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Chris Chase

Wimbledon roof closes for first time, but it's all for naught

Chris Chase
Busted Racquet

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This afternoon, for the first time in the 132-year history of Wimbledon, a point was played indoors after a rain delay forced the closing of Centre Court's new retractable roof. Yet when that point was finally played within the confines of the new roof, the weather outside was just fine. Oops.

Because it took 45-minutes to get Dinara Safina and Amelie Mauresmo off the court, close the roof, circulate enough air to get the moisture levels to the correct levels (so the grass surface stays true) and bring the players back out to warm-up, the rain that initially forced the closure had ceased. By the Safina and Mauresmo played the first point under the roof, play had begun on all the roof-less courts as well. That's not exactly the debut Wimbledon officials had in mind when they spent a reported $120 million to add the roof onto the 87-year old stadium.

The PR hit could get even worse. Despite the fine weather, the roof remained closed for the next match involving British hero Andy Murray. Whether or not that had anything to do with Murray looking listless and losing the first set 6-2 to Stanislas Wawrinka is irrelevant. If Murray should end up losing this match, the closed roof will be the scapegoat and Wimbledon's new jewel might turn out to be a lump of coal in the eyes of British tennis fans.

Update: Crisis averted. Not only did Murray end up winning a thrilling five-setter with Wawrinka, but because of the roof closure, the match went uninterrupted into the London evening, ending at 10:40 p.m. local time, the latest match ever at Wimbledon.

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