Tuesday, 27 April 2021 18:22

Staff Reporter.

Wimbledon will abandon its traditional rest day on the middle Sunday of the tournament from 2022.

The Grand Slam will instead be played over 14 consecutive days, with All England Lawn Tennis Club chairman Ian Hewitt saying this was possible because of better grass-court maintenance.

Organisers also revealed they are hoping to have fans at a minimum of 25% capacity this year.

Ticket prices will stay at 2020 levels, with prize money yet to be decided.

"We plan to deliver the best Championships possible in accordance with public safety. It will necessarily be different from Wimbledon as we know it," Hewitt said.

Wimbledon is the only one of the four Grand Slams where there is no play on the middle Sunday.

The rest day has meant that the Monday of the second week has always been very busy with all the men's and women's last-16 matches being held on the same day.

There has been play four times on the Sunday because of rain disruptions during the week, with the tournament opening its doors in 1991, 1997, 2004 and 2016 and enjoying a carnival-like atmosphere that is different to the other days.

Bolton said Wimbledon wanted to find ways of preserving some of that atmosphere and was carrying out a public consultation to see what fans would like to see.

"Over time Wimbledon has continuously evolved to meet changing demands and behaviours of our fans - always changing, always staying the same is something we talk about often," AELTC chief executive Sally Bolton said.

"We want more of this wonderful event to be available to more people around the world to share in the joy of the Championships.

"Including Middle Sunday permanently in our schedule will allow us to do just that and become a new tradition which we hope we can become immensely proud of.

"It enables us to do more with the second Monday, which is known as 'manic' for good reason."

The last-16 matches will be spread across the Sunday and Monday, with Bolton saying it would give players more of a platform for quality matches and offer fans a better chance to watch more of the action.

Wimbledon was cancelled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic and while it will return on 28 June, there are still several aspects to be finalised.