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SBD/July 2, 2012/Events and Attractions
Wimbledon Roof Becoming A Factor On Centre Court Matches
Published July 2, 2012
PUT A LID ON IT: In N.Y., Christopher Clarey wrote Wimbledon “still has a roof issue, and it has little to do with rain.” The roof was “closed from start to finish as a precautionary measure on Friday,” while the “other 18 match courts at Wimbledon were in full service outdoors.” Clarey wrote, “There is little doubt that the system works well. But its existence has created issues that were not clear initially. Above all, it is gradually transforming Wimbledon into a night tournament even though it has no official night sessions.” Wimbledon is “now considering building a roof on its No. 1 Court, which was designed to be roof-ready but still presents significant engineering challenges” (N.Y. TIMES, 6/30).
PLAYING LIKE TWO DIFFERENT TOURNEYS: The AFP's Dave James reports Wimbledon was "hit by heavy rain" as concerns grew that the Centre Court roof "was transforming the 126-year-old event into an outdoor an indoor tournament at the same time." The "gloomy conditions provoked more debate" over the roof. Top-ranked men's player Novak Djokovic said, "This is an outdoor tournament, so I think everybody wants to play when the roof is open. I was a little bit surprised when I saw sunshine that the roof is closed. But obviously they're relying on the forecast that I don't think is very reliable here" (AFP, 7/2). ESPN’s Mike Tirico said, “It just felt odd that one day, Friday, we had play going on outside and the wind was a factor, and then we bounce back into Centre Court and things were calm and there was no wind. It felt like two different tournaments that were going on at one point.” Tirico asked, “I wonder if that’s why they tried to get as much roof-open action in as possible today?” ESPN’s Mary Joe Fernandez said Wimbledon “makes the point that this is an outdoor tournament, so they try as hard as possible to have the roof be open." Fernandez: "That’s why that Friday was a little bit confusing because it ended up not raining” (“Wimbledon,” ESPN, 7/2).
THE GRASS IS GREENER: ESPN.com’s Greg Garber noted the 28-man grounds crew at Wimbledon typically "takes the day off" following the end of the tourney, then "leisurely dismantles the scorched grass over a three-to-four-week period." Reseeding also is a "lengthy process.” However, with the Olympics looming, “they'll do it all in 24 hours” this year. Garber noted the courts will be “covered to produce a humid, greenhouse effect conducive to quick growth.” Hopefully, “in a little over a week's time, the grass will reach a height of 14 millimeters and be trimmed to the regulation eight millimeters” (ESPN.com, 7/1).