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FEATURE: Three things we wouldn't change about Wimbledon, and three things we would

FEATURE: With Novak Djokovic saying he has 'heard' that Wimbledon may be about to modify its scheduling policy, here are three things we wouldn't change about Wimbledon, and three things we would.
Wimbledon court one

Wimbledon has gone through quite a few changes in recent times, which is rare given its usual stubborn dedication to tradition.

Players no longer have to bow or curtsy to the royal box, and I think we can all agree that is a good thing. This summer they removed the ‘Miss’ and ‘Mrs’ from the women’s roll of honour too. Also a good thing.

Other changes have been a little more divisive, with two recent changes in the rules to deciding set tiebreaks.

This week, Novak Djokovic has claimed Wimbledon are considering making scheduling changes and says he has made a bet with coach Goran Ivanisevic that the all-white dress code will also be gone in the future too.

So, with that in mind, here are three things we wouldn't change about Wimbledon, and three things that we would.

Things we wouldn’t change about Wimbledon

The dress code

Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam that has a strict dress code and we demand it stays that way. The all white against the lush green backdrop is wonderful on the eye. In fact, from an image point of view, it’s the iconic vision of tennis.

The dress code is basically borne of British upper-class snobbery. When the code was written in the genteel 1880s, sweat stains were considered so improper and unsightly that it was decided that white should be worn to minimize their visibility.

In fairness, we suppose that remains the case, but the reason we like it is purely the visuals and the fact it makes Wimbledon unique.

Carlos Alcaraz celebrates at Wimbledon

The curfew

The dreaded curfew has caused problems before, with matches needing to be suspended overnight and finished the next day.

For those who don’t know, regardless of the situation in a match, it is not permitted to go on after 11pm. That hasn’t changed since the installation of the roof and better lighting either. The reason is simple enough too.

Unlike other Grand Slam venues, Wimbledon sits in a highly residential area and the Championships don’t want to disturb the locals by turfing out thousands of sports fans into the street in the early hours of the morning.

Again, though, a large part of Wimbledon’s appeal is that it is so unapologetically quintessentially British, and there is nothing more British than complaining about people having a good time when they don’t even have the courtesy to do it silently.

The lack of visible sponsors

Of course, there are always some sponsors around the venue. You can see, for example, Slazenger dotted around the place.

However, it is nothing like it is at other Grand Slam tournaments. If an official at the Australian Open happens to, heaven forbid, stumble across a square-inch of empty space anywhere within Melbourne Park they frantically make sure the word ‘Kia’ goes there.

READ MORE: Which players lose the most from Wimbledon points drop, and which ones stand to gain?

It’s a similar story with Roland Garros and Perrier Water. The US Open have a number of highly visible partners.

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We aren’t stupid, we know that someone has to fund these tournaments and tennis fans ultimately benefit from the investment in the sport, but Wimbledon is just that little bit different and we’d prefer it stayed that way.

Things we would change

The start times on the show courts

It’s obviously important to protect the prestige of the show courts at every Grand Slam venue, not just Wimbledon.

However, when the days are drizzly and no play is happening outside, it feels a bit crazy to have perfectly usable courts standing completely idle until the afternoon.

In fairness, there is probably a large degree of wanting to protect the grass and making sure it arrives on finals day in good condition. That is a problem no other Grand Slam has.

There must surely be some middle ground to be found somewhere, though?

The deciding set tiebreak

The deciding set tiebreak situation at Wimbledon has already changed twice in recent years, so we are certainly not expecting it to change again any time soon.

It went from no tiebreaks in the deciding set to tiebreaks at 12-12 to supertiebreaks at 6-6.

We liked it how it was, though. Granted, it’s better for players and TV schedulers to at least have a rough idea about how long they may be playing for. We also accept long matches could have a serious knock-on effect on the competitiveness of their next match.

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut with Wimbledon scoreboard

John Isner of the US (L), France's Nicolas Mahut (2nd L), and chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani (2nd R), pose with the score board at the end of their match, on the fourth day of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in southwest London, on June 24, 2010. Both players received a special award after their record breaking match that lasted 11hours and 5min and finished with a score of 70 to 68 in favour of Isner. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

It was the latter that seemed to force organisers to make the change. Kevin Anderson was absolutely thrashed by Novak Djokovic in the 2018 final after he played a mammoth semi against Roger Federer.

There’s nothing to say Djokovic wouldn’t have done the same to a fresh Kevin Anderson, though, and we loved the sheer tension and jeopardy of no tiebreaks in the deciding set.

The dates

This one is probably more about the tennis calendar as a whole than purely Wimbledon in truth, and it boils down to one obvious fact: the grass season is too short.

We seem to be at a point now where very few top players seem genuinely comfortable on grass, and that is not great for Wimbledon.

As things stand, there is not much of a grass season at all, and no Masters on the surface. For players exhausted from a deep run at Roland Garros, by the time they have given themselves time to recover there is no time to log any significant minutes on grass.

Putting Wimbledon back a week every year would allow for both Queen’s and Halle to be pre-Slam back-to-back Masters, just like Madrid and Rome are for Roland Garros, and would incentivise players to put more into their grass game.

It would also raise the standard of play when Wimbledon itself starts with more players in the grass groove. It’s better for everyone, basically.

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