Wimbledon washed out by rain

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/W/Wimbledon.jpg' class='caption'> Wimbledon organizers are considering scheduling earlier starts and matches on the allocated rest day to clear a backlog expected to increase due to rain.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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Wimbledon organizers are considering scheduling earlier starts and matches on the allocated rest day to clear a backlog expected to increase due to continuing rain today. Tournament referee Alan Mills said play would probably be starting an hour earlier at 11 a.m. local time (1530 IST) from Thursday, weather permitting. "We'd rather not play on Sunday," said Mills, but admitted more rain would make it likely. The last time matches were played on Sunday in the first week at Wimbledon was in 1997, after two days had been washed out. French Open finalist Guillermo Coria needs only two points to close out his first-round match against Wesley Moodie. The pair had been scheduled to start on Monday but their match was postponed to Tuesday. When play was stopped on the second day, he led 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-7 (3), 5-3. With covers over all courts in the early evening, Coria faced the prospect of another overnight wait. No play was possible for the first four hours Wednesday and, with strong winds and possibly hail on the forecast, the first washout in five years was looming. All second-round matches scheduled for Wednesday, from the top half of the men's draw and the bottom half of the women's draw, were postponed before 4 p.m. local time (2130 IST). "We're crossing our fingers and just hoping that at least we get all the unfinished matches of yesterday completed today," Mills said. Only 83 of the scheduled 128 singles matches were completed on the opening two days, the fewest on the first Monday and Tuesday since 1991. If none of the 74 matches due to be played or completed on Wednesday were finished, it will also be the worst start to the tournament in 13 years, when only 46 matches were completed in the first three days. "We don't have any extraordinary concerns about the rain," Mills said. "We're always concerned with the weather ... but we've been in similar situations before and always come through it." Second-seeded Andy Roddick was to resume with a 4-2 lead over Taiwan's Wang Yeu-tzuoo on Centre Court. Goran Ivanisevic, in his first trip back to Wimbledon since winning the title in 2001, said the rain delays created havoc for preparations. "I expect this when I come here," said Ivanisevic, who his retiring after the tournament. "We had great weather the last two weeks. I knew something bad has to come." Ivanisevic was scheduled to play a second-round match against Filippo Volandri on Wednesday. "It's tough to know what to do," he said. "If you stay here, you go crazy. If you go home, you also go crazy." (AP)

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