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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 July, 2003, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Time for a roof at SW19?
Once again play is delayed and matches stopped part way through due to rain in south-west London.

Wimbledon wouldn't be the same without a bit of rain. The psychological test of keeping focussed during the delays can challenge even the top players. Many times matches have turned, as one player returns revitalised after a rain break.

But every year it rains and every year the calls for a roof start over again. Many of the players, including British number one Tim Henman, say it is the only thing Wimbledon is missing.

What do you think? Is it time for The All England Club to put a roof over the show courts?

This debate has now closed. A selection of your best responses are published below.


A roof at Wimbledon. Never let it be said.The rain is as much a part of the Wimbledon scene as strawberries, and how would you cope with the back-log of matches being played on the outside courts, which I assume would remain uncovered. Leave Wimbledon as it is.
Brenda Hassell, Nuneaton

If it wasn't for the rain Tim Henman would have beaten Goran Ivanisivec two years ago. Goran came back revitalised after the overnight delay and the rest they say is history.

Wimbledon is steeped in history and we shouldn't change a single thing about it
Helen, London
The same is true of this years women's semi-final between Kim Clijsters and Venus Williams and what a bore we had with the ladies final because the rain break helped Venus to get some treatment and win the semi. A roof would have allowed us probably a British champion by now so I'm all for it.
John Collins, Bradford

Yeeeeesss!!! Put a roof over it! It can't be good for the game to have matches interrupted over and over again!
A Fonseca, London

Taking the rain away from Wimbledon-no way! It'll be banning strawberries next!
Heidi, Manchester

Oh God - I love it when it rains at Wimbledon (as a spectator from my living room that is!). It brings suspense to the game and I for one love the way it can determine the outcome of a match.

Wimbledon is steeped in history and we shouldn't change a single thing about it. Having said that, I do think it should be up to the players to decide, and I think most of them would be against introducing a roof. Wimbledon without rain would be like Wimbledon without Sue Barker!
Helen, London, SW

It gives Wimbledon something unique and I love it!
Jess, Belgium

I'm sick of all the disruption caused by the rain in SW19 I sit down after a hard day at work just to find I'm watching re-plays. There really should be a roof, it would be much better for the players because they could finish their match in one session and not have to wait about all day to get on.
Brian Montieth, Edinburgh

I think that the rain is just a part of Wimbledon, it makes it different than the other Slams, it gives Wimbledon something unique and I love it! No roofs please - don't take away another tradition...
Jess, Belgium

Living in Cardiff where we have arguably the most famous roof covered arena in Europe, I think it is high time that Wimbledon Centre and Number One courts were fitted with roofs.

I have been in the Cardiff Stadium when the roof is closed and it makes no difference at all to the atmosphere or the grass on the pitch.

I have also been to Wimbledon and not seen a ball hit, in the days when you were not reimbursed. It is very frustrating when you have paid a lot of money to get to Wimbledon, paid for your ticket and refreshments etc, only to have your enjoyment interrupted and sometimes ruined by lack of play because of rain.

The powers that be should remember that for the ordinary tennis fans it is an expensive day out - we are not all rich and famous and to see very little tennis on your one and only chance of the tournament can be heartbreaking.

So come on Wimbledon - you've got loads of money, spend some of it on a roof, for the sake of all of the ordinary but very loyal British tennis fans.
Mair Griffiths, Cardiff, South Wales

The weather is all part of the Wimbledon experience, and I seem to remember being told it would be no good for the grass long term! Keep it as it is.
Sarah McFall, Hertfordshire

If Wimbledon had a roof then Cliff would never have sung that song!
Steve Gardner, Nuneaton

No, no, no, no, no! Wimbledon wouldn't be Wimbledon without the rain! It just wouldn't be the same.
Johnny Slipp, Twatt, Orkney Isles

Keep it as it is. It is rare for the tournament to go into a third week and so what if it does. Everything changes but not always for the best -so what if tennis has an old fashioned image - at least it hasn't yet attracted the yobs that attend football matches, etc.
Pam Wilson, West Sussex

If Wimbledon had a roof then Cliff would never have sung that song! Rain is part of the unique and exciting challenge that is playing at Wimbledon - leave it be!
Steve Gardner, Nuneaton

Every year there is disruption at Wimbledon. Given our unsettled climate, disruption to play, frustration to players and spectators I think that serious consideration should be given to putting a roof over the show courts.
Ruth Gibson, York

