Reduced crowds and no autographs - full list of Covid rule changes at Wimbledon this year

Monday, 21st June 2021, 10:00 am
The 2021 Championships were cancelled due to Covid-19 (Photo: BOB MARTIN/AELTC/AFP via Getty Images)

Wimbledon is one of the biggest sporting events of the year, and the tennis tournament is back for its 2021 Championships after being cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In order to make the event Covid-19 secure and compliant with government regulations, a number of changes have been made to the tournament.

This is everything you need to know about what to expect from Wimbledon in 2021.

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What’s different?

A number of changes have been announced in regards to the 2021 tournament.

There will be a reduced number of those in the crowd - the Government has allowed Wimbledon to admit 21,000 spectators each day, which is half of its normal capacity. The Centre Court can seat full crowds of around 15,000 for the women’s and men’s finals.

There will be no queuing for tickets either - instead, this year, they are being sold online, rather than the postal ballot.

Ticket holders will have to show proof of their Covid status, so either proof of two vaccinations or a negative Covid test for those aged 11 or above.

Audience attendees will also be required to wear face coverings while moving around the grounds, but not whilst they’re seated on court.

All competitors taking part in the Championships will be bubbling together, either at the All England Club or in their designated hotels.

Players are also not permitted to sign courtside autographs or take selfies with spectators.

‘The return of the world’s best players to our grass courts’

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) Chairman Ian Hewitt commented: “It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that we are putting the finishing touches to our preparation for The Championships this year, and the return of the world’s best players to our grass courts, with ticket-holders in the stands.

“We very much look forward to staging an event that is a success for all, inspires players and fans alike, and creates a spotlight for tennis, and sport, in the UK and around the world.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden commented: “We are the first country in the world to be able to return a Grand Slam tournament to full capacity for the men’s and women’s final since the pandemic broke.

“We are able to do so because of the success of the vaccine rollout and building on what we have learnt so far from the Events Research Programme.

“We will be trialling COVID-status certification at The Championships in order to get as many people back as safely as possible across all the sporting and cultural events that make the Great British summer so special.”

How is Wimbledon allowed to go ahead?

While the 2020 Wimbledon Championships were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 tournament has been given the green light to go ahead, starting on Monday 28 June, as a pilot event in the third phase of the Government Events Research Programme.

The aim of the Government Events Research Programme is to examine the risk of transmission of Covid-19 from attendance at events, and explore ways to safely reopen a range of venues and events.

Previous pilot events include the likes of The Brit Awards in London, music and business events in Liverpool, the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield and Download Festival in Leicestershire.