Sally Bolton OBE, Chief Executive of the All England Club, kindly granted an exclusive interview to Tennis World USA, in which she talked about the latest edition of Wimbledon.
In the interview we covered many topics, including the two first time winners of the tournament, Roger Federer’s come back on the Centre Court, the future of the tournament facilities and the importance of Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales as Patron of the All England Club
The last Wimbledon edition wrote another great page of tennis history.
In your opinion, what was the best moment of the tournament, from a technical and emotional point of view?
“I think we all enjoyed a really special Championships this year.
We had a record attendance across the fortnight and, despite some rainy days, we had fantastic matches taking place on every day of the event. I was particularly pleased with our new fan experience area in the Southern Village of the grounds which included a new viewing experience for the first time, this was a particular favourite of many guests who visited.”
Marketa Vondrousova is the first unseeded tennis player in the Open Era to win Wimbledon.
How important was the mental factor in the 2023 women’s final?
“Marketa played a fantastic match.
Her intensity on the court throughout that final meant that Ons could never really get going. She was so strong and consistent that she certainly made that final her own.”
The men’s tournament has said that Carlos Alcaraz is ready to take on the legacy of the Big 3.
Not only that: Jannik Sinner has reached the semifinals, Holger Rune the quarterfinals.
Can this moment be considered the divide between the Big 3 Era and the Nex Gen Era?
“There certainly is a rich crop of young talent in both on the men’s and women’s sides.
New rivalries are being established and the years ahead promise to be truly captivating as these new rivalries and match ups continue to develop and new champions emerge. I think Carlos showed through his performance at Queen’s that he was very much a title contender here at Wimbledon.
That said, I don’t think any of us quite expected the quality of tennis and the drama we witnessed in that final. Carlos is certainly a deserving Wimbledon Champion and I’m sure there are many more Grand Slam titles to come for him.”
Roger Federer’s come back at Wimbledon was one of the most touching moments of the tournament.
Will the Swiss legend return as a guest – or in another role – for the 2024 edition or in the next years?
“We were delighted to welcome Roger back to Centre Court to celebrate him as the player with the most Gentlemen’s Singles titles here at Wimbledon.
Roger is a Member of the All England Club and is always welcome, I’m sure we’ll see him back at The Championships, in the future.”
Do you expect to see Rafael Nadal again on the lawns for the 2024 Wimbledon edition?
“Most importantly I really hope we see Rafa back fit and healthy on a tennis court.
We very much hope that if that is the case, he’ll be here at The Championships next year.”
In your opinion, what were the three most exciting matches of this edition?
“I really enjoyed Alfie Hewitt and Gordon Reid’s final on No1 Court, where they emerged victorious in the Gentlemen’s Wheelchair Doubles competition.
The crowd on that court made for such a special atmosphere and I know the players reveled in that cauldron of noise. I also thought the Elena Svitolina’s run to the semi-finals of the Ladies Singles event was particularly exciting with some fantastic matches along the way.
It’s brilliant to see her back on the court and competing at the highest level after having welcomed her first child into the world only a matter of months ago.”
Can you give us some anticipation on future projects concerning the facilities and courts of the All England Club?
“We’re fully focused on the planning application currently before the local authorities to secure the future of The Championships by bringing the Qualifying event here to SW19, from its current site at Roehampton.
We hope that this will give players an even better experience of our qualifying event and will allow many more spectators the opportunity to watch qualifying matches. As part of these plans we are also proposing to build a third covered show court which will be a major step forward for The Championships and will bring us in line with the other Grand Slams.
Alongside this we want to transform the community amenities in the local area by delivering a brand new public park – the first of its kind since the London Olympics.”
How important is it for the All England Club to have, as a Patron, Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales Kate Middleton, who is a great tennis enthusiast and expert?
“We’re always delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness to the Club.
She is a fantastic Patron and we were so pleased that she was able to join us 3 times during this year’s Championships.”