The Old Farts Get It Right
Wimbledon has shown that with a bit of planning, you can avoid the problems of the weather. In 1993, they unveiled a plan to create a venue fit for the 21st century. Now nearly twenty years later, they have completed that plan. Here’s a simplified version of the plan from Wikipedia.
Stage one (1994–1997) of the plan was completed for the 1997 championships and involved building in Aorangi Park the new No. 1 Court, a broadcast centre, two extra grass courts and a tunnel under the hill linking Church Road and Somerset Road.
Stage two (1997–2009) involved the removal of the old No. 1 Court complex to make way for the new Millennium Building, providing extensive facilities for the players, press, officials and members, and the extension of the West Stand of the Centre Court with 728 extra seats.
Stage three (2000–2011) has been completed with the construction of an entrance building, club staff housing, museum, bank and ticket office.
A new retractable roof was built in time for the 2009 championships, marking the first time in the tournament’s history that rain did not stop play for a lengthy time on Centre Court.
A new 4000-seat No. 2 Court was built on the site of the old No. 13 Court in time for the 2009 Championships.
A new 2000-seat No. 3 Court was built on the site of the old No. 2 Court and the old No. 3 Court.
It just shows if you take your care at the planning stage and get everyone on your side, you get a better outcome. The only mistake, they seem to have made was underestimate the success of the roof on Centre Court and not put in provision for a roof on No. 1 Court. I suspect though, that engineers are seeing No. 1 Court as their next challenge.
It is interesting to compare Wimbledon’s progress with the dithering the French have been through about expanding or relocating, the venue for the French Open.
Wimbledon have also had the last laugh, in that they will be hosting the tennis at the London Olympics. What odds can I get on a Federer-Murray final? After all one will be hoping to prolong a winning streak and the other will be looking for revenge.