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via Reuters

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  Debate

Debate

Is Wimbledon 2024 turning into a battle against the weather rather than a test of skill?

Rain on the green grass, rain on the tree!” This nursery rhyme has become the theme song at Wimbledon, turning dreams of glory into soggy realities. Imagine practicing tirelessly, preparing for one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world, only to have your matches washed away. For tennis stars like Ben Shelton, Tommy Paul, and Madison Keys, the relentless rain has been more than a mere inconvenience; it’s been a full-blown disruptor.

The prestigious grass-court grand slam has advanced to the third round with players eyeing to baffle their opponents to advance further. But, the unfortunate has continued to prevail with rain gods playing a spoilsport in London, as the matches are far from sight on the open courts. The scenario has remained similar for several players throughout the tournament and one such name is Ben Shelton.

Ben Shelton started his campaign on Monday. Despite a hard-fought five-set victory over Mattia Bellucci (4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4) this year, he faced another match in the second round on Wednesday with no rest. This was due to the multiple delays Shelton faced on the first day due to rain. While he continued his trajectory in yet another thrilling encounter against Lloyd Harris, what is in sight for him is further delays. With Shelton scheduled to face his Canadian counterpart Denis Shapovalov in the third round, the rain has stopped the play on Court 3. The situation is similar for yet another American tennis star, Tommy Paul.

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Poll of the day

Who do you think is most affected by the weather delays at Wimbledon?

Ben Shelton

Madison Keys

Tommy Paul

All players equally

The Queen’s club champion Tommy Paul has been on a sensational run on grass this season so far. He handed a defeat to Otto Virtanen of Finland in a thrilling encounter, 4-6 6-3 5-7 7-5 6-4 in the second round. With Paul eyeing yet another victory to continue his winning momentum in Wimbledon, rain seems to be halting his play as well against the Kazhak player, Alexander Bublik on Court 2. Meanwhile, Madison Keys is also facing a similar fate.

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The WTA tennis star is scheduled to play Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk in her third round. Having won her first two matches in straight sets, Keys must be hoping to repeat her sensational gameplay in the third round as well. However, the uncovered Court 12, will further make it difficult for her to start her campaign anytime soon, provided the heavy downpour. However, regardless of the weather, the action on Centre Court and 1:00 p.m. on No. 1 Court, due to both stadiums being fitted with retractable roofs. Interestingly, rain and Wimbledon have been associated with each other for over a century.

Has Wimbledon ever remained unaffected by Rain?

The 2024 edition of Wimbledon has once again witnessed players frustrated amid the heavy downpour which has created significant delays. From players in a worrisome situation, to ball kids slipping on the grass courts, rain gods have indeed played a spoilsport in the prestigious grand slam tournament. Such a situation has led many to think whether Wimbledon has ever remained rain-free.

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Ever since the major developments for the Championships in 1922, the rain gods have shown mercy to the grand slam only on seven occasions. As per the official Wimbledon Website, the championships recorded without a rain delay were four times in the 1900s: 1931, 1976, 1977, 1993, and 1995. In the 2000s, it has only happened thrice in 2009, 2010, and 2019. Such rain delays have often caught players doing the unexpected.

In a light-hearted moment that brought smiles to the faces of the fans at Wimbledon’s Centre Court, World No. 2 Novak Djokovic was seen drying damp grass with a towel after a rain delay in 2023. Nevertheless, only time will tell if the situation will improve anytime soon or if the players will continue to face such adverse situations.