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Last Updated: Friday, 19 December, 2003, 12:00 GMT
Wimbledon coy on roof plans
The Centre Court at Wimbledon could soon have a retractable roof
The Centre Court roof debate takes place every year
The All England Club has refused to confirm reports that a retractable roof is to be built over the Centre Court at Wimbledon.

The Club confirmed to BBC Sport that an announcement on improvements to Centre Court will be made in January.

But they refused to speculate on whether a roof would be part of any plans to be submitted.

The full details and timescale of the project will be announced at a press conference on 6 January.

Merton Council, who deal with All England Club planning matters, said that although no application had yet been received, they were aware of a possible submission in the New Year.

After many years of rejecting the idea of having a roof, this summer, All England Club chairman Tim Phillips admitted that the committee's view was changing.

"We know that it is physically possible to build a roof and we owe it to tennis fans to investigate all the possibilities for play to take place even if it is raining," he said at the time.

"The real issue is, if you put one up what does that micro-climate create in the way of dew on the playing surface? We have got top athletes who are trying to twist and turn on the grass.

"We are also concerned about the way the grass grows. We are doing tests on this, we have commissioned quite a lot of testing in the States.

"Until such time as we get total satisfaction that the micro-climate enclosed, that is being created, is going to be suitable for championship play, we would not consider it," he added.

Tennis Australia installed a retractable roof on the Centre Court at Melbourne when it moved to its current location in 1988 and a further two have been installed since.

The French Tennis Federation is also planning to put a retractable roof on a new court at Roland Garros, the venue for the French Open.

The Wimbledon roof debate
03 Jul 03  |  Wimbledon 2003


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