Andy Murray wades into row over Wimbledon 'gender bias' as men dominate top courts

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Andy Murray has joined women’s top-seed Angelique Kerber in questioning Wimbledon’s male-dominated schedule, saying organisers should ensure an equal split between men’s and women’s matches on the top courts.

Kerber was relaxed about facing Shelby Rogers on Court No.2 on Friday but the German questioned the decision to schedule Monday’s last-16 match against Garbine Muguruza on the same court.

“I was really surprised that I was playing on No.2 Court,” said two-time Grand Slam champion Kerber, who reached the final last year, after a three-set defeat to 2015 finalist Muguruza. “I was actually really looking forward to playing on one of the two big courts.”

Jelena Ostapenko, the French Open champion, faced fourth-seed Elina Svitolina on an outside court, and in the opening seven days of play, 14 matches on Centre Court have been from the men’s singles draw while only eight have come from the women’s. No male top seed has played outside Centre and Court One this century.

“I don’t think anyone’s suggesting it is fair. I’m not suggesting that it is,” Murray said, after reaching the quarterfinal with a straight-sets victory over Benoit Paire on Centre Court.

“It would be much better if there was four matches — two men’s and two women’s. We need to find a way of allowing for an equal split of the men’s and women’s matches across the tournament rather than just looking at one day.

“If there’s better matches on the women’s side than the men’s side, you can flip it. If there’s better matches on the men’s side, then that has to go first, as well.

“When you start at 1:00, and you can’t play under the lights, you have a very limited amount of time. When I played [Fabio] Fognini [on Friday], we had hardly any light left. The matches were not particularly long that day, and we almost ran out of time.

“So maybe starting the matches a little bit sooner, a little bit earlier in the day, and splitting them between the men and women [is the answer]. It’s not the hardest thing to do.

“At the Aussie Open, there’s three women’s matches, two men’s pretty much every day on the stadium court, as well.”

Wimbledon organisers have previous been criticised for male-bias after campaigner Mark Leyland analysed the matches scheduled on Centre and Court No.1 during the last two championships.

He said the results demonstrated a gender bias overwhelmingly in favour of male players, claiming there were two men’s matches for every one women’s match on each of the top two courts, unlike in the other Grand Slams.

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