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Wimbledon undergoes Olympic makeover

July 11, 2012

LONDON, July 10: Even before Andy Murray’s Centre Court tears have dried, the All England Club is being transformed from its traditional Wimbledon championships guise into a London Olympics venue.

The London 2012 Organising Committee took control of the world’s most famous tennis courts on Tuesday, 18 days before players such as Wimbledon champions Roger Federer and Serena Williams and runner-up Murray begin battling for gold medals.

Already, the dark green canvas backstops on the outside courts have been replaced with the purple brand of London 2012, complete with Olympic rings, while the club’s ground-staff are busy restoring the lawns after their two-week battering during the rain-hit championships which ended on Sunday.

“This is a milestone in the whole process,” former British player Clare Wood, the tennis competition manager, said on Tuesday. “We will be based there from Thursday and the players arrive on Monday so it is really a very, very short turnaround time.”

The Olympic tennis event, which was held at the All England Club’s previous site in 1908, will begin on July 28 and last nine days.

There will be medals in men’s and women’s singles and doubles and, for the first time since Paris 1924, mixed doubles.

With 64-strong singles draws, 32 pairs in the men’s and women’s doubles and 16 mixed doubles pairs, it means a busy schedule on 12 playing courts, rather than the 19 used at the Wimbledon championships.—Reuters