Wimbledon waives all-white dress rule for Olympics

Wimbledon: Wimbledon has agreed to waive its traditional all-white clothing rule as part of plans for the 2012 Olympic tennis event that will give the venue a very different look and feel.

Players must wear predominantly white at the Grand Slam event, but London 2012 organizers said on Friday the requirement will not apply during the Olympics.

All England Club chief executive Ian Ritchie said Wimbledon had no hesitation in agreeing to the move.

"We have been very supportive to the Olympic organizers throughout the process," he said. "We hope to some extent there will be a different type of audience.

"It is not a repeat of the Championships. It will be its own competition, have its own style and it will play out in its own way."

Among other changes, the Royal Box on Centre Court will be filled with the International Olympic Committee "family," instead of the assorted royalty and dignitaries who congregate there during Wimbledon.

Only 12 of the available 17 courts will be required, meaning crowd capacity will be 26,000, down from 40,000 during the championships.

However, one tradition will remain: there will be no scheduled night sessions.

Play will begin at 11 a.m. local time, and is expected to continue until about 8 p.m., but like during Wimbledon, it could carry on under the roof on Centre Court if circumstances demand.

The Olympic tennis event is provisionally scheduled to begin on 28 July, 2012, just 20 days after the end of the Grand Slam tournament.

The All England Club last week made assurances that the grasscourts would be resurfaced in time following a successful test this year.

Debbie Jevans, London 2012 director of sport and venues, said Friday that organizers were confident there would still be an appetite for tennis at Wimbledon such a short time after the Grand Slam event.

"There will be a lot of people who do not get tickets for the Championships," she said. "It gives them the chance to see the best players in the world."

The 2012 tennis event will be the first to include mixed doubles, meaning there will be five gold medals up for grabs at Wimbledon.

The singles events will be played over three sets, except for the men`s final, which will be best-of-five.

Spain`s Rafael Nadal won the men`s singles gold in Beijing four years ago, while rival Roger Federer teamed up with Stanislas Wawrinka to win the men`s doubles for Switzerland.

Elena Dementieva won gold for Russia in the women`s singles, with American sisters Venus and Serena Williams triumphed in the doubles.

Tickets for the 2012 Olympic tournament will go on sale next year.