Under the Lights: The First “Supper at Wimbledon”
Thirty years after he was part of the first live broadcast of the Gentlemen’s Final from Wimbledon, (“Breakfast at Wimbledon” — Roscoe Tanner vs. Bjorn Borg, 1979), Dick Enberg was again part of history, calling ESPN2’s quarterfinal match in which Scotsman Andy Murray outlatsted Stanislaus Wawrinka of Switzerland 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 — the first match played completely under the new retractable roof of the famed Centre Court (Monday, June 29). With rain falling, the roof had been closed earlier in the day in the middle of the Dinara Safina-Amelie Mauresmo quarterfinal, and it stayed closed as Britain’s latest favorite son, the #3 seed, took on the surprising #19 seed. Illuminated by lights for the first time in history, the sacred sod saw play continue to the latest time in Wimbledon history — 10:39 p.m. locally (5:39 p.m. ET) after 3:46 of back-and-forth action. (The previous record, when competition was limited by the setting sun, was 9:49 p.m. in 2006.)
As for the first-ever “Supper at Wimbledon,” Enberg says, “Of all the changes made here over the years, I was pleased to be part of another piece of Wimbledon history. The quality of the match and the atmosphere made for a ‘tennis dessert’ to the first Supper at Wimbledon. It felt like a championship.
“For generations the long-suffering British tennis fans have anquished over the fate of their male players, with Tim Henman the latest to tease and come close but not end the drought of a British title holder that dates to Fred Perry in 1936. Now they pin their hopes on Andy Murray, who is bigger, faster and stronger…yet still has the flair for dramatic theatre for which London and Wimbledon are famous.”