AELTC plans to have 2021 Wimbledon with or without fans

Professional tennis lost its most anticipated annual event when the 2020 Wimbledon Championships were canceled because of concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. 

That won’t happen again next year if the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC) has any say on the matter. 

The AELTC provided an update on plans for next year and explained that fans should expect some kind of comeback for the event scheduled to occur from June 28-July 11.

“These scenarios fall into three broad categories: a full capacity Championships, a reduced capacity Championships, and a ‘behind closed doors’ Championships, all of which are dependent on the status of government and public health guidelines,” the AELTC said on Friday. “Our overriding priority will continue to be the health and safety of all of our stakeholders, in particular our guests, our staff, and our competitors. We are working closely with the relevant government and public health authorities, alongside the rest of the sports industry, to understand the varying challenges and opportunities presented by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”

AELTC chief executive Sally Bolton added: 

“Staging The Championships in 2021 is our number one priority and we are actively engaged in scenario planning in order to deliver on that priority. We recognize how important the player communities are to the delivery of a COVID-secure Championships, and I am delighted to have Jamie Baker’s support in his expanded role as Head of Professional Tennis and Tournament Director.

“I would also like to thank the government and public health authorities for their ongoing advice which will continue to be invaluable as The Championships 2021 draws closer. At the same time, we are delighted to demonstrate confidence in Wimbledon with the renewal of several partnerships across our commercial program which play a significant contribution to the successful staging of The Championships both in 2021 and in the future.”

The US Open did not welcome fans to Flushing Meadows for this year’s edition of the tournament. Roland-Garros reduced its capacity to 1,000 spectators per day for the French Open that was postponed to the fall because of the pandemic. 

Per Tennis.com, the 2021 Australian Open intends to reduce crowds by 25%-50% of standard capacity. 

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