Will the weather play ball for Wimbledon this year?
Wimbledon fortnight is upon us – a time when thousands of people swarm to SW19 and Wimbledon becomes a hive of activity for two weeks of action-packed tennis.
Mounds of strawberries, lashings of cream and gallons of champagne will be waiting to be consumed, but there is one thing that is even more important than all of these combined – the weather.
Having been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon since 1877, Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world.
As a tournament with such longevity, as you might imagine, the weather has had its fair share of influence during the last 136 years.
Before I take a look at the weather prospects for this year, I’d like to take a quick look back and see how the weather has affected Wimbledon fortnight in the past.
Number of days completely rained off
With British summers renowned for a variety of weather conditions, you will probably be surprised to know that only 32 days have been completely rained off in 135 years – that’s an average of around a quarter of a day per tournament or one whole day every 4 years.
Meetings extended to complete the programme
Since 1919 there have been 18 occasions when the meeting has been extended to complete the programme of tennis. Two of these were due to players’ commitments, but 16 were due to rain.
First weeks badly interrupted by rain
It wasn’t until 1971 that all courts had a cover available, and since then the first week of tennis has been badly affected by rain on five occasions – in the years 1982, 1985, 1991, 1997 and 2004 when only 42 per cent, 60 per cent, 58 per cent, 45 per cent and 72 per cent of matches were completed respectively.
So what does the weather hold for the first week?
At the moment, the weather for much of the first week of the tournament is looking pretty promising.
However, towards the end of the week, lower pressure will move closer to the UK, bringing a change to something more unsettled.
For Wimbledon, this means an increasing chance of showers on Thursday and especially Friday, which could lead to some temporary interruptions to play.