Rain and a Stolen Summer in London Turn Wimbledon 2024 into an ‘Indoor Tournament”

El techo retráctil de la Cancha Central ha sido fundamental en la edición 2024
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LONDON – When the rain falls in London, there is one place at the All England Club that is very difficult to get into: the official shop.

A crowd of people wait their turn crowded at the entrance and, like a flock of sheep, the organization keeps track of the batches of people who are allowed in. For several, the mission is to find one of the large, elegant umbrellas, an icon of tournament merchandising.

“We ran out of big umbrellas, there are only a few small ones left,” one of the store managers told CLAY. Constant rain interruptions at Wimbledon have soured many fans who arrive at the tournament without a ticket for the retractable-roofed main courts, though umbrella producers can be happy.

Summer is missing in the UK capital and cold and bad weather have been the protagonists of the first week of the third Grand Slam of the year. The sun has been in hiding for most of the time since the main event got underway, and virtually every day there has been at least one rain interruption.

Outdoor courts at Wimbledon protected from the rain // GLYN KYRK
Outdoor courts at Wimbledon protected from the rain // GLYN KYRK

The imposing white and luminous retractable roofs of the main courts have remained closed more than usual. Carlos Alcaraz, defending champion, has played three of his four matches indoors.

“I don’t like it when it rains. Wimbledon with the roof is still a place I can’t get used to. The noise on Center Court is odd to me,” Roger Federer said in an interview with ESPN. The Swiss played most of his matches outdoor in London. Although the retractable roof (built in 2009) played an important role in the 2012 final, in which the Swiss won against Andy Murray his seventh title.

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The tournament has blamed “terrible” weather to justify downward attendance numbers in 2024. Every day has had smaller crowds than last year, with the exception of Tuesday, the day Murray was supposed to have played his last first-round singles match.

In addition, last Friday marked the lowest numbers in a quarter century for the first Friday of the tournament, not counting 2021 when there were pandemic restrictions.

Gray clouds over the grass courts, an almost permanent image during the first week of the tournament // SEBASTIÁN VARELA with a Motorola Edge 40 Neo

“This year the weather has been so variable and so bad at times that I think at this point our assessment is that it’s almost certainly the weather that’s affecting [attendance],” Sally Bolton, chief executive of the All England Club, said on Monday as the tournament entered its second week.

Wimbledon could easily sell tickets in pre-sale formats, but there are traditions that can’t die. The Queue, is the traditional line thousands of fans make each day to enter the facility.

“It’s a very important part, not least to protect accessibility, and so we accept that, by keeping the queue, we are adding some ambiguity about the number of people coming through the venue,” Bolton commented.


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Although the weather has not been as inclement as in 1989. That year, incessant rains prevented the game from being played during the first five days of the first week. That Friday afternoon, the press room was alerted to an important official announcement. Journalists thought it would be about scheduling. Perhaps, that play would be enabled during the first Sunday, traditionally a holiday.

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Anecdotally, this was not the case. The All England Club apologized to the public because the quality of the strawberries was not the best thanks to heavy rainfall.

If the interruptions persist, playing indoors on the indoor hard courts would be a possibility as stipulated by the rules, but the last of all.

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