Wimbledon is prepared for a worst-case scenario for 2021, with a ‘no-fans’ edition one of the scenarios being war-gamed by officials of the prestige Grand Slam.
While it’s mainly a case of hoping for the best while planning for the worst, it’s not all sombre at All England Club HQ on Church road.
But after cancelling the 2020 edition well ahead of time and cashing in on a multi-million dollar rainy-day insurance policy which included a timely pandemic clause, club bosses are looking at three possible options for next summer.
The first would be business as usual, a socially distanced edition as close to “normal” as possible given the COVID-19 era.
Also on the table, reduced capacity (i.e. the Roland Garros model) or the drastic closed doors doomsday option.
“Our overriding priority will continue to be the health and safety of all of our stakeholders, in particular our guests, our staff, and our competitors,” a statement from the club said.
“We are working closely with the relevant government and public health authorities, alongside the rest of the sports industry, to understand the varying challenges and opportunities presented by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”
Chief executive Sally Bolton added: “Staging The Championships in 2021 is our No.1 priority and we are actively engaged in scenario planning in order to deliver on that priority.
“At the same time, we are delighted to demonstrate confidence in Wimbledon with the renewal of several partnerships across our commercial programme which play a significant contribution to the successful staging of The Championships both in 2021 and in the future.”
Officials also gave a progress report on the club’s £1.2 million charity efforts in the local community in the face of the continuing virus crisis; so far £750,000 has been distributed across Merton and Wandsworth, London districts as well as further afield.