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There’s been quite a lot of rain already at Wimbledon this year, and that new roof has been wheeled out a few times. Which is great – for TV, and the 15,000 Centre Court spectators.

However, I keep hearing the people say that the tennis is “sorted out” and the roof will keep things on track so there aren’t delays.

Not really. It all depends when it rains. There are 13 days to Wimbledon, with an exponentially decreasing number of matches to be played. The men and women singles are both a field of 128 – which means you need 127 matches to work out the winner for each event. Centre Court can host two men’s matches a day – three if they started very early (between 9 and 15 total sets), and four women’s matches (8 to 12 sets).

So – here’s the tournament plan, the matches required, and whether the roof keeps the whole thing on schedule.

Weekday Day Round Total matches required Will a roof keep the tournament on schedule?
Mon 1 1st round, m&w 64 No
Tues 2 1st round, m&w 64 No
Weds 3 2nd round, m&w 32 No
Ths 4 2nd round, m&w 32 No
Fri 5 3rd round, m&w 16 No
Sat 6 3rd round, m&w 16 No
Mon 7 4th round, m&w 16 No
Tues 8 women qtr 4 Maybe
Weds 9 men qtr 4 Almost certainly not
Ths 10 women semi 2 Yes
Fri 11 men semi 2 Yes
Sat 12 women final 1 Yes
Sun 13 men final 1 Yes

Answer: the roof is great for the last four days, and maybe the second Tuesday. Anything on days one to seven and it’s all about show. The TV audience is happy; the centre court crowd (which is less than half the gate during the first week) is happy; but not the players or the organisers. Or the people with tickets to court one or ground passes.