Court Circular: Sir Cliff's singalong provides compelling case for roof on Centre Court

Rain. Two thoughts spring to mind. With Sir Cliff Richard joined by Cilla Black and Elaine Paige in the Royal Box, the first is a fear that the impromptu 1996 Centre Court singalong would be repeated. Mercifully, and despite an hour-long break, it wasn't. The second is - surely it is time the court had a roof? The All England Club has confirmed that it is considering fitting one. A plan has been submitted by HOK Sport, who designed the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. The firm has suggested a transparent, plastic retractable roof which could cost around £15m. Despite the irritation of rain breaks and the use of such technology on other grass court competitions, the scheme is unlikely to meet with player approval who fear the unique surfaces at Wimbledon - truer than other venues - will suffer.

 

* Maybe it was the fear of hearing Sir Cliff croon that drove Richard Williams into helping groundstaff sweep the Centre Court steps of rain-water and help preparations for his daughter Venus's match against Lindsay Davenport. A more realistic reason was probably his eagerness to get the contest completed so that Serena, next on court, could also wrap up her match before the weather deteriorated again.

 

* The Allure of John McEnroe goes on and on. The actress Kirsten Dunst - at the All England Club yesterday to film scenes for the forthcoming Wimbledon movie - said she has modelled her flammable character, an American champion, on the now dampened down McEnroe, who has won praise for his intelligent analysis throughout the competition. Her preparations have included mugging up on McEnroe's autobiography Serious. "I haven't talked to him but I'm reading his book and that's giving me a few tips," Dunst said. So what has she learnt so far? "My character is very feisty and very angry, too, so I have a lot of scenes yelling at the umpire," she said. Sounds like she's chosen the perfect research material.

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