I think it is time for a roof for Centre Court
Gwen Finnegan, Liverpool
Having a roof on Centre Court and the other show courts would ensure that play would continue uninterrupted. The players would then be able to relax and not worry about having to keep coming off and then psyching themselves up for the next opportunity of play. The spectators could then get their monies worth of tennis for that day.
Stephen Bloy, Hove, East Sussex

People, people this is England we are talking about - we all know that rain is part and parcel of British life, as is Wimbledon - it's the greatest British sporting event, the daddy of all tennis tournaments!! If it's going to rain let it. No roof at the inn, sorry!
Avani Patel, Luton, UK

Yes, I think it is time for a roof for Centre Court. How about one like Cardiff's - it could be open if the weather is fine?
Gwen Finnegan, Liverpool

I think having a roof would certainly ease the frustration of players and spectators.
Maureen Corcoran, Kent

Leave it as it is. Despite the weather they seem to manage very well when it comes to getting the matches played and this year so far has not been particularly bad. If it wasn't for the rain People's Sunday would never happen which is a great opportunity for those who wouldn't normally get the chance to view some top class tennis live.
Dom, UK

A retractable roof is a very good idea
Neil Hunter, Kuala Lumpur
Why not have a retractable roof installed on centre court. That way people would still be able to bask in the sunshine on that one sunny summer day.
Neil Hunter, Kuala Lumpur

Yes to a roof, but why don't they play automatically on the Middle Sunday, even if they are not behind schedule? There will always be rain at some point during Wimbledon, so why not take the opportunity to get ahead when it's dry to cover for that eventuality? Get with the times Wimbledon!
Gary Talmage, Midhurst, West Sussex

Every time I've looked at Wimbledon over the last few days it already appears to have a roof! However, a retractable roof is a very good idea. It works well in Cardiff.
Raymond, Nottingham

It is unfair to expect the players to be able to play at their best, with the uncertainty of when they will be able to start a match.
Lin, North East

It's ridiculous that rain stops play! I'm sure Tim lost a match last year due to it. Why can't we have a semi-permanent roof that can slide into place when required. This then means that we have the best of both worlds- retaining the feel of Wimbledon when the sun shines, but having an automatic roof covering the court when it rains.
Mark Worthington, Loughborough

Most top stadiums now have roofs, why can't Centre Court and Court One have them. It seems so unfair that rain interrupts such good tennis, and it also unsettles the players.
Wendy Jones, Warwick

Forget about a roof on Centre Court
Tony Baston-Hall, London
No, Wimbledon wouldn't be Wimbledon without the rain, it would be a lot better! Surely we can all see that the disruption ruins matches and disappoints the fans who turn out or stay home to watch the matches. Give us a spectacle!
Rupert Myers, Sydney, Australia

What about a "retractable" roof such as the one on the Millennium Stadium? I would not like to see a fixed roof. You'd still have problems with a log-jam of matches to be played as all the outside courts would, I assume, remain uncovered.
Margaret Hubbard, Maghull

Forget about a roof on Centre Court and all the unfairness that would cause to unseeded players, etc. What we need to do is to enclose the entire ground in a gigantic transparent plastic bubble. This would still let the sun in and would have the added benefit that if Cliff Richard starts singing again, we could pump all of the air out.
Tony Baston-Hall, London

Why bother to keep the grass? Why not turn it into a clay tournament and build roofs, and get rid of the outside courts too! How stupid...leave it how it is, its part of playing at Wimbledon. Why spoil it?
Dave, London

Keep the players playing through the rain, issue them with wellington boots and swap the tennis whites for a bright yellow mac and we're in business - what's all the fuss about?
Paul, UK

As a Brit now living abroad for the last five years, I cannot believe that this is still being debated. How is it possible that we can put man on the moon, yet we don't have the capabilities to put a roof over centre court. Tennis ratings are sliding, is it any wonder when one of the best grand slam tournaments is a frustration to watch almost every year.
Nancy Rochelle, Fort Collins, USA

I really can't see the problem in having a retractable roof at Wimbledon. Surely it would allow us to have the best of both worlds, all the sun but none of the rain. The only barrier I can see is the potential cost of such a device. But in this day and age...?
David Gatheral, Chelmsford

It should have a roof similar to that of Cardiff's Millennium Stadium which can be open or closed depending on the weather.
Colin, Newcastle

Yes, Centre Court should have a roof - one that can be open and closed according to the weather. The weather conditions are not fair on the players and the fans alike most of whom only go to Wimbledon once a year and end up been disappointed.
Maggi Homer, Stafford

