Wimbledon Prepares (11/06/02)
As we lead into the Championship I look to assistance from Mother Nature - she does a much better job than we can do. Really all I want is the sunshine.
We get regular forecasts and they are saying showers every day at the moment, but the forecasts keep changing every day. The original forecast for today was 27 degrees and sunny, by last night it had changed to 26 degrees and showers. So you can't really rely on them.
As of now, the guys and girls working on the courts will cover them if it comes on to rain, and uncover them again when it stops. And as of now we're on long nights. It rained yesterday afternoon so we took the opportunity to put the covers up and go home. Today's forecast is light showers on and off, so we'll be here until 8 or 9 o'clock.
And it's firming off, it just needs some sunshine now. We will give it a couple more rolls but it will be there on the day.
There's always a lot to do - all the canvasses have to be put up, the cameras still have to come in, the sites have to be sorted, the sound has to come in along with the telephones, fridges and chairs.
Yesterday, all I did apart from press interviews, was chase around with contractors while Mark dealt with all the team and what was going on with the courts.
Mowing is now virtually every day. We then have to put fungicide down because of the covers going on. Obviously we can get humidity building up underneath the covers so we have to watch out for fusarium. And we use a wetting agent because, likewise, we can encourage dry patches. Despite all the rain we can get dry patch coming in if we're not careful.
Then just rolling. All the courts are marked out now. We're almost there, we just have to get them really hard and firm, and just nurse them through.
I walk over the courts every day now, and analyse every spot, and if anything is coming up, which is rare now, we just pinch it out. We don't want to put any chemicals down now, we don't want to risk anything.
I just walk it and assess it all the time.
Other days can be fairly easy but it all depends on Mother Nature. If on day one and it's raining, I'll leave all the covers up and we'll work underneath them. It makes life a bit more interesting for the staff, but it slows everything up a bit. But we will still be done in time.
If rain has slowed us up, then we will still have got all the mowers and machines away, but by the time the public come in there may be one or two markers still out. But that's OK because if is wet we're obviously not going straight into play and, in any case, it keeps the public entertained.