I was lucky enough to be at Wimbledon on Sunday for the launch of the new roof on Centre Court. And it's magnificent! The players, Agassi, Graf, Henman and Clijsters, reported that the conditions were perfect. There's a complex air conditioning system that ensures that, even when the roof is closed, the humidity and air circulation is the same as if on a sunny day in the open air, and the tarpulin over the roof is specially designed to give the appearance of natural light. Sitting in the stands, it felt like we were in the open air. Unfortunately, it seems like it takes twenty - thirty minutes from the time the roof closes to get the air conditioning systems running, which means that once the roof comes on for the night, I doubt it will be worth the risk to open it up again on the same day - otherwise you'd be having thirty - forty minute breaks every time it started or stopped raining, which hardly makes the system worth it.
The exhibition matches were one of the highlights of my summer - and if you haven't seen them, I strongly suggest you download a video online, or watch it on the BBC website, just for the sheer fun. Agassi and Steffi were clearly out to entertain the crowd, and more interested in joking around than winning. Lots of kisses and pantomime foolery, along with some ridiculously trick shots (some of which worked, some of which didn't!). We were a little bit worried about two unfortunate pigeons who flew in before the roof closed, and then couldn't fly out - this might be a regular feature of the new roof's functions. And most excitingly of all, Kim Clijsters formally announced her long term return to tennis! Hurray!