How dare anyone suggest putting a roof on Wimbledon! Sitting in the rain getting bored is a great British tradition, and I'm proud of it. Next thing people will be suggesting we try to make the trains run on time!
Philip Matcham, Southampton

Having to stop for the rain is as much a part of Wimbledon as having a partisan crowd at the French Open. It means that the match is about more than just hitting the ball well, as Serena Williams recently found out.
Ed Joscelyne, Surrey

I do like Wimbledon with its natural and traditional way. That makes it a unique slam. So let the rain be a part of the event.
Leon, London, UK

It looks so good without the roof in bright sunshine so we must have a removable roof. Let's not block out the sun forever!
Paul, Wimbledon

Battling with the rain delays and matches spread over two or more days is all part of the skill needed to win Wimbledon. Removing these need for these skills would change the championship completely - for the worse in my view. It would no longer be a unique event.
Phil, Bristol

A light retractable roof like they use in Halle could be the answer. If not, then I think continuing play on the middle Sunday would relieve the schedule immensely.
Marcel, The Netherlands

Of course there are going to be logistical and technological problems in building a roof over a grass court, but with research, development and testing anything is possible nowadays.

Definitely no roof. The rain is as much part of Wimbledon as the strawberries
Damien, London

The All England Club should commission a number of different designs, pick the best and just build rooves on the two show courts! Its refusal to embrace change is great in some respects (it gives Wimbledon its unique atmosphere), but not this one.
Tom Howard, London

As cricket has discovered the game has to be approachable and rain delays try the patience of everyone. Get retractable roofs like the Aussies and Cardiff before the lure of Wimbledon is tarnished. Mind you, did Wednesday's delay save Tiger Tim from a pasting? I hope so!
Graham Holliday, UK

A sliding roof would be perfect. It's not as if it would be over the court for the entire tournament.
Daniel, Essex

There's nothing more disappointing for someone travelling a long way to see some tennis only for it to rain and spoil their day. Surely a roof can be built without ruining the already fantastic atmosphere at Wimbledon. However, it must be a retractable one.
Tom Saxby, Ringwood

Definitely no roof. The rain is as much part of Wimbledon as the strawberries.
Damien, London

When bad weather plays havoc with the schedule of play it still amazes me that they still don't star until 12 noon. Why not kick off at 10am if the sun is shining? A roof over the show courts would de-value the tournament. It's all about mental barriers and holding your nerve during the rain delays.
Neil Godwin, Wimbledon

Surely the Wimbledon organisers budget for a few rain delays and are able to reschedule some matches? After all we cant really expect to have two weeks rain free in this country. A roof over the Centre Court would only solve the one set of matches and the delays on other courts would continue.

It was time for a roof at Wimbledon 20 years ago
Michael Crewdson, Manchester
Players then playing on Centre Court would then have an advantage and in effect would be playing indoors, whilst other courts were wet.
Steve Otter, Sheffield, UK

I agree totally with the idea of putting a roof over the show courts, but only to be used in the event of inclement weather.
Kim Holman, Little Paxton, Cambs.

We have the excellent example of how beneficial a roof can be, at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Year after year we see the same scenes at Wimbledon. Surely this is affecting the concentration of the players. Are we being fair allowing this to go on and still expecting it to be the most prestigious title in world tennis?
Marcus Leesby, Cuddington

It was time for a roof at Wimbledon 20 years ago. The problem has always been there and always will. It ruins people's day and can make or break the match for the player. I am all for a roof at Wimbledon, just look at the success at Cardiff!
Michael Crewdson, Manchester

The potential for rain at Wimbledon is a part of making these Championships what they are. It's not just about nimble net play or power from the baseline... it's the psychological challenge of keeping focused throughout the two weeks and the rain delays.
Paul, Chester

No, Wimbledon would not be the same with a roof. When the sun is shining it enhances the atmosphere and out weighs the frustration of rain stopping play and frankly that adds to the tension of it all.
Robin Watson, Islington, London

I can't understand why the new Court One was not built with a roof
Roshan Patroo, London
I can't understand why the new Court One was not built with a roof. It works well in all the other slams and would solve the rain delay problems. This is another example of the All England Club being run with no sense at all.
Roshan Patroo, London

Playing outdoors is part of a true Wimbledon tradition. Players should be psychologically prepared for the unexpected weather change. Putting a roof over the courts would change everything. It would be like stopping a Formula 1 race because rain is forecast!
Demi Onitilo, Edgware

Yep, give them a roof funded from the National Lottery. Wimbledon is a world class event that we can be proud of. Even more so if rain doesn't stop play.
Andy , Belfast

Every year I organise my shifts at work to enjoy as much of the fortnight as I can and every year that schedule gets thrown to the wind. Please think about some form of roof. In these modern times I think "it's a tradition of Wimbledon" no longer holds water!
Julie Atkinson, South Yorks.

