It was Good news for tennis fans as court number one joined centre court in getting a retractable roof. A £70m improvement project on the facilities at the All England Tennis Club at Wimbledon went underway, and the retractable roof is in play from the middle of 2019.
Not all Wimbledon locals were happy with the proposals, but an impressive 98 percent backed the improvements, which was a very good sign. The investment didn’t just serve to create the retractable roof; it will also be used to create a massive screen near Murray Mount so spectators who don’t have centre court or court number one tickets will still be able to experience great tennis on a big screen in a thrilling atmosphere.
Finally, court number 19 will be removed and a public area will be created with landscaped gardens and a courtyard.
What does this mean for tennis spectators?
We all know the English weather can be unpredictable, and although Cliff Richard singing to keep the audience entertained during a downpour might have been a novel experience, most fans really want to see the tennis professionals in action. The retractable roof will mean that when it does rain, the lawn can be covered within ten minutes and play can resume within 30 minutes. This means there will be far fewer interruptions and tennis can continue until the 11pm deadline.
The Technology Behind The Roof
The retractable roof uses the latest in textile technology, but it is not new. In fact, it is common to see bespoke Tensile Fabric Structures in everyday life available from sites including spatialstructures.com/building-systems-explained . If you go to your local Ikea, you are likely to see a fabric roof. Some of them can be quite stunning, like the Heathrow Terminal 2B design which is beautiful.
These fabric designs offer a lot more than traditional roofs. For starters, they let in a lot of light whilst keeping the rain off of those who are underneath it. They are also more aesthetically pleasing to the eye and can bring a calming effect.
The ease at which they can be put up is an added bonus compared to traditional methods, and they can also reduce noise levels. With all these benefits, it is easy to see why organisations such as The All England Tennis Club are choosing fabric roofs.