Wimbledon grounds staff ‘need to be adaptable’

Making sure the Wimbledon tennis courts are in prime condition for the championships is a huge task involving a great deal of preparation and coordination.

Head groundsman Neil Stubley, who masterminds the operation, said the key to ensuring the tournament goes according to plan is to be adaptable.

"No two tournaments are the same – if we spent 40 years here it would never be the same," he told the Wandsworth Guardian.

"We might get a really hot spring or a really wet spring, it is always different. You have to adapt to the circumstances."

The team behind Wimbledon has a great deal of experience and advises tennis clubs around the world on grounds maintenance.

Mr Stubley said once the Wimbledon championships begin, the experience is "like being on a rollercoaster".

He said the biggest concern the team has is whether the courts are firm. The firmness of the soil determines the bounce of the ball and courts need to be able to withstand two weeks of tennis.

The other main concern will be a familiar one to gardeners. Yes, that's right, it's our old friend the weather.

Mr Stubley said many of the tennis stars he has met are attracted by playing at Wimbledon because they relish the challenge of competing on a different surface.

Unfortunately, it looks like the weather could pose a problem for the grounds staff this year, as we could be heading for a wetter spell.
The BBC forecast states that cooler, wetter conditions could prevail by the end of the week, putting an end to the spell of relatively dry weather we've experienced so far in June.

However, there could be a few decent periods of play without disruption and there are signs things could brighten up again as the week goes on.

And if it does rain, you never know – we might be treated to another impromptu performance from Sir Cliff Richard, who famously entertained crowds during a Wimbledon rain delay in 1996. Every cloud has a silver lining.

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