Open or closed, roofs at Wimbledon are still a slippery slope


LONDON – A little while ago Roger Federer came out on Tuesday to play the first round match at Wimbledon, a voice appeared on social media.

The voice was the Twitter account of the roof of the Wimbledon Center Court, a language offering that began back in 2012, three years after the roof itself was officially opened. As the Twitter profile reads: “The famous roof of Wimbledon. Open when it rains, closed when it is sunny – a source of discussion regardless of the weather …”

Built at a significant cost to the All England Club – the New York Times reported in 2009 that it cost about $ 165 million – the roof was a hot topic during the first two days of this year’s event, thanks to bad weather and a large number of high-quality tickets.

Although the roof of the Central Court – and his newer colleague on the field no. 1 (which opened in 2019 at a reported price of $ 85 million) – allowed the game to continue, could also have contributed to the number of players slipping and suffering injuries.

Serena Williams, the seven-time champion, left the field in tears after exacerbating a thigh tendon injury while Federer’s opponent, Adrian Mannarino, withdrew after one point in the last set after injuring his knee.

Neil Stubley, the all-field player of the All England Club, told Wimbledon radio channel on Wednesday that this was the first time the roof had been closed on the first day of the event.

Stubley added that a slightly reduced airflow in the field, when the roof was closed, could have contributed to conditions becoming a little more slippery than if the roof was open.

Federer said after the game in the first round that he felt that the conditions were different when the roof was closed.

“I feel a little slippery maybe under my roof,” Federer said. “I don’t know if it’s just a feeling for my stomach. You have to move there very, very carefully. If you push too hard at the wrong time, you fall. I feel it’s drier during the day. The wind and all that stuff, it removes moisture from the grass.”

For decades, Wimbledon has been known for rain as well as grass tennis, strawberries and cream. The British summer often forced fans to seek cover as field staff rushed to pull protective covers across the field.

The game was interrupted at Wimbledon at various times over the years.

In 1982, only half of the 365 games scheduled for the first week ended due to bad weather, and since World War II, 15 full days have been completely washed away.

After years of procrastination, Wimbledon has relented and the new sliding roof has opened for big pumps, only barely used in the first few years, including only once in 2009.

A match between a former champion Amelie Mauresmo i Dinara Safina that year was stopped by rain and then ended under the roof. Andy Murray then win Stan Wawrinka in the first full match under the roof, finishing in what was then a record late time of 22:39

Wimbledon didn’t have a lot of returns for their money in the first few years as British time stubbornly refused to play ball.

According to the Wimbledon Compendium, which describes in detail many strange and miraculous facts from the championship, the roof was used only once in 2010 (and not because of the rain), twice in 2015, once in 2017 and never in 2019. .years.

The Compendium does not keep complete records of every roof use each year, although this is something the Club says it is looking for for next year.

The roof was closed for the start of the first match at this year’s event between the defending champions Novak Djokovic and Britain Jack Draper, and although it is open to Sloane Stephens against Petra Kvitova, closed after the third set of Murray ‘s match with Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Day 2 was hardly better, as several outdoor matches were canceled again, but the roof remained Ash Barty, Federer and Williams dry.

In 2019, a second retractable roof was opened on Field No. 1, and Wimbledon covered the cost of $ 85 million from its own funds, a statement he made at the same time as he increased the prices of his debenture tickets, the only tickets officially available resold.

The roof of the Center Court also played a significant role in the fate of the championship, especially in 2012, when it closed early in the third set of the final between Federer and Murray, and the Swiss took the title for the seventh time.

“Of course that changed a little bit,” Murray said at the time. “The way he plays the pitch is a little different. I think he served really well when the roof closed. He served better. I don’t think he has lost a hall in the hall since 2010, so he plays well under the roof.”

But Murray saved on Monday when he had to be shut down after the third set of his match with Basilashvili, allowing the two-time former champion to come together and win him in the fourth set.


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