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On This Day 2009 – Wimbledon centre-court roof closed mid-match for first time

Wimbledon closed its newly installed roof over centre court during a match for the first time on this day in 2009.

A fourth-round encounter between Russian world number one Dinara Safina and Amelie Mauresmo was under way when play had to be paused due to rain.

Covers were pulled across the court at 4.35pm and an announcement informed spectators: “Ladies and gentlemen play is suspended and a further announcement will be made shortly.”

Wimbledon used its new roof over centre court for the first time on this day in 2009 (Adam Davy/PA)

Four minutes later the lights went on in the four corners of the stadium and the state-of-the-art roof buzzed into life, taking seven minutes to shut completely.

Ian Ritchie, chief executive of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, told the BBC: “We’ve been waiting for it for so long, it’s the first time ever at Wimbledon somebody’s waiting for rain, but we’d still prefer the sunshine.”

The roof, reported to have cost £80million to install, was not used during play in the first week of the tournament except as a sun shade for the royal box.

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