At its Media Briefing earlier this week, the All-England Lawn Tennis Club announced its plans for the 135th staging of The Championships from 27 June to 10 July, which sees the introduction of play on the middle Sunday at Wimbledon, and marks the centenary of Centre Court in its current home.
This stadium has witnessed not just epic matches, but many changes in the world around us and in society. This year provides an opportunity for reflection on the past, but also to envisage what is to come in the next 100 years. Ian Hewitt, Chairman AELTC
The AELTC is looking ahead to celebrating the past 100 years, as well as the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, with an eye to the next 100 years of the event.
Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the All England Club, commented: “Following two pandemic-affected years, we are pleased to be planning for a special Wimbledon, as we celebrate the centenary of our move from Worple Road to our present location at Church Road, and the opening of Centre Court here.
“This stadium has witnessed not just epic matches, but many changes in the world around us and in society.
“This year provides an opportunity for reflection on the past, but also to envisage what is to come in the next 100 years.”
The middle Sunday, 3 July, is featuring as a permanent part of the tournament schedule for the first time, but will also be the focal point for the Centre Court Centenary Celebrations, with a special moment planned between the 2nd and 3rd matches.
It will also be a day for the local community, with tickets distributed to local residents, schools, charities and community groups.
In addition, the AELTC is working with the World Platinum Investment Council to create two bespoke platinum coins to be used for the Finals Weekend coin tosses to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and the Club’s relationship with the BBC, which began 95 years ago.
The Order of Play for matches alters with the introduction of play on the middle Sunday, with the 4th round singles schedule split over Sunday and Monday.
The second Tuesday and Wednesday now will feature a combination of Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Quarter-Finals on both days, while the Mixed Doubles Final is scheduled as the concluding match on the second Thursday, with Finals Weekend featuring the Ladies’ Singles Final and Gentlemen’s Doubles Final on Saturday, and the Gentlemen’s Singles Final and Ladies’ Doubles Final on Sunday.
The Quad Wheelchair draws have been doubled, to 8 singles and 4 doubles, while the Invitation Doubles events will return with Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Doubles draws and with the addition of a Mixed Doubles competition.
The Junior Championships expands this year with the addition of the 14 and under draw alongside the existing 18 and under draw, to give the world’s best juniors the opportunity to compete on grass at an earlier age.
Also, a final set tiebreak, with the first to 10 points with a 2-point advantage at 6-all in the final set, will be introduced this year, achieving consistency with the other Grand Slams.
Gates will open at 10am, with play on the outside courts due to commence at 11am, and staggered start times for No 1 Court at 1pm and Centre Court at 1.30pm, with the exception of Finals Weekend when play on Centre will start at 2pm.
Other innovations at The Championships include redesigned umpire’s chairs on Centre Court and No 1 Court that will be expanded to all courts in 2023, new uniforms for umpires and lines-people delivered by Ralph Lauren, the official outfitter of The Championships, and refurbishment of elements of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum that will feature a special exhibition on Centre Court called ‘100 Years of Change’, in addition to a new interactive gallery exploring the Open Era of tennis.
The Grounds capacity will be up to 42,000 each day, while, after two years, the Queue will return for spectators wishing to buy tickets on the day, as will Ticket Resale, for those wishing to purchase returned Centre Court, No 1 Court and No 2 Court tickets, in return for a donation to the Wimbledon Foundation.
Following its introduction last year, enhanced mobile ticketing will continue, with all tickets distributed via the official Wimbledon mobile apps on iOS and Android.
Tickets for the Qualifying Competition will be on sale from June at £10 each, with proceeds donated to the Wimbledon Foundation.
From a content and fan engagement perspective, Wimbledon.com will feature enhanced personalisation and insights in partnership with IBM, and it will be adding new episodes to its Wimbledon Kids offering on YouTube Kids. It also plans explore a variety of Web 3.0 activations.
In partnership with the LTA, Wimbledon will re-launch its mass participation event as Play Your Way to Wimbledon, powered by Vodafone, in the telecommunication company’s first year as official connectivity partner of The Championships.
‘Wimbledon at Home’ will return, with an enhanced offering of ways for fans around the world who cannot attend The Championships in person to engage, including the Virtual Hill with American Express, and also Breakpoint, a mobile game.
From a content and fan engagement perspective, Wimbledon.com will feature enhanced personalisation and insights in partnership with IBM, and it will be adding new episodes to its Wimbledon Kids offering on YouTube Kids.
During Finals Weekend, it will bring the Hill to New York, with an innovative activation event taking place in Brooklyn Bridge Park in partnership with ESPN.
Wimbledon will also prioritise its ongoing commitment to be Environment Positive by 2030, it has re-committed to the enhanced UN Sport for Climate Action Framework and will be encouraging guests to think ‘environment positive every day’ at The Championships.