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In the year of The All England Lawn Tennis Club’s 150th anniversary, the AELTC reaffirmed its dedication to the Club’s mission of maintaining the position of The Championships as the premier tennis tournament in the world, and on grass; enhancing the unique quality, character and image of the Club and The Championships; and fostering the best interests of tennis, both nationally and internationally.
Setting out plans for the future development of the Grounds under the Wimbledon Master Plan alongside detailed enhancements for The Championships 2018, the AELTC also restated its commitment to integrity as one of the seven international governing bodies of tennis, following the publication of the Independent Review Panel’s (IRP) Interim Report.
“The All England Club’s mission statement is embedded in our Articles of Association; it guides our actions and ensures we keep our focus,” commented Philip Brook, Chairman of the AELTC. “We recognise that to stay true to our mission statement we cannot afford to stand still, and we remain devoted to ensuring that we act in the best interests of our Championships, our Club, and our sport.”
Competitors at The Championships 2018 will receive £34m in total prize money, a 7.6% increase on £31.6m from last year. The singles champions will each receive £2.25m, a rise from £2.2m in 2017. Over the last 10 years, the AELTC has nearly trebled the total prize money on offer at The Championships, rising from £11.8m in 2008 to £34m in 2018.
The AELTC is fully supportive of the Independent Review Panel’s findings as set out in its Interim Report. As one of the seven international governing bodies in tennis, the AELTC will continue to play an active role in providing the consultation requested by the IRP ahead of the publication of the Final Report and in implementing its recommendations.
In particular, the AELTC is fully supportive of the recommendation for a delineation of professional tennis; for the establishment of an expanded, more independent structure to govern integrity in tennis; and a repositioning of the relationship between tennis and betting, including restricting the sale of official data at the lower levels of the sport, removal of betting sponsorships, and more intervention from government, regulatory bodies, and the betting industry itself.
The No.1 Court Project
The development of No.1 Court continues to be the current focus of the Master Plan and year two of the three-year project is on schedule. For 2018, work has included the completion of the new fixed roof; the opening of “The Walled Garden” - a new two-level public plaza (formerly Court 19); a new, larger Big Screen for The Hill (18m in width); and the refurbishment of seven hospitality suites.
More complex in both size and scale than the installation of the Centre Court roof, but working to the same building timeframe, the No.1 Court Project is being led by main contractor Sir Robert McAlpine and remains on track to be finished in time for The Championships 2019. Nine of the 11 trusses that will eventually support the retractable roof will be visible at the Aorangi practice courts during this year’s Championships.
During the final stage of the project, the trusses will be put in place to form the retractable section of the roof, and all seats inside No.1 Court will be replaced, providing improved comfort for spectators.
Below are a few interesting facts about the scope of the No.1 Court Project:
- 2,300 tons of steel was delivered to the Grounds this year, including the nine trusses, which weigh 650 tons.
- More than 130km of electrical and data cabling has been run through the build.
- On an average day, there are 750 people working on the No.1 Court roof project. In all, more than 4,000 people have worked on the project in the last year.
- The current total of man hours worked since the project commenced is more than 2.2 million.
- Over 40 miles of scaffolding tubes, connected together by more than 81,000 fittings, has been constructed and now removed ahead of The Championships
On Sunday 19 May 2019, the All England Club will host A No.1 Court Celebration, in support of the Wimbledon Foundation, a special exhibition of live tennis in front of a capacity crowd, designed to test the new roof and air management system. The proceeds of the event will be donated to the Wimbledon Foundation, the official charity of the Club and The Championships, which will also host a Gala Dinner on the evening of 18 May. The event will be broadcast live on the BBC, and will feature gentlemen’s singles, ladies’ singles and mixed doubles matches. Further details, including players and ticketing, will be announced nearer the time.
The following elements of the Master Plan are currently at development, planning and design stages:
- Somerset Road: Following the completion of the No.1 Court Project in 2019, improvements to the Somerset Road site will be addressed as the next stage of the Master Plan.
