Novak Djokovic and Coco Gauff - Roland Garros 2024

Novak Djokovic finishing at 3am ‘not fair’ claims Coco Gauff

Novak Djokovic was part of the latest ever finish at Roland Garros in the early hours of Sunday morning, and US Open champion Coco Gauff has spoken out about how she thinks this is ‘not healthy’ for players.

Djokovic came from two-sets-to-one down to beat Lorenzo Musetti in the third round at Roland Garros, with the match not being completed until 3:07am.

The match itself did not actually begin until 10:40pm on Saturday evening in Paris, but Djokovic did not seem to want to get into any debate about scheduling when speaking to press after his victory.

“I don’t want to get into it [the schedule],” said Djokovic. “I have my opinions but I think there are great things to talk about in this match today. Both Lorenzo and my performances stand out, so I don’t want to be talking about the schedule.

“I think some things could have been handled a different way but there’s also a beauty in winning a match [so late].”

However, after progressing to her fourth consecutive quarter-final at Roland Garros at just 20-years-old, Gauff explained why she believed that late finishes like Djokovic’s need to be avoided.

“People think finishing at 3am [means], ‘Oh, you’re done. But you play till 3am, and then you have press, and then you have to shower, eat, and then do treatment, so then you’re not going to bed until five at the earliest, maybe six or even seven,” explained the American. “It’s not healthy, and maybe not fair for those that have to play late, because it does ruin your schedule. I haven’t been put in a super late finish yet.”

Gauff continued, “What can be done? I know on the tour side they’re thinking about putting a [rule in where] matches can’t start after a certain time. I don’t know if it’s going to be a Grand Slam rule. That’s something to look at, especially if a match is going long, possibly moving courts. Then it’s tough because – especially here – there’s only one night match and people have paid for those tickets.

“It’s a complicated thing, but for the health and safety of the players, it would be in the sport’s best interest to avoid those matches starting after a certain time. Obviously, you can’t control when they finish.”

It remains to be seen how Djokovic will recover from his late finish, with the world No.1 taking on Francisco Cerundolo later this afternoon at Roland Garros.

Inside the baseline…

Scheduling is obviously very difficult, especially at a Grand Slam where there are so many different events taking place and with such bad weather in Paris this year. However, ultimately Coco Gauff is right – players should not be finishing anywhere near that late and Djokovic’s match beginning at 10:40pm was a recipe for disaster. Hopefully after having a day off, Djokovic can play his match today without too many signs of fatigue from the previous round.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.