June 13, 2014
Its summertime, the sun is blazing in London, which means only one thing; Wimbledon!
However, having one of sport’s greatest tournaments in the hottest season of the year comes with risks. Because Wimbledon is played outdoors, it’s always vital to keep one eye on the weather conditions.
In 2010, during the U.S Open, Victoria Azarenka collapsed. This was partially due to the extreme heat whilst playing. Whilst Wimbledon doesn’t have the temperature ranges of its fellow tournaments, there have been some surprising statistics that have arisen over the years.
Whilst the U.S Open will average around 25C, the Australian Open is much tougher, boasting thermometer-busting levels of 46C! The French Open is very similar to Wimbledon, both having an average temperature of around 20-22C.
1993 was Wimbledon’s sunniest year, with over 150 hours of sunshine. However, there is always a spot of rain, with the exception of 1949, where there was sun during the entire tournament. The hottest average temperature was 25.4C back in 1976.
It’s important for both players and spectators to protect themselves against the extreme temperatures that can arise sometimes.
During the 2013 tournament, 79 fans were treated for heat-related illnesses during the finals. Just before the Gentlemen’s Singles Final between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, temperatures hit a staggering high of 49.8C at one point!
The Centre Court is notorious for being quite the suntrap, mainly due to the overhang of the roof. In fact, over 3,000 gallons of water will be used just to maintain the grass during Wimbledon.
In 2011, Murray was advised to drink 50% more water as he faced losing up to four litres of fluids during his matches. Constant fluid replenishment is by far the most effective method of maintaining a player’s stamina. Cooling the body down before a match is also recommended by professionals, along with ice packs being brought to courtside.
During a match, a player risks increasing their core body temperature to 40C, which can have adverse effects on ability.
Martina Hingis talked about extreme conditions during play saying:
“It’s the legs that stop functioning. The brain still wants it, you want to run and you want to get to the ball and play, but you feel like your body can’t cope with what your brain tells it to do.”
In higher temperatures, with five-set matches, studies have shown that players’ reactions times slow down by a quarter of a second. This is more than enough to make or break a deciding game unless adequate protection is considered.
Even watching games of this length in direct sunlight is dangerous, with sunstroke and skin damage being a common occurrence. Spectators should be well stocked with water, along with proper protection for their eyes and head.
The forecast for Wimbledon can be found closer to the time at the MET Office website, and if you’re thinking about attending then call us today to discuss your tickets and choose your seats!