- Relocation of six clay courts on the main site to unlock the southern Grounds for future development.
- Six new indoor courts and improved indoor facilities for competitors’ use.
- Construction of an underground car park, which will be the hub of The Championships’ courtesy car operation, and the relocated competitor drop-off and accreditation area.
- The underground car park will also provide an enhanced year-round parking solution for staff and contractors to help mitigate congestion on Somerset Road.
- Museum Building: Planning permission has been received to build an additional floor on the Museum Building, the AELTC’s main office facilities. Works will commence immediately following this year’s Championships and are due for completion in April 2019.
- AELTC Community Sports Ground at Raynes Park: The local community facility currently has six hard courts (three indoor and three outdoor), with more than 500 players registered for ‘pay and play’ access to the centre. Phase 2 of the development, which includes the addition of grass courts and an increased number of covered courts, is currently awaiting planning permission.
- Millennium Building: A refurbishment of this important facility, which houses Members, Competitors, and Media, is currently at briefing and design stage.
- Wimbledon Park Golf Club: As has been reported, the AELTC has made an offer to the Wimbledon Park Golf Club regarding early surrender of its lease, currently due to revert to the AELTC in 2041. The details of the offer are being considered by WPGC and remain confidential.
The Wimbledon Foundation
Established in 2013, the Wimbledon Foundation, the official charity of the All England Club and The Championships, uses the resources and heritage of Wimbledon to help improve people’s lives, with a focus on the local community in the neighbouring boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth, but increasingly on a national and international scale.
Earlier this year, the Wimbledon Foundation announced its first international charity partner, WaterAid. This three-year partnership will help transform lives in some of the poorest communities in Ethiopia, Malawi and Nepal through access to clear water, decent toilets and good hygiene education.
On a national scale, the Ticket Resale scheme at The Championships supports causes such as the military and emergency service benevolent funds in recognition of the role their personnel play at The Championships (Ticket Resale prices for 2018 are £15 for Centre Court tickets, and £10 for No.1 Court and No.2 Court tickets). In addition, the Road to Wimbledon, the UK’s largest junior tournament on grass for players aged 14 and under, sees more than 7,000 children from 750 parks, clubs and schools competing to play at the National Finals in August at the All England Club. The Road to Wimbledon’s international competition, which gives the best juniors in Asia the opportunity to develop their grass court skills and qualify for the UK Finals, expanded further this year with the first tournament being staged in Japan, alongside existing events in India, China and Hong Kong. Visit roadtowimbledon.com to find out more.
Locally, the Wimbledon Foundation has donated more than £1.35m to over 130 projects through structured grant programmes and in-kind support. The Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative began in 2001 and visits two state primary schools in Merton and Wandsworth each week introducing 14,000 children a year to tennis, while 300 children attend free coaching sessions during the week.
The total prize money fund for The Championships 2018 will be £34m, a 7.6% increase on £31.6m last year. The Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Champions will each receive £2.25m, increased from £2.2m in 2017. Over the last 10 years, The Championships has nearly trebled the total prize money on offer, rising from £11.8m in 2008 to £34m in 2018. Over the same period, first round prize money has almost quadrupled from £10,250 to £39,000, while the Singles Champions’ prize money has increased from £750,000 to £2.25m.
Other notable developments include double digit increases to prize money awarded in the first four rounds of the Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Singles Main Draw and all rounds of Qualifying; just over a 10% increase in the total contribution for Gentlemen’s, Ladies’ and Mixed Doubles; and a 20% increase in the Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Wheelchair Singles and Doubles.
Please see the separate schedule for full details of prize money at The Championships 2018.
From 2019, the Ladies’ Singles Qualifying Draw will increase in size from 96 to 128, bringing it in-line with the size of the Gentlemen’s Singles Qualifying Draw.
