Novak Djokovic was pleased that the All England Club closed the Centre Court roof because of fading sunlight during his first round match.
First of all, Wimbledon only installed the retractable roof last year, so there haven’t been many matches played under it, and the 10-59 p.m. ending made it the latest finish on record at a tournament that began in 1877.
“You don’t get to see a lot of late-night matches in Wimbledon history,” Djokovic said. “So I’m happy that in a way my name is in the history books.”
Most of all, though, the No. 3-seeded Djokovic was excited about this - he was losing to 68th-ranked Olivier Rochus of Belgium before the court was covered on Monday, then came back to win 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 with the roof shut and the lights turned on.
Play was interrupted for about 35 minutes after the third set, as darkness began to descend, while the stadium was set up for indoor play.
“The break kind of helped me a little bit, because I didn’t feel great at that moment on the court,” Djokovic said. “So to have a little ... break and just relax and focus, and reset my game and my mind, was helpful.”
The match wound up finishing a minute before the 11 p.m. cut-off time designated by the All England Club for when play must stop because of what its rules call “planning constraints.”
Djokovic reeled off the last six games after being down a break and trailing 2-0 in the final set.
The 2008 Australian Open champion said it felt more humid on court with the roof closed.
“It’s different conditions, definitely different conditions,” Djokovic said. “Kind of suited my game at that moment, and I managed to go through.”
“I really have a big desire to go far,” Djokovic said, “but I’ll take one match at a time. You cannot underestimate any opponents, even in the opening rounds.”
Keywords: Wimbledon 2010