Why switching Murray to No 1 court was a leadership dilemma

This year, Wimbledon has a rain cover for its famous Centre Court. Andy Murray expected to play his second round match there, protected from the forecast rain showers. To general surprise, the tournament organizers announced that the match would be played on the unprotected No 1 court. This seems like a leadership dilemma agonizingly being played out

All that follows is speculation. The story was picked up in a few papers but not, at first by the BBC, who normally have an obsessive interest in all things to do with the Wimbledon championships. It’s not even a particularly newsworthy story unless you have some patriotic money on the last Brit in the so-called Gentlemen’s singles tournament.

Why it puzzled me

The story puzzled me because it seemed to place the home favourite at a disadvantage. The BBC commentary is likely to be disrupted. The centre court ticket holders might feel a bit puzzled – outraged even, but they are not very practiced in such an emotion since the days on the once foul-mouthed John McInroe.

The dilemma

The draw for LTA tournaments is one of the most cherished examples of actions carried out strictly to rules. The order of play is more open to some personal discretion. At first it did not make any sense that a decision had been made that would produce immediate news attention about bungled leadership.
In such case, I tell my students, look for the dilemma facing the decision-making. Test the assumptions which might influence the decision.

The Blind Spot at Henman’s Hill

On the first day of the tournament, the weather was at its most mischievous. But thanks to the new cover, play went on uninterrupted on Centre Court. Andy Murray was among those players who benefitted. But the plaudits for the organizers were short-lived. The thousands of spectators who braved the conditions to watch on the giant TV screens on Henman’s Hill did not see anything. Something to do with health and safety.

So there’s your dilemma. Presumably the arrangements for ensuring the transmission of matches from Centre Court to a soggy but faithful crowd outside had not been thought about. Keeping Murray on Centre Court risked a repeat of Monday’s anger. Placing his match on No 1 court risked criticisms of failing to give the home favourite a permitted advantage wherever possible. And of course, that decision could always be defended as acting according to the spirit of fair play.

Sheer speculation

All of which is no more than speculation. But it does show how looking for the possible dilemma facing decision-makers may help make some sense of behaviours, even of Tennis administrators.

One or two frustrations

As an All England Tennis Club (AETC) spokesperson told the BBC “With the rain we have had, it was inevitable that there will be one or two frustrations along the way. The referee has had to alter a lot of games in the overall programme.”

Bit of a shambles
Another young british payer Laura Robson had to wait until after 2000 BST before being informed she would not be playing on Tuesday. AS she put it on Twitter “Bit of a shambles this evening”.

A helpful suggestion from LWD

Dear AETC. How about this? Speak to your friends at the BBC. Do one of those famous ‘behind the scenes’ programmes. Show the war room where these decisions get made. Show how chaotic and complex it all is. It may show that you are not as incompetent as you sometimes appear.

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