Ritchie: We were right to shut the roof
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:38
The roof was shut for Murray’s epic fourth-round match against Stanislas Wawrinka which the Scot won in five thrilling sets, which attracted 12.6 million television viewers at its peak. Murray complained that he had not been given enough notice that he would be playing inside, that it was dry outside at the time and that the humidity on the new Centre Court affected his serve.
But Ritchie, the All England club chief executive, defended the decision. He said: “The forecast which we looked at just after six o’clock was that there was a 70 per cent chance of a locally heavy shower with a risk of a thunderstorm. You would be slightly foolish if you didn’t close the roof.
He added: “There were two options. First, we could have got them on for 10 minutes and had a heavy shower and come off which no-once would have liked. And there was a possibility of it being dark and bringing them off again. At least there was certainty with it being closed.”
Ritchie revealed Murray’s camp had rung the referee’s office during the previous match between Dinara Safina and Amelie Mauresmo and been told the likelihood was that the roof would remain closed.
And while Ritchie admitted issues surrounding the roof were still a learning curve, he dismissed Murray’s implied claims that the air management system had not worked correctly and that the resulting humidity affected his game.
Ritchie said: “It was very humid generally. We thought the conditions were fine and perfectly playable. The court was perfectly dry, I’ve not heard anyone say it was slippery on court.”
Ritchie also denied there was any intention to play night tennis at Wimbledon despite the television ratings success. Only 500,000 more watched last year’s final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
“No, certainly not, we don’t want to,” Ritchie said. “If we could have opened the roof we would have done. The facts available supported closing it.
“They were pretty good playing conditions. There was no wind, no rain, no interruptions and it was the same for each player.”