All-time Wimbledon Venues
Wimbledon, near Worple Road: 1877-1921
The Wimbledon Championship is the oldest and most prestigious Grand Slam event. The first tennis tournament held at The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club in 1877. The Club did not prosper and was in danger of going bankrupt until it decided to add the new game of Lawn Tennis to its activities. The new event, which consisted solely of gentlemen's singles matches, attracted only twenty-two players and a crowd of about two hundred. The first Wimbledon final was played on Thursday 19th July 1877. Ticket to final cost one shilling and winner Spencer Gore was presented with the silver challenge cup and a purse of 12 guineas. The Club's grounds were situated on four acres of meadowland between Worple Road and the railway line. Courts have grass surfaces. In 1908, the venue hosted the tennis events for the 1908 Summer Olympic games. After moving to a new place, the old ground then became the Girls' High School playing field.
Wimbledon, near Church Road: 1922 - present
In 1922, Wimbledon Championships had outgrown the ground in Worple Road and tennis tournament moved to a new place, that became its present home on Church Road. The building of the new venue took two years and cost £140,000. Finally, the new Wimbledon arena was opened by King George V on June 22, 1922. The new stadium consists of the Centre Court and the twelve grass courts. At present, Wimbledon tennis complex consists of nineteen grass courts, including two main show courts, Centre Court and No. 1 Court, that are used only for two weeks a year, during the Championships.
Wimbledon: Map of the Grounds
The Centre Court was built in 1922. The first match on Centre Court was played on June 22, 1922. The start of the day was rain and match was delayed. When rain had relented, King George V declared the court open and match Leslie Godfree vs Algernon Kingscote was begun. The Centre Court of the new stadium has a capacity of 13,800 spectators (now 15,000 seats) and has grass surface. On the south side of the Centre Court there is Royal Box, that has 75 seats for Royal Family of England and other VIP persons. The new retractable roof over Wimbledons Centre Court was introduced in 2009 to enable all weather play during Championships.
The Court No.1 was introduced in 1928. It was built at the west side of Centre Court and has a seating capacity of 7,328. New Court No.1 with a spectator capacity of 11,429 was opened in 1997 at the north of the Centre Court. Like the Centre Court, the new No 1 Court is four storeys high. "However," the Wimbledon organizers points out, "as part of the stadium is countersunk into the hillside, this ensures the roofline is no higher than Centre Court and serves to underline its desired status". The old arena was replaced by the Millennium Building, providing new media facilities for players, press, photographers and officials.