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SBD Global/April 24, 2013/Facilities

All England Club Gives Green Light For Roof To Be Added To Court One

An artist rendering shows the All England Club following renovations in 2020.
The All England Club has announced "plans for a retractable roof for Court One," according to the BBC. The roof for Court One is expected to be ready for the '19 event. The Centre Court roof has been in use since '09, meaning 26,500 covered seats "will be available across the courts" (BBC, 4/23). EUROSPORT reported All England Club Chair Philip Brook said that a roof over Court One "would help to maintain Wimbledon's place among the elite tournaments." Brook added designing a retractable roof on the 11,500-capacity court would be "complicated." Brook: "The design process will take two years and then, in view of the fact that the Centre Court Roof took three years to construct, we are looking at 2019 for it to be working." Other plans included "three more show courts, enhanced practice facilities and more landscaping of the south-west London site" (EUROSPORT, 4/23).

GOING UNDERGROUND: In London, Simon Briggs reported architects Grimshaw "has been handed" the next phase of Wimbledon's modernization. The All England Club "declined to put any figure on the costs involved, but this looks like half-a-billion pounds' worth of development." Given the "inability of the club to expand its boundaries outwards," and the necessity to create more space for players, broadcasters and commercial partners, "the only realistic way was down." A "massive excavation over the next seven years" is expected, so that the next generation of locker-rooms "can be housed underneath the courts" (TELEGRAPH, 4/23).

MAINTAINING STATUS: In London, Mike Dickson opined, "Those who regard Wimbledon as slightly staid or old fashioned have always profoundly misunderstood the All England Club, never more so than when it comes to this announcement of jaw dropping prize money increases and yet more redevelopment of the grounds." It is "all about maintaining the tournament’s position as, arguably, the most successful annual event in any sport and certainly in tennis -- something that does not come without a talent for innovation and surprise." It "was emphasised that it will not be the ordinary fans through the gate who foot the bill, with a pledge to keep ticket prices steady and the money coming from increased commercial activity and aspects like the huge new television deal announced with China" (DAILY MAIL, 4/23).
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