London: The Wimbledon championships came to a standstill on Tuesday as tennis-goers paused to remember the London bombings a decade ago. On July 7, 2005, four Islamist suicide bombers killed themselves and 52 innocent victims on three Underground trains and a bus.
The start of play on the outside courts was put back by 45 minutes from 11:00am (1000 GMT) to facilitate the observance of the national minute's silence at 11:30am.
Flags were flying at half-mast around the grounds in suburban Wimbledon, southwest London, where around 40,000 people were expected to pass through the gates. The silence was announced over the public address system. "Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, please," the announcer said.
"The time is half-past 11 and the one minute's silence to reflect on the 10th anniversary of the London bombings will now begin."
Around 50 police and fire officers, security staff, medics, and first aid volunteers stood to attention at the foot of the Aorangi Terrace picnic hill. Tennis-goers on the slope spontaneously stood, while others walking around the grounds came to a standstill. South Africa's Kevin Anderson, who resumes his last 16 match against world number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic later Tuesday, was practicing with his coach Neville Godwin on Court 14 when the silence began.
When the announcement was made, Anderson stopped practicing and stood still at the back of the court.
"Thank-you for your consideration," the announcer said as the silence concluded, at which people gathered on the Aorangi Terrace held sustained applause.
The scenes echoed those on Friday when a national minute's silence was held to remember the victims of the Tunisia beach massacre exactly a week before.
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