No, I don't think there should be a roof. Tennis is all about who can remain the most psychologically focussed throughout the game. The rain breaks just intensify that. That's why Wimbledon is the hardest and most cherished of tournaments!
Mike, West Yorkshire

If the roof is retractable then why not? I think it needs to stop there though. Please, please, please no floodlights!
Jim Day, Southend-on-Sea

Wimbledon wouldn't be the same with a roof!
Susie, Guildford
There should be a roof on at least the show courts. It would mean less delays and the players could get their games played without interruption.
Helen, Audenshaw, Manchester

Why not try it experimentally on Court One? That way players and officials can have time to get used to the roofed play before implementing it on Centre Court.
David, Oxford, UK

It is absurd that with Britain's notoriously unreliable weather such an important world sporting event as Wimbledon can't get its act together on the need for a roofed Centre Court. What are they waiting for? The world's media and players to say, "We've had enough waiting around" and give it a miss?
David Garfield, Tokyo

Wimbledon wouldn't be the same with a roof! Just think of all the sunny days that would be missed! There aren't many years where play has gone beyond the second Sunday and if it has it's only been until the Monday. My Mum would say: keep the courts open if it means a few extra days of this much loved tournament!
Susie, Guildford

Henman seems to be one of those people who is adversely affected by rain interruptions. How many times has he lost Wimbledon matches, that he was in control of, because of rain? For the sake of British tennis, Wimbledon needs a roof!
Adrian Matthews, Louth, Lincolnshire

It is obvious that there should be a roof
Renji Sathiah, Spain
If Halle in Germany can have a roof on a grass court, why can't Wimbledon? It is the only Grand Slam where serious rain delays wreak havoc with the schedules. It's annoying for fans and players - and makes a mockery of tennis in the process. Tennis should not be dictated by rain delays.
Darren, UK

Wimbledon needs a roof on it's show courts. But only if the playing-conditions aren't affected by it. Maybe a roof that can be opened and closed, so it only has to be used when it will start raining - like the Amsterdam Arena in the Netherlands.
Jeroen Bleecke, Maastricht, Netherlands

It has been done with every other major sport on either a court or playing field. It's about time it happened at Wimbledon. You can only take so many days off work to watch the tennis!
Tim, Bedfordshire

It would be a good thing to have a roof over the show courts. It works in Australia. I don't think it would spoil Wimbledon as much as stopping and starting every time it rains does. It would be much fairer to the players too.
Margaret Saville, Romford Essex

A roof would be very beneficial to completing the games during the Wimbledon fortnight. The roof works well at the Millennium Stadium, Wales.
Rosemary Brown, Cheam

Of course it needs a roof, a retractable one. It is so typical of we Brits to show the stiff upper lip and hope for the best - but let's face it, it rains a lot at Wimbledon. We could move the tournament to later in July as an option.
Chris Milson, New York

It is obvious that there should be a roof to spare the frustration arising from rain delayed matches. There should also be play on the mid-tournament Sunday. This would prevent the situation now developing of matches being concertinaed as the weekend approaches, a gross injustice to players.
Renji Sathiah, Spain

Wimbledon would not be Wimbledon without the rain
Martin, UK
There should be a roof put on the Centre Court, it would help the players greatly by allowing them to keep focussed. It would also improve the comfort for the spectators.
Amy, Stewkley, Buckinghamshire

This question has been raised time and time again, and I think the one person who answers it best is Pete Sampras. He said that the rain delays and rescheduling are a part of the Championships, and that if you were to cover Centre Court and Court One, what about the other courts and scheduling for them? The roof is therefore a bad call and I agree with him that you cannot just apply a roof to a famed court to try and solve the problem of rain. Besides, it's not as if playing the Men's Final on a Monday is bad for business. Just ask Goran Ivanisevic and Patrick Rafter!
Mani Thangadurai, India

Messing with the historic Centre Court is bound to be a touchy subject, but they really should have put one over the new Court One when it was built just a few years ago.
Geoffrey, Carmarthen

Wimbledon would not be Wimbledon without the rain...
Martin, UK





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