Contractors have been looking at laying off staff as Wimbledon attendances took a dive on week one – down 11 per cent this year competed to 2019.

Not counting 2020 and last year because of Covid, Monday’s crowd of 36,603 was the lowest for an opening day since 2007.

Tuesday and Wednesday crowds have not been this low since 2016 and Thursday’s attendance was the lowest since 2004.

Why? The cost of tickets, the current cost of living crisis with inflation at 10 per cent, Covid concerns, the absence this year of some of the big names like Roger Federer, or the banning of Russian players, which has been quite divisive.

Some, or all, of the above have clearly played a part.

One contractor boss said in an email revolved by the London media: “As you may have noticed, visitor numbers are lower than expected, for this reason the AELTC have asked that we look at reducing our day staff numbers. It may become necessary to cut staff.”

And by Friday the cuts had begun. “They’re firing people left, right and centre,” one staff member told the Telegraph.

“They’re basically overstaffed and they said there’s not enough fans here – not what they expected – so they’re having to fire people. Someone went to the loo without asking so they fired him. It started happening on Wednesday.”

There have been reports of issues with the ticket resale system, but officials said the main courts were fully booked each day. General ground passes were not selling out though.

The All England Club has denied that it had asked its contractors to cut their staff.

But the fact remains, Wimbledon numbers ain’t what they used to be.


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