The Reuters global sports blog
Young Briton Laura Robson, at 15 the youngest female in the main draw since Martina Hingis in 1995, opened up the tournament by losing to Slovakia’s Daniel Hantuchova, though by winning the first set there were once again delirious scenes prompting the terrace’s short-lived name change to Robson Green.
But once Andy Roddick got underway, following Venus Williams on Centre Court, it wasn’t long until the world’s number three male player walked casually into the All England club.
A few minutes shy of 1440 GMT and the Briton made his laid-back entrance with just a friend for company, a contrast to some players who arrive in cars with tinted windows and a brigade of supporters. It’s a wonder there’s any space for their enormous bags.
Fashion models, with varying degrees of taste, have been strutting their stuff at Wimbledon this week — oh, and they play a spot of tennis too.
The courts seem to have become catwalks — Maria Sharapova was showing off a military-style jacket and Serena Williams wore a new mac (an odd choice since it was dry and even if it rained, Centre Court now has a roof).
Leading up to this year’s Wimbledon all the talk has been about the new roof on Centre Court and the blessed reality that rain-filled days would no longer scupper everyone’s plans to watch some tennis.
Yet no one bargained for ice.
Just ask Novak Djokovic and Julien Benneteau, who provided the Centre Court crowd with thrills aplenty as both suffered some horrific looking falls on the increasingly slidey surface.
When Roger Federer shows up at Wimbledon next week without Rafael Nadal looking down at him from the top of the draw, it will almost feel like Laurel turned up without Hardy or Starsky without Hutch.
In an era when the Federer-Nadal showdowns are starting to become tales of Hollywood blockbusters, the Swiss will have to go it alone for the first time since the 2006 Australian Open — which the Spaniard missed with a foot injury.
OK, we still don’t know whether Nadal will defend his Wimbledon title but we do know what the All England Club have in store following the redevelopment of centre court.
We were lucky enough to get an interview with the club’s chief exec Ian Ritchie this morning at Wimbledon. Here’s a brief taster of the interview…
As Wimbledon closed its new retractable roof over Centre Court for the first time in a drizzly southwest London on Sunday, the gap between the haves and have-nots grew wider.
Spectators and organisers hailed the new innovation, which will ensure Centre Court ticket holders will never again go away without seeing a match, but the rest of the soggy Wimbledon grounds provided a stark reminder of what it will be like for the majority of players and fans who walk through the All England Club gates next month.
The tennis blogosphere seems to have welcomed the new roof on Wimbledon’s centre court with open arms (see here, here and here for a taste), as did Andre Agassi when he was asked about his invitation to play at Sunday’s event.
Check out the video above to see what Agassi had to say, not just about Wimbledon, and click here for the thoughts of our tennis correspondent Pritha Sarkar.
Wimbledon enters a new era this year with the stunning new roof over centre court primed to protect the tournament from the worst of the notoriously erratic British weather.
The All England Club unveiled the new structure at a refurbished Centre Court on Tuesday and while it will not eliminate rain delays — it’s going to take 30-40 minutes just to get the conditions right every time it’s put in use — it should spell the end for complete wash-outs.