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PANORAMA: 1996

Wimbledon Serves Up New Centre Court
by Kofi Akumanyi
Photography by John Neligan

Amid the cranking cranes, buzzing drills and whirring machines at the south London building site, a new Number 1 Court is taking shape at Wimbledon and is well on schedule to open next vear.

The new court (pictured), an updated and modernised version of the Centre Court, has been designed to improve spectator conditions (800 more seats to take its capacity to 13,900) and facilities for hospitality, shops and restaurants.

This is the first phase of a multi-million pound redevelopment over 20 years designed to take the world's top tennis championship venue into the 21st century. The existing Number 1 Court will be converted to a television centre and an underground link road.

The court is designed to enhance the championships by improving the quality ofthe event for all involved - players, spectators, media, officials and neighbours. The overall objective is to upgrade all facilities and to achieve this within the existing grounds.

"Our long-term development plan to maintain the Wimbledon's premier position into the next century is the most ambitious facility improvement ever undertaken by the All England Club,'' says the club's chief executive, Christopher Gorringe.

  

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