The All England Club has confirmed that staying in official hotels will be a “mandatory requirement” for all players competing at this year’s Wimbledon Championships.
Tournament chiefs are determined to minimise the risks to the event, which was cancelled last year for the first time since the second World War due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
But the stipulation is unlikely to go down well with some leading players, who traditionally book out private houses in south-west London for the duration of the event.
The All England Club said in a statement: “In line with UK government and public health guidance, we are putting in place a variety of infection control measures in line with our aspiration to stage a safe, best practice and trusted event in 2021.
“One of the priority measures is to create a minimised risk environment for the players. As such, based on current guidance, there will be official hotels for all players, their support teams, and key groups such as officials, which will be a mandatory requirement for entry into this year’s Championships.”
Wimbledon is scheduled to start on June 28, one week after the government is planning to lift all legal restrictions on social-distancing as part of its ‘roadmap’ out of the pandemic.
But any decision on potential spectator capacity for the Championships will depend upon confirmation of the government’s position at the time of the start of the event.
This year’s Australian Open took place amid tight restrictions in Melbourne, with 72 players forced to undertake strict two-week quarantines in their hotel rooms after arriving in the country.
The move incurred the wrath of world number one Novak Djokovic, who despite not being one of the players subjected to hard quarantine, argued players should be allowed to stay and train in private houses.