The new £70m ($89m/€80m) retractable roof on Wimbledon’s No.1 Court has been given its first public viewing ahead of this year’s Grand Slam event.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) unveiled the roof at a star-studded event at the South London venue on Sunday following a three-year project it said had been completed on time and on budget.
SCX Special Projects, based in Sheffield, was awarded the contract to deliver the roof back in 2016 after successfully installing the Centre Court roof in 2009.
The addition of the roof is part of a project which has resulted in all seats at the stadium being replaced, with the venue’s capacity having now increased to 12,345.
The celebration event, which saw the roof in action after the rain began to fall in London, is the first test event to be held at the new-look venue before the Wimbledon tennis tournament takes place in July.
The event to celebrate the roof’s installation featured singer Paloma Faith and the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Tennis matches during the day saw Jamie Murray and Goran Ivanisevic take on Pat Cash and Lleyton Hewitt in an opening doubles match under the roof. Kim Clijsters then took on Venus Williams, before teaming up with John McEnroe for a mixed doubles match against Murray and Martina Navratilova.
“It’s pretty special, to be out there,” Hewitt said. “Obviously, the opening of No.1 Court with the new roof on it, an unbelievable atmosphere as well and to think the middle of May and the grass was just playing so true out there.”
The steel roof trusses for No.1 Court, each weighing 80 tonnes were made in Sheffield and delivered to Wimbledon before last year’s championships.
The AELTC used the event’s ticket sales to support its target of donating £750,000 to the Wimbledon Foundation, which this year is supporting A Roof For All. The initiative is in collaboration with the London Community Foundation to provide grants to charities helping the homeless in the London boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth.