*Wimbledon.com uses cookies.Find out more
CONTINUE > We use simple text files called cookies, saved on your computer, to help us deliver the best experience for you. Click continue to acknowledge that you are happy to receive cookies from Wimbledon.com.

Wimbledon Groundsman's Olympics diary - day four

Groundstaff prepare to pull on the covers on Centre Court
by William Brierley
Tuesday 31 July 2012

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

Last night after getting through our allotted games the No.1 Court crowd were given an extra match, a doubles featuring none other than the current gold medal holders Team Switzerland, Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka taking on the Japanese pair of Kei Nishikori and Go Soeda. The game was very tense with the Japanese team taking the first set 7-6 by winning the tie-break 7-5.

With light fading and the Swiss having taken the second set 6-4 it was getting close to calling the match for the night but luckily Roger Federer served out the match to take the third set 6-4 and send them through to round two. While out on court two, where the aforementioned match was suppose to take place, Team GB’s Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong were unfortunately knocked out of the competition by the double G’s from Germany. Goerges and Groenefeld winning convincingly 6-3 6-1. Very sad for  Baltacha losing her second match of the day and now off to have surgery on her shin and will be out for six months.

Unfortunately sleeping with everything crossed did not keep the rain away and the morning started with us leaving the covers inflated and going to work underneath them. It is not the easiest thing in the world to work under the covers as they slope steeply to the edges to allow for the rain water to run off quickly. Once the service area of the court is mown its time to draft in some extra help from the court coverers to push up the sides so that the mower can cut from the tramline out to the post sockets.

Then I ask two of the taller coverers to stay with us as I need to mark the tramlines and without them I’d be on my knees trying to keep a straight line. The humidity under the covers is very high and the dew on court doesn’t lift so there are a lot of transfer lines to be mopped and grass clippings from the cover are constantly falling covering both the court area and all of us working.

In typical British weather fashion as soon as the work is done the rain and further threat of rain is gone. Time for the covers to come down and then the courts need to be billy goated in order to remove all the loose debris from the covers to limit the chance of slippage. The forecast of constant rain for the day has changed and it looks as though play will get under way at the correct times.

No.1 Court is dressed and ready for play to get under way when we get a call that in a while there is a chance of rain coming through. Play starts at noon with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France facing Milos Raonic and they duel out the first two set 6-3 3-6 with the game poised at 2-1 on serve in the third the rain does come and its on to cover. The light drizzle soon turns heavier and the cover has to be raised to stop the court sweating up underneath and to get the rain water off the cover.

Four fans are also put on to aid with air flow and stop the court becoming damp. It's then just over an hour and a half until the rain stops but within a quarter of an hour the cover is down off and the court is dressed. The team work as quickly as a 4 x 100m relay team to get the court ready to get play started again. Tsonga and Raonic return and trade game after game in a long third set which is still going...

Over on Centre Court today there was good news for Andy Murray who carries his great recent Wimbledon form into round three by beating the Finn Jarkko Nieminen in straight sets 6-2 6-4. I’m confidently tipping him for a medal what colour it will be though will depend, I think, on Messr’s Federer and Djokovic who also both look in good form. Another member of Team GB, Laura Robson, is currently out on Centre Court against this year's French Open Champion Maria Sharapova of Russia. The atmosphere in there is electric and I’m sure the crowd will do all they can to help push Laura on to get the win.

The forecast for tomorrow is white cloud but dry all day with reasonable temperatures of 20/21° c. So here's looking forward to a dry day and plenty of quality tennis on show.

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.

Back to blogs