All-England Club plans makeover for No 2 and No 3 courts as it prepares for Olympics

Courts No 2 and No 3 at the All-England Club, home of the Wimbledon championships, are to be demolished and rebuilt in time for the 2012 London Olympics.

This is part of a wider redevelopment of the southern part of the site, which will include the provision of new restaurants.

The aim is to get Wimbledon, in south-west London, ready for the Olympic tennis tournament.

At present the two courts are considered to be too close together, cramping pedestrian movement. A source said: “The latest thinking is to do this build in two or three phases and aim for the Olympics. It would provide more space and better circulation.”

A second insider added: “The suggestion is to bring forward plans to fit with the Olympic timetable.”

No 2 court would be demolished and moved to the south-east of the site. No 3 court would be rebuilt on its current site or moved slightly westward.

Planning permission for a 5,000-seat No 2 court in the south-east corner was obtained in 2002, before London won the Olympics, to ensure that the estate could be updated quickly.

A spokesman for Wimbledon said: “We have no news on timings; we are reviewing the options. For the past 18 months we have been looking at it.”

However, sources close to the plans insist that the All-England Club is keen to get the project under way as soon as possible to complement the installation of an HOK Sport-designed roof on centre court, due for completion by 2009. Realigning the southern courts would mirror similar changes made to those in the north, where the courts are better spaced.

Building Design Partnership’s 1993 All-England Club masterplan stipulated that changes should be made by 2012 but those time limits have become outdated. As a result, new development has moved at a slower pace and taken a different direction to that intended.