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2021 Wimbledon Championships to go ahead, with or without fans

Despite the 2020 Wimbledon Championships being cancelled in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) have announced the 2021 championships will go ahead, regardless of whether spectators will be permitted.

Cancelled this year for the first time since the second world war, the grand slam event will take place next year with fans or behind-closed-doors, according to a report by The Times. The success of the US Open and many other sport events influenced the AELTC’s decision to stage next year’s event.

"We are actively engaged in planning for next year's Championships and are considering multiple scenarios at this point in time, given that The Championships is still many months away," said organisers.

The event, considered the most prestigious tournament in world tennis, was cancelled 12 weeks in advance when lockdown was in its peak. Throughout the fortnight, when the Championships should have taken place, the AELTC launched ‘Wimbledon Recreated’, a campaign to celebrate The Championships and to engage with fans. The BBC also hosted “The Greatest Championships” by showcasing the greatest matches to ever take place at SW19 as well as hosting a range of fan experiences via social medial to interact with tennis fans.

The insurance policy for Wimbledon has helped the AELTC through the pandemic as it has helped with the financial impact of cancelling The Championships. However, the policy will not help in the same way next year if the event is cancelled again. Placing financial strain on British tennis and influencing the decision to hold The Championships next year.

The games top players are in favour of the decision as two-time Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray has said, "I think the events that have gone on so far, the ones I've been involved in, have been pretty successful. I guess it would be up to - well, for me, the fans. If the fans are enjoying watching it and they are getting good TV ratings and things, then that would suggest people would still like to see tennis and watch the major events.”

He adds, "For a player, for sure it is not the same playing without fans, but I'd still way rather be playing the event than not. That's for sure.

"I would like to see Wimbledon go ahead regardless of whether there is fans or not. But, yeah, we'll see what they decide."

Although, the only disappointment comes to those who would like tickets if fans can attend next year’s Championships. There will be no public ballot for 2021 as tickets purchased for this year’s Championships will be transferred to next year. The AELTC have said on their website, “The provision of any additional tickets for The Championships 2021 will be considered within our scenario planning.”

The popular event in the tennis calendar is expecting to receive over £100 million following the cancellation of this year’s Championships as the club updated their insurance policy following the SARS outbreaks, placing a virus-related clause in their policy in 2003.

Author: James Parker