Monday, 23 May 2011

The Magic of Wimbledon

There is something magical about Wimbledon. But don’t take my word for it, go and see for yourself, because this year Wimbledon is ready. Yes, you say, Wimbledon is always ready. Yes, you are right, Wimbledon is always ready, but this year it is actually finished. In 1993 The All England Club outlined a long term plan to bring the Wimbledon Championship facilities and grounds into the 21st century with the finest facilities available anywhere in the world. And this year all that work is finally complete.
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It has been quite a transformation. In that time a new no.1 Court has been built, while the Centre Court has been restructured and a retractable roof has been added. The new Millennium centre was built to provide new facilities for players and members, as well as providing a media centre with the most up-to-date equipment and facilities. A new museum has been built, several courts have been re-positioned, and new seating has been installed for courts 3 and 4.

The overall result is magnificent. The All England Club have managed to combine elegance with modernism, style with beauty, all in an organized way that respects the traditions that make Wimbledon Wimbledon, the tournament that all tennis players want to win, and all tennis lovers love to visit.

In the seventeen years of the long term plan the All England Club was a building site, but each year they had the small matter of a tennis tournament to organize. So each summer, they removed the cranes, sorted out the building site, cleaned everything up, brought in the flowers and staged the tournament like clockwork. And unless you were a forensic scientist, you would never have guessed that the club was in the middle of a major building programme. There were no accidents, no one fell into man holes, or tripped up on forgotten bricks left lying around.

 During all this time the club has successfully organized the tournament, paid for its new infrastructure and building programme, and still produced an excess of around £30 million each year which is given to the Lawn Tennis Association. So let’s analyse this in more detail. Here was a management team with a long term vision, were incredibly well organized and attentive to detail, organized projects of the highest quality, and every year produced an excess cash flow.  My analysis and conclusion of this impressive result, is that the management of the All England Club should be running the country!

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Last year at Wimbledon, we had magnificent weather for the whole tournament. We also had the longest tennis match in history which kept us enthralled for three days (or was it five?), and a thrilling final with a true champion in Rafael Nadal. Can this year beat all of that? Well, this year Wimbledon is ready, it is finished, and it hasn’t even started yet….!.

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