Tennis: Centre Court roof used to protect grass from heat


By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) – The Centre Court roof was closed on Friday morning as Wimbledon organizers took action to protect the turf from hot sunshine.

It was the first time since 2015 that the roof had been closed for reasons other than rain during the championships.

Wimbledon officials said it was to prevent the court baking in temperatures again rising towards 30 degrees Celsius before play started at 1200GMT.

The roof was open when Britain’s Heather Watson opened the action against Victoria Azarenka.

The All England Club courts came under fire on Thursday when French player Kristina Mladenovic criticized the surface on Court 18 after her defeat by American Alison Riske.

Mladenovic said she and Riske had both asked not to play on the court after the first two games, describing the surface as slippery. The All England Club issued a statement defending the courts and said Court 18 had been “playable as normal”.

The French woman’s comments came just two hours after American Bethanie Mattek-Sands had been carried off a different court on a stretcher, screaming in pain with a serious knee injury after stumbling while approaching the net.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Clare Lovell)