Could roof light end rain delays at Wimbledon?

Reigning champion Rafael Nadal could be defending his Wimbledon title with no fear of rain delays in 2009 after the All England Club announced it is to schedule a test of its retractable roof five weeks prior to the competition.

The roof, which has been undergoing construction since 2006, acts effectively as a roof light by allowing natural light to stream in while protecting the athletes and the surface from the elements.

Wimbledon has been hampered by rain in recent years and the May 17th event will provide Wimbledon organisers a chance to evaluate the effectiveness of the retractable roof five weeks prior to the competition beginning.

The Amsterdam Arena in Holland is one famous example of a retractable roof being used in a sports stadium, although the earliest fully-functioning example is the Rogers Centre in Toronto, which opened in 1989.

The idea of a roof in sport takes its basis from the roof lights used in residential construction.

While keeping out the wind and rain, the roof light has to allow enough natural light in to illuminate the interior during the daylight hours.

Fans of Wimbledon may even get a treat as reports have suggested that old favourite Tim Henman may be in line to play in the test event.