Wimbledon plans return in 2021, with or without spectators

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Wimbledon was the only Grand Slam tournament cancelled this year for the first time since World War II because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the All England Club announced plans for its return next year.

The tennis season has been badly disrupted by Covid-19 but the US Open went ahead behind closed doors and the French Open took place in front of only 1,000 fans a day after its starting date was moved from May to late September after the Australian Open was held in normal circumstances at the beginning of the year.

Next year’s Wimbledon Championships could be held without spectators amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisers of the grasscourt Grand Slam said on Friday, October 16, 2020.

The All England Club is planning for several scenarios in 2021 — a full-capacity Wimbledon, reduced numbers of fans or holding the tournament with no spectators’ present. All of the options are dependent on the status of the government and public health guidelines, the club said.

The organisers would have learnt from the other Grand Slams and would also keep a close watch on the Australian Open, which is expected to be held in Melbourne in January.

Next year’s Australian Open tournament at Melbourne Park is scheduled to run from January 18-31.

Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley has said he wants international tennis players arriving for the tournament to be exempt from the 14-day hotel quarantines that are mandatory for inbound travellers.

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