Close to two decades after a Goran Ivanisevic match on Wimbledon Court No. 1 against Tim Henman in 2001 was spread over three days due to rain, the All England Lawn Tennis club faced rain yet again during a star-studded ceremony on Sunday.
But there were not concerns this time. Literally. The Wimbledon No. 1 court was ready with a tractable roof, which was unveiled at a star-studded ceremony. Rain only added significance to the occasion.
The roof, which came up at a cost of £70m (€80m) in three years, takes less than 10 minutes to close. Thereafter air-conditioner needs another 20-30 minutes to fully acclimatise the venue for indoor play.
Wimbledon now joins the US Open and Australian Open in having roofs on multiple courts. The French Open is expected to have a roof on Court Philippe Chatrier, its first, by 2021.
Among those taking part in Sunday’s test event, broadcast live on the BBC in the UK, were Goran Ivanisevic, Jamie Murray, Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova.
Jamie Murray teamed up with Goran Ivanisevic to take on Pat Cash and Lleyton Hewitt in an opening doubles match under the roof.
Venus Williams then played Kim Clijsters before Clijsters and John McEnroe joined up in mixed doubles, with Murray and Martina Navratilova as challengers.
As part of other changes to No. 1 Court, all seats in the venue have been replaced and the capacity is increased to 12,345.