Naturally, players bow to the Queen and the Prince of Wales when they visit. Centre Court’s retractable roof is built in two sections, one with four bays and the other with five. The TENARA Fabric was joined using high frequency welding, and is supported using ten steel trusses. The roof is typically parked with all ten trusses stacked within 300mm of each other on the north side of the court to provide the grass with sun exposure. During the Wimbledon finals, five trusses are moved to the south side in preparation for possible operation.
As an outdoor tournament, rain has postponed and interrupted the main matches at Centre Court throughout its 89-year history. To address this problem, the All England Club added a retractable roof that provides protection from rain while providing highly effective light transmission. The main difference between the old roof and the new is that the new roof not only has to span further over the extended seating, but also has to support the new retractable roof and the air conditioning plant and ducting housed within. The English have a reputation for being terribly polite and traditional, and this really shows at Wimbledon. Furthermore, there are no advertisements at the All England Club, as the club’s patrons are the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Especially at Centre Court Wimbledon spectators maintain silence even between points.
Wheels move along tracks to open and close the roof, aided by a series of hydraulic jacks and arms. This system opens and unfolds the fabric over the court until the two sections meet in the middle and create an overlapping, waterproof seam. The roof takes up to 10 minutes to close, during which time play is suspended. However, the time to transfer from outside to inside play can be up to 45 minutes while the air-conditioning system acclimatises the nearly 15,000-seat stadium for indoor-grass competition. The tournament rules for the Wimbledon fortnight dictate that the roof, once closed, must remain closed until the end of the match, so some matches may be completed indoors even though the sun has re-emerged. After many years of debate by players, fans, media and officials that often occurred during rain delays, the All England Club finally decided to build a retractable roof to cover the entire court. Building work began with the removal of the existing roof over the stands at the end of the 2006 championships.
There was no roof over the stands for the 2007 event, and fixed parts of the new construction were visible the following year. The name “Centre Court” derives from the location of the principal court at the All England Croquet Club’s original site off Worple Road, Wimbledon – where the main court was located in the centre of all the other courts.
The main stadium where the tournament is held, known as Centre Court, has been greatly expanded and improved over the years. It now features a retractable, translucent roof and nearly 16,000 seats, making it one of the largest and most impressive tennis facilities in the world. There are 19 additional tournament grass courts on the club grounds, including the similarly large No. 1 Court stadium, and the smaller stadium at No. 2 Court and No. 3 Court. The club and adjacent Aorangi Park also feature multiple additional grass practice courts, and several clay, acrylic, and indoor tennis courts. Centre Court Wimbledon is certain to impress any sports fans who appreciate a good facilities. The Wimbledon Championships have been held at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club since 1877, making it the oldest tennis tournament in the world and the only Grand Slam tournament played on the game’s original surface of grass.
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