Wimbledon Day 2: Maximum Magic…Beating The Rain
You can make the short walk between the two great show courts pretty much whenever you like.
You can see how the matches are developing and be in the right place at the right time.
And if the heavens open, as they sometimes do in England, you can ultimately beat the rain too.
Here’s how it was possible to sample the best of the magic – and the quirkiness – of Day 2 at Wimbledon 2016.
The action started on No 1 Court with a highly entertaining match-up between the awesome French Open champion of 2015, Stan Wawrinka, and the hottest kid on the block – Taylor Fritz.
The 18-year-old American, tipped for great things by none other than John McEnroe, was holding his own at 4-4 and deuce in the first set when something unusual happened. The umpire’s microphone went into feedback-meltdown.
Rather than upset the players any further, he turned his sound system off completely. What fun it was to hear the umpire yelling out the score to those in the crowd close enough to hear him – and being Wimbledon Debenture Holders, of course we were.
But it was even more fun to witness a star in the making. Fritz is tall but he hasn’t yet acquired adult levels of physicality and power. Boy, can he play though.
He pushed the great Wawrinka all the way to a tie-break at the end of that first set, only losing it 7-4.
It was time to go across to Centre Court and enjoy a bit of Serena Williams in her opening match against Amra Sadikovic.
Serena had taken the first set 6-2 but suddenly found herself down a break at 1-2. The willowy Sadikovic is full of athleticism and she was clearly up for a fight. But watch out if you break Serena. She is just as likely to break you straight back. And that is exactly what happened.
Not that Williams was entirely pleased with herself or her equipment as the set went on. There was a change of racquet as Sadikovic dug in to resist.
Serena berated herself, even as she edged towards victory. And when she had three match points, the champion decided to change her racquet once more. Can you imagine? One point from victory and you don’t trust your equipment?
It kind of worked, though. She closed out the match 6-4 – and it was time to rush back over to the Wawrinka-Fritz match to see how it was going.
Stan had definitely been the man in the second, romping away 6-1.
You might have expected Fritz to fold. He didn’t. With a bewildering array of shots and serves, Taylor came storming back. And as he took the third set in another tie-break, won emphatically 7-2 by the teenager, you just knew this guy was going to make it big in years to come.
Wawrinka had too much in the fifth. And we were so close to the action, there was eye contact with the brilliant Swiss. He broke quickly and stayed ahead, despite Fritz recovering from 0-4 to a far more respectable 4-5. Stan closed out but Taylor had done himself proud and left the arena to a standing ovation.
It was time to head back over to Centre Court. Andy Murray appeared to be making light work of dispatching fellow Brit Liam Broady. The 2013 champion had won the first two sets already, 6-2, 6-3. Luckily the third set seemed to offer the best of the contest. Broady provided some solid resistance and pumped his fists when he was pleased with his stroke-play.
The crowd cheered as the underdog made a match of it. Would he still be in the fight when the rain came down? If Murray wanted to get the job done quickly, without having to wait for the roof to close, he was going to have to get ruthless.
Andy obliged. From our seats, set back from the net but level with it, we picked up his killer variations in pace. He did it. Just in time. He was still signing autographs next to the Chelsea Pensioners in their famous red coats when those heavens opened, as predicted.
And the weather meant there was no chance to dash back over to No 1 Court to see the business end of Johanna Konta’s match against Monica Puig. Konta was winning 6-1, 2-1 when play was suspended due to the downpour.
But you can’t have everything. And you can’t be in two places at the same time – not even with Wimbledon Debenture Holders tickets!
What it was possible to do was go back into Centre Court, now bathed in lights under the roof, soak up the atmosphere and watch Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 6-4.
And even though play was suspended for the day on the outside courts, on Centre Court play continued well into the evening as Coco Vandeweghe played Kateryna Bondarenko.
There was still magic to be had. For the lucky ones who had beaten the rain.