Wimbledon’s famed Queue will run into a dead end at the summer COVID-19 edition, with tournament bosses cancelling the iconic cultural event for 2021.
“We are continuing to work closely with the UK Government, public health authorities and the rest of sport with the ambition of welcoming spectators safely to sports events this summer,” a Thursday statement read.
“Given the likelihood of continued social distancing requirements and with consideration for the health and safety of all the public, there will not be a Queue or Ticket Resale in operation for this year’s Championships.
“Both (of the) much-loved and important Wimbledon traditions will remain, and we look forward to their return in 2022.”
The very British love of queueing has taken root over the decades on Church road (recently moved to a nearby golf course), with international punters content to camp overnight under marshalling supervision in order to have a chance at purchasing daily grounds passes set aside for them.
Tickets will now be sold online.
But with social distancing now the operative word in Britain the festival of fans will be missing at the upcoming edition due to start on June 28.
With Britain well ahead in the COVID vaccine stakes, the start of Wimbledon happens to be scheduled a week after England is due to come out of virus lockdown, with hopes of herd immunity rising.
Nevertheless, Wimbledon bosses are taking nothing for granted in an ever-changing situation.
They have already cancelled senior invitational doubles and will not be running the Last 8 club for past quarter-finalists over the decades,
Players will be forced to live in official hotels without the chance to rent their usual luxury homes within walking distance of the club.
A long daily commute from central London to the site can now be expected as part of the player bubble..
With officials hoping to institute just-in-time decision making, planning currently points at reduced crowds inside the grounds; on busy early days, numbers can exceed 40,000 in a normal year.
Movement of the public around the grounds is yet to be decided, with a zonal system as pioneered at the Australian Open a possibility.
“Although the promise of a return to a more normal existence is on the horizon, we are not there yet,” club chairman Ian Hewitt said..
“As such, we have taken some key decisions in order to provide us with some certainty in our planning, and yet also to retain flexibility where we need it the most.
“We remain committed to delivering on our aspiration of staging the best Championships possible.”