BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Special Events: 2001: Wimbledon 2001: SOL at Wimbledon  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

  Monday, 9 July, 2001, 03:17 GMT 04:17 UK
The great roof debate
Rain
Wimbledon: Why does it always rain on me?
By BBC Sport Online's Charlie Henderson at Wimbledon

We thought that for once Wimbledon would be played in perfect summer conditions under clear blue skies.

For 10 days that was the case but come the men's semi-finals and the "business end" of the tournament the clouds burst, the rain fell and the covers went on.

The tented cover on Centre Court remained in place for all but 51 minutes of play on Saturday and the lack of play re-opened the great roof debate.

The All England Club have always resisted calls for a roof on their prize show court and Tim Phillips, the club chairman, insists that there is more to the issue than creating conditions in which tennis can be played whatever the weather.


You have great premises like this and spend all this money but some rain still spoils the whole thing
Floella Benjamin
"There are a range of considerations. There are issues of planning consent, there are major structural issues and there is the vital question of if the grass would be inhibited from growing.

"We are doing tests on the way the grass grows, but until such time as we get total satisfaction that the microclimate enclosed is suitable for play we wouldn't consider it.

"If the grass were to become dangerous for the players we would look a bit daft if we had spent a lot of money," Phillips said.

But Floella Benjamin, one of the commissioners for the Millenium Stadium, believes that the All England Club should follow Cardiff's lead.

Rain
Roof: Halting the heavens

"It's ridiculous. I've been here in the past when it has rained all day and I haven't seen a thing.

"You have great premises like this and spend all this money but some rain still spoils the whole day."

Benjamin also believes that a roof adds to the spectacle.

"I was at the Millennium Stadium when they actually closed the roof and the crowd cheered - it's fantastic and it's part of the whole entertainment.

"Why isn't there a roof when it's so simple."

Dominic Peach from Peckham agreed with Benjamin but partly because the rain meant that he would miss the men's final.

"I don't mind watching the women but I was looking forward to the men's final and I think a roof would be really good.

"They say the grass wouldn't be able to breathe but at the moment when it rains they put up the tent anyway and with a roof they need only use it towards the end of the fortnight when it really messes up the order of play."

But not all those who had to huddle under umbrellas to avoid intermittent showers on Centre Court were in favour of a roof.

"It just wouldn't be the same with a roof, it wouldn't have the same atmosphere," Tracy Irving said.


It would be a good idea for the spectators but I don't think the players would agree
Giny Stott
"The rain is annoying but it just wouldn't be the same. It's part of the fun of Wimbledon and you just have to accept it," her mother, Sheila Portsmouth, added.

Patrick and Giny Stott had travelled up from Ipswich and enjoyed a "scorcher" on the second day of the championships.

But come the second last day they were experiencing the other side of the coin and thought that lessons could be learnt from the Millennium Stadium.

"It would be a good idea for the spectators but I don't think the players would agree," Giny said.

And from the players union Tim Henman is against a roof as it would "change conditions", but ex-players are a different breed.

Mark Petchey agrees that more needs to be known about how a roof would affect the grass but is essentially very much in the pro camp.

"In a perfect world yes, but then in a perfect world we wouldn't have any rain."

Wimbledon site

Men's singles final

Ladies' singles final

Henman's defeat

Other finals

Scores and seeds

SOL at Wimbledon

Clickable guides

Audio/video

Sports Talk

Forum

Photo galleries

Internet links
See also:

08 Jul 01 | Sports Talk
08 Jul 01 | Wimbledon 2001
08 Jul 01 | Wimbledon 2001
07 Jul 01 | SOL at Wimbledon
07 Jul 01 | Wimbledon 2001
Links to more SOL at Wimbledon stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more SOL at Wimbledon stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales