Wimbledon makes unprecedented change after $322 million bombshell

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, pictured here before the 2019 Wimbledon final.
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic look on before the 2019 Wimbledon final. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Wimbledon officials have announced an unprecedented change to the way the grand slam will be run, while also revealing a $322 million windfall as a result of the 2020 edition being cancelled.

Wimbledon will break with tradition from 2022 and scrap the traditional day of rest on the middle Sunday of the tournament.

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The grass-court event is currently the only tennis grand slam that has a day off during the fortnight.

However this can create scheduling challenges, particularly when there is bad weather in the first week.

All England Club chairman Ian Hewitt says technological developments in the care of grass tennis courts mean 14 days of play is now possible.

"This provides us with an opportunity at an important time to make this move," Hewitt said.

"We consider it's in the best interests of tennis fans and the sport that Wimbledon should be able to be watched and attended throughout that middle weekend."

The unprecedented change means fourth-round matches, which have all been played on a packed day known as Manic Monday, will from 2022 be held across two days, including the Sunday.

Play has been held on middle Sunday only four times in the last 30 years - most recently in 2016 - when delays during the first week have deemed it necessary.

Wimbledon's $322 million windfall in 2020

The tournament will return this year after it was cancelled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hewitt revealed that Wimbledon's foresight in taking out pandemic insurance paid off to the tune of just over 180 million pounds ($A322 million).

Wimbledon is working closely with the UK government on the arrangements for this year's tournament, beginning on June 28, and a lot will depend on guidance at the time.

A minimum capacity of 25 per cent is currently being planned for with the hope that this can increase, with tickets expected to go on sale in June.

Simona Halep and Serena Williams, pictured here after the 2019 Wimbledon final.
Simona Halep and Serena Williams pose with their trophies after the 2019 Wimbledon final. (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

The All England Club has not ruled out Henman Hill being accessible to spectators in some form.

Players will have to stay in designated hotels and will have their freedoms severely limited.

The restrictions were a government requirement to allow such a large number of people into the country without quarantining.

"I think players really understand what the tournament's trying to achieve here keeping the sport moving, and I think buy into the need to be part of these environments in order for them to continue to go about their jobs," Wimbledon chief executive Sally Bolton said.

with AAP

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