LOCOG (London Olympic Committee of the Olympic Games) announced further details of the London 2012 Olympic Games tennis due to be held at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.
Outlining the event , LOCOG Director of Sport Debbie Jevans spoke of the following, highlighting how Wimbledon is going to alter for the Olympic period, with competition planned from 28 July to 5 August – (these dates are expected to be confirmed in November).
- There will be competition on twelve courts, with seven others given over to practice and warm up.
- There will be five Olympic events — men’s and women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles. The men’s singles is over the best of three sets and the final will be best of five sets. In the mixed event, there will be a ten point tie break at set all.
- Play will start at 11am and the daily crowd capacity will be fixed at 26,000. The big screen at the Aorangi Park terrace end of the grounds will be available for use.
- The condition of all of the courts and the quality of the grass is already part of the planning. Wimbledon began testing immediately after this year’s Championships and within two weeks were happy that the surface on Centre Court was ready for play once more.
- The Olympics will bring their own colour scheme which means an alteration in some of the traditional views of Wimbledon from the Centre Court onwards.
- Players will not have to wear White and will wear national colours as appropriate.
- The Olympic family will have the use of the Royal Box and the medal ceremonies will take place on the Centre Court.
As part of the planning for the event LOCOG are about to enter into consultations with local residents, community representatives, and other key stakeholders from now until the end of September after which planning applications will be submitted by LOCOG to the London Borough of Merton. Planning consent is needed to install the temporary facilities to stage the Games at Wimbledon starting in January 2011 – with the main part being post 2012 Championships. All of the temporary structures will be removed when competition is over in August 2012.
As Ian Ritchie, chief executive at Wimbledon, pointed out: “Players are already planning their schedule around this period when unusually they will be playing at Wimbledon twice in three weeks. The use of this iconic venue adds lustre to the Olympics and to tennis as a sport.”
There was a record participation in tennis in the 2008 Games in Beijing. In 2012, countries can enter a maximum of four players in the singles events and many of them will be more than familiar with the territory, if not the Olympic challenge. As six times Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, a doubles gold medallist in Beijing, observed: “The history is already here and it is fantastic that the Olympics are going to be here. Maybe this is the chance to pick up a singles gold medal.”
There will be an exhibition on the plans at the Wingfield Restaurant at Wimbledon on 19 August (4-8 p.m.), 20 August (noon-4 pm) and 21 August (11am.-3 pm)
The plans can also be viewed online at london2012.com/wimbledonconsultation . Other information can be obtained on 0800 198 2012 or by writing to Freepost 2012 Games. The deadline for feedback on the plans is September 30 2010.