Record temperatures are expected to result in Wimbledon’s heat rule being utilised for the first time this week.
The regulation allows females a 10-minute break between the second and third sets of matches played in extreme heat.
The forecast for Wednesday states temperatures may reach the mid-30s, potentially setting a record at the championships since such information was first formally recorded 10 years ago. The highest temperature was 33C on 27 June 2011.
If that figure is eclipsed this week, players in the women’s and girls’ competitions will be permitted a break between the second and third set of matches that go the distance. Organisers will take a heat-stress index if the temperature rises above 30.1C and players can then take a break if they request it. The heat rule has never been used at the championships before.
Andrew Jarrett, the Wimbledon referee, said in a statement: “The heat rule allows a 10-minute break between the second and third set when the heat stress index is at or above 30.1 celsius. It only applies to ladies’ and girls’ singles matches that have not yet been called to court. Only one of the players participating in the match needs to request the break for the rule to be implemented.
“The heat stress index is a measure which factors together the air temperature, the humidity and the surface temperature, and is measured by a heat stress monitor. The heat stress monitor readings are taken 30 minutes prior to the start of play and then at 14.00hrs and 17.00hrs.
“If there is a change in weather conditions and the rule is lifted, those matches already in progress will be completed with the rule in place.”
The heat rule does not allow men to take breaks even if they ask to do so. In addition, the Centre Court roof will not be closed to keep temperatures down, but can be used to shade spectators if necessary.
The All England Club has already advised spectators to drink plenty of water, wear hats and use sun cream if they are attending. There are 13 drinking-water fountains across the grounds at SW19.
Temperatures may reach 35C on Wednesdayand the Met Office says there is a slight risk the heat and humidity could trigger late-afternoon and early-evening thunderstorms.
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