On this day in 2009 – New Centre Court roof closed for first time at Wimbledon

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Wimbledon’s new Centre Court roof was closed for the first time for a match on this day in 2009.

The retractable roof was shut midway through the fourth-round encounter between Russian world number one Dinara Safina and Amelie Mauresmo after light rain interrupted proceedings.

At 4.35pm a team of 17 pulled the covers across the court as a voice came over the speakers, stating: “Ladies and gentlemen play is suspended and a further announcement will be made shortly.”

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Tennis – 2010 Wimbledon Championships – Day One – The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Wimbledon’s Centre Court roof reportedly cost around £80m to install (Rebecca Naden/PA)

Four minutes later the lights went on in the four corners of the stadium and the state-of-the-art roof buzzed into life, taking seven minutes to shut completely.

Ian Ritchie, chief executive of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, told the BBC: “We’ve been waiting for it for so long, it’s the first time ever at Wimbledon somebody’s waiting for rain, but we’d still prefer the sunshine.”

The roof, reported to have cost £80million to install, was not used during play in the first week of the tournament except as a sun shade for the royal box.