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Wimbledon Groundsman's Olympics diary - day two

Rain delays play at the Olympic tennis event at Wimbledon
by William Brierley
Sunday 29 July 2012

The famous tweeter @WimboGroundsman will be writing a daily diary during the Olympic tennis, talking about courts, players and more...

So yesterday was a lovely sunny day all day with all matches completed. Unfortunately for Team GB they only had one win from five attempts, with Elena Baltacha making it through to round 2. Today though we had Team GB’s best medal hope, Andy Murray, win through in straight sets against Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3 6-3.

Day two started with glorious sunshine and a cloudless sky but already rumours of a rainy day were floating around. With a few dry hours ahead, it's off with the covers and off to do the morning's jobs. The courts are all looking very nice and green but with the baselines worn a little as expected with the young grasses not having time to root properly with the short turnover period. Still the courts are playing well and look very good mown and marked out.

Walking from the ground staff bivvy back over to No.1 Court to get ready for the day I happened to pass by the Wenlock statue where an actual real life Wenlock is posing in front for the cameras. The Olympic mascot will be wandering around passing on cheer to all the boys and girls around the ground.

11am and the forecast time for the rain had come and gone but so had the sun to be replaced with ominous dark clouds, only half an hour until it was time to dress the court ready for play. 11:20 and like night following day or two plus two equalling four, the rain arrived here at Wimbledon.

No worries for Centre Court the roof had been deployed and they were still able to dress and get play going on time. For No.1 and the outside match courts though no such luck. On with the covers and an hour's delay until we can get the cover off on No.1 and get ready for play.

Ah dear not for long, before the players are even courtside there is a call of heavy rain en route, undress the court and cover back up. Another hour of rain follows until we finally get the cover off, another sound of thunder this time though the thunderous applause of the court one crowd as the boys remove the cover and we dress the court.

Finally play can commence with Wimbledon Champion 2011 and Serbian flag bearer Novak Djokovic starting his Olympic quest against Fabio Fognini of Italy. 45 minutes into the game and the clouds have gathered, the players are locked at 6-all and starting the tie-break. 10 minutes later and its 7-7 in the tie-break but the game is called the heavens have opened and out like lightening the team get the court furniture down and off and covered.

Hopefully not for long though we are told half an hour and this block of rain should pass. It does, more applause as the cover comes off and the court is redressed, players are not to be seen though, more rain is said to be coming through.

As we walk on to undress the court myself, Karl and Ben take on the role of pantomime villains as boos ring out loudly around the stadium.

The predicted rain soon comes and the boys cover again. This is the fourth time the covers have gone on and the day is both mentally and physically draining.

The constant wait on rain, running about on and off with covers and being absolutely drenched by the heavy rain showers are all sacrifices but of course ones I’m sure we’re all willing to make to be part of this once in a lifetime event.

The London 2012 Olympic tennis is taking place at Wimbledon. Visit the ITF Olympics site for full scores, draws and the London 2012 site for video content, venue and schedule information.

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