For all of the pandemic-related planning discussed for this year’s return of Wimbledon – much still to be determined, including fan capacity and prize money – Tuesday’s most important news out of the All England Club takes effect in 2022: There will be a play on thetournament’s middle Sunday.
In addition to creating a 14-day event by eliminating the traditional break at the midpoint, the historic decision forever alters what has come to be known as “Manic Monday,” theof Week 2 that made Wimbledon the only major tennis championship with all 16 women’s and men’s fourth-round singles matches scheduled for the same day.
Instead, under a plan, organizers “intend to make a permanent part of the schedule,” thewill be split between Sunday and Monday next year, All England Club chairman Ian Hewitt said during a video conference.
Thein 1922. Middle Sunday had hosted competition only four times when rain disrupted the schedule and created a backlog of matches: in 1991, 1997, 2004, and 2016.
“We want more of this wonderful event to be available to more people,” chief executive Sally Bolton said.
The club will also appreciate the additional ticket and concession sales that become available, too.
Both categories will drop in 2021 because of restrictions still in place amid the, which wiped out Wimbledon completely a year ago. That was the first time II the grass-court tournament was not held, but the club held cancellation insurance that paid 180 million pounds ($250 million), Hewitt said.
This year’s Wimbledon singles main draw is scheduled for June 28 to July 11.
“For an organization that is used to knowing exactly what we do and exactly when we do it, we have had to learn to work with uncertainty this year,” Bolton said. “Much remains unknown at this point.”
once the British government decides on whether restrictions can be eased. That is anticipated around June 21.
Because ticket sales affect revenue, and there is “too much financial uncertainty as of now,” Bolton said she expects this year’sin June.
Ticket prices will remain at 2020 levels, she said.
But other elements are still in flux and dependent on government rules. That includes whether spectators will need to provide proof of havingor a negative test, whether they will need to wear masks to protect against the spread of the illness, and whether they still can gather on the grassy spot – known as Henman Hill or Murray Mount – used for picnics while watching matches on a large video screen.
Players must stay in hotels in what Bolton described as a “minimized risk environment,” with coronavirus testing and a “track-and-trace program.” They will be limited to three entourage members and will not rent private homes in Wimbledon Village, as some usually do.
Sitting at the desk in the club’s main interview room, Hewitt spoke of this year’s tournament as part of the process of the beginning “to embrace a return towards normality.”
And then he added: “It will, though, necessarily be different from Wimbledon as we know it.”
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