Mother Nature has put a damper on the 2014 Wimbledon Championships in London, although fans shouldn't complain—the delays make for some downright epic schedules over the course of the next week.
Maria Sharapova—who is currently in elite form, making it rather easy to forget that Serena Williams bowed out early—was the first superstar with a Day 7 match to be adversely impacted by the delays, as noted by Sports Illustrated:
Nets coming down and covers are on No. 1 Court, which means Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber have been cancelled. Will play Tuesday.— SI Tennis (@SI_Tennis) June 30, 2014
Wimbledon and BBC Sport provided a look at the continually deteriorating situation:
To paint in narrow strokes, this is horrible news for both Sharapova and Angelique Kerber. While they get another day of rest before their bout, Eugenie Bouchard gets even more time off before taking on the victor in the quarterfinals (the same Bouchard who has blown through the likes of Andrea Petkovic and Alize Cornet, the latter of whom upset Williams).
But for fans, the bump for Sharapova means an eye-popping slate on Day 8, as noted by ESPNTennis:
Sharapova's R16 match against Kerber pushed to tomorrow's schedule. That means we have Federer, Nadal, & Sharapova all competing on Day 8.— ESPNTennis (@ESPNTennis) June 30, 2014
Weather has been far from the only delay-inciting problem in London over the past week, though, as names like Stan Wawrinka (who is through to Round 4) have seen matches delayed because of dim lighting. Count Magnus Norman, Wawrinka's coach, as one who is none too pleased with the event planning in the face of delays, per Eleanor Crooks of the Daily Mail:
It's a tough situation because if he wants to go through here he has to win five best-of-five-set matches in seven days so it's going to be really hard, and three days in a row. It's not really human but we're not complaining. We know what we have to do and we'll just try to focus on one point at a time and one match at a time.
Wawrinka himself aired his grievances with those in charge after his Round 3 match on Monday, a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 blowout over Denis Istomin, per Laurie Whitwell of the Daily Mail:
I was expecting them to move matches, move maybe juniors or doubles, to make my match or the Isner-Lopez match first on when they started again at 5.00pm or 6.00pm when it stopped raining. They said for security reasons, they didn’t want to put our match on a small court. But Kei Nishikori was playing on a small court. All the other matches were playing on small courts.’
The Swiss superstar also noted that players have little say in how the schedule is altered in the face of any issues that arise.
The most recent issues, especially if those involved continue to occur, may invoke change at some point. This is particularly the case as the Sunday rest day that breaks up the two-week affair continues to come into question, as Bridget Lacy of The West Australian points out:
Oh Wimbledon and your rain delays. It makes your Sunday rest day even harder to understand.— Bridget Lacy (@Lacytalks) June 30, 2014
For now, fans will be treated to an epic slate of matches on Tuesday and a potentially rushed process the rest of the week. As it stands, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will play back-to-back matches over the next two days, while Wawrinka will play three in as many days.
The players are professionals and will surely bring their best to the grass courts no matter what, so buckle in for an accelerated ride to the finish in London as one of the sport's most electrifying events crowns a more-than-deserving champ on both the men's and women's sides.