Wimbledon officials defended the cap policy after 80 minutes. rain delay

Wimbledon organizers defended their Center Court terrace policy on Tuesday after a rain shower made the grass too slippery, causing Novak Djokovic’s opening match to be delayed by 80 minutes.

Djokovic walked off set in a light rain on Monday before the retractable roof, which was installed in 2009 at a reported cost of 80 million pounds ($102 million), was closed.

However, play did not resume as the grass got wet and there were frustrating delays, despite the efforts of ground staff cheering Djokovic with towels and with leaf-blowers.

With the state-of-the-art air-conditioning system, play will not resume for more than 30 minutes after pressing the switch to close the roof.

The long delay therefore surprised defending champion and No. 2 seed Djokovic and his Argentine rival Pedro Cachin, as well as the crowd, especially when play resumed immediately on Court 1.

“It was very strange that for over an hour the situation was not changing at all for the better,” said Djokovic, who won 6-3 6-3 7-6(4) after the terrace reopened.

The tournament organizers said in a statement that the safety of the players is always a priority in such circumstances.

“Every care is taken by the Championship referees when checking whether courts are fit for play following a rain delay, as the safety of the players is our top priority,” the statement said. “In this instance, the Center Court took longer than anticipated to dry. Furthermore, it was decided to resume play with the roof open, indicating that the rain was about to stop soon.

“The players were updated regularly during this time.”

The terrace will be tested again on Tuesday with rain expected throughout the day.

Defending women’s champion Elena Rybakina was earlier scheduled on Center Court, and the match is likely to be played behind closed doors.

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