In 2018, ticketing for Qualifying will be priced at £10 per ticket, with a modest increase in Grounds capacity from 1100 to 1500, and proceeds donated to the Wimbledon Foundation. One match court will be broadcast via the AELTC’s global broadcast partners and on wimbledon.com to meet demand from international fans and media. Twelve courts are now fitted with ring beams, allowing for inflatable court covers in the event of inclement weather.
Further information on ticketing for the Qualifying Competition will be announced in due course.
Quad Wheelchair Tennis Exhibition
The AELTC is pleased to announce the player field for the inaugural Quad Wheelchair Doubles Exhibition, which will be held on Saturday 14 July. David Wagner (USA), Dylan Alcott (AUS), Andy Lapthorne (GBR) and Lucas Sithole (RSA) have all accepted invitations to take part. Quad Wheelchair Tennis is a division where both men and women compete equally in the same competition. Players are eligible to compete if they have a permanent physical disability that results in significant loss of function in three or more extremities, while also fulfilling the sport’s minimum disability criteria.
Head of Tennis Relations
The AELTC is delighted to be welcoming Jamie Baker in the new position of Head of Tennis Relations, announced earlier this year. A former British No.2, Baker will be working alongside Richard Stoakes in his role as the Committee representative who oversees this aspect of The Championships. “I am very excited to be joining the AELTC in this new role, and look forward to working closely with the WTA, ATP, and broader tennis family to ensure that The Championships is able to continue to be regarded as the pinnacle of the sport,” commented Baker.
Competitors at this year’s Championships will benefit from significant improvements made to the newly named Championships’ Dressing Rooms (formerly North and South Dressing Rooms), which have been re-designed to give them a modern, fresh and welcoming feel. The AELTC has also created a new lounge for use by the coaches of female players and female coaches of male players. In 2019, the AELTC plans a complete refurbishment of the Gentlemen and Lady Members’ Dressing Rooms.
Grand Slam Rules
As announced in November 2017, The Championships will be adopting the following rules in 2018:
- The time between points will be extended from 20 to 25 seconds, which will be monitored by the Chair Umpire rather than a shot clock on court.
- The timing of the pre-match warm-up will be strictly enforced: one minute after walk-on to be ready for the pre-match meeting, followed by the five-minute warm-up, then one minute to be ready to start the match.
- Any Main Draw singles player who is unfit to play and withdraws on-site after 12pm on Thursday before the start of the Main Draw will now receive 50% of the First Round prize money. The replacement Lucky Loser will receive the remaining 50%, plus any additional prize money earned thereafter.
- Any player who competes in the First Round Main Draw singles and retires or performs below professional standards, may now be subject to a fine of up to First Round prize money in 2018.
The AELTC remains strongly opposed to the introduction of any form of sanctioned coaching, whether it be on-court or from the stands.
The safety and security of all visitors to The Championships remains of paramount importance. Throughout the year the AELTC has been working closely with the Metropolitan Police and other relevant organisations to ensure that security measures at The Championships are comprehensive and proportionate to the threat level in the UK. These will include extensive searches of people, bags and vehicles on entry to the Grounds and Show Courts and the public are requested to help with entry procedures by checking the latest information on wimbledon.com before travelling.
The AELTC and The Championships remain committed to the promotion of integrity in tennis. Any form of gambling (defined as betting, assisting betting, or the use/supply of information for betting on Championships' tennis matches, whether such activities are inside or outside the Grounds) continues to be strictly prohibited under the terms and conditions of accreditation to The Championships. All players, officials and selected staff must complete the required Tennis Integrity Programme Protection (TIPP) obligations before being eligible to play or work at The Championships.
The AELTC is committed to taking a sustainable approach whenever possible. While industry best practice continues to evolve, particularly at major events, the AELTC undertakes to employ an approach to sustainability that has both longevity and integrity, and which will develop further over time.
The AELTC is pleased to be implementing several changes for 2018:
- No plastic straws in use at The Championships.
