The plan to stage Wimbledon in 2021 is the “number one priority” for the All England club and they would also have to consider opening the tournament without a crowd.
This year the 2020 tournament was cancelled for the first time since World War two because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, differing scenarios are planned for next year for the whole event to run smoothly.
The 39th edition of the tournament was deferred from 1915 to 1919 during World War One and the 60th edition of Wimbledon was postponed from 1940 to 1946 because of World War Two.
In 2021 the All England Club has set plans for three scenarios which include playing with full capacity, limited capacity or behind closed doors.
Wimbledon was scheduled to be held this year over two weeks from 29th June to July 12th but is now set to be held next year from 28th June to 11th July.
The chief executive, Sally Bolton, emphasized that they are actively engaging in scenario planning to deliver the promise that the Championship will be staged in 2021.
Last month no crowds were allowed at the US Open in New York and only up to 1000 fans were able to watch the French Open in Paris in October. Wimbledon would have watched both tournaments to see how they managed with the two different crowd management plans.
Both the French and US Open were praised as overall successes, with limited coronavirus cases as well as full support from the tennis players.
Wimbledon’s pandemic insurance policy, which was put in place many years ago, minimised it from losses of up to a quarter of a billion pounds after the tournament this year was cancelled. Although, the All England Club will not be able to secure the insurance policy for next year as it would not be available.
Meanwhile, the former Great Britain Davis Cup player Jamie Baker has been positioned the head of professional tennis and tournament director where he will be working with the player community, WTA, ATP and International Tennis Federation over the plans for Wimbledon.
“Our overriding priority will continue to be the health and safety of all of our stakeholders, in particular our guests, our staff and our competitors,” said the All England Club.
They continued to say that they have been working closely with the public health authorities and government, as well as the whole sports industry, to understand the challenges and opportunities that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Wimbledon Foundation has also tried to help out in the local communities during the pandemic by providing 200 daily hot meals to the people in need. Also, £750,000 has been donated to various national and local charities and 30,000 of their famous Wimbledon towels that were going to be used in the 2020 tournament have been donated to organisations such as homeless support and refugee projects.
In addition, during the worst stages of the pandemic, they focused their attention on contributing to the emergency response and helping those who were affected by the virus. This included distributing medical equipment and offering the use of their facilities to the NHS and London Resilience Partnership who are a group of agencies in London who are fighting against the battle against the coronavirus.
Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments and the only one played on grass. The others include the Australian Open, the US Open and the French Open. The Australian Open was won in early February by Novak Djokovic, the US Open won by Dominic Thiem in early September and the French open won by 20-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal in late September to early October.