There was point-scoring but little love lost between the heads of Wimbledon and the Health and Safety Executive yesterday in a public spat over the safety of Murray Mound.
Judith Hackett, chairman of the HSE, launched a stinging attack on the Wimbledon hierachy for turning off a giant screen showing Andy Murray's first-round match on the Centre Court during a downpour on Monday. The roof on the Centre Court kept the players dry but officials were worried that spectators on Murray Mound might slip on the grass and hurt themselves. Mrs Hackitt wrote to the All England Club and the Lawn Tennis Association saying there was nothing in HSE law to prompt the shutdown, adding: "People have been walking up and down wet grassy slopes for years."
But with all the force of a Murray first serve, Ian Ritchie, the chief executive of the LTA, declared himself to be staggered, flabbergasted and amazed. "How does she know?" he wrote back. "She wasn't here on Monday. It doesn't matter what the legislation or Act is, we have an absolute duty to act for the safety of the people in the ground."