Night play returned to Wimbledon yesterday when the tournament saw its latest ever finish.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic eventually defeated Belgian Olivier Rochus in a five-set match on Centre Court that finished at 10.58pm on Monday night.

If the match had continued for another two minutes the players would have been taken off the court, a spokesman for the All England Club said.

The club said the match was an exceptional event, and claimed late night matches would not become a regular feature of the tournament. A curfew, enforced by Merton Council, bans play after 11pm.

Chief Superintendent Chris Bourlet, of Merton police, who is in charge of policing for the competition, said there were no reported incidents as a result of the late running.

He also said that less spectators stayed to watch the finale than waited until 10.40pm last year to watch Andy Murray beat Stanislas Wawrinka in the tournament's first ever late night match.

Chief Supt Bourlet said no arrests were made on the tournament’s first day - although a spokesman for first aid charity St John's Ambulance said its volunteers treated 64 people.