Sport

Biggest expansion in Wimbledon history set to be delayed until the end of the decade


Biggest expansion in Wimbledon history set to be delayed until the end of the decade as plans reveal it could take EIGHT YEARS for new tennis courts to be built for preliminary Grand Slam matches 

  • The expansion of Wimbledon is set to be delayed until the end of the decade 
  • All England want to bring the qualifying events onto an expanded site
  • Preliminary matches take place at Bank of England ground in Roehampton 
  • But new plans reveal it could take eight years for pitches to be built and be ready

The biggest expansion in Wimbledon’s history is not expected to be complete until the back end of this decade, taking longer than originally expected.

A consultation exercise with local residents has revealed that the ambition to bring the Championships qualifying event onto an expanded site may not be realised for another eight years.

The All England Club’s purchase of neighbouring Wimbledon Park golf course was designed to bring The Championships in line with the other three Grand Slams, in having the preliminary event within the grounds the week before the big fortnight.

The expansion of Wimbledon is not expected to be complete until the back end of this decade

The All England Club’s purchase of neighbouring Wimbledon Park golf course was designed to bring the preliminary event within the same grounds as the main competition

The All England Club’s purchase of neighbouring Wimbledon Park golf course was designed to bring the preliminary event within the same grounds as the main competition

It had been suggested this might come to pass around mid-20s, but that date now appears to have been pushed back.

The document states that if the relevant planning permission is granted ‘it will take at least six years to construct the new tennis courts within the AELTC landholding. It will take at least two years for the courts to be mature enough to be suitable to be used for The Championships.’

So it appears that for most of the 2020s the qualifying will remain two miles away at what is currently the Bank of England sports ground at Roehampton.

Planning for this year’s event and the presence of fans continues on the basis of different scenarios, which will depend on the course of the pandemic over the next two months

Planning for this year’s event and the presence of fans continues on the basis of different scenarios, which will depend on the course of the pandemic over the next two months

All England Chief Executive Sally Bolton uses the initial consultation exercise to promise that a collaborative approach will be taken with the community over the development at SW19, in order to maintain and enhance Wimbledon as ‘one of the most beautiful sporting venues in the world.’

Planning for this year’s event continues on the basis of different scenarios, which will depend on the course of the pandemic over the next two months, and how government policies develop.

Ticket allocations have yet to be decided, with the hope that if the current encouraging trends with Covid continue there may be the chance to allow more spectators in for this summer’s event, which begins on June 28.

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