Organisers confident rain will not prevent Wimbledon finishing on time

Wimbledon organisers are confident of finishing the tournament on time despite forecasts of more wet weather this week.

There were only two dry days in the first week and some events are already behind schedule following numerous delays.

Conditions are forecast to be similar for the second week, but chief executive Sally Bolton believes they can get back on schedule.

A member of the ground staff sweeps water off the covers
A member of the ground staff sweeps water off the covers (Zac Goodwin/PA)

She said: “We now have an extra day, we’ve got the two roofs, so, in terms of resilience to get through the Championships, we’re confident we can still do that despite the continuing variability of the weather.

“We’ve got a range of contingencies. Going indoors is one of those options but that really would be a bit of a last resort.”

Wimbledon changed from a 13-day to a 14-day tournament two years ago with the addition of play on middle Sunday.

The All England Club also now has a large indoor tennis centre across the road from the main site, which it could potentially use for events such as the juniors, although the courts are hard rather than grass.

Emma Raducanu slipped during her match against Lulu Sun
Emma Raducanu slipped during her match against Lulu Sun (John Walton/PA)

Organisers have already made one concession with matches in the first two rounds of the mixed doubles reduced from best-of-three full sets to a first-to-10-point tie-break if the first two sets are split.

The final of the mixed doubles is scheduled to take place on Thursday but some pairs are still waiting to play their opening-round contests.

Bolton also backed the scheduling of Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu’s first-round mixed match, which was set to be fourth on Court One on Saturday before Raducanu pulled out.

The 21-year-old cited a sore wrist but having to play late in the evening ahead of her fourth-round singles match on Sunday afternoon was also likely to have been a factor.

Raducanu’s withdrawal denied Murray a final match at the All England Club ahead of his planned retirement later this summer.

“Scheduling this year particularly with the rain has been uniquely challenging,” said Bolton. “Scheduling is always more of an art than a science and we do our best to try and find the right balance.

“As we thought about the possibility of Emma and Andy playing in the mixed doubles, we had to really consider how we would shape those things and we felt we made the right decision at the time. Athletes’ decisions about the competitions they enter are really a matter for them.

“Our priority was finding the right point at which to give Andy the celebration and send-off that he absolutely deserved. For us, the right opportunity was to use the men’s doubles. We’re really happy with how that worked and how that was received.”

Daniil Medvedev, left, puts his arm around Grigor Dimitrov
Grigor Dimitrov, right, was forced to retire against Daniil Medvedev (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Bolton also insisted the bad weather has not affected the slipperiness of Centre Court and Court One, with most play taking place indoors.

Grigor Dimitrov was forced to withdraw during his fourth-round singles match on Sunday after slipping while Raducanu and Alexander Zverev have also fallen heavily in recent days.

“The courts are very dry,” said Bolton. “The roofs have not been open significantly. There isn’t any dampness in there.

“We have on both show courts a complex mechanism for keeping the air in the right condition for the court to be in the right condition and those systems have been working very hard but they’ve been working fine, so we have no concerns about the courts.”