London: The All England Club will be awash with colour in two years with its rigid all-white clothing policy being relaxed for the 2012 Olympics tennis competition.
The lush grass courts will be their trademark green rather than dusty brown, however, after Games organisers confirmed on Friday that a re-seeding technique trialled after this year’s Wimbledon fortnight had been a success.
There had been concerns that the three-week window between the end of the Wimbledon championships and the start of the Olympic event would not be sufficient for the scuffed up baselines to recover.
“We have solved that problem,” Debbie Jevans, director of sport for the 2012 organising committee (LOCOG) confirmed to Reuters. “We have done a few experiments and we’ll be in great shape for the event in 2012.
“(All England Club groundsman) Eddie Seward did an experiment after this year’s championships with pre-germinated grass seed and two weeks later it looked as good as new.”
Jevans, a former professional tennis player who is now responsible for making sure the various sports run smoothly in 2012, is particularly pleased that the Olympic tennis event is being staged at such an iconic venue.
“Really, it was a no-brainer,” she said, adding that the Olympic tournament will have a completely different feel to the Wimbledon tournament.
“The players will be able to wear what they like,” she said. “And to be fair that’s happened before when Davis Cup matches have been staged there as well.
“It’s an Olympic event and the players will wear their national kit.
“The courts will look the same but there will be a consistent look across all the 2012 venues with the colours that we have, the blue and the pink and the greens.
“We will overlay the club with the look and feel of the 2012 Games and that will happen straight after the championships have finished.
“We won’t have to change anything physically about the venue though because it’s a fantastic facility already. The only difference will be that there will be no public car parks because we are encouraging people to go on public transport or using the park and ride scheme.”
Sessions will start at 1100GMT and are expected to be over by 2000, although Centre Court’s roof will be used where necessary should the British summer weather not play ball.
It is not the first time that the Olympics have come to Wimbledon. The tennis event at the 1908 Games was also staged there, although at the club’s old site.
Tennis returned to the Olympic fold as a full medal sport in 1988 and the 2008 event in Beijing was the strongest field ever assembled to contest the medals with the world’s top five men and top seven women all competing.
Spain’s Rafael Nadal won the men’s singles gold medal with Russia’s Elena Dementieva winning the women’s singles.