Murray and Raducanu mixed doubles match may clash with England game

Andy Murray’s final Wimbledon flourish could clash with England’s quarter-final match at Euro 2024 on Saturday evening, forcing sport fans and BBC schedulers into a tricky dilemma.

Murray and Emma Raducanu will team up in a mixed doubles match against Marcelo Arévalo and Shuai Zhang on No 1 Court. The match, which is the last one scheduled to play there on Saturday, looks likely to start in the early evening while England face off against Switzerland at the Merkur Spiel-Arena in Düsseldorf.

The match is part of Murray’s Wimbledon swansong and could mark his last competitive performance at the tournament. It was hoped that an early start would clear the way for a blowout day of sport on the BBC, allowing both blockbuster sporting events to dominate BBC One’s schedule for most of the afternoon and evening.

Instead, viewers and schedulers for the broadcaster could be forced to choose which one to pay attention to. England’s against Serbia last month drew in a peak of 15 million viewers.

The BBC, which has exclusive rights to broadcast the championships, had been engaged in high-level talks with the All England Lawn Tennis Club throughout the week over Murray’s appearances at the tournament.

BBC bosses are said to have called on the tournament’s organisers to schedule Murray’s doubles team up with his brother, Jamie, for Thursday evening over fears it would be overshadowed by coverage of the general election and the Euro 2024 quarter-final between Portugal and France on Friday.

On BBC One, Wimbledon coverage will begin at 12.20pm on Saturday before switching to the Euros at 4pm. The tennis tournament will return to screens at 7.45pm. Should the events clash, it is unclear what the broadcaster would do. BBC Two has scheduled Wimbledon coverage to run all day.

There are suggestions that Murray could receive another rapturous sendoff on Saturday if he loses the match, which would mark the official end of his competitive career at Wimbledon.

On Tuesday, Roger Federer privately met Murray before his doubles match on Thursday. But Federer did not play a part in the post-match tributes on the court at which tennis legends including Novak Djokovic, Martina Navratilova and Tim Henman saluted the two-time Wimbledon champion.

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Raducanu, who is through to the tournament’s fourth round, is set to the court again on Sunday, competing for her place in the quarter-finals.

Michelle Dite, Wimbledon’s director of operations, said they would not be showing the England game anywhere on the tournament’s grounds. “When you come to Wimbledon, you come to watch the tennis. We think that’s really important. That’s what people have purchased a ticket for,” she said on Tuesday.

For those tired of England’s middling Euros performance thus far, Dite said they are more than welcome at Wimbledon. “If people are still willing to go through the pain of supporting England, they might need a break to come and watch some tennis,” she said.

The Guardian

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