Wimbledon Championships Venue
All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club
For 130 years the all England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club has played host to the most illustrious tennis event in the world – the Wimbledon Championships.
Each year in late June and early July the best professional tennis players in the world pit themselves against each other to claim the most coveted prize in the sport’s history, the Wimbledon Trophy for men, and the Rosewater Dish for women.
The All England Club was forced to move from its original premises on Worple Street to Church Road in the 1920s due to the increasing pressure of the crowds who annually flocked in to support their tennis heroes. The new premises boasted 19 tennis courts, all composed of rye grass.
There are two main show courts, the centre court and court one and these courts are used exclusively for the tournament. This will change in 2012 when the All England Club will host the tennis events of the 2012 Summer Olympics. The remaining 17 courts are used on a regular basis for other events hosted by the club.
Centre Court & Court One
The centre court is reserved for the semi-final and final events, but is also used in earlier rounds to showcase the top seeds or local crowd favourites like Andy Murray. It has a seating capacity of nearly 14,000 people and houses the Royal Box, where the royal family and other dignitaries can watch the matches.
As with most outdoor tennis tournaments Wimbledon is affected by the weather, but unlike the Australian Open where extreme heat is a huge challenge, the tournament is nearly always affected by rain at the Wimbledon Championships venue, ALL England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club. The center courts now boast retractable roofs that allow play to continue during incliment weather, however, smaller courts and the early rounds of the tournament are still subject to weather disruptions.
Court one was entirely rebuilt in 1997 to expand spectator capacity. It can now seat over 11 000 people, but in the process has lost the intimate atmosphere of the old court one which appealed to both players and fans alike.
Other popular viewing areas are court two and Henman Hill. Court two is said to be the “Graveyard of Champions” where top seeds like Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Martina Hingis have, in the past, been knocked out in the earlier rounds of the competition.
To dispel this bogey and to increase the seating capacity to 4 000, court two has been rebuilt on the stand previous occupied by Court 13.
For the dozens of fans who cannot get hold of a ticket, or simply cannot afford one, there is an enormous TV screen at the north end of the grounds which features all the top matches live. Officially known as Aorangi Terrace, the grass embankment has been given a range of names according to the current British tennis hope –“Henman Hill”, “Rusedski Ridge” and more recently “Murray Mound” or “Murray Field”.