WIMBLEDON, England - You either love Wimbledon or hate it. You either keep the grass or rip it up. You either put up with rain in the English summertime or dome the joint.
Which brings us to yesterday, one of the weirdest in Wimbledon history.
They didn't finish the men's semifinal between Tim Henman of Britain and Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia, but they did manage to play for 51 more minutes between drops of rain.
They never even struck a ball in the women's final between reigning champion Venus Williams of the United States and Justine Henin of Belgium.
But they did manage to squeeze in a Centre Court interview with former President Bill Clinton, who has now attended three of the four Grand Slam tennis events - all except the Australian Open.
The men's semifinal and women's final are due to be completed today with the men's championship pushed back to tomorrow, giving Wimbledon its first Final Monday since 1988, the second since 1922. Patrick Rafter already advanced to the final by ousting Andre Agassi on Friday.
And a Monday final could simply ratchet up the weirdness as Britain is gripped by Henmania, with the country pining for its first British men's finalist since 1938.
Henman managed to prolong Britain's agony in his match against Ivanisevic. It began Friday, with Henman taking a 2-1 lead in sets at 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-0, 2-1, before play was suspended by rain and darkness.
Henman showed up yesterday four games from victory. He didn't get it. Slipping and sliding and even unloading a forehand winner from his knees, Ivanisevic won the fourth set by claiming the tiebreaker 7-5, and held a 3-2 lead in the fifth set. Henman was serving at 30-15 in the sixth game of the last set when play was suspended again.
Wimbledon officials actually left it to the players to decide if they wanted to play both the semifinals and final today. The idea was apparently vetoed.
They simply don't have rules for such bizarre circumstances at Wimbledon.
With the rain delay came the inevitable question about putting a retractable roof on Centre Court, the most fabled arena in tennis.
Physically, the roof could be built, said Tim Phillips, chairman of the All England Club.
"The real issue is: If you put one up, what does the microclimate create in the way of dew on the playing surface?" he said. "We've got obviously top athletes who are trying to twist and turn on the grass. We're also concerned about the way the grass grows. We are doing tests on this. We've commissioned quite a lot of testing in the States. Until such time as we get total satisfaction that the microclimate is going to be suitable for championship play, we wouldn't consider it."
Let's face it: Wimbledon wouldn't be Wimbledon with a roof over Centre Court.
"You can just walk on that court in the middle of the winter when there are no lines and it speaks to you," said Virginia Wade, who was the last British woman to win Wimbledon in 1977. "There are a lot of spirits growing on that grass."
There's also an aura in the royal box, where the likes of Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana have sat.
Yesterday, former President Clinton showed up for the rain and an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation.
He talked tennis.
Was he any good?
"I was slow and inaccurate," he said. "But I liked it very much."
How about his serve?
"Aggressive, fast and inaccurate," he said.
Clinton said he liked to watch Agassi, whom he called a "prince of a man."
He talked about playing golf with the likes of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, and spoke knowledgeably about Henman ("He is, I think, plainly playing for his country, as well as for himself."), Ivanisevic ("He played rather bravely, I thought, to get this far.") and the Williams sisters ("They have this massive talent and they're in the growing process.").
"She looks like a gazelle on the court," Clinton said of Venus Williams. "Never seen anything like it; may never see anything like it again."
He also gave the crowd an update on his career.
"Well, I'm spending about half my time on public service, about half my time making a living, supporting my family," he said. "And I'm about to open an office in Harlem in New York City. All of you are welcome to come and visit if you are in New York."