Umbrellas up for a different reason at Wimbledon
ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 08, 2018 08:21 AM
Spectators shade themselves from the sun on Court No. 2 on the sixth day at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday July 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
By Sam Johnston, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — Although the players are coping just fine with the heat at Wimbledon, everybody else is not as much.
A heatwave that has endured for weeks in London soared above 30 degrees (86 F) on Saturday, and fans and staff at the All England Club struggled in the uncommon conditions.
The weather meant vendors selling hats, fans and sweatbands were particular busy, especially the ones working at the base of Aorangi Terrace — also known as Henman Hill or Murray Mount.
"Today's been the hottest day by a mile," vendor Camilla Ferguson said. "Today might be our record (for sales)."
Another item — usually reserved for different conditions — was very popular. Large umbrellas were visible all over the sun-baked hill.
Delene Roode, a South African spectator on vacation in England, purchased one upon her arrival at the club in the morning, with the heat having taken her by surprise.
"I wish it had little sprinklers on, but I'm happy," Roode said.
The heat did cause Juan Martin del Potro's third-round match against Benoit Paire on No. 2 Court delayed for several minutes during the third set.
The players were fine, but a female spectator required treatment before being taken in a wheelchair to a nearby medical center.
"We're trying just to be focused on our game," del Potro said of the interruption. "We prefer this kind of weather than the rain. We are in good shape to be out there and play good matches."
In the interest of safety, ball boys and girls were given reduced schedules.
"We have done 45-minute shifts instead of one hour," said Sarah Goldson, ball boys and girls manager. "And we've got spares on some of the courts where it's hotter, we'll rotate slightly more often."
If queues to buy some sort of protection weren't long enough already, the heat added another obstacle.
"The sun creeps into our kiosk and it makes the tills stop working," Ferguson said.
Only three years ago, the heat peaked at 35.7 degrees (96 F). With more hot weather forecast for week two, the club might want to use its middle Sunday — when no play is scheduled — to erect some canopies.