Murray may play opening doubles match on Wimbledon show court amid safety fears
Safety concerns could see Andy Murray play his opening doubles match at Wimbledon on Centre Court, the chief executive of the All England Club has said.
Richard Lewis said it is likely the Scot will make his first appearance at the tournament in south-west London on one of the larger show courts.
Speaking on Monday morning as gates opened to tennis fans, Mr Lewis said the safety of players was part of decisions on where to schedule a match.
“One of the major considerations for Andy, I think first match in particular, is safety,” he said.
“So that restricts the number of courts he can be on – obviously Centre and No 1 are easy – I think once you get beyond Centre and No 1 it’s more problematic.
“I think after the first match, if the interest dies down a little bit, we might be able to have more flexibility where he plays.”
He added: “I think probably he will be on one of the major show courts.”
Mr Lewis said the need to get players “to and from the court” safely was part of organisers’ considerations.
He added: “Getting players to Court No 2, for example, it’s quite a long way in the public area so that’s always a consideration for any of the top players.
“It’s not just Andy, any of the big name players it’s always a consideration.”
Murray and French partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert will take on Romanian Marius Copil and Ugo Humbert of France in the men’s doubles competition later this week.
The Scot is not appearing in the single’s competition at Wimbledon this year as he makes a gradual return to action following hip surgery.
Mr Lewis said fan favourite Murray’s presence in the doubles competition is not problematic and there is “plenty of space” to accommodate his popularity.
“It’s not unusual, especially when the matches are fairly quick, to get a doubles on some of the show courts.”
But he rejected Murray’s recent suggestion that doubles matches at Wimbledon are shortened to encourage more singles players to play doubles.
The men’s doubles tournament at Wimbledon, uniquely among the grand slams, is played over five sets.
Mr Lewis said: “I think it’s one of the things that makes the men’s doubles at Wimbledon very special.
“I’ve also seen doubles players say that it makes it the doubles event in the world for that very reason.
“Five sets makes it a great contest in the men’s game.
“There’s no evidence from the other grand slams that singles players would play more if it was best of three sets.”