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The Wimbledon referee - 'It is an ongoing challenge'

Championships referee Andrew Jarrett
by Mark Hodgkinson
Friday 26 April 2013
Andrew Jarrett, The Championships' referee, talks to Wimbledon.com about preparations for this summer's Championships, and what he and his team learned last summer...
 
On planning for this summer's Championships:
"I started planning for this summer's Championships the day that last year finished. It is an ongoing, year-round challenge. There's probably not a day in the year when I don't field a call, or have a thought, or have contact with a colleague, about some aspect of The Championships. Clearly, the immediate run-up of a month before is much more focused. In the autumn we have a series of meetings when we look back. We tear The Championships apart, and look at what went well and what went badly. Lots of reports are written. We learn the lessons from the previous Championships. And then in the spring we have another bank of meetings. All the action points from the autumn meetings are brought forward, and we firmly plan for the upcoming Championships."
 
Reflecting on the 2012 Championships:
"When I look back on last summer's Championships, the overriding thought is, 'Wow, did we test that roof'. We used it on nine out of the 13 days, which was way more than in any previous year. We had used it a little bit before. It really hit home last year how useful it is having a roof. Without the roof, we would almost certainly not have finished last year's tournament on time. All those days of unpredictable weather took their toll. It was quite a tough Championships, for many reasons. We spent a lot of time working on orders of play, both the A versions - which you send out in the hope it's going to happen - and also the B and C versions, which you might have to revert to if you get into trouble during the day. We struggled to get the qualifying through on time, and things like that have a knock-on effect. You're working longer hours and putting more thought into everything. So you find that you're running on adrenaline a little earlier in The Championships than you would normally expect."
 
On the procedures for use of the Centre Court roof:
"I think all things like that evolve. When we first started to discuss the roof, even a couple of years before the roof came into existence, we were all already looking at procedures and scenarios and various things that could happen. We were trying to come up with a sensible set of guidelines which we would use. But we knew that it would probably take five or six years before that settled down and we started to see all the different situations which could happen."
 
On changes this summer:
"I think people coming in through the gates this summer will see little or no change. The reality is that the change is behind the scenes. We're doing spring testing at the moment, when we take all the data from last year's Championships - all the individual packets of data, down to the let first serves - and play that at many times normal speed. The other day, for example, they played all of last year's qualifying tournament in one day. All of that data is thrown at the new system in place. That will produce the inevitable teething problems which you get with any new system. By doing this now, we can address the problems in April rather than in the last week in June."
 

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