What happens when it rains at the Wimbledon Championships?

The unpredictability of the great British summertime has presented many issues in the past for Wimbledon’s tournament organisers.

But the addition of the new roofs at Centre Court and No. 1 Court have ensured that any delays in play are now reduced to a minimum.

While the tennis will usually continue on the two main show courts, play will typically be halted on Wimbledon’s outdoor courts. Play will resume when the umpires decide that the conditions are suitable.

This article will explain what happens if rain stops play at Wimbledon and how to avoid the rain at The Championships.

What happens if it rains at Wimbledon?

If it starts to rain on an outdoor court at Wimbledon, umpires will pause play after the current point has finished. Ground staff will be on hand to quickly disassemble the net and draw covers over the court.

It then becomes a waiting game for the rain to stop. A rain delay is a good time for spectators to enjoy some of the sheltered refreshment areas Wimbledon has to offer.

Meanwhile, on Centre Court and No. 1 Court, the additions of the retractable roofs mean that play can continue during wet weather. It takes approximately 10 minutes to close the roof on Centre Court, meaning there will only be a short delay if rain unexpectedly falls during the day.

What if I am watching an outside court?

If rain stops play on one of the outside courts, there are plenty of things to do and see around the Grounds.

From sampling Wimbledon’s excellent selection of bars and cafes, to even visiting the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, there are plenty of things to do at The Championships during a rain delay.

Debenture tickets

With a Debenture Ticket, rain is unlikely to spoil your day at The Championships.

Debenture Tickets are only issued for Centre Court and No. 1 Court, both of which have retractable roofs – protecting players and spectators from the elements.

The roof over Centre Court was installed in 2009, making Wimbledon the first tennis tournament in the world to have a retractable roof over a court.

No. 1 Court’s roof was more recently installed in 2019 and was partly funded by the sales of Debentures, with the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) reporting that almost £25 million was raised from Debenture sales that helped fund the redevelopments.

Wimbledon ballot tickets

Spectators holding a ballot ticket to Centre Court or No. 1 Court will also be protected from the rain whilst remaining on the Court. You should expect to get wet if you leave the Court arena to find refreshments, however.

No. 2 Court does not have a retractable roof, and bad weather will stop play. If you have ballot tickets for No. 2 Court, be prepared to seek shelter if it rains.

The good news for No. 2 Court ticket holders is that you’re just a stone’s throw away from some great eateries including the Bakery, Village Bar, and The Larder, which all provide refreshments and shelter from the rain.

Ground passes

While play will be delayed on the outdoor courts if it rains, tennis fans in possession of an umbrella can still head over to Henman Hill and watch matches being played on Centre Court and No. 1 Court on the big screen.

If the rain isn’t too heavy, you can also explore the Grounds and uncover some of the history of the AELTC. Why not head over to Court 18 and see the plaque that commemorates John Isner and Nicolas Mahut’s longest tennis match in history? Or, head over to the Wimbledon shop and pick up a few souvenirs.

What should I take to Wimbledon if rain is expected?

If you intend to queue for tickets, it would be advisable to bring weatherproof clothing – no matter what the forecast is.

It’s always best to travel light at The Championships as there is a lot of walking involved. Bring a light coat or poncho and a small umbrella to protect you from the rain.

Should you forget to bring your own umbrella, you can also purchase an official Umbrella from the Wimbledon shop.

Whether it rains or not, Wimbledon is an incredible experience – provided you plan ahead.