Just further confirmation that this will happen. Hopefully this puts pressure on the third world slams in Paris and New York.
Wimbledon is set to give the green light to a roof above Court No 1 as part of another substantial redevelopment of the All England Club.
The club’s hierarchy are believed to have already made the decision to cover the 11,500-seater secondary arena as part of a ‘Wimbledon 2020’ plan that will go further than had been anticipated.
According to well-placed sources among the SW19 membership the move towards a roof is expected to be unveiled as early as next month, with priority given to the project once this summer’s Championships are over.
Unlike Centre Court, the secondary arena was designed to be ‘roof-ready’ when it was built in 1997, so the associated costs and logistical demands, while high, will not be as severe as the huge construction completed in 2009 to cover its iconic big brother.
A wider scheme is also set to include alterations to the area behind the Royal Box, an upgrade to practice facilities and a rebuild of the indoor court complex near the main arena.
A covered Court No 1 will be another huge step forward for the tournament and guarantee two sets of matches for television, and more than 27,000 spectators, whatever the weather.
However, there are challenges: not least the volume of air conditioning required to keep the right conditions for grass. When the Centre Court was covered a new electricity sub-station needed to be built close by to supply the necessary energy.
The total cost of redeveloping the main arena is often put at £100million, though a source involved in the construction says it was closer to £150m.
The simpler Court No 1 roof would not be as expensive but outlay on that and other projects could affect the annual surplus handed to the Lawn Tennis Association and its impending new leadership.
In a rare public discussion of construction ideas 18 months ago AELTC chairman Philip Brook said a roof on No 1 would be ‘a desirable thing’.
Brook won agreement over a three-week gap between the French Open and The Championships from 2015 and, while there is no fixed timetable, the new roof may coincide with that.
The All England continues to tread a delicate line between maintaining tradition and innovation.
With lucrative broadcasting rights and tickets in demand, covered courts are wanted but not always possible.
The Australian Open has two roofs with a third being built. The French Open would like to follow suit but face logistical struggles.
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