Lleyton Hewitt impressed by ‘unbelievable atmosphere’ of new look Wimbledon No.1 Court
Former Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt took centre stage as Wimbledon’s revamped No.1 Court opened for business on Sunday, with the roof that has been in construction for the last three years given a first run out on a showery afternoon in London.
Playing alongside fellow Aussie and another former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, Hewitt took part in an entertaining doubles match against Britain’s Jamie Murray and former Wimbledon king Goran Ivanisevic, with the jovial match entertaining a sell-out crowd.
Hewitt offered up these comments after his Wimbledon return, as he gave his insight into playing in warm conditions under the roof on No.1 Court.
How was that?
LH: “Yes, pretty special, to be out there. Obviously, the opening of Court 1 with the new roof on it, an unbelievable atmosphere as well and to think the middle of May and the grass was just playing so true out there.”
How does it feel to be back?
LH: “Yeah, it’s fantastic, you know I always love walking into the All England Club and it holds obviously such special memories for me back in 2002 and I actually played an epic quarter-final match on Court 1 as well so it brings back a lot of those emotions and memories every time I come back on to that court.”
Did the atmosphere feel different with the roof closed today?
LH: “Yeah, it always does, it’s so similar to Centre Court now as well with that atmosphere of when the crowd erupts as well, it’s so hard to actually hear yourself out there it’s so loud. You get goose bumps walking out and obviously with all the music out there today under the roof it’s pretty special.”
You’ve probably had your fair share of rain delays over the years, how much of a difference will having a second roof make here?
LH: “Oh, it’s going to make a huge difference. I think so also obviously for TV and spectators to be able to play two matches and I’ve witnessed that in the Australian Open where we have three roofs now as well on match courts and to have two now out there, it’s so important for the crowd to be able to enjoy the tennis, especially later on in the tournament, where you can start getting backed up on matches, it’s going to be a lot fairer for a lot of those players.”
Does the court feel different than before, in terms of atmosphere and how it feels to walk out?
LH: “Oh, especially with the roof. It’s just a lot louder, obviously there’s nowhere for that noise to go so it really builds up and I was fortunate to play a couple of times on Centre Court with the roof, so it’s such a similar feel to that now but I’m sure all the players are going to have a great time when they get the opportunity to play with the roof closed.”
Can you tell us about the charity and the support for them today?
LH: “It’s fantastic. Obviously playing for the Wimbledon Foundation as well and it’s pretty special to give back obviously to the sport and the Wimbledon Foundation has done so much to try and get kids involved in tennis and I think that some of us guys that have had 20 plus years careers have been very fortunate to be around the world and play this fantastic sport, so this is just a small way for us to give back.”
Follow Kevin Palmer on Twitter @RealKevinPalmer
More from Tennis365:
Talking points ahead of French Open: Rafael Nadal’s hunt for No 20, Andy Murray’s trip down memory lane
Nadal and Williams are both looking to make history.
Mats Wilander previews the French Open as he outlines his fears for Rafael Nadal
Mats Wilander believes Rafael Nadal faces a very different challenge.
Johanna Konta: ‘I’m playing against Coco Gauff, not her social media following’
Konta will take on the 16-year-old at Roland Garros.
Serena Williams’ outlook on still playing at 39: ‘I don’t know when it’s going to stop for me. I just have fun’
Serena Williams still going strong at 39.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal preparing for ‘most difficult conditions’ at Roland Garros
Cold, damp weather and heavier balls present a major challenge for Nadal.
Simona Halep confident she can cope with weather as she prepares for French Open
Halep is the top seed and title favourite.
Andy Murray finds humour in French Open rematch with Stan Wawrinka: ‘It’s an amusing draw’
Murray talks Roland Garros.
Q&A with tennis legend Chris Evert as she picks her French Open winners
Chris Evert has previews the upcoming Roland Garros.
John McEnroe on the challenges of playing on the red clay as he picks a French Open winner
John McEnroe warns Rafael Nadal faces fresh challenges.
Roland Garros sees fan numbers slashed to just 1,000 per day due to coronavirus spike
French Open succumbs to Covid-19 resurgence.