With time to fill during two all-day rainouts that forced Wimbledon's third People's Sunday in 127 years, the British Broadcasting Corporation showed old matches from such rivalries as John McEnroe vs. Jimmy Connors, and Chris Evert vs. Martina Navratilova.
If, as planned, the All England club has a roof in place over Centre Court in 2009, the network will be able to broadcast live tennis when the inevitable showers come.
And that means future generations probably won't get to see archived tapes of matches between two players who could be the sport's next all-time greats, two players whose contrasting styles and personalities appear to set the stage for a career-defining series of showdowns: Andy Roddick and Roger Federer.
As McEnroe, working for the BBC, put it, "A Roddick-Federer rivalry would be sweet for the men's game."
Neither Roddick nor Federer got a chance to reach Wimbledon's round of 16 Saturday. Off-and-on drizzles prevented any action on courts -- other than the removal of tarps during breaks in rain, and the replacement of tarps when drops returned.
It looked almost as if a video were being shown, then rewound, shown, then rewound, accompanied by loud applause or boos, depending on which way the tarps were rolled. Play also was washed out entirely Wednesday.
By 3:30 p.m., organizers decided to scrap the traditional day of rest on the two-week tournament's middle Sunday. Instead, 28,000 tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 9 a.m., with no reserved seats.
Within about two hours of that announcement, more than 500 people were queued up outside the grounds. The only other times a backlog of matches led to People's Sunday, in 1991 and 1997, fans who rarely get into the All England club brought flags and face paints, creating a livelier atmosphere.
Among the matches on Sunday's "Intended Order of Play," as Wimbledon calls it: defending champion and top-seeded Federer vs. 2002 Australian Open winner Thomas Johansson, and No. 2 Roddick vs. U.S. Olympic teammate Taylor Dent.