Rules of Centre Court roof causing confusion

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WIMBLEDON, England — The Centre Court roof at Wimbledon closed Friday just as the sky was clearing up, and three matches were then played indoors without any rain falling outside.

A day earlier, the roof was shut in dry weather as well, causing a 45-minute suspension after the fourth set of Rafael Nadal’s stunning second-round loss to ensure the match could be completed under the lights as darkness fell.

Those decisions have left some players and fans wondering just what the rules are for using the roof that was installed in 2009 to help alleviate some of the notorious rain delays that often plague the tournament.

Nadal was left shaking his head in bewilderment when told his match would be halted for 45 minutes, while Novak Djokovic was bemused to find himself playing indoors under “sunshine and clear blue sky.”

Once the roof is closed, that match has to finish indoors. However, it’s then up the referee to decide whether to re-open it before the next match.

On Friday, it stayed close even though the rain never reappeared.

HEALTH SCARE: Kim Clijsters reached the fourth round when 12th-seeded Vera Zvonareva retired with an apparent respiratory problem when trailing 6-3, 4-3.

Zvonareva was coughing loudly during the match and the 2010 finalist was in tears as she needed a medical timeout at 2-1 in the second set. The trainer took her pulse and she was examined with a stethoscope before resuming play, but had to retire four games later.

DOUBLES TROUBLE: The top-seeded doubles pair of Max Mirnyi, of Belarus, and Daniel Nestor, of Canada, was upset in the second round, losing 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to Daniele Bracciali, of Italy, and Julian Knowle, of Austria.


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