A capacity crowd is expected to watch the men’s and women’s singles finals at Wimbledon 2021.
The tennis tournament has been given special permission from the government to allow full crowds into the final matches of the Grand Slam.
It comes despite prime minister Boris Johnson delaying the last step of lockdown easing due to a recent surge in Covid cases in areas across the UK.
If all goes to plan, however, the Wimbledon finals will be the first outdoor sports event to be played in front of a full capacity crowd in the UK since the start of the Covid pandemic.
The final of the men’s and women’s tournaments could see up to 15,000 spectators inside Centre Court.
It is hoped Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep will defend their men’s and women’s titles respectively, while home favourite Andy Murray is always a fierce competitor.
Wimbledon’s foresight to take out pandemic insurance was rewarded with just over £180 million paid, which covered the overheads of the cancelled 2020 tournament.
Organisers will be hoping for no such requirement this time around...
When is Wimbledon 2021?
In 2021, Wimbledon will take place over two weeks at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club between 28 June and 11 July.
The Championships at Wimbledon is one of four Grand Slam tournaments in the tennis calendar, alongside the Australian Open, French Open and US Open.
It traditionally takes place after the French Open, also known as Roland Garros, and before the US Open - and is the only Grand Slam to be played on grass courts.
When do Wimbledon 2021 tickets go on sale?
The first batch of Wimbledon 2021 tickets went on general sale at 1pm on Thursday 17 June.
It will be the first time that Wimbledon tickets will be offered online instead of through the traditional ballot, meaning there won’t be long lines snaking round the courts this year.
Tennis fans hoping to get to SW19 this summer will have more than one chance to attend Wimbledon with tickets being released in batches.
Anyone wanting to buy tickets to Wimbledon must register through the My Wimbledon portal.
Further dates for ticket releases are yet to be confirmed.
How many spectators will be allowed into Wimbledon 2021?
Organisers welcomed the decision to allow more spectators inside Wimbledon under the government’s pilot scheme, with 50% ground capacity allowed from the start of the tournament and full crowds permitted for the men’s and women’s finals.
An All England Club statement read: “We welcome the announcements from the Prime Minister and Culture Secretary that a number of events, including The Championships 2021, will be able to take place with higher spectator capacities than the current Step 3 guidance as part of the next phase of the Government's Event Research Programme.
"We are pleased to have worked closely with the government, public health bodies, and our local authority in Merton, to confirm that, as part of this next phase of pilot events, The Championships 2021 will begin on Monday 28 June with 50 per cent capacity across the Grounds, building to full capacity crowds of 15,000 on Centre Court for the Finals weekend.
"This will enable us to fulfil our aspiration of staging the best Wimbledon possible within the current circumstances, with the health and safety of all those who make Wimbledon happen - our guests, competitors, Members, staff, media, officials, local residents, and partners - remaining our highest priority.”
The tournament had previously been working towards a minimum capacity of 25%.
Will more Wimbledon 2021 tickets become available?
Wimbledon organisers didn’t want to scale back plans at the last minute if there were complications in the initial government roadmap, which would have seen restrictions lifted on 21 June – a week before the tournament starts.
All England Club chief executive Sally Bolton said at the time: “The June 21 date is a not-before date so, as you can imagine, it would be reckless for us to plan a tournament based on the best possible outcomes.
“What we’ve been focused on doing is planning a tournament with a set of guidance that we understand today, but also planning for how we are able to be flexible and agile to adjust to changes in those conditions. It’s not easy.”
The All England Club will be working closely with the government to finalise details, including the “requirements for Covid-status certification for spectators”, and will issue an update on Wednesday 16 June to confirm these details.
When and why is Wimbledon changing its format?
From 2022, Wimbledon will break from tradition and scrap its day of rest on the middle Sunday of the Championships.
Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam to offer a day off from competition but this has brought about scheduling issues in the past, particularly due to bad weather in the first week.
Play has been held on middle Sunday four times in the last 30 years and the change means fourth-round matches, played on ‘Manic Monday’, will be held across two days instead.
All England Club chairman Ian Hewitt said it was now possible to hold the tournament over 14 days due to developments in the care of grass courts.
Hewitt said: “Thanks to improved grass-court maintenance technology over the past five years or so and other measures, we are now confident that we will be able to look after the courts, most particularly Centre Court, without a full day of rest during the fortnight.
“This provides us with an opportunity at an important time to make this move. We consider it’s in the best interests of tennis fans and the sport that Wimbledon should be able to be watched and attended throughout that middle weekend.”