If there is a tournament that requires a lot of preparation in tennis, that is Wimbledon. Not only for its prestige, of course, but also for the care that the famous grass courts of the All England Club need. Months and months of meticulous attention to the sowing, growth and shaving of the grass.
Until the fateful moment: the start of the tournament. Wimbledon head groundsman Neil Stubley says “it’s not possible” to host The Championships later in the summer or in autumn as the daily window for play would be too short.
“In late summer the sun gets lower in the sky,” he told The Telegraph. “Then the dew point on the grass arrives earlier, and the courts get slippery. The window for play becomes shorter at both ends. As much as it would be lovely to be able to play in late summer and autumn, it’s not possible.
It’s true that we have staged Davis Cup matches in September. But play would start at 11.30am or noon and finish by 5pm. Whereas, at The Championships, you’re going from 11am until 9pm every day. To get through 670 matches over 13 days is a challenge in the height of summer, let alone at other times of the year”.
Stubley admits he will miss the “adrenalin rush” he gets on the first day of Wimbledon. “One of the beauties about my job is that I get to showcase my work to the world every year,” he added. “When the eyes of the world are looking to how Centre Court is for that first day of The Championships, it’s always a nervous moment. It will be a funny feeling, through June and July, not to have that adrenalin rush”.