- Jaguar, the Official Car of The Championships, will introduce 10 electric vehicles into the courtesy car fleet for the first time.
- Provision of a paper bag option at The Wimbledon Shops, to complement the existing multi-use, oxo-degradable plastic bags as they are phased out.
- Free water re-fill points available for use by the public have been increased to 87 around the Grounds, in addition to 21 water fountains. Water points have increased by 93% since 2014.
- Monitoring and fine-tuning waste streams and signage. In 2017, only 1.4% of Championships waste went to landfill.
Courts, Capacity, Times
- The Championships 2018 will be played on 18 courts: Centre, No.1, No.2, No.3, 4-12, 14-18.
- The Grounds capacity is 39,000 at any one time.
- Start times remain unchanged: 11.30am on outside courts, 1.00pm on Centre Court and No.1 Court, apart from the Ladies’ Singles and Gentlemen’s Singles finals on Centre Court at 2.00pm.
- Spectators in the Queue will be able to pay for their tickets or Grounds Pass using contactless and other card payments. This facility will also be available for those purchasing tickets for Centre Court, No.1 Court and No.2 Court through the Ticket Resale programme.
- Free-of-charge Public Wi-Fi has been extended into the Queue for the first time, and along the east side of the Grounds (from the Canyon side of No.1 Court, through the turnstiles, the Tea Lawn and the Café Pergola and Baseline restaurants).
- Spectators using the Public Wi-Fi in the Queue will be able to access a live stream of the Big Screen via com to help them pass the time while they wait.
- Centre Court debenture holders will enjoy the enhanced dining services on offer at the significantly refurbished Courtside Restaurant.
- The AELTC recently announced it would open its first retail pop-up on the High Street in Wimbledon Village from the end of May until the end of The Championships, selling a range of official products, such as clothing, headwear, rackets, bags and balls, towels, keyrings, and other gifts.
Wimbledon Broadcast Services
- The AELTC has taken on responsibility for the host coverage of The Championships 2018 under the umbrella of Wimbledon Broadcast Services (WBS).
WBS will, for the first time, provide multi-camera coverage of all 18 Championships courts, with Centre Court being offered in 4K High Dynamic Range to achieve optimum resolution and picture quality.
- A net-cam will be installed on Centre Court and No.1 Court.
- World-feed commentary will be provided on up to 11 courts at any one time and interviews and colour footage will also be produced.
- A total of 17 robotic cameras will capture the beauty and atmosphere of the Grounds, including three covering the Aorangi practice courts.
- The coverage will be distributed globally to more than 200 countries with over 50 organisations represented on-site.
- The Broadcast Centre has been revamped to accommodate these changes, with a content creation, quality control and distribution hub at the heart of the operation.
In Pursuit of Greatness
The third year of the AELTC’s brand positioning will see a continuation of marquee content created for distribution by the AELTC’s broadcast partners and across digital and social media. More details to be announced ahead of The Championships.
- The official website of The Championships, com, has been rebuilt and redesigned, and will now feature the ability to select favourite players, events and countries, and receive alerts on their progress. The website also features continuous video, meaning the user’s viewing experience won’t be interrupted when they change page to check the latest score.
- The AELTC is also proud to introduce ‘MyWimbledon’, a personalised digital experience for our fans. Comprised of email, push message and in-ground augmented reality, ‘MyWimbledon’ will guide each fan through their visit to The Championships according to their day, ticket type, and favourite players. Visit wimbledon.com/mywimbledon to register.
- 2018 marks the third year of the Wimbledon Foundation’s unique activity map, Explore Wimbledon, which provides young visitors with a series of activities to complete during their day, while also acting as a useful guide to what to do and where to go around the Grounds. The Wimbledon Museum is also proud to be putting on two special exhibitions at the Nottingham and Birmingham events under the same theme, which bring to life the fascinating attributes of playing tennis on grass.
Wimbledon legends attend opening of the 2018 gras