Wimbledon "graveyard" to be replaced by new court

By Pritha Sarkar

LONDON (Reuters) - Wimbledon's infamous Court Two, dubbed the graveyard of the champions, will be replaced by a new 2000-seat arena in time for the 2011 grasscourt championships.

"The new court (Three), containing enhanced spectator amenities, will be built on the site of old Court Two. The work will start in July 2009 and be completed by May 2011," All England Club officials said in a statement Friday.

Several Wimbledon champions suffered unexpected defeats on the old Court Two. Seven-times champion Pete Sampras's last visit to southwest London ended with a second-round defeat on it in 2002.

"With its unofficial name of the graveyard of the champions' old Court Two has played its part in framing Wimbledon's history," said All England Club chairman Tim Phillips.

"While acknowledging that contribution, we also have to consider Wimbledon's future and the time is now right to build a court with all the excellent spectator comforts that people have come to expect at the championships."

Costs of the venture, the latest in a long line of improvements made to the grounds since 2000, were not disclosed.

A new sunken Court Two will be used for the first time when the grand slam event begins next month, while the retractable roof over Centre Court will also makes its debut.

(Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Rex Gowar)

Article Published: 22/05/2009