On this day in 2009: Wimbledon action goes on under a roof for the first time

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Wimbledon’s centre court roof was used in a match at the tournament for the first time on this day in 2009.

Rain stopped play during Dinara Safina’s fourth-round women’s singles clash with Amelie Mauresmo and history was made when a Wimbledon match was completed indoors for the first time in 132 years.

Safina was 4-1 up in the second set having lost the first 6-4 when the match was halted and after the action had resumed 10 minutes later, the Russian top seed went on to win 4-6 6-3 6-4.

Russia’s Dinara Safina won the first match to finish under the centre court roof
Russia’s Dinara Safina won the first match to finish under the centre court roof (Sean Dempsey/PA)

The first serve under the new 3,000-tonne canopy came from 2006 champion Mauresmo at 5.19pm and the first winning shot followed from Safina in the same rally.

After the match, Safina said: “I didn’t have any problems in adjusting and I felt pretty comfortable. I wouldn’t say that the grass was slippy – everything was perfect.

“The crowd gets even louder – you feel them a bit more – so it is very nice to play under the roof. There is not really that much difference otherwise.”

The sold-out centre court crowd then witnessed Andy Murray’s thrilling five-set fourth-round win against Stan Wawrinka in the men’s singles.

Andy Murray falls to his knees after defeating Stan Wawrinka under the centre court roof in 2009
Andy Murray falls to his knees after defeating Stan Wawrinka under the centre court roof in 2009 (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Murray’s late-night 2-6 6-3 6-3 5-7 6-3 victory, the first full Wimbledon match to be completed under the roof, lasted three hours 56 minutes and concluded at 10.38pm – then the tournament’s latest finish.

Construction of Wimbledon’s centre court roof began in 2006 and was completed in April 2009. The cost – estimated at between £80-100million – has never been disclosed by the Lawn Tennis Association.

A retractable roof was installed over number one court in time for the 2019 championships at an estimated cost of £71m.

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