Roddick and Djokovic demand fairer scheduling

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Roddick moved into the semi-finals of the year's first Grand Slam after the defending champion retired from their quarter-final when he began cramping.

Updated: January 27, 2009 10:33 IST
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Australian Open organisers will have to sort out the scheduling of night sessions or risk more players pulling out of subsequent matches, Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic warned on Tuesday.

Roddick moved into the semi-finals of the year's first Grand Slam after the defending champion retired from their quarter-final when he began cramping early in the third set.

Djokovic had taken to the court only 37 hours after finishing his fourth round match against Marcos Baghdatis, which began just after 11:00pm Sunday night and finally ended at 2:26am Monday morning.

He said he had asked organisers for a night match today so he would have more recovery time, but had been turned down in favour of the Roger Federer-Juan Martin del Potro clash.

Djokovic said the lack of sleep and different conditions had played a large role in causing the cramping that ended his title defence.

"Well, look, I did finish very late, about 2:00, 2:30, 3:00am two nights ago," he said of a match that started late because the preceding women's match went to three sets.

"I went to sleep around 5:00, 5:30. I didn't really have time to recover. There were really difficult circumstances.

"Conditions were extreme today. It did affect me more than him, as you could see. But, you know, that was the situation, I just have to cope with it," he said.

"It was unfortunate for me. I did request to play night match, but didn't come up good for me. I think it doesn't really benefit a lot of people to play that late," Djokovic said.

"But on the other hand, if you end up the match at 3:00am it's basically logical thinking that you should play the next match, second after the 7:30pm one. But it didn't happen."

Roddick, who is often given the night matches at the US Open, said the strain of finishing at such a late hour meant the next day was virtually a write-off as far as training and recovery went.

He said that all things being equal the women, who now receive the same prize money as the men, should play after the men on some nights instead of always having the early match.

"My only suggestion would be - and hopefully this will be well received - if everything is equal all across the way, I feel like maybe the men should get the first match every once in a while during the first week of a Slam," he said.

"If all things are equal, then I feel like the scheduling should be the same."

He agreed that it was difficult to prepare adequately after a late match.

"It's hard, to be fair, it's very hard," he said.

"And I've had to do it at the US Open probably more than anybody. That night of sleep is suspect, at best. It's maybe three, four hours, and it limits what you can do the next day in practice. So it is very hard."

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