand the thought process that they are having,” he said.
“I just think it was a wrong decision not to play us last night, because we could have played.
“The last match on the Centre Court was done before seven (o’clock). Having in mind that Centre Court has the roof and lights, we could have played till 11.
“We went to the referee’s office before eight. There was security reasons. That was the only excuse, that basically there were explanations that we were getting.
“I just didn’t see any logic in not playing us on the Centre Court.”
The scheduling chaos could have been avoided with a deciding tiebreaker, but Muller needed about an hour extra to finish Nadal off 15-13 in the fifth set.
“Any other grand slam has it. I just don’t see any reason why not (at Wimbledon),” Djokovic said.
“Because (John) Isner and (Nicolas) Mahut made a history with an 11-hour match once. Is that a reason why we’re keeping it?
“Yeah, it is great drama. But that player has to go out tomorrow. It is (exciting) for a spectator.
“But for a player to play a five, six-hour match, then come back the next day or within two days and perform, it’s not really what your body’s looking for, to be honest.
“If you are already getting to the 6-6 fifth set, you might as well just decide it in a tiebreak.”
Djokovic, who was twice treated for a shoulder injury during his win over Mannarino, will have just a day to recover before taking on world No.15 and 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych for a place in the semi-finals.
But he will carry an overwhelming 25-2 head-to-head record over the Czech.
A 26th victory over Berdych could catapult Djokovic into a semi-final blockbuster on Friday with Roger Federer, who faces Milos Raonic in his last-eight match-up on Wednesday.