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Wimbledon returns this year on Monday after the oldest tennis tournament in the world was canceled last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tournament is a government-approved ‘pilot event’ with a minimum 50% capacity rising to a full 15,000 attendance for the men’s and women’s singles finals next month.
“We are thrilled to be able to stage The Championships in front of a minimum 50 per cent capacity crowd as part of the Government Events Research Programme and extend our thanks to all those we are working closely with to make this happen from Government, the public health bodies, Merton, and of course our own teams,” AELTC Chief Executive Sally Bolton OBE said in a news release.
Ticket holders must still show proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test or evidence of full recovery from the virus, and wear facemasks when moving around the grounds but not while seated, Reuters reports.
The men’s and women’s singles finals will be played with full crowds of 15,000 in attendance on Centre Court beginning July 10, making it the first outdoor sporting event in the United Kingdom to have full capacity since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year.
“We are the first country in the world to be able to return a Grand Slam tournament to full capacity for the Men’s and Women’s final since the pandemic broke,” Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said in a news release. “We are able to do so because of the success of the vaccine rollout and building on what we have learnt so far from the Events Research Programme.”
Novak Djokovic, who is coming off wins at the Australian Open in February and French Open in June, is seeking his sixth Wimbledon title. If he wins the tournament, he would tie Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most major championships in men’s tennis history, ESPN reports. The 39-year-old Federer, who withdrew from the French Open before the fourth round, is in search of his ninth Wimbledon championship.
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