The singles trophies on display in the Wimbledon museum.
Might the solution be starting play earlier on Centre and No1 Court say midday rather than 1pm so there can always be two mens and womens matches on each day? Lewis looks doubtful. It is talked about and reviewed, he says. But while its one of those things that looks very simple, it isnt easy. We believe in full stands, its one of our USPs [unique selling points], and its part of Wimbledons atmosphere. And were very proud of that. Were not convinced that starting earlier would work well for Centre and No1 Court. And that applies to the public not just hospitality. Weve seen times where weve had to start play earlier and its an issue.
Really? He nods. We can analyse the seats, we know exactly who sits in each seat, and we can look at who has got there in time for the start of play and who hasnt.
Lewis is slightly more guarded when asked why the Lawn Tennis Association, which Wimbledon helps fund, has not been able to bring through more successful British players. Rex Bellamy, the eminent former lawn tennis correspondent of the Times once observed: We know how to make money out of tennis players. If only we could make tennis players out of money and little appears to have changed given Murray and Jo Konta emerged from outside the system.
Does he really think that Wimbledon is getting a good return on its investment? Well, we have our role to play, which is to stage the Championships, he says. And being a governing body of the sport is not an easy role. But we are very comfortable with what we do, and the way the LTA invest our money.
Lewis is understandably a little vague on how security will alter given the recent spate of terror attacks in Britain but confirms that Wimbledon will be beefed up compared to previous years. There probably will be one or two visible changes around the park and the queue, he admits. I cant go into detail but we always enhance our security every year based on the latest information and tactics. Its something that has been high on our agenda for many years. Its the world in which we live in at the moment, unfortunately. Its not new but its getting more and more prevalent.
Lewis is keen to stress Wimbledon is not just a two-week tournament, and is proud of the fact it has a 60-year history of raising money for charities through recycling tickets and reselling tennis balls. As he points out, since 2013 they have stepped up their efforts further with the launch of the Wimbledon Foundation, which has awarded 700,000 grants and donations to 96 organisations, many of them in the local London boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth.
Among the projects that have been funded are one-to-one counselling support for vulnerable women who have suffered domestic violence, and another that focuses on helping children aged 10-11 who are coping with trauma and difficult family circumstances. And as Helen Parker, Wimbledons Foundation and Community manager, explains, they have ambitious expansion plans. We try to help organisations that make a real difference to the lives of local people. But we also look internationally. For instance, we work with Magic Bus, a leading childrens charity that mentors children and parents from underprivileged backgrounds in India.
But ultimately Lewis knows Wimbledon is judged on the excitement and drama it provides over the two weeks.
After five years in charge at the All England Club, Lewis sees the game and Wimbledon in the rudest of health particularly with the No1 Courts roof on its way. Yet does he worry about bumpier times ahead when the top four of the mens game, as well as the Williams sisters, retire? Im sure therell be one or two years where the buildup will be: Oh, weve no longer got Serena and Venus, or Roger and Rafa, he says. But the reality is Ive seen this happen before. Everyone says: Oh, its the end of this era, it will never be the same again. But then fresh stars are born, and a different dynamic emerges.
We protect against any downsides by trying to make it a great event, one people always look forward to. And, most of all, by making sure the tennis is centre stage. Its all about the tennis and the great players we have.
Yes we are in a fantastic era theres no question about that, but I just think that tennis will go from strength to strength. And I sincerely believe and hope the same applies to Wimbledon.