Tennis: Sleep, sue, sing: Wimbledon when it rains

AFP , Thursday 30 Jun 2016

Gilles Simon threatened to sue, Eugenie Bouchard bopped along to Beyonce while John Isner steadily became very bored playing mini-golf

John Isner
John Isner of the US (AFP)

When it rains at Wimbledon, which it has been doing for large parts of the first week at a soggy All England Club, players are driven to distraction.

Volatile Frenchman Simon was in combative mood when light drizzle fell during his second round match against Grigor Dimitrov on Court One on Thursday.

He even briefly refused to play on.

"I won't play when it rains. I know you have commitments to TV but if I get injured I will sue you and I will win," Simon told the umpire before the brief shower passed on.

Play was halted at 4:00pm (1500 GMT) on Tuesday while just 90 minutes of action had been possible on courts away from the covered Centre Court on Wednesday.

That meant only 18 of the scheduled 62 singles matches were completed leaving the first round to drag on until Thursday.

Organisers had to pay out refunds of between 50 percent and 100 percent on Wednesday's open court tickets.

At 1:00pm (1200 GMT) Thursday, Barbora Strycova saw off Anett Kontaveit and the opening round, usually wrapped up on Tuesday, finally came to an end.

Isner started his first round match against Marcos Baghdatis on Tuesday and completed a 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 almost 48 hours later.

It was one of six men's opening round ties that only finished Thursday. Four first round women's ties started Thursday morning.

"The long days in the locker room the last two days were just brutal. You can only play so much putt‑putt in the locker room with your friends," said Isner.

The big American, like many other players, has become accustomed to the European rain this summer.

At the French Open, his first round was scheduled for the opening Sunday but he didn't get finished until Tuesday.

Bouchard on the couch

Bouchard, the 2014 runner-up, needed to play on Tuesday and Wednesday to defeat Magdalena Rybarikova in the first round.

Her match was completed in the late evening of Wednesday under the roof of Centre Court and the Canadian was due back on the same arena on Thursday to face Britain's Jo Konta.

She spent most of Wednesday in the locker room, unsure over whether or not she would get on court.

"I was on the same couch for about six hours straight," she said.

"In the locker room, a lot of us were on like -- we each had our own couch. We were stationed there for a while. We were playing Beyonce, gossiping, the whole thing."

The roof on Centre Court was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Scheduling during rain delays will ease in 2019 when a new roof over Court One will be in operation.

Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky, who was one of the players to start her first round match on Thursday, said the key to dealing with the rain was just to get used to it.

"I can get angry about it and lose energy by getting angry, or I can just accept that's like that," she said.

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