Wimbledon chiefs defend Emma Raducanu scheduling and keeping her back for primetime

Wimbledon chiefs have defended their decision to delay teen sensation Emma Raducanu’s round-of-16 match to ensure a big TV audience.

Emma Raducanu receives treatment during a medical time out in the match against Ajla Tomljanovic.
Emma Raducanu receives treatment during a medical time out in the match against Ajla Tomljanovic.

There was criticism of the tournament organisers after the 18-year-old was forced to retire hurt having waited all day on Monday to play Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic.

The match was scheduled last on No 1 Court and didn’t start until 7.53pm - some five hours after Ashleigh Barty, who now plays Tomljanovic in today’s quarter-finals, had completed hers and after a men’s match which went to five sets.

Raducanu had gone from being an unknown to Britain’s new tennis queen-in-waiting after thrilling victories in earlier matches but there had been concern before her eventual demise that the hype surrounding her had been excessive.

Emma Raducanu clutches her stomach just before her withdrawal from Wimbledon

In a statement, SW19 bosses said: "As always, the order of play each day at the championships is a complex operation, and although we take great care when scheduling matches and allocating courts, it is not an exact science. All decisions are made with fairness and the best interests of the tournament, players, spectators and our worldwide broadcast audience at heart, but the unpredictable nature of the length of matches and the British weather can and will cause disruption to any schedule.

“We were very sad to see Emma forced to withdraw from her match and wish her all the best with her recovery. She should be commended for the poise and maturity she has shown throughout the Wimbledon Fortnight and we very much look forward to welcoming her back to Wimbledon next year and in the years to come.”

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