World No 1 Ashleigh Barty has been dealt another snub at Wimbledon with her second-round match on Thursday shunted to a minor court to make way for British players.
Instead of taking on Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck on the showpiece Centre or No 1 Court in the afternoon, the French Open champion will continue her campaign in the morning round of matches on Court Two.
The surprising move from the All England Club comes on the back of the Seven Network’s divisive decision to leave coverage of the top seed’s first-round match against China’s Zheng Saisai and focus on the all-Australian mens’ encounter between Nick Kyrgios and Jordan Thompson on Tuesday.
Wimbledon officials have opted to showcase British battler Cameron Norrie’s match against Japanese eighth seed Kei Nishkori for the Centre Court curtain-raiser.
That match is followed by another Brit, Sydney-born Johanna Konta, the world No 18, who takes on unheralded Czech Katerina Siniakova before Kyrgios closes out the day against Rafael Nadal in a genuine Centre Court blockbuster.
Court One’s first match will see two-time champion Petra Kvitova meet France’s Kristina Mladenovic – the last player to beat Barty before she embarked on her 13-match unbeaten run.
Another Brit, Jay Clarke, then plays eight-times men’s champion Roger Federer before seven-times women’s winner Serena Williams takes on Kaja Juvan.
Other second round matches Thursday night see Alex DeMinaur take on Steve Johnson and John Millman play Serb Laslo Djere.
They come after teenager Alexei Popyrin lost to Russia’s Danill Medvedev 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 6-4 6-3 6-4 overnight after a gruelling qualifying campaign and Ajla Tomljanovic went down 6-2 6-0 to Victoria Azarenka.
Barty said pre-tournament she wasn’t bothered by where she played.
“There isn’t a bad court at Wimbledon so wherever I’m scheduled to play on, we’ll go out there and do our best,” she said.
“The size of the court, they’re all the same. The lines are the same.”
The Queenslander also shrugged off the unpopular move by Seven to take her off their screens on Tuesday night.
“If people can watch my matches, great,” Barty said after her first-round win.
“If they can’t, they can’t. That’s up to the broadcasters, not me.”
Kyrgios also believes Australia has the right to watch Barty ahead of him and said the 23-year-old deserved to have the whole nation behind her.
“What she’s doing is incredible. I knew as soon as she got her head right and wanted it enough, the sky’s the limit for her,” Kyrgios said.
An All England Club spokesperson said in a statement to AAP: “As always, the scheduling of the order of play each day at The Championships is a complex operation”.
“We take great care when scheduling matches and allocating courts.
“All decisions are made with fairness and the best interests of the tournament, players, spectators and our worldwide broadcast audience at heart.”