AELTC strategic investments in facilities



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Extended sustainable initiatives for Wimbledon 2023 Image: Wimbledon AELTC

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) (UK) recently announced arrangements for the 136th staging of The Championships (July 3rd-16th), including enhancements for the Qualifying Competition and in environmental sustainability, alongside an update on investment in facilities for the future.

‘Wimbledon’ quoted Ian Hewitt, Chairman of All England Club, as stating, “We look forward with real excitement to The Championships and are pleased that early indications are of very strong interest in attending Wimbledon this year. Our Wimbledon Public Ballot received an unprecedented number of applications and following difficulties with international travel during the last two years, we are seeing renewed levels of interest from overseas applicants.”

The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC), also known as the All England Club, based at Church Road, Wimbledon, London, England (UK), is a private members’ club. It is best known as the venue for the Wimbledon Championships, the only Grand Slam tennis event still held on grass.

The Wimbledon Championships, commonly known simply as Wimbledon, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is widely regarded as the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London (UK), since 1877 and is played on outdoor grass courts, with retractable roofs over the two main courts since 2019.
 

Operations and Schedule

‘Wimbledon’ stated that the AELTC remain committed to continuing to invest in the improvement of the facilities at the Qualifying Competition. This year, a new 700-seat Show Court has been constructed in a more central location at the venue, which has also seen the creation of relocated practice courts, and an increase in overall daily spectator capacity to 3,000. Players will be able to enjoy the newly refurbished dressing rooms and gym, while there will be a Wimbledon Shop kiosk onsite for the first time. Tickets for the Qualifying Competition will go on sale at the beginning of June at £15 each.

Ticketholders will be able to enjoy the enhancements made in the Southern Village, the section of the Grounds running between No.2 Court and the Rosewater Pavilion. This space will have a big screen set up showing live tennis with deck chairs and weather shade, in addition to an improved food and drink offering alongside the traditional Official Partner activation spaces. A new entry gate will be opened in this space to ease the flow of spectators into the Grounds.
 

Environment Positive

The AELTC commitment to becoming Environment Positive by 2030 remains in sight and it is pleased to introduce a number of initiatives to help reach its sustainability ambitions. The most noticeable change will be on court. Working alongside evian, Wimbledon’s Official Partner for the last 15 years, the AELTC is pleased to confirm the next step in its sustainability journey together is the pilot of an on-court refillable water solution, which will offer evian water for the players. As part of this, the AELTC will be providing players with reusable bottles that they can refill during their time at The Championships. More details of the solution will be shared ahead of the event.

Around the Grounds, the AELTC has connected its renewable electricity supply to facilities in The Queue, allowing to accelerate the phase out of generators used during The Championships. In the area of food and drink, the food menus for all guest groups will have low CO2 dishes highlighted to help guests make environment-positive choices if they wish.

The AELTC will again host its Environment Positive Panel on July 6th, and take the opportunity to highlight this theme throughout the day.
 

The Championships: Investing for the Future

Strategic investment into AELTC facilities continues to be an integral part of the All England Club’s ambition to be at the pinnacle of the sport, while also delivering benefit to the local community.
 

Media Pavilion

Player interviews for this year will take place in a new purpose-built facility, the Media Pavilion, which sits atop the Broadcast Centre. The centerpiece of the facility is the Media Theatre, which seats more than 100, and features an LED video wall. The Pavilion includes a further seven interview rooms and two levels of bookable positions for the broadcast rights holders.
 

Indoor Tennis Centre

The recently constructed Indoor Tennis Centre on Somerset Road (Birmingham, UK) is home to six indoor hard courts and six outdoor clay courts, dressing rooms, social and meeting spaces, and the underground car park which is the hub of The Championships’ courtesy car operation, provided by Jaguar. Players and their teams will enjoy a new arrival experience this year, with the completion of the tunnel underneath Somerset Road connecting them directly to the competitors’ facilities in the Millennium Building.
 

Millennium Building

The Millennium Building is now more than 20 years old and in need of refurbishment. During the next five years the AELTC intend to transform this building to significantly improve the facilities on offer for the three important guest groups housed there: Players, media and Members. More details about the plans will be available in the lead up to The Championships.
 

Community Tennis Centre, Raynes Park

The Phase Three of development at the Community Tennis Centre is nearing completion. The 16 grass courts will provide players with additional practice facilities before and during The Championships. It is anticipated the new two-story Clubhouse will open in Autumn, including changing and therapy rooms, a café and multiuse function room. The full range of facilities will be used by players preparing for The Championships in future years, but equally, will provide significant benefit to the many thousands of community members who use the Community Tennis Centre throughout the year.
 

AELTC Wimbledon Park Project

The AELTC proposals for the Wimbledon Park Project are currently before the Merton and Wandsworth Councils and are awaiting a Planning Committee date. The ambitions for the project are two-fold: A once-in-a-generation opportunity to safeguard The Championships for the future, as well as creating year-round benefits for the local community, including significantly increasing access to green space with a major new park for London.

The proposals will allow the AELTC to maintain its position as one of the finest sporting venues in the world. Central to the proposals are bringing the Qualifying Competition on site, improving practice facilities for the competitors, opening a quality new Show Court, and enhancing the experience for spectators at the event.

Since submitting our application in July 2021, the AELTC have engaged extensively with the local community, including hosting guided tours of the proposed new community parkland in recent months now that golf has ceased on the land. In addition to the new 23-acre community park, benefits will also include: Desilting the Wimbledon Park lake for its health, biodiversity and enjoyment for future generations, construction of a boardwalk around the lake, nature trails alongside many other environmental and social benefits, and the extension of the community tennis programs to provide access to the grass courts for the local community.

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