SW19 Diary: 'Elf and safety leaves Wimbledon unwell

It probably breaks their own regulations, but the Health and Safety Executive has gone to war with Wimbledon. As the rain tumbled down, its chief executive opened hostilities yesterday morning only to be greeted with a withering return of fire from the All England Club. By the time the clouds had cleared, they had cleared the HSE's tanks off their lawns.

The dispute revolves around the decision not to show Andy Murray's first-round match on the big screen on Henman Hill/Murray Mound/the slopey bit of SW19 (take your pick) during the rain on Monday evening on safety grounds. Some newspapers leapt on the "Elf and Safety"-bashing bandwagon which sparked yesterday's salvo from Judith Hackitt of the HSE. Hackitt wrote to Ian Ritchie, her counter-part at Wimbledon: "People have been walking up and down wet grassy slopes for years without catastrophic consequences. If the LTA was concerned about people slipping and suing for their injuries the message should have made clear the decision was 'on insurance grounds'. Health and safety excuses are becoming as much a feature of the British sporting calendar as the rain. You will understand that while we can do nothing about the weather, we will not let the excuses pass unchallenged."

Back came Wimbledon. "It must be entirely inappropriate," fumed Ritchie, "for the chairman of the HSE to make such public comments on decisions reached at an event when you have absolutely no knowledge of the circumstances... To use your own phrase I could not let your ill-informed comments 'pass unchallenged'."

Ooh arr, ooh hey! Roddick starts to dig The Wurzels

Attempts to complete Andy Roddick's conversion to The Wurzels are gathering pace. The American mentioned in the wake of his victory over Andreas Beck on Tuesday that he had stumbled across the "Combine Harvester" song on YouTube (how?) and could not get it out of his head. Yesterday The Wurzels rang the Wimbledon office – not all at once obviously. A collection of CDs is now on its way to Roddick.

Aussie roofer lives it up

There was a most deserving guest in the Royal Box on Centre Court yesterday, and we're not talking Bruce Forsyth. No, it was Rod Sheard, the man who designed the roof over the court. Sheard, an Australian, is also responsible for some of our top football grounds: The Emirates, the Reebok and Wembley.

McEnroe outs himself as a cricket fan

After Tuesday's visit of England's cricketers, yesterday revealed an improbable fan of this country's other summer sport. John McEnroe (by the way, the best TV pundit on any sport) used to be a regular watcher of the game during his playing trips to Wimbledon in the '80s (no doubt during the rain breaks). His favourite player was Viv Richards, whom he described as the "Rod Laver of cricket", while he also had an unsurprising soft spot for Ian Botham. And just to show he absolutely knew what he was talking about he chucked in a mention of "Gower, the leftie".

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home