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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wimbledon tennis museum

LONDON - A ghostly John McEnroe and Maria Sharapova's pulsing heart are two of the more eye-catching sights at the new Wimbledon tennis museum which opened on Wednesday.

Maria Sharapova

The All England Club, readying itself for the grasscourt grand slam which starts on June 26, unveiled the revamped facility which contains startling technological innovations belying Wimbledon's stuffy image. Three times singles champion McEnroe famously ruffled the feathers of the Wimbledon establishment with his on-court tantrums in the late 1970s.

Now the 47-year-old American has a special place at the All England Club as a museum exhibit. McEnroe reminisces about his Wimbledon experiences in a recreated 1980s Gentlemen's Dressing Room as a life-size apparition using a projection technique called 'Pepper's Ghost'.

The McEnroe phantom competes for attention with a 200-degree 3-D cinema room that takes the viewer right inside the heart and mind of 2004 women's champion Sharapova.
Footage from the Russian's first round victory over Spaniard Nuria Llagostera Vives on Centre Court last year is interspersed with Hollywood-style production techniques that allow the viewer to witness the effect of the game on the player's heart, racket, the ball and even her shoes.

A pair of the pirate pants worn by Spanish world number two Rafael Nadal hang alongside the more conventional kits of Sharapova, three times men's champion Roger Federer and three times women's champion Venus Williams.

The shirt and shorts of new number one Andy Murray are also on display. Perhaps in a sign of changing times, fans of four-times Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman, now ranked a lowly 63, will find only a racket from his 2002 campaign.

Epoch Times International

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