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Wimbledon Groundsman's Olympics diary - day six

Centre Court is bathed in sunlight for the Olympic tennis event
by William Brierley
Thursday 2 August 2012

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

First up on No.1 Court today was Andy Murray, who quickly dispatched of Nicolas Almagro of Spain. In an almost packed stadium Murray brought Team GB closer to getting an Olympic medal in just 59 minutes. The 6-4 6-1 win was scrutinised by the watchful eyes of HRH Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Wills & Kate). He will play again on No.1 Court later today in the mixed doubles competition with Laura Robson and if they beat he Czech pair of Lucie Hradecka and Radek Stepanek then they would be into the quarter-finals, and a match against the Aussies Stosur and Hewitt, so small is the draw.

So far the blog has come entirely from myself which gives you the view from court one but today I’ve drafted in a little help to give you the perspective of one of our temporary members of staff based in Centre Court. So here is a piece by Conrad Cavill (@Cavill11 if you’re on twitter).

Well it is now day 6 and the quarter-finals of the Olympic tennis. It is an early start as all the Groundstaff have to gather at Centre Sourt by 7.30 to take off the cover. Once the cover is off the Groundstaff then disperse to their morning jobs. Some will be marking out, some clearing up the baselines and some including myself will be mowing (Practice courts 5 and 6). These jobs are finished around 9-9.30 and it is then on to finish off any small jobs that need doing.

At 11.30 we get the call to start dressing the court, by this time the stadium is starting to fill up with spectators, so walking out onto the court is extra special at this point. Whilst others set up the net, umpires chair and line judge chairs out, me and Darren Hazell take out the player’s chairs and place the towels on them. Within minutes we are taking everything down again ready to cover thanks to the rain. Luckily for everybody on centre court we have a roof which is closed and we are ready for the first match. With the roof being on we can all relax and head for lunch.

After lunch we are able to watch the matches on court, unfortunately Murray is on No.1 today but we do have Djokovic and Federer which almost makes up for it. Once play is finished around 8.30-9pm we take everything down and clean the baselines, this is then followed by a spot of watering and then we are able to cover for the final time and head off home. Sometimes however we do have even later nights due to having a roof. On Day 5 all scheduled play finished by 8pm but we had to stay just in case the David Ferrer match needed to be moved due to bad light, which it did. After all the waiting around the match lasted an extra one game and we were able to go home slightly later than hoped.

I am currently a student at Myerscough College studying Sportsturf and have been lucky enough to get a summer placement at Wimbledon. This is my very first summer working at Wimbledon and what an experience it’s been, not only working the ‘Champs’ but to be involved in the Olympics is very special.

I’d like to thank Conrad for taking the time to do that and I’m sure in future you’ll hear from him somewhere high in the turf world.

So with Murray playing Djokovic and Federer up against Juan Martin Del Potro, it should be an interesting day of semi-finals in the men's draw and with that big lure of a medal just an outstretched arm away should really pump up the guys. In the women’s draw Victoria Azarenka takes on Serena Williams, in a match which I think the gold medalist will come from, and Maria Kirilenko to play against either Sharapova or Clijsters.

So lots of great singles tennis to be had. We also have doubles tennis taking place with both men’s and women’s being at the semi final stage and the mixed near the quarter-final stage there is lots to see. A good weather day forecast tomorrow so here is hoping to a lovely day for all.

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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