The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) have defended their decision to delay Novak Djokovic's Wimbledon fourth-round meeting with Adrian Mannarino following Rafael Nadal's marathon five-set defeat to Gilles Muller, insisting that switching the contest onto Centre Court would have led to a "significant safety issue".
Djokovic vs Mannarino was the final match due to take place on Court One on 'Manic Monday' at SW19, although it was eventually postponed until Tuesday after Muller toppled Nadal in a near five-hour epic that included 28 games in the fifth set and did not conclude until late evening.
With no end to that thriller in sight, many on social media began to question why Djokovic's match was not promptly switched to Centre so both ties could have been completed as scheduled on Monday evening.
The main arena was left vacant after Venus Williams beat Ana Konjuh, Andy Murray eliminated Benoit Paire and Roger Federer eased into his 15th Wimbledon quarter-final courtesy of a simple straight-sets win over Grigor Dimitrov.
"The safety and security of all visitors to The Championships is of paramount importance," the AELTC said in a statement. "The preference was to play the Djokovic v Mannarino match as scheduled on No.1 Court. When that was no longer an option, it was determined the match could not be moved to Centre Court due to the number of spectators remaining in the Grounds.
"As late as 8.30pm, 30,000 people still remained in the Grounds, and therefore moving the match would have created a significant safety issue. Both players were explained the rationale of postponing the match until tomorrow, which is now scheduled for a 12noon start on Centre Court."
Djokovic vs Mannarino was eventually rescheduled for midday on Tuesday, with the match taking place on Centre Court before the women's quarter-finals between Williams/Jelena Ostapenko and Johanna Konta/Simona Halep. Garbine Muguruza vs Svetlana Kuznetsova and Magdalena Rybarikova vs Coco Vandeweghe are both slated for Court One, meanwhile.
The decision means that the winner of Djokovic vs Mannarino will not benefit from the usual rest day before their last-eight tie against 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych, who outlasted Dominic Thiem in five sets.