Friday, 10 May 2024 14:58 PM BST
The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum receives Sporting Heritage Award

The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, the museum of The All England Lawn Tennis Club and The Championships, was announced as the recipient of the ‘Celebrating Disability and Neurodivergent Sporting Heritage Award’, last evening. 

The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum was presented with the Sporting Heritage Award in recognition of its permanent wheelchair tennis display. Completed in 2020, the exhibit capitalised on a pivotal moment in disability sports – aligning initially with Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games – to amplify the visibility and recognition of wheelchair tennis on a global scale.

The display traces the history of wheelchair tennis from its origins to its current success and features objects from well-known Grand Slam champions such as Jordanne Whiley MBE and Gordon Reid OBE. Additionally, it incorporates a large screen featuring footage of wheelchair tennis from The Championships and an interactive touchscreen, allowing visitors to explore the technology of sports wheelchairs and the science behind athlete preparations; readily updated with stories of emerging wheelchair tennis players and developments in the game.

Collaboration with photographic artist Clare Newton provided depth to the display, producing visually immersive works conveying the powerful stories and triumphs of wheelchair tennis players. The Museum also worked with international disability inclusion charity, Motivation, to highlight the development of affordable sports wheelchairs.

The All England Club’s commitment to celebrating wheelchair tennis has educated Museum visitors about the sport’s evolution and global impact, and has played a crucial role in promoting diversity, inclusion, and appreciation for disability sports within the broader sporting landscape.

Emma Traherne, Senior Curator at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, said: “Wheelchair tennis is one of the fastest-growing disability sports with more than 150 international championship events worldwide and we are thrilled to have won the ‘Celebrating Disability and Neurodivergent Sporting Heritage Award’ for our permanent display showcasing its history and significance. Through film, artistic photography and authentic objects, the exhibit goes beyond traditional narratives of sporting history to shine a spotlight on the remarkable achievements and resilience of the disabled sporting community and its athletes. We are proud to celebrate their athletic prowess and showcase their strength overcoming significant challenges, inspiring our visitors to the Museum.”

Dr Justine Reilly, Managing Director of Sporting Heritage CIC, said: “The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum's commitment to recognising the contributions and triumphs of individuals from all walks of life sets a powerful example for the entire sporting community. The permanent exhibition is a fantastic demonstration of their dedication to preserving and honouring the sporting heritage of wheelchair tennis for everyone to enjoy.”

Reflecting the continued growth of wheelchair tennis and its increasing popularity at Wimbledon, in March this year the All England Club announced the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Wheelchair singles and doubles draws will be doubled for The Championships 2024. The singles competitions will increase from an 8 to 16 player draw, and the doubles competitions will increase from 4 to 8 teams. The increase in draw size means the Wheelchair Tennis competition will begin one day earlier, on Tuesday 9 July.

About The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum

The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum first opened its doors in 1977.

The collections of the Museum consist of nearly 1,075,000 items. More than a million of these are photographs with over half of these digital photographs.

The rest of the collection numbers nearly 60,000 items covering art, rackets, clothing, books, magazines, trophies, and all manner of items linked to tennis.

Between 100-200 new objects are collected during The Championships each year from players, staff and fans to tell the stories created at that year’s event.

The Museum is open all year round and welcomes over 100,000 people annually. During The Championships, the Museum is free to all ticket holders. From April to September, visiting times are from 10.00am-5.30pm and from October to March, visiting times are from 10.00am-5.00pm.

Please visit our website for more information and to book tickets, and follow our social media at @WimbledonMuseum.