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Ten differences between The Championships and the Olympics

Centre Court dressed in the Olympic colours
by Mark Hodgkinson
Wednesday 25 July 2012

- Olympic 'treat huts' have popped up around the All England Club, replacing the usual concession stands. Some regulars are going to have experience watching tennis on the Wimbledon grass without sipping on a Pimm's between points, but they are unlikely to go hungry or thirsty during the Olympic tennis tournament.

- It is expected that some music will be played across the grounds - that doesn't happen during The Championships.

- Suddenly Centre Court and the rest of the grounds are no longer 'clean'; there is pinky-purple Olympic signage across the All England Club.

- On the first day of play, on Saturday, it is going to look very strange and not just because of the signage - the All England Club's predominantly-white clothing rule does not apply during the Games so players can wear any colour they want on the grass. In theory - in reality, most are restricted to their country's national colours - so Andy Murray's colour palette is Britain's red, white and blue, and he doesn't have the freedom to go all Agassi on us by competing in hot neon, fake ponytails and shredded denim shorts.

- The men's matches have been shortened. Whereas the men's singles matches at TheChampionships are played over the best of five sets, at the Olympics they will be the best of three sets, with the exception of the final when the champion will need to win three from five.

- The draws are also smaller. For example, the singles draws each have 64 competitors, half the size of the draws during the Wimbledon fortnight.

- The Club has never previously had a 'media mixed zone', but one was required for the Olympics. So competitors will have to pass though it after matches, where they will do short interviews with journalists.

- The members have different arrangements for taking tea during the Games. So the London organising committee and the International Tennis Federation are in charge of the All England Club during the Games, with the members giving them control. That means that, if the members want to take tea over the coming days, they will have it at the Aorangi practice courts rather than in the clubhouse.

- The tradition after The Championships is for a black-tie dinner in the city for the champions; no such arrangements are in place for the gold medallists.

- Not all The Championships courts are being used; just 12 of the 19. The other seven are being used for practice.

The Olympic tennis at Wimbledon commences on Saturday 28 July, with the draw taking place on Thursday 26 July. Visit the ITF Olympics site for more of the build-up and the London 2012 site for venue and schedule information.


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