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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 July 2007, 09:27 GMT 10:27 UK
Wimbledon predict Sunday finish
By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

The gloomy scene at Wimbledon on 2 July
The last time Wimbledon failed to finish on schedule was 2001
Wimbledon officials are confident they will finish the tournament as planned on Sunday - but they are ready to extend into a third week if necessary.

The competition is behind schedule after eight days of rain interruptions and no play on the middle Sunday.

But tournament referee Andrew Jarrett told BBC Sport: "We are where we'd like to be in terms of the schedule.

"At the moment we can finish on Sunday and that is what we are planning to do - but obviously that can change."

Before play began on Thursday, the tournament was running 36 matches behind schedule, although most of those were in the mixed doubles.

"We are obviously playing catch up as best we can and will press on given any sort of decent weather," said Jarrett.

If we have to play a tennis match on a Monday, it's not the end of the world

Ian Ritchie
All England Club chief executive

"I can only pay tribute to everyone involved, we got over 100 matches completed yesterday and that's fantastic.

"All we can do is try to make the most of the cards we are dealt weather-wise and yesterday was a very good day, which even included a rain break."

The weather forecast for the next four days has given hope that the tournament will finish on time.

606: DEBATE

But All England Club chief executive Ian Ritchie said it could be extended if the unpredictable weather returns.

"It's a possibility," Ritchie told BBC Radio Four. "If it happens, so be it.

"We're ready for it, we're prepared for it. If we have to play a tennis match on a Monday, it's not the end of the world."

Players, among them Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, have criticised the decision not to play on the middle Sunday.

Wimbledon Centre Court
Centre court will have a much-needed roof in 2009

But Jarrett responded: "When that decision needed to be taken, we were exactly where we wanted to be, singles-wise.

"We couldn't have played another singles further ahead than we were at the time.

"We were also faced with a weather forecast that was less than promising for Sunday, there was no justification for it.

"What has hurt us is having a subsequent bad Monday and Tuesday, that's given us the backlog.

"Then you can apply hindsight which certainly didn't apply on the Saturday."

The last time Wimbledon failed to finish on schedule was 2001, when wildcard Goran Ivanisevic's five-set win over Pat Rafter was completed a day late.

The current backlog is the worst since 1982, when more than three times the average midsummer rainfall forced third round matches into the second Wednesday.

In total, Wimbledon is due to stage 734 matches in 13 events across the 13 days of the Championships.

SEE ALSO
Nadal again thwarted by weather
03 Jul 07 |  Tennis
Day eight as it happened
03 Jul 07 |  Tennis
Wimbledon poised for 1m pay-out
01 Jul 07 |  Tennis


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