Wimbledon to make early move to full capacity

Wimbledon’s Centre Court and No.1 Court will operate at full capacity from the quarter-final stage onwards, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) has announced.

The tournament, which got underway on June 28, is forming part of the UK Government’s Events Research Programme and had been due to welcome full crowds for its semi-finals and finals later this week.

However, following the successful staging of the first week of the tournament at limited capacity, the AELTC has confirmed that its two main courts will welcome full crowds from the quarter-finals, which begin tomorrow (Tuesday). The event began with crowds of at least 50% capacity and this has gradually increased as the tournament has progressed.

The quarter-finals will mark the first outdoor UK sporting event to be played at a full stadium since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March last year. The capacities of Centre Court and No.1 Court are 14,979 and 12,345, respectively.

The AELTC said that capacity across the rest of the grounds will be reduced according to the number of courts in play. Ticket holders will still be required to show proof of their COVID-19 status on arrival, with face coverings needing to be worn when on the move.

The first UK sporting event to go ahead at full capacity in the pandemic era was the final of the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre in May.

Outdoor events that do not form part of the ERP are limited to 25% capacity until at least July 19 under UK rules after the full reopening was delayed in June.

UEFA Euro 2020 matches at Wembley are also forming part of the ERP, with the stadium to welcome more than 60,000 fans for the semi-finals and final this week. The British Grand Prix at Silverstone later this month will also operate at full capacity, with around 140,000 fans set to attend.

Meanwhile, it has also been announced that California’s BNP Paribas Open, one of the standout events on the ATP and WTA tours, will return from October 4-17 following a two-and-a-half-year hiatus.

The event will welcome fans, with proof of vaccination to be required upon entry. It was announced in May that the event, commonly referred to as the unofficial fifth grand slam on the tennis calendar, would return to the schedules in October.