x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Image makeover for All England Club for London 2012

The dark-green surroundings of Centre Court will be replaced by one of the Olympic theme colours; players will be decked out in their national colours instead of the traditional all-white of Wimbledon; and there will be no queue snaking around the nearby park.

The grass will still be green when the Olympics come to Wimbledon next summer, but much else will look unfamiliar, London 2012 organisers say.

The dark-green surroundings of Centre Court will be replaced by one of the Olympic theme colours; players will be decked out in their national colours instead of the traditional all-white of Wimbledon; and there will be no queue snaking around the nearby park.

"We've got to make sure we stamp our mark on it," said Debbie Jevans, the London 2012 director of sport and venues. "So when people come to Wimbledon, they know they're part of an Olympic competition, and they don't feel like they're coming back to Wimbledon."

At the same time, Jevans recognised that the appeal of visiting Wimbledon, "the greatest tennis venue in the world", was at least part of the reason why tennis was one of the events that sold out its allocation in the first round of sales.

Organisers will have just 19 days between the end of Wimbledon on July 8 next year and the start of the Olympic competition on July 28 to complete the makeover.

Restoring the green of the grass courts will not prove a problem, according to the All England Club's head groundsman Eddie Seaward, one of a handful of personnel from the grand slam tournament, who will also work at the Olympic event. He said pre-germinated seeds would be applied to any bare or brown spots.

At the 2008 Beijing Games, the Olympic rings were painted behind the baseline and Seaward said he has no objection to that on Centre Court.

His task will be made easier because fewer courts are needed for the Olympic event, which will have 64-player draws only half the size of those at Wimbledon.

The Olympics will follow one other tradition: strawberries and cream will be available.