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A Roof for Centre Court?

July 7, 2002

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WIMBLEDON, England (AP) _ The All England Club is seriously looking into building a roof over Centre Court to allow play when it is raining.

After a sunny first week of Wimbledon, the second week’s schedule was frequently interrupted by rain. Installing a roof has been discussed for many years, but it’s only this year that officials are strongly considering it.

Wimbledon chairman Tim Phillips said Sunday a roof was part of discussions on further renovating the site, but admitted ``serious obstacles″ needed to be overcome.

``In the last decade, we’ve built a new No. 1 Court, a new media center and created the hill with the big screen,″ he said. ``So if it was straightforward to build a roof, we’d already have done it.

``But there are problems with a roof. It doesn’t matter to rugby or football (soccer) matches if they get condensation or sweating _ but it matters a lot on a grass tennis court.

``We’ve done expensive tests in the U.S, feeding in British summer forecast information. They work out whether condensation would occur _ and it would on a considerable number of occasions.

``So what ventilation system would we need in an 80-year-old building? And how would it affect the flight of the ball? Until we get a really good solution, we’re not going to do it.″

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AUSSIE ROYAL BOX: There was a distinct Australian presence in the Royal Box on Sunday when Lleyton Hewitt beat Argentine David Nalbandian in the men’s final.

Former Wimbledon champions Neale Fraser (1960) and four time finalist Ken Rosewall were joined by Frank Sedgman, who is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his win. He was also the last man to win the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles.

Paul McNamee, who won the doubles with fellow Australian Peter McNamara in 1980 and 1982, was also in the box. Australia was officially represented by the High Commissioner, Michael L’Estrange.

Other former Wimbledon winners were Americans Budge Patty, who beat Sedgman in 1950; Ted Schroeder (1949); and Stan Smith (1972).

Argentina was represented by councilors of the Argentine embassy, Gustavo Martino and Lia Rueda.

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AUSSIE, AUSSIE: Todd Reid made it an Australian double at Wimbledon when he won the boys’ title Sunday by beating Lamine Ouahab of Algeria 7-6 (5), 6-4.

The 18-year-old champion from Sydney, now based in Sarasota, Fla., followed up Lleyton Hewitt’s victory in the men’s final.

In the girls’ final between 15-year-old Russians, Vera Douchevina rallied to overcome Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.

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CLIJSTERS WINS: At least the Clijsters’ household can take home one trophy.

Elke Clijsters _ the younger sister of No. 5 women’s seed Kim _ won the girls’ doubles title with Czech Barbora Strycova. The top-seeded pair beat second-seeded Ally Baker of the United States and Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany 6-4, 5-7, 8-6.

In the boy’s doubles, Romania’s Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau defeated Brian Baker and Rajeev Ram of the United States 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

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STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM: Those who made it to Wimbledon this year munched through 74,800 pounds of strawberries. The beverage of choice covered a wider range.

Wimbledon caterers said 60,000 pints of Pimms, an alcoholic aperitif, were sold during the two weeks, along with 312,500 bottles of water and 14,000 bottles of champagne.

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SECOND SERVES: U.S players recorded the fastest serves of the tournament _ Andy Roddick at 144 mph and Venus Williams at 119. ... The Wimbledon stringing team strung a total of 2,032 rackets during the two weeks, 60 percent for men. In the first week, the stringers worked around the clock, stringing 1,018 rackets.

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