Raise The Roof: Andy Murray Gains Wimbledon Final Amidst Temper Tantrum, Controversy

  • Rick Chandler

So I guess this is kind of tennis’ equivalent of the last Super Bowl, when the lights went out while the Ravens were leading big on the 49ers. Except that closing the roof on today’s Wimbledon semifinal between Andy Murray and Jerzy Janowicz wasn’t a technical glitch: it was a conscious decision. And a bad one.

The Guardian called Wimbledon officials “a preposterous bunch of goons”, and TV commentator John McEnroe was equally disdainful of the folks who decided to postpone the match while their hometown lad, Murray, had all the momentum.

Murray had just taken a 2-1 lead over Janowicz, winning four straight games, when officials, fearing darkness, decided to close the roof. Murray wasn’t a big fan of the decision.

You can’t blame him. He had the momentum (like the Ravens), and there would have to be a 20-minute delay to close the thing. Janowicz, who has only beaten Murray indoors, had been complaining about the light for the previous hour.

I guess no one wanted to see Janowicz’ girlfriend go home.

Why were they still playing as darkness approached? Because the previous match between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro took four hours and 43 minutes, the longest semifinal in Wimbledon history.

Here’s the live blog coverage from The Guardian:

Murray is furious. It looks like they’re going to close the roof now. There’s still 40 minutes of light but they’ve bowed to the extended hour-long whinge from Janowicz. “He’s been complaining about it for 45 minutes,” he says to Andrew Jarrett, the tournament referee. His complaints fall on deaf ears. “Ladies and gentlemen, play will be suspended due to fading light,” says the umpire. Well I’m at Wimbledon and can tell you that it’s still light outside. This is a sham.

This isn’t remotely good enough. They could have finished the fourth set in this time. On BBC, John McEnroe says they have given into a player who was complaining about the light throughout the third set. He’s called Bee Ess of the highest order. Andrew Castle is trying to be diplomatic but McEnroe’s having none of it. Any other country and this wouldn’t be happening. What a preposterous bunch of goons running the show.

Some emails:

“I totally understand you saying this is a sham, Alan Mills would never have made this decision,” says David Harris. “The centre line on Centre Court, 2 miles north, ran through my bedroom. It’s perfectly playable, as I know from having played over the road an hour later than this, no roof, no lights. As you say, a sham.”

“To be honest, when I used to close the roof of my dad’s Maxi, it took about this long,” says Ian Copestake.

“How can the umpire be unaware of the benefit to Janowicz of closing the roof?” says Simon Adelman. “The only time he beat Murray was indoors, and he’s been asking to close the roof for an hour: given the chance he’d be asking at noon on a cloudless day!”

No 49ers comeback, though: Murray ended up winning 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.

Even though he got royally screwed, Murray’s reaction to the news that the roof was closing was still pretty hilarious. “Mom, it’s still light out! I don’t want to go to bed! Ten more minutes!” Man, these guys are tightly wound.