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Way Back Wimbledon: The Last Middle Sunday

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Start spreading the news — oh, who am I kidding — you probably already know.

Thanks to what seemed like an endless number of rain delays throughout the first week at the 2016 Wimbledon Championships, there will be play on the tournament’s Middle Sunday — a day typically reserved to allow the grass courts some time to breathe after an arduous first week, among other traditions.

Exceptional weather conditions caused tournament referees of Wimbledons past to schedule play on Middle Sunday only three times previously in the event’s history (1991, 1997 and 2004) and current referee Andrew Jarrett made the decision to extend the tournament’s first week into the seventh day late Friday afternoon. Often dubbed “People’s Sunday,” the tournament historically offered show court tickets at rates less than those for the traditional tournament, which led to Great Britain’s own Tim Henman dubbing the spectacle in his matches “the best atmospheres of my career.

A lot has changed in the 12 years since players last set foot on the lawns on the most sacred day of Wimbledon — the sport introduced electronic review and retractable roofs, and the 2004 Middle Sunday order of play looks wildly different — in more ways than one — than the 2016 version.

(Aside from top seed Serena Williams gracing Centre Court, that is.)

Off the court, though, 12 years feels like a lifetime — because on June 27th, 2004…

Fahrenheit 9/11, with a weekend gross of $23,920,637, was the No. 1 movie in the United States…

…just before Beyonce’s first solo album, Dangerously in Love, certified 4x multi-platinum for selling FOUR MILLION copies.

It was “Burn,” by Usher, though, that was the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 that day…

…but both tracks were surely loaded onto a state-of-the-art iPod Mini, as Steve Jobs introduced the second generation in February.


Unplugged, Paris and Nicole were living simply…on the road. The Simple Life: Road Trip premiered on June 16th…

…while we were still recovering from the series finale of Friends, which aired on May 6th.

Americans everywhere were voting for Pedro — as Napoleon Dynamite hit the big screens a fortnight earlier…

…but we had yet to comprehend just how much this blockbuster would define a generation — because it was still ranking in the box office Top 10 nearly two months after its release. #sofetch

Ashlee Simpson was still four months away from the nadir of her career…

…but we were just 12 hours from meeting Ron Burgundy, because Anchorman hit the big screens at midnight.

Stay classy, San Diego — and get your snacks ready. Play begins on all courts at the All England Club at 6:30 AM ET.

What was your favorite moment of the summer of 2004? Sound off in the comments!

About Victoria Chiesa (113 Articles)
One time, Eva Asderaki told me I was lovely. It was awesome. @vrcsports

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