By MATTIAS KAREN, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — Wimbledon will start a week later in 2015 to give players more time to recover after the French Open.
The All England Club announced the change on Thursday, saying in a statement that it will "benefit the sport as a whole by creating a three-week gap between the French Open and Wimbledon."
In 2015, the tournament will run from June 29 to July 12. The schedule change will give players one extra week to adjust from a slower clay surface to a faster grass court.
"The best interests of tennis will be served by allowing the players more time to recuperate and to adjust from the clay of Roland Garros to the grass at Wimbledon," All England Club chairman Philip Brook said. "All our research indicates that there is widespread support within the game for extending the gap between the French Open and Wimbledon and, importantly, we think most players will welcome the prospect of a longer grass-court season and spending more time on the softer surface of grass."
At this year's Wimbledon, which started on June 25, several players expressed support for an additional week between majors.
"It would give, especially the top players, a little bit more time to get used to the surface," Novak Djokovic said during the tournament. "Logically speaking, it is the slowest surface that we're talking about — clay — moving to the fastest one, which takes time. Over the years, we all had to adjust."
Lleyton Hewitt, the 2002 Wimbledon winner, said "the grass-court season has always been too short."
The change to the Wimbledon schedule will mean other tournaments may have to change their dates.
"We recognize that there will be some important consequences for the overall tennis calendar and enough time needs to be given to allow us all to plan accordingly," Brook said. "In anticipation of the work required, I would like to thank our colleagues throughout the game for their enthusiasm and support for the vision of a tennis calendar that will better suit the needs of the modern day sport."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.