June 30, 2019

Club Director at Wimbledon’s All England Lawn Tennis Club, Martin Guntrip, joins Alberto Lidji to talk about their Foundation and the inner workings of this prestigious Grand Slam tennis tournament

Club Director at Wimbledon's All England Lawn Tennis Club, Martin Guntrip, joins Alberto Lidji to talk about the Wimbledon Foundation and the inner workings of the world's most prestigious Grand Slam tennis tournament.

The Wimbledon Foundation was founded in 2013, and the All England Lawn Tennis Club has been involved in charitable work for many years prior.  One could say the Foundation was a way of formalising a philanthropic undercurrent that has been an important part of the Club’s ethos for many years.

Wimbledon wholeheartedly embraces gender equality and every aspect of the tournament is equal irrespective of gender. Interestingly, over 50% of those coming through the gates to watch the Championships in person are women.  About 40,000 visitors per day come in to watch the Championships during the two weeks.

Martin speaks candidly about the inner workings of the world’s most prestigious Grand Slam tennis tournament – we hear how tennis stars’ entourages are getting larger, how ice baths are now a default feature and how the strict dress code is a key differentiator that’s unlikely to change any time soon.

There’s a constant drive to improve the Club and the Championships.  We hear of the ‘Grand Slam Committee’, where representatives of all four Grand Slams engage with each other to exchange notes and improve how things are done. Indeed, Martin attends most Grand Slam tournaments every year.

Martin has been in the world of tennis for most of his life; having played in the Championships during the early 1980s.  His passion for the sport, and for the Wimbledon Foundation’s philanthropic work, comes through loud and clear.

The Wimbledon Foundation is active locally, nationally and internationally. They have established fruitful partnerships with the likes of WaterAid and Magic Bus. Most of the funding comes from the Club, the Championships and from members. 

Locally, through their ‘Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative’, they introduce approximately 14,000 children to the world of tennis annually – they work closely with primary schools in the boroughs of Wandsworth and Merton and make a point to support local causes – over 50% of their giving is local.

Sustainability has also become a key consideration. Last year, the Championships removed all plastic straws and this year their partner, Evian, is launching a 100% recycled water bottle.

Martin notes that the All England Lawn Tennis Club has 500 members and he jokes that the easy way to become a member of the All England Lawn Tennis Club is simply to win Wimbledon. 

Interestingly, many people don’t know that the All England Lawn Tennis Club is active throughout the year, as are most regular tennis clubs – not just during the two weeks of the Championships – and players like Andy Murray can be seen practising there throughout the year. Martin notes that sometimes it can be a bit embarrassing playing tennis when you have Andy Murray hitting balls in an adjacent court!

The 'Key Takeaway' he shares with listeners: find out what’s unique about you or your organisation and find a way to give whatever is special about you to others.  People are very appreciative when you do.

-- For full episode notes, guest bios and useful links, visit Lidji.org  Please subscribe to this podcast if you enjoy it. Thank you!

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