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2003 January 10 - Wimbledon dates to move forward

The less than generous 2 week gap between the French Open and Wimbledon is set to increase by 1 week following discussions by The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club.

By moving the start date the AELTC will be breaking over 100 years of Wimbledon tradition. But the good news is that it will give players more time to become re-accustomed to grass courts following the clay court season, and also give clay court injured players more time to heal.

Wimbledon Chief Executive Chris Gorringe said:

"We believe there is a good case for extending the current gap of two weeks between the French Open and The Championships by a third week.

"It would help players in their preparation for Wimbledon, both in making the transition from clay to grass as well as giving them the chance to recover from the rigours of a demanding clay court season or injury.

"As far as the wider tennis calendar is concerned, it could be good for the game for there to be a fresh look, but any changes will obviously have to be supported by the players."

The Stella Artois pre-Wimbledon grass court tournament, favoured by the like of Pete Sampras, may also be shifted forward as a result. Although the main problem here would be a potentially costly overlap with an even bigger sporting event, Royal Ascot.

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