DRIZZLE was the word of the day. Defending champion Roger Federer started the defence of his title on time, but was defeated by the Centre Court coverers after just 35 minutes. A rare British victory.
By mid-afternoon, the BBC also admitted defeat and started interviewing celebs. Little Britain’s David Walliams was led to the roof of the Broadcasting Centre to talk about his imminent cross-Channel swim for Sport Relief. He’d obviously come to SW19 for some last minute training.
Those who had queued overnight to get in, had to queue again to be fed and watered. And like most of our seaside resorts, if you’re a member of the great British public, there’s precious little to do when it rains, and not much shelter for the ordinary folk among the attendance of 32,272.
Jackie Errington, 44, and her children Claire, 10, and Jamie, 12, showed the right spirit, defying the downpour to sit on the steps of Henman Hill watching recorded tennis on the big screen. They had tickets to see the real thing on Court One, but the prospect of seeing Tim in the flesh was fading fast.
“We came to London for the weekend and had some lovely sunshine, and then we woke up this morning to this,” smiled Jackie, who had to leave with her children at 6pm to catch a flight home to Edinburgh.
In the press room, Australian and Italian journalists switched TV channels screening live coverage of the rain to watch the dramatic finish of their World Cup clash. Passers-by pressed their noses to the window and wondered how they could get a job like that.
Weather updates from referee Andrew Jarrett’s office are broadcast across the grounds from time to time, bringing a sudden hush to thousands of weary souls, all anxious for some good news on their big day out.
If you’ve been to the Championships and heard the announcements, you’ll know how very English they are, delivered in a clipped 1940 radio announcer style. “We remain hopeful that there will be some play this evening,” means it’s probably time to think about beating a retreat.
As the players scheduled on court did their best to keep busy, old hands predicted a day one washout, aside from the brief early dry spell. Confirmation came at 7.20pm when play was abandoned, after what Wimbledon described as “a disappointing and frustrating day”. There was just one final queue left to face – the one for the tube home.
More images from today are at Wylie’s Wimbledon 2006 Photos.