Our Australian visitors, David Steed and Rowena Rosales, who worked on the IBM statistics team for Wimbledon 2011, give us their take on a typical day working at The Championships…
8:00am Wake up. What, no Vegemite for breakfast!? A cup of tea will suffice (English Breakfast of course!).
10:00am Stroll through Wimbledon Park on the way to the courts. Disappoint the crowd of hundreds queuing for a ticket, “Sorry mate, I don’t have any free tickets.”
10:30am Meet the IBM team at the rooftop garden of the broadcast centre. Check the draw, schedule and court allocations for the day. The wallets come out to pay the 50p fine for yesterday’s misdemeanors (damn, I wish I hadn’t lost the court radio!).
10:45am The groundsmen are hard at work. Catch up on the daily weather forecast; partly sunny, with a chance of rain, and sun, but then rain followed by sun and an afternoon sun-shower…with the possibility of evening storms? Crikey London!
11:30am Grab the laptops and other equipment and head to court. Meet with the IBM Tech Trojans to get the green light ready for play (by the way, what is a tech trojan?…I thought they spoke English here?!
12:00pm Crowds build and the players arrive on court. “Ready? Play.” Wide serve in, backhand drive return in-play, point, forehand pass winner, player at net. 15-0…Scoreboards and TV graphics come alive. Millions of web-users log on to IBM PointStream at Wimbledon.com. And check out SecondSight; some great technology here at The Championships.
1:30pm Grey clouds roll in overhead. The umbrellas open and here come the court covers. “Ladies and Gentlemen, play is suspended.”
2:00pm While the laptops dry, it’s a perfect time for a lunch break. Indulge in Wimbledon’s most iconic off-court tradition: strawberries and cream…but demonstrate restraint on the Pimm’s!
3:30pm The rain stops and the covers come off. Back to work…forehand, backhand, pass, error, ace, volley, smash, approach, drop…wait, was that a serve and volley? We must be playing on grass! The match heads into a fifth set…
4:30pm Grab another quick break. Head across to Henman Hill, or is it Murray Mound? As Aussies, let’s instead claim this grass as Tomic’s Turf! “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi Oi!”…oh dear, too good Nole.
5:00pm Back to work; a new court and a new match. The sun is out…in fact, hang on, I think we’re sunburnt! All four seasons in one day at the AELTC.
5:05pm Struth, spoke too soon. The heavens open and it’s back to the control room to wait-out another rain delay. Take advantage of this break in play to catch up with some of our Australian Open colleagues and umpire mates. Love the uniform guys.
6:30pm The rain eases enough to go exploring around the picturesque grounds of the All England Club. Looking good Wills and Kate! Time also to collate all the orders for tournament towels and hit the gift shop.
7:30pm Still raining, the referee calls it a day with all matches rescheduled for tomorrow. A throng of spectators and staff make their way to Wimbledon Village.
9:00pm Off to the Tennis Australia house for a BBQ (and no, there are no shrimps on the barbie here!). Congratulations to John Newcombe on 40 years since his third and final Wimbledon title. What a great speech.
11:00pm Home time, ready to do it all again tomorrow.
The 2011 Championships in stats…
- Fastest Serve (Gentlemens’ Singles) – A. Roddick 143mph
- Fastest Serve (Ladies’ Singles) – S. Lisicki 124mph
- Ace Leader (Gentlemens’ Singles) – J. Tsonga 108 (6 matches)
- Ace Leader (Ladies’ Singles) – S. Lisicki 44 (6 matches)
- Total Points Played (Main Draw Singles) – 45,464
(including 10,432 unforced errors and 15,314 winners)
- Double Fault Leader (Gentlemens’ Singles) – J. Tsonga 27 (6 matches)
- Double Fault Leader (Ladies’ Singles) – M. Sharapova 38 (7 matches)
- Correct Player Challenges (Gentlemen’s Singles) – 28.61% (103/360)
- Correct Player Challenges (Ladies’ Singles) – 32.96% (59/179)
- Retirements (Main draw singles) – 7
- Balls used – 54,250
- Height of grass on match courts – 8mm
- Total prize money – £14.6m
- Strawberries consumed – 28,000 kg (112,000 punnets)
Thanks and goodnight Wimbledon, you put on a great show. Bring on New York and, of course, see you all at Melbourne Park for AO 2012!