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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 15 October 2018

Wimbledon refuses to change men's final time despite clash with World Cup final

Men's singles final scheduled for 2pm local time, with the World Cup final, which could feature England, starting at 4pm

Roger Federer could be bidding for a record-extending ninth Wimbledon title at the same time as the World Cup final. Toby Melville / Reuters
Roger Federer could be bidding for a record-extending ninth Wimbledon title at the same time as the World Cup final. Toby Melville / Reuters

Wimbledon chiefs reiterated on Monday that the men's final will start at its traditional time despite it clashing with a potential England World Cup final.

The All England Club has come under increasing pressure to rethink its 2pm (5pm UAE) start time for Sunday's men's singles final with the football showpiece in Moscow kicking off at 4pm in the UK.

Should England defeat Croatia in Wednesday's semi-final then the national team will feature in a World Cup final for the first time since lifting the trophy in 1966.

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"It is purely our decision to stay at 2pm. It will stay this year, it will stay next year," said All England Club chief executive Richard Lewis.

He added that there were no plans to show either Wednesday's semi-final or Sunday's final at the World Cup on Wimbledon's giant TV screen attached to one of the sides of Court One.

Last Saturday, England made the semi-finals with victory over Sweden as action at Wimbledon took place.

"Saturday was one of the most special days I can remember at the championships. The tennis was very good and there as a historic football match going on," Lewis said.

"People followed the football on their devices thanks to modern technology without disturbing other spectators.

"You can tell when England scored and it was wonderful but we didn't receive any complaints that the enjoyment of tennis had been spoiled."

"I am sure the same again will happen on Wednesday -- and hopefully on Sunday. People get Wimbledon and we get the balance right."

Lewis has become exasperated by stories that the All England Club has been indifferent to the national wave of affection which has engulfed Gareth Southgate's football team.

"We have a very strong public wi-fi signal and it worked brilliantly on Saturday," he said.

"That indicates that we are supportive of the World Cup and that we are not turning down the signal strength!

"We are a tennis tournament but we are aware that there is something special going on elsewhere.

"I have met Gareth Southgate, he's a great guy. Jeremy Dier (the father of England player Eric Dier) is a member of the club. I have known Eric since he was a teenager."