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And so it begins…

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A chance which can’t be missed

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Wimbledon will have ‘crowds’

The Sport Industry Group published a traditional April Fool joke by announcing that Wimbledon sponsor Robinsons had turned the All-England Club’s Centre Court purple on 1st April, changing the colour of the ‘iconic turf’ for the first time in its history to a medium dark shade of blue-magenta.

If we can continue as we’re doing, and proceed with the roadmap as planned and, as you’ve mentioned a couple of times, this is a cautious but hopefully irreversible roadmap, then absolutely we should be having crowds. I can’t say how many, I can’t say under exactly what circumstances. We want to get back to full capacity as soon as possible, because actually that’s really important for the finances of the sector as well. Nigel Huddleston, Minister of Sport

In support of Robinsons new Blackcurrant squash, the Official Partner said some 160 litres of non-toxic paint in Pantone 2105C covered each individual, 8mm blade of grass ahead of the tournament’s return this summer….

Joking aside, Nigel Huddleston, the Minister of Sport, told Nick Ferrari on LBC earlier this week that there were ‘No guarantees on the numbers yet’ but Wimbledon will have crowds, assuring the public that fans will be allowed to watch this year’s grass-court Grand Slam in person.

The Championships were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic last year, but the All England Club confirmed that this year’s tournament, scheduled from 28 June to 11 July, will go ahead, when stringent Covid-19 regulations will be in place.

The All England Club will decide on a capacity at Wimbledon nearer the time, but it will almost certainly be limited.

The LTA has also stated it was hopeful Wimbledon could be held in front of a reduced capacity, and Huddleston has now all but assured that spectators will be present.

“If we can continue as we’re doing, and proceed with the roadmap as planned and, as you’ve mentioned a couple of times, this is a cautious but hopefully irreversible roadmap, then absolutely we should be having crowds,” Huddleston said.

“I can’t say how many, I can’t say under exactly what circumstances. We want to get back to full capacity as soon as possible, because actually that’s really important for the finances of the sector as well.

“We can open, but unless we can open with large numbers, we can’t open properly and, therefore, the entire sector is in jeopardy. Unless we can get the finances and the money flowing again, so we’re very aware of the importance of opening as great a capacity as possible.

“But I’m afraid I can’t give any guarantees on the numbers yet, that’s why the pilot programmes and the overall next steps are so important.”

Meanwhile, the LTA announced earlier that it is planning on a reduced spectator capacity of about 25 per cent for this summer’s British grass-court events, including the Queen’s Club Championships and the Birmingham Classic, although an increase in crowd numbers midway through the Eastbourne International from 21-26 June may be possible.


Simona Halep, the 2019 Wimbledon champion will be defending her title in 2021, with or without spectators

© Matthias Hangst/Getty Images




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