Are fans staying away from Wimbledon? All England Club is still selling tickets for prestigious Centre Court seats and are priced at £170 – as spots for men’s final go on sale for up to £2,200 online
- £170 seats at the All England Club’s Centre Court were still available to buy
- Tickets for Wimbledon have historically been very difficult to come by
- Set of unusual circumstances have meant some are still available to buy
For years they have been some of sport’s hottest tickets, with oversubscribed ballots to buy them leaving thousands of fans disappointed to miss out.
But a perfect storm of coronavirus fears, last minute increases in capacity and dwindling big names left competing mean Wimbledon is still trying to sell Centre Court places.
This afternoon £170 seats at the All England Lawn Tennis Club’s centrepiece court were still available to buy for tomorrow.
And debenture tickets – the name given for legally resellable passes – for the men’s finals on Sunday were going for £2,200 on Viagogo.
In 2012 the corresponding Andy Murray clash were fetching £45,000 for a pair.
Thursday sees the Women’s semi-finals take place and Ashleigh Barty take on Angelique Kerber.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic plays a return to Hungary’s Marton Fucsovicson Centre Court today
Hugh Grant – a staple of the Wimbledon Royal Box – was seen in other seats today
Ticket-selling site Viagogo has debenture tickets for sale for Sunday’s centre court final
The most expensive appears to be for £2,287, a tenth of what they were fetching in 2012
Later that day Karolina Plíšková will battle Aryna Sabalenka for a place in Saturday’s final.
The unusual situation this year appears to be down to a series of circumstances beyond organisers’ control.
Wimbledon is this year part of the Government Events Research Programme.
It means all ticket-holders attending have to show proof of COVID status upon entry in the form of either double vaccinations or a negative lateral flow test.
Conditions also include ticket-holders being required to wear face coverings while they move around the grounds.
It means those unwilling or unable to fulfil these conditions have stayed away from SW19 this time.
The prevalence of the Covid-19 Delta variant in the UK may also have discouraged some from visiting.
Spectators watch on Centre Court as Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz plays against Daniil Medvedev
Information on the entrance procedure is seen as tennis fans queue to get inside the grounds
Covid certification wrist bands used to process fans queueing to enter Wimbledon
Many of Wimbledon’s fans are over the age of 60 and fears over catching the disease could have prompted them to plump for watching the championship on television instead.
And finally many of the big names, who fans flock each year to see are no longer competing in the draws.
Andy Murray is out, as are fan favourites Serena and Venus Williams.
There are also no British hopes left, with plucky 18-year-old Emma Raducanu leaving the competition on Monday.
This year there is also a system in place designed to allow as many different people to visit as possible.
It restricts people to buying just two tickets each throughout the tournament, no matter whether they have bought just grounds passes.
Many have been hit by this problem and may have contributed to more passes being available this year.
Ashleigh Barty of Australia gets ready for a practice session on the Aorangi Practice Courts
Long lines of tennis fans queuing to enter the courts at the Wimbledon Championships
Lucy Rayner thought she and her family had secured a pair of tickets for number one court on July 8, then a pair for ladies’ finals day, and finally a pair for men’s finals day.
But five days later Ticketmaster sent an email cancelling her purchase.
Her family has accidentally breached a strict rule against buying more than two tickets using the same credit card.
They said the rules were not made clear enough, while others complained it wasn’t mentioned in the 9,000-word long Terms and Conditions page.
The AELTC said: ‘Under the AELTC’s Conditions of Sale, the purchase of more than two tickets by any one credit card is strictly prohibited.
‘Regrettably, people who purchased more than two tickets using one credit card were contacted by Ticketmaster to advise that any transactions beyond the purchase limit would be cancelled.
‘We appreciate the disappointment this will have caused to those affected, but these conditions were clearly stated in multiple locations on the website, and at the ‘accept and continue’ stage of the ticket purchase.’
A screenshot from a Ticketmaster site showed the notice provided during the purchase process. It read: ‘Please note: There is a ticket limit of two tickets per person and per credit card on this event.’
The policy has been a long-standing ploy to ensure an even distribution of ticket sales, a spokesman said.
Wimbledon’s history and how the tennis championships have evolved
Spencer Gore, who won the first gentlemen’s singles at Wimbledon in 1877
The first Wimbledon Championship began on July 9, 1877, with the gentlemen’s singles the only event held. It was won by old Harrovian Spencer Gore from a field of 22, with around 200 spectators paying one shilling each to watch the final.
In 1884, the club added ladies’ singles and gentlemen’s doubles, with ladies’ doubles and mixed doubles joining the mix in 1913.
Until 1922, the reigning champion had to play only in the final, against whomever had won through to challenge them.
Other more recent developments include the introduction of yellow balls in 1986, which are now collected by around 200 ball boys and girls. Slazenger has been the official ball supplier since 1902.
It is not known when the famous tradition of serving strawberries and cream first began – but in 2019 vegan cream was served as an option for the first time.
The Championship was first televised in 1937, and more than 26 million now watch on the BBC alone.
As with the other three Major or Grand Slam events, Wimbledon was contested by top-ranked amateur players; professional players were prohibited from participating. This changed with the advent of the open era in 1968.
No British man won the singles event at Wimbledon between Fred Perry in 1936 and Andy Murray in 2013, while no British woman has won since Virginia Wade in 1977 – although Annabel Croft and Laura Robson won the Girls’ Championship in 1984 and 2008 respectively.
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