Wimbledon opens `safety` gate for boxed-in champions

London: Wimbledon has called time on one of the tournament`s riskier rituals by installing a safety gate to stop champions from climbing over the Centre Court commentary boxes to celebrate with their nearest and dearest.

Australia`s Pat Cash was one of the first players to sprint from the court, push his way through the crowd and clamber precariously over the roof of the TV boxes before straddling the players box next door when he won the title in 1987.

Maria Sharapova repeated the balancing act in 2004 while both 2013 champions Andy Murray and Marion Bartoli followed suit.

The decision was damned on social media with critics claiming it was a victory for killjoys and health and safety zealots.

But an All England Club spokeswoman said safety of the players was paramount in their planning.

"It`s just a little old flat roof. It`s just to make it easier for them. It`s safe," she told the Daily Telegraph.

"It was installed in time for this year`s Championships to make it easier for players to access their team."

World number one Rafael Nadal, who performed the climb after winning his maiden Wimbledon title in 2008, said the gate wouldn`t put a dampener on celebrations.

"Doesn`t matter. If they don`t go there, they going to go to another place. That`s fine," said the Spaniard.

Sharapova was equally laid back.

"I heard you can open the gate. Gates usually open also. I`ll worry about it if it happens. That will be a great problem to have."

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