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Rain million pound pain for W'don

india Updated: Jun 27, 2006 17:25 IST

Wimbledon tennis authorities were hoping for blues skies today after heavy rain devastated the opening day's programme at the 2006 championship, leaving organisers with a bill of one million pounds.

That's the amount they will have to stump up in refunds for almost 33,000 rain-sodden fans who saw a meagre 35 minutes of tennis yesterday.

Rules state that spectators are entitled to a full refund if there is less than one hour's play and 50-per cent back if there is between one and two hours of action.

Yesterday, the attendance was 32,272, a decrease of 5,956 on the 2005 figure.

In 2004, two whole days were washed out while in 1991, the first week was so badly affected that play was held on the middle Sunday.

The 2001 men's final had to be finished yesterday because of the weather.

To recover from the effect to the schedule caused by the rain, a total of 96 first round matches have been programmed for today when the showers are expected to stay away.

World number one Roger Federer, bidding to secure a fourth consecutive Wimbledon title, resumes his first round match with a 6-3, 1-2 lead over dangerous Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Federer's compatriot Martin Hingis, the 1997 champion, has a 6-2 lead over Ukraine's Olga Savchuk.

Belgian second seed Kim Clijsters also resumes with a 5-4 lead over Russia's Vera Zvonereva.