Wimbledon 2014: New staircase puts stop to winners' traditional scramble up the stands


Click to follow
The Independent Online

It is the hurdle that a Wimbledon champion must negotiate between hitting the winner in the final and raising the trophy: picking their way through the crowd, scrambling over the roof of the commentary box and embracing their family and friends.

This year though, their task will be a little easier. The All England Club has installed a gate and small set of stairs in the side of the players’ box, bringing to an end what has become a modern Wimbledon tradition.

Last year, Andy Murray scaled the roof moments after his historic victory to embrace his coach, supporters and girlfriend Kim Sears, but momentarily forgot to hug his mother Judy. Rafael Nadal, Venus Williams and Goran Ivanisevic have also made the emotional climb in the wake of their wins.

One of those who will be sad to see an end to the roof scramble is the Australian Pat Cash, who was the first to scale the roof of the commentary box when he celebrated his title in 1987.

He told BBC Radio 5 live today: “That’s really taking the challenge out of it. If they’re fit enough to win Wimbledon, I think they should climb up or have some other sort of challenge. It’s way too easy now!”

A spokeswoman for the All England Club said: “It’s just a little old flat roof. It’s just to make it easier for them.” She added that players had not been discouraged from climbing into the stands.

In a statement, the club added: “It was installed in time for this year’s Championships to make it easier for players to access their team.”