Heavy downpours suspend play on outdoor courts at Wimbledon

Heavy and thundery downpours have hit the UK, with deluge suspending play on outdoor courts at Wimbledon.

Spectators at the tennis tournament as well as those attending the British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit were seen under umbrellas on a wet Sunday.

In SW19, there was a two-hour delay to play starting outdoors and players managed only a short period of tennis before rain returned.

People wearing waterproof coats and sheltering under umbrellas at Silverstone
Spectators were under umbrellas ahead of the race at Silverstone on Sunday (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Retractable roofs on Centre Court and Court 1 have been closed from the start of the tournament’s seventh day.

The Met Office said: “There are heavy and thundery downpours around today, with frequent lightning now coming into eastern parts of Northern England, East Anglia and running up from the South West into London and central England.

“Hail has been reported in some of these showers with frequent lightning too and gusty winds, mixed with some bright or sunny spells.

“These should fade and clear eastwards into the night to leave some late evening sunshine before turning chillier overnight.

“As for Wimbledon and the Grand Prix there will be a continued risk of showers affecting the events until this evening before easing.”

Met Office meteorologist Jonathan Vautrey said the rest of Sunday should see a combination of dodging showers but also potentially chasing rainbows.

During sunny spells, he said temperatures should feel “relatively pleasant”, around 17-19C, which he remarked is “still below where we normally expect our temperatures to be for the start of July”.

“Showers still rumbling on a touch as we head into this evening so if you’re at Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, or even in your local park probably worth having your umbrella on hand just in case one passes you but eventually into tonight the showers will ease their way off,” the meteorologist added.