Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Wimbledon 'walk of fame' for tennis stars

Wimbledon tennis
Thousands of visitors attend the tennis tournament at Wimbledon

Leading tennis stars are to have their own Hollywood-style walk of fame as part of a campaign to promote Wimbledon ahead of the London Olympics.

The Wimbledon Way will feature pavement plaques on Wimbledon High Street with the hand or footprints and signatures of the sport's greatest players.

Plans for the walkway were drawn up by Merton Chamber of Commerce as part of its Going for Gold campaign.

It will also promote businesses in the area in the run up to and beyond 2012.

The Wimbledon Way will provide a marked route linking Wimbledon Station and Wimbledon Hill to Wimbledon Village and the All England Club and the Lawn Tennis Museum.

'Huge potential'

The idea is to encourage visitors to explore the area's heritage, businesses and green areas throughout the year and not just during the two weeks when the tennis takes place.

Money for the walkway will be raised by private sector businesses and matched by Merton Council as part of the Going for Gold scheme.

The promotion of the route has started but the plaques will not make an appearance on the route's pavements until Autumn 2012.

The chair of Merton Chamber of Commerce, Reverend Andrew Wakefield, said: "Wimbledon tennis is for two weeks a year but we get 100,000 tourist at the tennis museum throughout the year.

"The area has got huge potential to develop and grow. The idea is to turn it [Wimbledon] into a destination in its own right, so people from around the world could come to visit.

"We are the only Olympic venue that already exists and that has an international tennis tournament that takes place."

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