With the French Open now in full swing, many forward-thinking tennis professionals are now already planning their next move for the forthcoming Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament this summer.
The tournament at Roland-Garros will come to a close on 7th June, while Wimbledon will kick off on 29th June, giving athletes a 22-day break between the two Grand Slam events.
Traditionally, Wimbledon would always begin two weeks after the French Open, but after a review from the Association of Tennis Professionals, it has now been decided that a three-week break would be beneficial to athletes needing to recover from the tournament.
The change marks the first alteration of Wimbledon’s dates in 115 years.
Doubtless the cases of Andy Murray and Serena Williams will have been sufficient cause for the ATP to revise its scheduling. Recently, World #3 Andy Murray shocked fans when he announced he would be withdrawing himself from the Italian Open. He claimed that his body was feeling “extremely fatigued” after playing 10 matches in 12 days.
For Murray, a chance to enjoy three weeks’ rest will be welcome. He’s already got the challenge of beating 11/8 potential winner Novak Djokovic in the tournament, whilst presently the pressure is on for him to take Rafael Nadal’s 10th French Open title away from him.
But while some stars may be resting, others will be recovering from injury, such as Serena Williams, who cited an elbow injury as her reason for bowing out of the event in Rome. The World #1 said: “I was really injured last year, actually, and ended up taking like five days off before Paris and practising just a day or two before the tournament started.”
She added: “Entering a Grand Slam, you never want to enter it like that, especially as defending champion.” This is a sentiment that will surely be applied to this year’s Wimbledon tournament, with both Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitová keen to hold onto their titles.
The Wimbledon date change is just one scheduling issue that the ATP is considering revising. Murray was seen openly criticising the timetables at the recent Madrid Open, which saw him taking part in matches at the local time of 1am. With such late night starts, it is of little wonder that just weeks later the star would pull out of the Italian Open.
Clearly, the ATP has made the right move by taking into consideration stars’ individual wellbeing for the upcoming tournament. Whether or not Williams and Murray will have recovered however, remains to be seen, and their performance at the French Open will doubtless lay the foundations for their future games at Wimbledon.