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Case Studies

Wimbledon research and consultancy

Category: tennis

Description:

STRI has a long and successful relationship with The All England Club. Consultancy services have been provided at Wimbledon by STRI for the last 50 years. In the early 1990s STRI’s remit increased significantly. A rolling programme of research into grasses for tennis and products used to improve the performance of grass courts began at the STRI trials ground in Bingley. In addition to this, consultancy services at The All England Club also increased. In 1993 the first Championships survey was conducted. These measurements of surface characteristics provide information for the club and offer guidance for management of courts throughout The Championships. The recent Championships in 2017 saw the 25th Championship survey conducted. These data are a terrific resource and enable surface characteristics and playing quality to be compared over more than two decades of Championships.

 

 

The work:

Championship surveys: Daily measurements of surface characteristics are conducted to provide Wimbledon groundstaff with information relating to court performance and playing quality. These measurements enable groundstaff to tailor management and maintenance practices to get the best out of courts throughout each Championships. Measurements include:

  • Surface hardness readings, measured with a Clegg impact soil tester
  • Volumetric soil moisture content, measured with a PR2 soil moisture probe
  • Live grass cover readings, measured visually with a point quadrat
  • Relative live grass cover taken with a chlorophyll meter and with NDVI
  • Relative ball rebound, calculated by dropping a ball from 100 inches onto court surfaces and calculating relative rebound compared to the bounce on a concrete surface
  • General observations of courts, including counting any surface cracks at the back of and within courts
  • Measurements are taken on all Championship and practice courts, 40 grass courts in total
  • Botanical composition of all Championship courts and a selection of practice courts are measured

Consultancy visits are conducted on a regular basis, to provide guidance and advice on the management of grass courts throughout the year.

 

 

Research

The All England Club commissions a significant programme of research with STRI on an annual basis. This research is for the benefit of grass court tennis generally, as well providing valuable information for the future management of Championship Courts. The All England Club has an objective of promoting grass as a surface on which to play tennis. Much of the research they commission reflects this objective. Current and previous research projects include:

  • Grasses for tennis. These species/cultivar evaluation trials have been ongoing since 1993. The latest incarnation will be sown in 2018
  • Hybrid turf systems for tennis. This is a new trial designed to evaluate hybrid turf systems that are commonly used on football and rugby pitches and to ascertain if they can be used on grass tennis courts
  • Product trials. These trials are on a rolling programme with new products for turf tested every year
  • Warm season grasses. A new warm season grasses trial has been constructed at our trial site in Brisbane, Australia. This trial is designed to identify the most suitable warm season species for grass tennis courts in tropical and transitional areas
  • Rootzone trial. This trial is designed to ascertain if soils with a lower clay content can be used on grass courts and achieve the same surface characteristics

 

Novak Djokovic’s traditional celebration is to eat a few blades of grass from the immaculate Centre Court

 

The Lawn Tennis Association

As a direct result of work done on behalf of The All England Club, STRI was recommended to act as consultants for the Lawn Tennis Association, who are responsible for running tennis in the UK. STRI provides consultancy services for all tournament venues used by the LTA from County Week matches staged at regional venues such as Cromer, West Worthing and Felixstowe, to International pre-Wimbledon events at large venues such as Nottingham Tennis Centre, Edgbaston Priory and Queens Club.

In addition to this, we have also project managed many new grass tennis court constructions on behalf of the LTA at venues such as Nottingham, Eastbourne and Ilkley.

STRI also provides consultancy services to independent grass court venues such as St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club in London and Kaya Palazzo, home of the Antalya Open, in Turkey.

The Results

Producing world-class tennis courts for world-class players

Constantly improving surfaces for over 50 years

Delivering the best grass courts in the world