Monday, September 3, 2012

A to Z of Wimbledon: Day 8

Steve Pearce

Updated July 06, 2012 10:00:43

Delays play a big part in Wimbledon most years, although we've been blessed with a few sunny years in recent times.

But we're back to the old Wimbledon now and there's rain everywhere, and every day. And quite frankly it's been cold. Bitterly cold.

Today the temperature at Wimbledon was 16 degrees. That is an absurd temperature in the middle of the summer. In the entirety of the Wimbledon's of 2009 and 2010 I don't think the temperature dropped below 16 degrees at night. It's a country of extremes in weather. It's been illustrated here.

Delays are also playing a major part in this Wimbledon and it ties in the roof policy, or indeed lack of it. I know we've done the roof, but daily, we come across new ways to confuse both the paying public and the players alike.

On Monday night, Djojkovic duly trounced Troicki as he was supposed to do and the matches on Centre were finished by 745pm and yet neither the unstarted match between Ferrer and Del Potro or the well underway Murray v Cilic match was rescheduled to Centre Court.

So most now that they at least had guidance on that eventuality. Clearly the roof would not be used even if the schedule were under a little pressure. How wrong can you be?

The very next day is Ladies' Quarter-Finals day. The match between Kirilenko and Radwanska is posied at four-all in third when it is suspended on Court One at 7.45pm on Tuesday night.

It could go another 10, 15 minutes or 45 or longer. Indeed according to the tournament, the match should be finished on the same court and under the same conditions. On Centre Court, Victoria Azarenka and Tamira Paszek are playing for a place in the last four in a match which finally ends at 9.20pm.

Now, a sane person would think clearly what is going to happen is that Kirilenko and Radwanska will come back onto Court One at midday on the Wednesday to finish their match and then prepare for a semi-final on Thursday.

But that is no what happens. In a complete reversal, the players are asked to finish their match on Centre Court under completely different conditions and on a different court.

One day to the next is completely in isolation when it comes to roof policy. If indeed there is one. There was no real disadvantage to the pair finishing their match under normal conditions tomorrow, and so again the supposed ideology of an 'outdoor event where possible' is again thrown out of the window. It beggars belief.

The All England Club and Wimbledon itself must sit down and re-write the rules for the use of the roof over the next nine months or so. And remove any reference to remaining an outdoor tournament where possible, because that is clearly not a priority and it's been proven over the fortnight.

So delays and the extreme cold. It's certainly not helping the fans. They just look miserable on Henman Hill and Murray Mount gamely supporting the players on Centre Court. It can't be fun. And it is hurting the numbers inside the tournament. The last two days have been noticeably colder than in recent years and the numbers are appreciable down.

According to the British Met Office, July is now statistically colder than February. It's the coldest June since 1991 and it's showing no sign of letting up until at least the end of the month, well into the first week of the Olympic Games.

And need less to say, the tennis starts at the end of the month. Best of three sets at Wimbledon. And you can expect the roof to play a very large part in who's wearing the Gold Medal at the end of the tournament. Is the Olympics an outdoor sport?

Tags: sport, tennis

First posted July 04, 2012 13:13:25

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