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EXPLAINED: As It Returns After A Year's Gap, Here's How Wimbledon Will Welcome Back Houseful Crowds

File photo of the Wimbledon Centre Court

File photo of the Wimbledon Centre Court

How the oldest grand slam is opening its doors to spectators after a lost year due to Covid-19

The French Open last month was played in front of limited crowds while spectators have been allowed back as per specific attendance plans by countries participating in the Euro 2020, the football tournament that could not be held last year due to Covid-19. Wimbledon, the oldest of the slams, too, had to be cancelled last year. But the tournament promises to be back with a bang this year and has promised full crowds in its later stages. Here’s how.

How Will There Be Full Crowds At Wimbledon This Year?

Well, not initially, if reports are to be believed. But as the tournament progresses, more spectators will be allowed till there is a full house for the men’s and women’s singles finals. Interesting arrangement, you may think. But that is because the UK government is taking Wimbledon as an official test event as it plots the country’s unlock strategy.

As the championship kicks off, there will be 50 per cent capacity across the courts “while the smaller show courts will be permitted to open at 75 per cent capacity", the organisers said. Attendance will be increased for certain courts, including the centre court, for the fourth round and quarter-finals. For the semi-finals and finals, the organisers said they “aim to have 100 per cent capacity on Centre Court".


What Are The Covid Restrictions For The Public?

With so much that Covid-19 has changed, adjustment is the watchword for the event this year. Thus, to be able to attend, ticket holders have to show proof of vaccination, or produce a negative test result or evidence that they have recovered from infection.

Vaccination has to be for both doses with “the second dose 14 days ago". The negative test result has to be within “48 hrs of attending the event" and can be displayed via SMS text, or email.

While at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which hosts the event, spectators have to be wearing masks throughout although they can take it off whilst seated among the audience during a match. Some form of social distancing rules may be applied but there will be no crowding for ticket as the organisers have put the entire process online for this year’s championship.

What Are The Rules For The Players?

The players, too, have to conform to specific precautions for the tournament and, to begin with, have been allowed to limit their entourage to a maximum of three people. Further, they can only stay in specifically approved bubble hotels instead of renting houses in the vicinity of the All England club, which was the preferred option for many in the years before.

According to reports, even the players who live in London will have to move to one of these bubble hotels for the duration of their participation at the event. The All England club said that “players, their support teams and officials will be part of a Minimised Risk Environment both onsite and at the official hotels, with an approved testing programme in place in order for them to qualify for exemption from general public quarantine requirements".

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first published:June 28, 2021, 13:59 IST