Let it rain at Wimbledon

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The Wimbledon Tennis Championship, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is considered the most prestigious.

It has been held at the All England Club in the London suburb of Wimbledon since 1877. It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, and the only one still played on grass courts. The tournament takes place over two weeks in late June and early July, culminating with the gentlemen's singles final, scheduled for the second Sunday. In 2009, the event started on Monday 22 June and is scheduled to finish on Sunday 5 July. The much–anticipated new Centre Court retractable roof will become operational this year. This completes the core project to transform the 87–year–old Centre Court into a market leading stadium commensurate with its heritage as the 'jewel in Wimbledon's crown'. Should it rain this year it will take about seven minutes for the roof to close but 30 minutes before play can resume due to the air management system removing subsequent condensation. The roof is made of a lightweight material called Tenara that is stretched over the court's opening by 10 trusses and is 16m above the court surface. The decision to close the roof will be made by tournament referee Andrew Jarrett. During periods when Centre Court is the only court in play, screens on No. 1 Court, Court 2 and Aorangi Terrace will show Centre Court play, subject to other prevailing conditions. In these circumstances, access to No. 1 Court and Court 2 will normally be limited to those holding valid tickets for these courts; however, non–ticket holders may be admitted during the evening, subject to space. Other main items of note for this year's Championships include: Court 2New Court 2 will come into use this year. New court has 4, 000 permanent seats, an increase in capacity over Court 2 (2, 192) of 1818. Playing surface is sunk 3. 5m below ground level to reduce the profile of the court superstructure above ground, thereby enhancing views across the site. Court Re–numberingOwing to new Court 2, the southern courts will be re–numbered in sequence, ie: old Court 2 becomes Court 3, Court 3 becomes Court 4 etc. up to Court 12. No Court 13. 'Show Courts' will be Centre Court, No. 1 Court, Court 2 and Courts 3, 4 and 18. Ground CapacityDaily ground capacity has been increased by 3, 500 from 36, 500 to a maximum of 40, 000. CommercialTelevisionAll the main broadcasters are continuing their coverage of The Championships. In 2008, Wimbledon was watched by an estimated global culmulative audience across 173 territories of 345. 9 million people. Official SuppliersThe Club has signed a new five–year extension to its sponsorship contract with IBM. IBM will continue to act as technology consultant to the Club, helping it to embrace new technologies that increase the enjoyment of The Championships for fans around the globe. IBM will also continue to run the Club's Championships data management & TV graphics solution, including hosting www. wimbledon. org which last year attracted over 10m unique users and 280m page views during the two weeks of the 2008 tournament. Grand Slam Tennis game The Club has signed an electronic games licence with EA Sports enabling fans to challenge on Centre Court, as well as at the other Grand Slams, many of the world's top players past and present. Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Bjorn Borg, Venus and Serena Williams and Martina Navratilova all star. UK launch in June. Centre Court book 'Centre Court–The Jewel in Wimbledon's Crown' – Official book to launch the new Centre Court roof. 240 pages, lavishly illustrated, offering a fascinating and unrivalled look at the on–court and off–court action and drama over 87 years. Edited by John Barrett and Ian Hewitt. The book was published on 18 May 2009. ATP World Tour Finals Event in London at the O2 (22–29 November 2009) produced by ATP in association with AELTC and LTA. Customer ServicesSecurityThe Club has been working in close liaison with the Police to ensure the safety and protection of all concerned with the event. Ground entry security procedures will be at an appropriately high level. The main measures affecting spectators are:Single queue for on–day sales in Wimbledon Park will move via new gate to Wimbledon Park Golf Club and thence to the off–site search/scanning operation. All ticket holders searched on entry. Bag restrictions for all ticket holders–only one bag per person will be allowed. No larger than 18x12x12ins (45x30x30cm). No hard–sided hampers, cool–boxes or brief cases allowed into the grounds. No Left Luggage facilities inside the grounds (facilities located outside the grounds on the Golf Course, Car Park 1 and St Mary's Church car park). Public restaurants/cafeteriasTwo new public catering outlets: The Bakery by new Court 2 and The Pantry, a self service shop for light refreshments located in the No. 1 Court Food Village.

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