About Wimbledon - Behind the scenes
Long Term Plan

The New Centre Court
© AELTC

Time-lapse videos of Centre Court

Centre Court Debenture Faciltiies (Virtual Tour)

Background to the Long Term Plan

Centre Court of the future

Outline timescale

How the roof works

 Time-lapse videos of Centre Court

You can watch time-lapse videos of construction work on Centre Court by viewing the videos below. All videos are in Windows Media format (wmv).

What Centre Court will look like with the retractable roof (wmv)

Time-lapse July 2006-June 2007 (wmv)

 Centre Court Debenture Facilities (Virtual Tour)

Centre Court Debenture holders will enjoy a range of new bars and restaurants in the new Centre Court stadium. Click the links below for 360 degree panoramics of the new facilities.

General Views
The Main Entrance
Corridor
Entry and Terrace
The Wimbledon Shop

The Terrace
The Terrace Restaurant 1
The Terrace Restaurant_2
The Terrace Restaurant_3

The Courtside
The Courtside Restaurant: View 360 degree panoramic

The Gallery
The Gallery Bar: View 360 degree panoramic
The Gallery Terrace: View 360 degree panoramic

The Roof Top
The Roof Top Bar: View 360 degree panoramic

 Background

The All England Club’s Long Term Plan, unveiled in 1993, set out to enhance Wimbledon’s widely acknowledged reputation as the world's premier tennis event by substantially improving the quality of the Wimbledon experience for everyone — players, spectators, media, officials, members and those who work at the event.

Since then, guided by a blend of tradition and innovation, the Club’s grounds and facilities have been transformed, including:

1997 New No. 1 Court, permanent Broadcast Centre, tunnel linking Church Road with Somerset Road and new Courts 18 and 19, the popular Aorangi Terrace and large screen TV
2000 Millennium Building (new facilities for players, press and photographers, officials, ballboys/girls, Club members and LTA councillors)
2001 Important repairs and improvements to the front of the Centre Court
2002 Major refurbishment of Clubhouse and Royal Box area
2005 New boundary wall and hard courts at Southern Apex; resurfacing of Car Parks 2 and 3
2006 Redevelopment of the turnstile area, together with a new museum, Wimbledon Shop (open 2005), ticket office and the Club’s new offices
2009 Improved Centre Court (see below) and new No.2 Court

 Centre Court of the future

Queueing at Wimbledon
In January 2004, the Club unveiled the latest chapter in the Long Term Plan with plans for its jewel in the crown — the Centre Court.

The 2009 Championships will be the first played on Centre Court with a larger capacity of 15,000 people, more comfortable seating and a retractable roof over the court.

Retractable Roof on Centre Court

The roof will provide a first-class, consistent and safe (non-slippery) playing environment in both open and closed positions.

Of translucent construction to allow natural light to reach the grass, the roof will offer protection to the grass under all adverse weather conditions and, with the roof open, will improve growing conditions throughout the year, particularly at the southern end where the benefit of extra light will be achieved.

The roof has been designed to close/open in under 10 minutes and will be closed primarily to protect play from inclement (and, if necessary, extremely hot) weather during The Championships.

Play will be suspended while the roof closes/opens before being resumed once both the court surface and bowl have attained the optimum conditions for players and spectators.

This process will take between 10-30 minutes depending on the prevailing climatic conditions.

Greater capacity in greater comfort

The Centre Court's capacity has been increased from 13,800 spectators to 15,000 by the addition of six rows of seating to the upper tier on three (east, north and west) sides.

Greater spectator comfort, including ease of access to the court, has been assured through the installation of new, wider seats, as well as extra stairs and lifts.

To allow for the new seating, new media facilities and commentary boxes were built to replace those currently in the upper tier.

Improved catering facilities

In the new east wing of the Centre Court, both the public and Centre Court debenture holders have an enhanced quality of catering and improved ambience.

There are more catering outlets offering a wider choice of food both indoors and outdoors, the latter on balconies overlooking an attractively landscaped Tea Lawn area and the Golf Course.

During the non-Championships period visitors will be able to use the new Café Centre Court with its access to the Centre Court viewing gallery.

In the same way, the new Long Bar area, adjacent to the Tea Lawn, will provide indoor facilities for elements of the All England Club's junior tennis programme, specifically the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative.

 Outline Timescale

April 2006 • New Museum opened
July 2006 onwards • Demolition of East Stand and offices
• Removal of existing roof
• Piling and construction of new East Stand frame and floors
2007 Championships • No roof
• Extra six rows of terracing completed
• Centre Court Debenture facilities relocated
July 2007 onwards to include 2008 Championships • East Stand building finished and useable for 2008 Championships
• New fixed roof in place
• Centre Court Debenture Rooms reconstructed
July 2008 onwards • Completion of moving roof trusses
• Erection and completion of moving roof
• Fit fabric covering to sliding roof
• Commissioning and testing of roof and environment of Centre Court
• Hard landscaping, including Tea Lawn
• Construction of new Gatehouses at Gates 4 and 5
2009 Championships • All works finished and ready


 How the roof works

Queueing at Wimbledon
The retractable roof over Wimbledon’s Centre Court is a type of ‘folding fabric concertina’.

This allows the roof to be folded into a highly compressed area when not in use over the court. About 5,200 square metres of a very strong, flexible, translucent waterproof material will be used for the roof.

A key element of the design has been to allow natural light to reach the grass, while an airflow system will remove condensation from within the bowl to provide the optimum internal environment for spectators and players when the roof is closed.

The retractable roof is divided into two sections with a total of nine bays of structural fabric — four bays in one section and five in the other. Each of the nine bays is clamped on either side by prismatic steel trusses. There are 10 trusses spanning approximately 77 metres across the court. The ends of each truss are supported by a set of wheels that move along a track positioned on the new ‘fixed’ roof of the Centre Court.

In preparation for closing the roof, one section is parked in its folded state at the north end of the court while the other is parked at the south end. A combination of hydraulic jacks and arms form the mechanism for closing the roof.

The mechanism moves the trusses apart and, at the same time, unfolds and stretches out the fabric between the trusses over the court until the two sections meet in an overlapping seam above the middle of the court.

The arch shape to the tops of the trusses helps the structure to withstand loading from elements such as snow and wind when the roof is stretched and closed over the court. The shape also assists in providing a cleareance of 16 metres for high balls.

The roof has been designed to close in under 10 minutes. If the roof is being closed for rain, court covers will protect the grass in the usual way while closure is in progress.

After the roof has been closed, play can resume within a period of between 10-30 minutes, depending on climatic conditions.
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