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Wimbledon curfew forces Andy Murray to return on Friday to complete Stefanos Tsitsipas match

WIMBLEDON — Andy Murray will have to return to Wimbledon on Friday to try and book his place in the third round after play was suspended on Thursday night due to the 11pm curfew at SW19.

Murray will return to complete his clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas, whom he leads 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 after nearly three hours of play, not before 3pm on Friday, second on Centre Court.

The former world No 1 appeared to indicate to tournament referee Gerry Armstrong that he was willing to continue playing for the last 20 minutes of the night, even with no conclusion to the match likely, but was told play would be suspended at 10.39pm.

The 36-year-old will hope that groin injury, apparently sustained during the penultimate point of Thursday evening, does not worsen overnight and he can win the one set he requires to secure victory on Friday afternoon.

Murray was looking to become the eight player in the history of men’s tennis to rack up 200 singles victories at grand slams and in doing so reach the third round of his home major for only the second time in six years.

But No 5 seed Tsitsipas took the opening set in a tie-break to make him favourite to progress before Murray returned the favour, levelling the match with two hours gone.

However, a five-set win for Liam Broady over Casper Ruud earlier in the day had set the schedule back and when Murray took the third set, umpire Aurelie Tourte announced that play would have to be suspended. Predictably, the capacity crowd, the majority of whom stuck it out to the end, booed the decision that was probably unavoidable.

The 11pm curfew was instituted in 2009, when the newly-installed roof over Centre Court facilitated play going on past daylight hours, and potentially late into the night.

A condition of Wimbledon being allowed planning permission to build the roof was that play would not go past 11pm, in order to “balance the consideration of the local residents with the scale of an international tennis event that takes place in a residential area”.

No 1 Court also now has a roof, meaning as many as 25,000 fans can still be on site watching long after sunlight has faded, and the event running later than 11pm would risk many being unable to use public transport to get home.

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