Judy: Give the men a break

Published: Wednesday 1st July 2015 by The News Editor

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Judy Murray has called for equality on tennis’ heat break rules as Wimbledon swelters in steadily rising temperatures.

Britain is locked in a heat wave that saw temperatures hit 41 degrees Celsius on Centre Court during Andy Murray’s first-round clash with Denis Istomin on Tuesday.

The glorious sunshine shows no signs of abating, leaving the men’s top tennis stars to grin and bear it – while the women’s tour rules can allow for a 10-minute break between the second and third sets when the heat stress index rises above 30.1 degrees Celsius.

So when air temperature, humidity and surface temperature top that mark, the women can ask for scheduled breaks, courtesy of Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rules.

“I think the men should adopt it as well, especially because they have to play five sets,” said Britain’s Fed Cup captain Murray, calling on men’s tour organisers the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) to amend their rules.

“And a slam is such a tough thing to play in, I know you get a day in between matches but if you’re going to win a slam you need to play seven matches in 13 days.

“And for the men working across the best of five sets it’s incredibly physically and mentally draining, so I think the men should take advantage of it as well.”

Heat readings are taken 30 minutes before play begins, then again at 2pm and 5pm, and the WTA rule is applied on a case-by-case basis before matches begin.

Wednesday’s temperatures were primed to push 35 degrees Celsius, leaving players again sweating through the midday sun.

Wimbledon referee Andrew Jarrett said on Tuesday the WTA heat rule had been implemented twice before at SW19, in 2006 and 2009.

The Australian Open upholds a separate extreme heat policy, when the mercury moves past 40 degrees.

Maria Sharapova defended the WTA heat rule earlier this week, saying: “If it does get quite hot for us, we’re able to use it, then why not?”

British star Kyle Edmund said he sees no reason for the men’s tour to adopt the rule.

“Australia’s pretty hot and I haven’t seen too many stops,” said Edmund.

“For me personally, I think it’s sport. Especially tennis, it can be physically testing and demanding. That’s why we put a lot of hours in on court and in the gym.

“I think play. But I can see why (the rule exists). It’s obviously important for people to be healthy. You don’t want anyone passing out on court. It’s the last thing you want.

“Maybe it’s something you’ve got to gauge. But I never thought about that on court. I think you’re always just in the moment and you just deal with it.”

Published: Wednesday 1st July 2015 by The News Editor

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