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LTA 'cautiously optimistic' fans can attend summer tournaments

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) is "cautiously optimistic" that fans will be able to attend summer events in 2021 after the announcement of its schedule.

LTA 'cautiously optimistic' fans can attend summer tournaments

In 2020, the grass-court season was cancelled due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic across the world, which meant that Wimbledon was not staged for the first time since World War Two.

However, this year Wimbledon is set to go ahead alongside its traditional warm-up events in Queen's, Birmingham, Eastbourne and Nottingham over six weeks in June and July.

The grass-court showpiece event is undergoing plans to welcome a reduced capacity to the tournament that is scheduled to played between June 28 and July 11.

The governing body has stated that all events will still go ahead behind-closed-doors if it is deemed impossible to allow fans back into the courts.

An LTA statement read: "Whilst it remains too early to say what level of attendance will be possible, the LTA is planning for a number of scenarios and remains cautiously optimistic that fans will be able to be present at all its summer events this year.

"The LTA is working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport, The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), WTA, ATP, ITF, Sports Ground Safety Authority, other NGBs, our host venues and numerous partners and suppliers in order to develop its planning for events that provide a safe environment for players, officials, volunteers, and spectators.

"The national governing body's intention is for the events to take place even if they are behind closed doors."

The LTA chief executive, Scott Lloyd, has said that the conditions of the tournament, such as players having to form bubbles, have doubled the cost of staging Wimbledon this year.

"It remains a very challenging time for the whole country, but we are cautiously looking forward to the summer and what we hope will be the return of the British grass court season," he said.

"We face an uncertain picture in the months ahead and our priority must be the health and safety of the public and all those involved in staging our events. "However our hope right now is that we will have some level of spectator attendance at all our events. We know how much fans want to come back, and the sport isn't the same without them, so we are planning for their return and hoping that circumstances will make that possible."

Author: Jake Wilkin