Few fans in Wimbledon as virus ‘strain’ on UK


Wimbledon 2021 with planned with reduced capacity Image: AELTC

With the United Kingdom bearing the maximum brunt of the new COVID-19 strain, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) has said there will be a “reduced capacity” 2021 Wimbledon Championships, as fellow tennis Grand Slam the Australian Open got underway on February 8th with pandemic protocols in place trimming the crowd to less than half its usual size and the ambience missing the first-Grand-Slam-of-the-season spark and rather being very torpid.

Robert Deatker, Estate Director, AELTC, UK, is a Member of Coliseum – Global Sports Venue Alliance.

Up to 30,000 fans per day are being allowed to attend this year’s edition of the Australian Open. The figure is around half of the usual attendance, with the cap having been imposed due to ongoing restrictions in place relating to coronavirus. This information was given by Martin Pakula, Sports Minister for the State of Victoria.

The 30,000 cap will be reduced to 25,000 for the final five days of the spectacle, when fewer matches will take place.

The 2021 Australian Open is a Grand Slam tennis tournament that is currently taking place at Melbourne Park from February 8th and will end on February 21st, 2021. It is the 109th edition of the Australian Open, the 53rd in the Open Era, and the first Grand Slam of the year.

Last year’s version of Wimbledon was canceled for the first time since World War II after COVID-19 outbreak had catastrophic effects the world over and threw down the gauntlet to the Wimbledon organizers who admitted that the challenges presented by the pandemic were insurmountable. The 134th edition of Wimbledon will instead be staged from June 28th to July 11th, 2021, with organizers now providing their latest thinking for the tennis showpiece.

The AELTC previously announced that Wimbledon 2021 would go ahead with, or without, fans and it has now stated it is weighing the pros and cons of three options – full capacity, reduced capacity or no in-person attendance.

Associated Press news agency said the AELTC has sent out a statement stating that, “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 statement further read, “While the rollout of the vaccination program in the UK is a very heartening development, it naturally remains too soon to know how this will impact public attendance at major events in the UK.”

In June 2020, the AELTC’s stance was that it was still in a “very good position” despite the cancellation of the 2020 Championships, but conceded that the insurance policy it has in place will not be repeatable moving forward.

With five months to go until this year’s event, the AELTC further stated, “We are continuing to develop our detailed scenario planning and are working with public health authorities to stay informed about developments. Our approach will be to remain as agile as possible and leave enough flexibility in our planning to adapt as required to the prevailing conditions in the summer.”

The 2021 Wimbledon Championships is a planned Grand Slam tennis tournament that is scheduled to take place at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London, United Kingdom.

UK has recorded more than 108,000 coronavirus-related deaths – the highest in Europe.

Associated Press news agency added that the AELTC has said it plans to provide “regular updates as our plans develop”.

The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, also known as the All England Club, based at Church Road, Wimbledon, London, England, is a private members club. It is best known as the venue for the Wimbledon Championships, the only Grand Slam tennis event still held on grass.

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