LONDON (AFP) – Play in the Olympic tennis tournament at Wimbledon was delayed in all but one match as the Centre Court roof was closed following a hailstorm which lashed the All England Club on Sunday.
Hail and heavy rain briefly poured down at the south-west London venue just as play was set to get underway on the outside courts at 1030GMT.
The storm didn’t last long, but it was enough to persuade organisers to close the Centre Court roof, which saw regular action during the recent rain-hit Wimbledon, for the first time in the Olympic tournament.
Play on Centre Court was only held up by around 10 minutes as this year’s beaten Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska and Germany’s Julia Goerges emerged just after the scheduled midday start on the main show court.
It was the first time Olympic tennis has been played indoors in the modern era, although the event was staged under a roof in Stockholm in 1912 and London in 1908.
However, on the uncovered Court One, where world number two Novak Djokovic starts against Italy’s Fabio Fognini, and the rest of the outside courts, play remained suspended for over two hours due to persistent showers.