Smaller crowds for Wimbledon in 2021
LONDON – Wimbledon organisers have started planning to host the Grand Slam tennis event with a reduced-capacity crowd, though other options are being discussed, The All England Club said Thursday.
Other options for the tournament, which was canceled last year for the first time since 1945 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are holding it without any spectators or conducting the event with a maximum number of fans in attendance.
Wimbledon is scheduled to be held from June 28 to July 11.
“The majority of our planning focus is currently centered on the option of a reduced capacity Championships and how that would affect each stakeholder group, but we are not yet in a position to rule out any of the other scenarios,” the club said in a statement. “Our aspiration is to stage the best Championships possible – a trusted, best practice, safe event – with the health and safety of all guests, staff and competitors remaining our highest priority.”
Great Britain has recorded more than 108 000 coronavirus-related deaths, the highest in Europe.
“With five months remaining until the Championships, we are continuing to develop our detailed scenario planning and work closely with the relevant government and public health authorities to keep abreast of the latest developments in the fight against coronavirus,” the club stated.
“While the rollout of the vaccination program in the (United Kingdom) is a very heartening development, it naturally remains too soon to know how this will impact public attendance at major events in the UK.”
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic won his second straight men’s title at the tournament in 2019, while Romania’s Simona Halep won the women’s title.
As for the other three Grand Slam tournaments, Australian Open organisers said the year’s first major will start as planned next Monday, with up 30 000 spectators expected daily at Melbourne Park for the two-week event.
The U.S. Open and French Open were held last year but with strict mandates in place to reduce the potential spread of the virus. No fans were allowed at Flushing Meadows in New York for the U.S. Open, and Roland Garros limited attendance to 1 000 fans daily for the French Open. (Reuters)