And They’re Off

HIGH noon on the first day of Wimbledon and the covers are coming off. But don’t put that brolly away just yet.
Rain was pouring down when I first looked out of my window at 5.15am today. By 10am it was falling in a diagonal direction. Anything to entertain the thousands who were queueing up outside the grounds at what looked like an international umbrella convention.

The official Met Office forecast for the Championships said: “Rain will continue well into the afternoon, heavy and perhaps thundery at times from noon until mid-afternoon. The rain should then start to ease and we could see some drier and brighter interludes late afternoon and into the evening.”

A bit of a dampener for Miss Kutuzova and Miss Osterloh, scheduled to walk on to Court 19 at midday, and for Roger Federer, set to start the defence of his title on Centre Court at 1pm. There are big names everywhere today, including a certain German called B. Becker out on Court 11. That’s young qualifier Benjamin Becker.
The experts say there’s every chance of play soon, but with more rain on the way. Still, the gates are open and the crowds are in. Every cloud has a silver lining. Spectators spend more money when they’ve got nothing to watch. The Wimbledon shop is inundated, along with the bars and food outlets. Those statisticians will be happy.
No sign of Princess Michael of Kent in the pizza queue. She’s in the royal box today, along with the Duke of Kent. Perhaps we’ll catch up for a pint. I’ll be back later today and will let you know. There may even be some tennis.

You can also serve up more images at Wylie’s Wimbledon 2006 Photos.