Wimbledon Contemplates Major Expansion But Who Will Approve And Pay For It?

The Championship - Wimbledon 2007: Previews

Wimbledon is contemplating a major expansion, but it faces a major roadblock that the Mayor of London will need to resolve.

Currently, there are 18 grass courts for match play and 20 grass practice courts.

This includes Centre Court which has a capacity of 15,000.

In total, 42,000 fans can watch matches on the various courts.

This is about the equivalent of the number of spectators at a US Open day session.

The Proposal

The proposed expansion would add 39 grass courts and an 8,000-seat stadium.

This expansion would occur in open areas in the Wandsworth and Merton areas; Merton officials have approved the plan, but Wandsworth officials unanimously opposed the proposal.

Those who oppose the expansion want the land to stay undeveloped.

There are strong feelings and opinions on all sides of the issue, but some wonder why Wandsworth has so much say when the majority of the land is in the Merton area.

The Mayor of London will now need to intervene.

Cost is another issue as the proposed expansion would cost $250 million.

The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club wants the expansion to enhance the viewing of the Wimbledon qualifying matches that occur prior to the main draw tournament.

They also seek a third show court in addition to Centre Court and Court 1 to be consistent with other Grand Slam tournaments.

The US Open’s three show courts are Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, and the Grandstand.


It seems extremely unlikely that the Wimbledon tennis tournament would ever move from the hallowed grounds of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club.

That makes it easier for residents to oppose development, but it may not be in the best interests of the community at large to not push forward with renovations.


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