Wimbledon falls silent to remember Tunisia attacks

2015-07-03 14:18
People shelter from the sun under an umbrella at Wimbledon. (Tim Ireland, AP)

London - The Wimbledon tennis championships fell silent on Friday to commemorate the victims of the Tunisia beach massacre, with tens of thousands of spectators coming to a standstill.

Play was delayed at the tournament in London to observe Britain's national minute's silence at midday to remember the chiefly British victims of the gun attack a week ago.

Normally, play gets under way on the outside courts at 11:30 (12:30 SA time), but Wimbledon officials put it back to 12:15 to accommodate the silence.

Instead of the sound of umpire's calls, applause and the thud of racquets hitting tennis balls, a hush descended across the grounds.

Some 30 of the 38 victims of the massacre were British holidaymakers, as were 25 of the 39 wounded survivors of the shooting.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the time is midday and the national one minute's silence in memory of the victims in Tunisia will now begin," an announcer said over the public address system.

Two dozen police officers and security staff, who gathered at the foot of the Aorangi Terrace picnic hill at the edge of Court One, stood to attention.

The thousands of people soaking up the sun on the terrace, who had been eating sandwiches, drinking wine and fanning themselves in the heat, spontaneously stood, many with their heads bowed.

Read more on:    wimbledon  |  tennis

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