22 Apr 2009

Night play on cards under new Wimbledon roof

9:08 am on 22 April 2009

Rafael Nadal and Venus Williams may have to defend their Wimbledon tennis championship titles after dark under the new retractable roof on Centre Court in London.

The roof will be operational for the first time when the tournament begins in June, guaranteeing play on the showcourt regardless of the weather.

The club's chief executive Ian Ritchie refuses to rule out night-time play but says there will be no planned night sessions like at the US and Australian Opens.

And while he's not ruling out rain delays earlier on, he says the roof will protect the vital semi-finals and finals.

Wimbledon's Ian Ritchie. That roof is the final stage in the makeover of the 87-year-old Centre Court which will also have 1,200 extra seats this year, raising the capacity to 15,000.