Grab your Gortex hoodie. If it clears up on Court 15, Alex Ovechkin’s girlfriend should play by, oh, the next millennium.
“When it’s sunny, you won’t find a greater experience anywhere,” Julie Morris promised under her umbrella, standing to the right of Henman Hill, which overlooks the damp, tarp-covered Wimbledon courts.
“When is it sunny?” you ask beneath the hood of a sopping-wet sweatshirt.
“About two days a year,” said Doreen Beeton, who has morosely shared the rain and cold with her daughter here since Julie was about 12.
“We actually had a lot of nice sunny days in July,” Julie said “It’s been great lately, hasn’t it Mum?”
Doreen: “Yes, the last time was 1918.”
More than half of the 50 matches were canceled on the second day of the Olympic tournament. The sun peeked out occasionally, taking the rain to a tiebreak in the fifth set. But the droplets always win here.
The rain is like Djokovic, Federer, the Williams sisters. The sun is like Andy Murray and everyone who ever finished runner-up.
“How dare they criticize our rain,” Rodney Newman, the press operations manager said, cheekily standing up for Wimbledon’s glory. “We have the finest rain in the world. It’s quality. Some of it is so good you don’t get wet.”
Another problem is Henman Hill. Named for Tim Henman, it’s long lauded as a place where the peasants without a Centre Court ticket can gather and watch their countrymen never win. It’s a nice little berm with a few picnic tables and all. And someone obviously mowed the grass and put up a big-screen TV. But it’s not exactly Day on the Green or hill behind Lamade Stadium at the Little League World Series in Williamsport.
Also, who names a hill after a guy who never even made a Wimbledon final? That’s like winning the Super Bowl and raising the Marty Schottenheimer Trophy or naming an airport Mondale National.
“Actually, we’ve tried Murray’s Mount, but it hasn’t quite stuck,” Doreen said.
There was also Rusedski’s Ridge for a bit. But Greg Rusedski, a British Canadian player and now a BBC tennis analyst, made it to the Wimbledon quarterfinals only once.
“There was a Davis Cup player named John Barrett once,” Rodney Newman chimed in. “Maybe they could call it Burial Ground for him.
“No, check that, mate; he’s actually still alive.”
Like the rain, Rodney will be here all week.
“Go see the big beautiful roses, smell them, see everything,” exhorted a colleague with a sunny disposition whom I’ll call Susan (real name: Sally Jenkins, who swears by Wimbledon.) “You’re going to love it.”