Wimbledon Will have 50% Capacity for the Championships and Full Crowd for the Final

Centre Court Wimbledon

Wimbledon announced Monday that after a cancelled 2020 event, it will operate with fans at 50% capacity throughout the fortnight, with full capacity the final weekend for both the men’s and women’s singles finals. The announcement will give the tournament a more vibrant feel, which seems much needed after the tournament was not held for the first time since World War II. They have not announced exact numbers, but for the first week the tournament will allow half of the normal capacity. Once play is shifted primarily to Centre Court, 7,500 fans will be allowed to attend before the final. There, a full 15,000 will be there to witness the champions being crowned. Tennis fans will be pleased with the decision if they can attend, or simply for the added atmosphere that was so missed during COVID.


Though tennis fans will enjoy the decision, there were plenty of people who disagreed. Former Manchester United football great Gary Neville tweeted out his negative feelings. He was critical of the fact that U.K. is still restricting wedding capacities and gatherings of less than 100 people.

Many others felt the same way–not necessarily disagreeing with Wimbledon having fans. Rather, pointing out the disconnect that average people cannot gather while 15,000 are able to attend Wimbledon. It also raises a difficult economic question. Having Wimbledon will undoubtably be great for the local and national economy, which is needed after the challenging pandemic year. At the same time, it can feel like a slap in the face to small business owners who have had to close down their businesses and are still unable to open. A decision this big certainly has more to it than on the surface. Though it may seem hypocritical, it is not the first sport that has expanded capacity.

Other Sports in the UK

Those critical of Wimbledon’s decision should first look at the expanded crowds in other sports. The Premier League had to play games without capacity for most of their season, briefly allowing fans before going back to closed doors during a new wave. For the final two weekends of the season, fans were allowed back. 10,000 fans were allowed or 25% capacity, whichever was fewer. The experiment seemed successful, with no major breakouts linked to the football matches. The Euro 2020 event is also allowing fans, with 45,000 fans allowed at the semifinals and final, half of the capacity of London’s Wembley Stadium. The U.K. is also working to allow fans at other marquee international events, such as the upcoming F1 British Grand Prix and golf’s Open Championship.

Wimbledon Outlook

Fans will no doubt have a positive impact on the tennis played with the added atmosphere. They will potentially be there to witness history, with Novak Djokovic the favorite aiming to equal the most Grand Slam titles ever. History could also be made with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer gunning to break their tie at 20 Grand Slams a piece. Fans will surely be out in force supporting Andy Murray and other British players. Players such as Gael Monfils, who enjoy the entertainment aspect while they play, may benefit from having fans and their energy. The true effect in results should not be looked at too closely, considering an enormously pro-Federer crowd at the 2019 final was not enough to propel him to a win against Djokovic in one of the tightest finals in history.

Whether the decision was correct or not is too nuanced to be discussed here. On a positive note, it is great that fans will be able to witness Wimbledon in person. On the other side, those who have struggled with lockdowns in the country have a fair point to question the government’s priorities with the decision. Either way, the decision has been made, so tennis fans should just enjoy the added atmosphere in London and hope precautions are in place to prevent the spread of the disease at the All-England Club.

Main Photo from Getty.