Groundhog Day

OK. This is how it works.
You get up at 5.30am and the sun is shining on a lovely July morning.
You exit from Southfields tube station at 7.30am and the sky is blue.
A 15-minute walk later, you walk through the gates of the All England Club and spot the first cloud.
By the time you get through security and walk up Henman Hill towards the press centre, that cloud has started to turn grey.
Now we’re just waiting for the first of what promises to be another series of heavy showers and thunderstorms through the day.
I took these photos just after 8am, when – for once – Centre Court (below) was uncovered.
Wimbledon 2007 has been one of the most rain-interrupted on record.
As I left last night, a second massive storm hit this part of London, drenching homeward-bound fans and creating lakes of water on roads and pavements.

Just a few miles away, huge hailstones fell, leaving some areas blanketed in white.
What does it mean for Wimbledon 2007?
Before the start of play this morning, 177 matches were behind schedule.
Eight of those are men’s singles and five are ladies’ singles.
A total of 142 matches have so far been interrupted by rain, with nine rain delays on Centre Court and 12 on No 1 Court.

Given the weather forecast, it seems strange that play on Centre and No 1 Courts is not due to start until noon today.
The outside courts begin, as is now usual, at 11am.
Referee Andrew Jarrett wants to give the players first on the show courts time to rest from yesterday.
But surely those players – Roddick, Mathieu, Soderling and Nadal – would rather come out early if there is a chance to finally finish their matches?
Nadal and Soderling are tied at 4-4 in the final set, five days after they first warmed up on Saturday.
They are still languishing in the third round.
There is just enough time for Wimbledon to catch up and avoid playing into a third week.
Another series of rain delays today will, however, cause officials even more headaches.
If you’re planning a visit, tomorrow currently looks a good bet for dry and settled weather.
But don’t drive. A number of the car parks are waterlogged.
After tomorrow evening there is the chance of yet more downpours.
And that could see the Men’s Final played next Monday.
Unless it rains.
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