Wednesday, 16 June 2021 16:22

Staff Reporter.

Former Wimbledon champions Andy Murray and Venus Williams have been given wildcards to play at this year's Championships at the All England Club.

Britain's Murray, 34, won the 2013 and 2016 men's singles titles, while 40-year-old Williams has won the women's singles on five occasions.

Katie Boulter is one of five British women joining Williams in the draw.

Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz, plus home trio Liam Broady, Jay Clarke and Jack Draper, received men's wildcards.

Alcaraz, 18, is the youngest player ranked inside the men's world top 200 and earlier this month became the youngest man to reach the third round of the French Open in 29 years.

British players Jodie Burrage, Harriet Dart, Francesca Jones and Samantha Murray Sharan have also been given wildcards for the women's singles.

On Tuesday, former men's world number one Murray made an emotional and winning return in his first singles match on grass for three years as he reached the second round at Queen's.

Japan's world number two Naomi Osaka is still on the Wimbledon entry list after pulling out of the recent French Open and revealing she had suffered from depression.

The 23-year-old said she would "take some time away" from the sport and pulled out of this week's event in Berlin.

"At this point in time she's entered into the Championships and we haven't received confirmation that she won't compete," said Wimbledon chief executive Sally Bolton.

Both Wimbledon singles finals will be played in front of capacity crowds - the first UK outdoor sporting events to do so since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

With the event part of a government trial for the suspension of masks and social distancing, face coverings will not have to be worn when spectators are in their seats.

However, they will have to be worn by fans moving around the grounds, and organisers "expect there still to be a form of social distancing" around the grounds and in queues.

The tournament starts on 28 June and there will initially be 50% capacity allowed in the grounds.

That will then rise throughout the tournament before the two finals, which take place on the 15,000-capacity Centre Court on 10 and 11 July.

Tickets will go on sale on the Wimbledon website at 13:00 BST on Thursday, 17 June, with those wanting to apply having to register an account by 00:00 BST earlier on Thursday.

All ticket-holders will be required to show proof of Covid status on entry, either in the form of both vaccinations or a negative lateral flow test.