A glass ceiling?
The centre court roof is affecting matches, says Petchey
Last Updated: 02/07/12 1:56pm
Raise the roof: Murray coped with conditions better than Baghdatis
Mark Petchey insists the roof over Centre Court at Wimbledon is having a significant effect on this year's tournament - and could even boost Andy Murray's bid to win his first major title.
"If your ball is slowing up, even by a fraction of a second, that gives somebody like Andy, who has such great vision and hands, that much more time to do something with it."
Mark Petchey Quotes of the week
Murray coped far better with the conditions on Centre Court once the roof was closed late on Saturday night as he overcame some nervous moments to defeat Marcus Baghdatis 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1. His campaign continues at SW19 on Monday against Croatian Mario Cilic, though that match will be in the open air as it is scheduled for Court No1.
Should Murray win, though, he is likely to return to Centre Court for the quarter-finals and Petchey believes a closed roof could actually enhance the chances of a player such as Murray, whilst taking the sting out of some of the big hitters.
"It changes a lot," he told Wimbledon Report. "If your ball is slowing up, even by a fraction of a second, that gives somebody like Andy, who has such great vision and hands, that much more time to do something with it.
"It is obviously going to make things that much tougher, plus you are going to press a little bit more and you are going to try to hit the ball just a touch harder, so therefore you start red lining and the unforced errors come. So, there is no doubt that the roof changes things here.
"At times during the day it has seemed that it gets a bit quicker but in the evening whatever the conditions are, and they have done tests on it, the humidity in there changes very little - by their calculations - and yet you can see it on the players. You can see the sweat that they are all carrying."
Miles MacLaghan, who was formerly Murray's coach but in Baghdatis' corner on Saturday, agreed the change in atmospheric conditions created when the roof is closed is making the game slower, which could hinder the big hitters.
"They have an air conditioning system which I am sure works to a degree, but it is not the same," he said. "It changes the conditions quite a lot because once the air gets humid it is literally thicker so the ball doesn't go through it quickly."