Wimbledon roof debut sold out in five minutes | sports | Hindustan Times
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Wimbledon roof debut sold out in five minutes

sports Updated: Mar 13, 2009 10:17 IST

AFP
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Tickets for the first match to be played under the roof at Wimbledon's centre court sold out in five minutes after going on sale in London on Thursday, ground authorities said.

Husband-and-wife team Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, both former Wimbledon champions, will be the star attractions when the roof is officially opened on May 17.

Kim Clijsters and recently-retired British favourite Tim Henman will also play in the Centre Court Celebration, designed to test the new roof and air management system in front of a 15,000 crowd ahead of this year's championships.

Ian Ritchie, Chief Executive of the All England Club, the owners of Wimbledon, said, "The demand for tickets was truly exceptional and we are delighted to have a capacity Centre Court crowd for a great day on May 17."

The programme will feature men's and ladies' singles and a mixed doubles match all played to the pro-set format -- the first to eight games, with a tie-break at 8-8.

Wimbledon, now the only one of tennis's four Grand Slam events -- the others are the Australian Open, French Open and US Open -- to be played on grass, is routinely plagued by rain interruptions.

But it is hoped the introduction for the first time of a retractable roof on the main show court will help prevent a backlog of matches that would otherwise be delayed by bad weather.