Time frames sometimes just rush towards us – the Olympics is less than three week’s away ....
|A touch of purple on the hallowed turf.|
The Wimbledon staff must be wondering what hit them this year – usually once the annual tournament is over that is it ... then there’s high-class maintenance work over the coming eleven months.
2012 alters all that – Wimbledon will not host the Olympics a third time for many a century – the first was in 1908, when the tournament was distinctly different to that of today.
|Already replanting the grass|
Our sense of what Wimbledon stands for will change this year – no longer the unique event at one venue that dominates Southfields for two weeks of the year ... another anachronism in the season’s rituals that are pervading British summer’s sense of normality.
The imagination boggles at how the Olympics will unfold on the venerable turf of the nurtured grass – this is the first year that Olympic Tennis will be played out in a Grand Slam Setting and, of course, that will be on grass.
|Number One Court ticket options|
and Wimbledon venue layout
c/o Olympic Tennis exchange
The opportunity for both Wimbledon and the Olympic Games will be mutually beneficial .... the All England Club will have a global audience of billions, instead of the 50+ million ... while Olympic Tennis will be showcased in an arena that is revered around the tennis world.
Players from different countries have an opportunity to play at a venue esteemed as the best in the world ... while tennis lovers (who get tickets or are prepared to queue for the few available) will have another chance to see the world’s best players in action.
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club will become garish ... coloured clothing will be allowed ... the Olympic Rings, London 2012 logos on violet canvas hoardings will enliven the dark green backdrop ...
|Dayglo shoes ...|
... the only colour that applies to both events is the rich deep purple of Wimbledon ... a colour in classical antiquity that could only be worn by the elite ... and that garish violet is now being stretched out around the ground.
Even the hallowed ‘white only’ clothing and shoes – as was found out this year – will be set aside for the Olympic tournament – when the courts become occupied with the colours of the nations.
The draw for the 190 players will be made two days before the tennis starts on 28th July ... culminating in the medal events on Saturday and Sunday August 4th and 5th.
|Centre Court showing retractable roof|
The main difference in the tournament will be that each match is decided over three sets, except for the men’s final, which will be over the usual five sets – however the mixed doubles has a unique format where the 3rd set, if required, will be played as a first to 10 tie-break.
Twelve courts will be used, while there are plenty of practise courts – for Wimbledon there are twenty-two, then there are seven other courts ... so the Olympics looks well catered for and set to go live.
|Wiki - purples: left centre Wimbledon|
colour, centre bottom square - Olympic
The centre court holds 15,000 spectators - and at least those lucky people will remain dry under the retractable roof, while there’s room around the grounds for another 15,000 to find a court, or to soak up the action on the big screens with a cold drink in hand, or an umbrella raised – cheerful aren’t I?
Did you hear the rain on the roof during the Federer v Murray match – amazing noise ... buckets of the stuff – honestly it just goes on raining.
Yesterday it was strange seeing a flooded drain being attended by a van stating “We are in Drought” in large letters on its bonnet/trunk for you guys over the pond ... all hosepipe bans have been lifted as of today.
When we hosted that first Olympic tennis tournament here in 1908 - the British had a slightly more successful outcome ... winning all six medals ... what likelihood this year? No, don’t answer ...!
|The 1896 Olympic Games Report|
Well we did have one medal winner this year – Jonny Marray (not the Murray the British nation had hoped for), who had entered as a wild card and with his partner, the Dane, Frederik Nielson then won the Men’s Doubles.
But – the origins of tennis being included at the inaugural Olympics goes back to 1896 in Athens. The first tennis gold medal went to Ireland’s John Plus Boland, who happened to be visiting Greece and volunteered himself as a last minute replacement in the Singles.
Another ‘British’ wild card winner ...
|So sit back, relax and enjoy those|
believe it or not green balls
Tennis was voted off the Games after Paris 1924 – surprising really with the French being fairly dominant then – Susanne Lenglen et al – only to return as a medal event in Seoul 1988.
What is the green leafy suburb of SW19 going to be turned into when 190 tennis players descend to contest the five events, during which 26,400 tennis balls will be whacked about ...
Which country will win the gold, silver and bronze medals at this green green grass of home tennis tournament ....?
See my other four posts on Wimbledon:
What was red, is now blue ... but is actually green? see about green balls here!
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