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".

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
News
news
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week