Wimbledon planning for possible ‘closed doors’ 2021 edition

hannahwilks in Wimbledon 04 May 2021
A vacant No. 1 Court at the All England Club (AELTC/Bob Martin via USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA)

Wimbledon 2021 could be played with reduced spectator capacity or even behind closed doors, according to the All England Club.

The All England Club announced on Friday that it is ‘actively engaged in planning’ for Wimbledon 2021 and are considering a range of scenarios for the tournament.

These scenarios can be grouped into three broad categories: Wimbledon being played with full spectator capacity; the tournament taking place with reduced spectator capacity; and a ‘behind closed doors’ edition of The Championships.

In 2020, Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since the Second World War, leaving a significant hole in the heart of the tennis season and the British sporting calendar.

The tournament was foresighted enough to have pandemic insurance, but has not been able to secure it for 2021 for obvious reasons.

As it transpired, Wimbledon was the only Grand Slam which did not take place in 2020. The US Open was played behind closed doors and with players enclosed in a bio-security bubble, while the French Open was able to reschedule itself to October for an unusual autumnal edition, although it was only able to allow 1,000 spectators per day due to the current situation in France.

Cancelling Wimbledon 2021 is clearly not being considered as an option.

A statement from the AELTC read:

‘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.’

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley admitted this week that it was ‘crunch time’ for the 2021 ‘Happy Slam’, as he attempts to negotiate relaxed quarantine rules for competitors in the January event.