Wimbledon to take place next year even without fans: Times

FILE PHOTO: Wimbledon General Views

LONDON (Reuters) – Next year’s Wimbledon Championships will take place as scheduled even if spectators cannot attend the grasscourt Grand Slam tournament amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Times reported.

Wimbledon was cancelled this year for the first time since World War Two due to the coronavirus, which has killed more than 42,000 people in the United Kingdom.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), organisers of the tournament, was reluctant to stage Wimbledon without fans this year but the success of the U.S. Open and other sporting events have changed their opinion, the paper said.

“We are actively engaged in planning for next year’s Championships and are considering multiple scenarios at this point in time, given that The Championships is still many months away,” organisers said in a statement.

However, they added it was too early to elaborate on the scenario planning.

Wimbledon had an insurance policy in place for the pandemic this year but will not have similar cover next year which means another cancellation would have a major financial impact on British tennis.

British player Andy Murray, twice Wimbledon champion, has called for the tournament to be held next year with or without fans, and the former world number one’s view is believed to carry weight with organisers, the report said.

Next year’s Wimbledon is scheduled to begin on June 28.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram and Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)