Novak Djokovic insists it’s only fair that he should play his Wimbledon quarter-final on Centre Court on Thursday, handing the All England Club a dilemma over relegating Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal to Court One.
Despite being a three-time champion, Djokovic has featured just once on Centre Court — against British home favourite Kyle Edmund in the last 32 — in the opening four rounds.
By contrast, eight-time champion Federer, and Nadal, the title winner on two occasions, have played exclusively on the 15,000-seater Centre Court.
So, with two quarter-finals being played on Centre Court and two on Court One, something has got to give.
“We’ll see. Hopefully,” said Djokovic when asked if he expected to face Japan’s Kei Nishikori on the most famous arena in tennis.
The Serb went on to tell Serbian media that he “deserved” to be on Centre Court.
Djokovic has played twice on the 11,000-capacity Court One this year but was shunted off to the 4,000-seater Court Two for his second round clash against Horacio Zeballos.
Three times he was scheduled last on court, putting him at risk of falling victim to fading light with the burden of having to return the following day.
He managed to finish off Russia’s Karen Khachanov in straight sets in the gathering gloom on Monday.
Twelve months ago, his last-16 match with Adrian Mannarino, also scheduled for Court One, was cancelled despite Centre Court with its retractable roof being available.
Djokovic had to play that fourth round on Tuesday and quarter-final on Wednesday when he was forced to retire against Tomas Berdych with an elbow injury.
On Monday, he almost fell victim to the scheduling curse again.
“I heard that the organisers were planning to cancel my match if Gael Monfils and Kevin Anderson went to a fifth. Luckily for me it didn’t happen,” he said of the tie which preceded his clash with Khachanov.
Bizarrely, organisers decided to put a mixed doubles match on Centre Court, which was concluded under the roof after sunset.