Sheffield’s Jonathan Marray remains on course for a second Wimbledon title following a marathon - and controversial - third round men’s doubles victory, writes Spencer Vignes at Wimbledon.
In a match lasting over four hours, Marray and his partner Adil Shamasdin of Canada beat Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay and Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-3 4-6 6-4 3-6 14-12 – but that only tells half the story.
During the titanic fifth set Cuevas and Granollers both lost their tempers with umpire Aurelie Tourte on several occasions, not least of all when the former was denied permission to take a toilet break. Cuevas then appeared to relieve himself into an empty ball can while sat at the side of the court.
Marray and Shamasdin were then left standing alone on court at 13-12 - with three match points in their favour - as Cuevas and Granollers refused to play on until the Wimbledon supervisor was called, causing a seven-minute delay.
To their immense credit they held their nerve and concentration to clinch the tie on the second of those match points.
After the match Granollers seemed to try and confront Tourte with a security guard moving in rapidly to prevent him from doing so. Fines for one, if not both, players are virtually inevitable. The fallout from a match which now appears destined to enter the Wimbledon history books for all the wrong reasons took the shine off an excellent performance from Marray and Shamasdin, but even the Sheffielder had a degree of sympathy for their opponents.
“I don’t quite know why the umpire just couldn’t let him go to the bathroom,” said Marray, a Wimbledon men’s doubles champion in 2012.
“If she hasn’t allowed him to go to the toilet, then it’s a bit daft. It was a long, long match. I’d been twice beforehand so why he couldn’t then, I don’t know. But, even so, there are some things that you don’t do on a tennis court. And no matter what, you’ve got to respect the officials.”
Marray and Shamasdin are now just two wins away from the final with the number 12 seeds Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi now standing between them and a place in the last four.
“We’re doing well,” adds Marray. “That was a real test but we’re sticking together and improving with every match. It could have gone either way today but we dug deep, we’re in the quarters and we want to go all the way.”