The Millennium Stadium has offered a vote of confidence to Wimbledon bosses planning to install a roof on centre court. Currently the only venue in the UK with a retractable roof, the Millennium Stadium is able to put on major events in all weathers in contrast to the All England Club's flagship tournament which can be hindered by the British weather.
General manager Paul Sergeant is 'more than happy' to pass on his experience to the Club as the roof at Cardiff's national ground is one of the key assets that has made the Millennium Stadium a national icon. 'We would be delighted to share with the All England Tennis Club some of the practical difficulties of operating a retractable roof at a major event venue,' said Mr Sergeant.
'They might want to go down the route of the Melbourne Stadium, where they have the ability to grow a pitch outside and move it in when it is needed.
'But a roof is a major advantage and would give the centre court the chance to be used for a variety of events 12 months a year, like the Millennium Stadium.
'Although there are some health and safety regulations to consider if they want to close the roof with a crowd inside.'
But the Millennium Stadium boss, who also worked at Wembley Stadium before moving to Cardiff, says the key consideration will be grass growth and any problems in that area will be unique to the Wimbledon environment. 'We have a different set of problems to Wimbledon with our roof as they only have one major event a year, which lasts for three weeks.
'That also corresponds with the best growing period for grass of the year, whereas we have to cope with all sorts of weather conditions at different times.
'But one key thing we have learned is that our grass is unique to us. We examined grass growth in Stadia in different countries like Germany and Holland and discovered that the only way to grow grass is to know your own climate intimately.'
And if the Wimbledon roof doesn't work for any reason, Sergeant has invited the All England Club to join a growing trend in British sport and move to the Millennium Stadium alongside the FA Cup final, Football League Finals, Rugby League Challenge Cup final, British Supercross Championship and many more. 'We are sure we could fit two or three courts inside the Millennium Stadium, and give all the spectators a wonderful view of the action. Even if it isn't Wimbledon, tennis at the Millennium Stadium would be a spectacular event,' he added.