Wimbledon ready with multimillion-pound rainproof roof on Centre Court

June 20th, 2009 - 3:34 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 20 (ANI): The Wimbledon Championships start on Monday, and for the first time since the world’s oldest tennis tournament began in 1877, the biggest matches will no more be affected by rain.

Tournament referee Andrew Jarrett, while being nervous, is looking forward to see the multimillion-pound roof slide over the world’s most famous tennis court in case of rain.

“We are a bit nervous, but we’re delighted with the roof. I think that when we have 15,000 people (an increase of 1,200) under there watching a tense final set, the atmosphere will be even better than it was before,” The Times quoted Jarrett, as saying.

Jarrett, who took over as tournament referee in 2005 when Alan Mills stepped down after 23 years, has deliberately avoided the weather forecast for Wimbledon fortnight.

It also remains to be seen what effect the new roof will have on the smooth running of the tournament. During rainy days, play on the Centre Court will continue while it may not be possible on the outer courts.

Jarrett said that the roof would solve some problems, but create others. Players who had to wait would get a rest, but might then feel stale. “We’ll endeavour to deal with any oddities as fairly as we can,” he said.

Spectators on Centre Court will still witness the familiar scenes of green-clad ball boys and girls scampering across the hallowed turf with the covers, but this old-style protection will be needed for only ten minutes until the fabric roof has slid into position and the air-conditioning has kicked in.

“I have a lovely image of a man with a big cranking handle to move the roof back and forth,” Jarrett said. “But I’m sure it’s not like that.” (ANI)

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