Wimbledon Adds Middle Sunday Starting In 2022

Wimbledon (photo: @Wimbledon/Twitter)

WASHINGTON, April 28, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

During its spring press conference to formally announce the return of The Championships in 2021, whose main draw begins June 28 and continues through July 11, Wimbledon announced plans to add play on Middle Sunday starting in 2022. Another major talking point was an update on spectator capacity for this summer’s Championships.

“I would like to say how excited we are that Wimbledon will be back this summer, with the best tennis players in the world competing on our grass courts, in front of our passionate spectators,” said Wimbledon Chairman Ian Hewitt. “While it will, necessarily, be different from Wimbledon as we know it, we are full of enthusiasm and totally committed to our return following last year’s cancellation.”

Wimbledon CEO Sally Bolton added: “We would like to thank all those with whom we continue to work across government, public health and other sporting bodies for their support to make this a reality, to bring back sporting events in the way that we all recognize. Our priority has and will always be to do this safely, with the support and trust of all our stakeholders.”

According to the Wimbledon website, the AELTC is currently working toward a spectator capacity position of about 25 percent, based on the current Sports Grounds Safety Authority guidance but will remain flexible. It hopes to be able to increase numbers further, provided that Covid-19 restrictions continue to be eased.

With an eye toward the future, the AELTC announced “a significant development to enhance The Championships, and open up tennis, for the future,” in adding play on middle Sunday to coincide with the centenary of Centre Court. In 2022, play on middle Sunday will become a permanent part of the tournament schedule, turning Wimbledon into a 14-day event.

“Thanks to improved grass court technology and maintenance over the past five years or so and other measures,” Hewitt stated, “we are comfortable that we are able to look after the courts, most particularly Centre Court, without a full day of rest.

“This provides us with the opportunity, at an important time, to enhance the accessibility, reach and fa base of Wimbledon, and tennis, both in the UK and globally. It will also ensure greater resilience and fairness of the tournament program for our competitors, and enable us to create a different kind of atmosphere on the Middle Sunday, with a strong focus on the local community in particular. To be able to launch this new tradition at the same time as celebrating the history of Centre Court in 2022 is something we look forward to immensely.”

WTA Mutual Madrid Open: Qualifying begins with upsets

The first day of qualifying for the WTA 1000 Mutua Madrid Open took place at La Caja Mágica Tuesday and while the top three seeds – No. 1 Anasasija Sevastova, No. 2 Kristina Mladenovic and No. 3 Laura Siegemund all won – there seven seeds who were not so fortunate. They include: No. 4 Alizé Cornet, No. 7 Kaia Kanepi, No. 8 Katerina Siniakova, No. 9 Alison Van Uytvanck, No. 10 Heather Watson, No. 12 Leylah Fernandez and No. 21 Arantxa Rus.

Fernandez’s loss to wild card Ana Konjuh was among the closest, as the Canadian was upset 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-4. Cornet’s loss to Wang Xiyu also came down to the final set as she lost 6-1 4-6, 7-6 (6).

Qualifying continues on Wednesday with the 12 winners being placed into the 64-player main draw, which begins play on Thursday.

Estoril: Cilic holds off Alcaraz, Nishikori withdraws

At the Millennium Estoril Open in Estoril, Portugal, Tuesday, No. 6 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia, handled #NextGenATP rising 17-year-old star Carlos Alcaraz of Spain, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, to advance to the second round. During the two hour and 13-minute match, Cilic hit six aces and won 60 percent of his first-serve points. He broke Alcaraz five times in 14 tries including three of six in the third set.

“I’m extremely happy to be here in Portugal, in Estoril for the first time,” Cilic said during an on-court interview following his win. “It was a very difficult match. Carlos is a great young talent. … Definitely, he’s got an unbelievable future ahead of him.”

Next Cilic will face Portuguese qualifier Nuno Borges, who took out Jordan Thompson of Australia, 7-6 (5), 6-3, on Monday for his first ATP Tour main draw victory.

Meanwhile, No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan withdrew with a right leg injury and was replaced by lucky loser Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain.

Happy 26th Birthday, Nick Kyrgios

What they’re reporting

What they’re telling Tennis TourTalk

• Spanish wild card Sara Sorribes Tormo, who plays World No. 3 Simona Halep in the first round of the WTA 1000 Mutua Madrid Open on her mental and physical health: “It’s something different for me. It’s true I played many matches last month. I went back home and rested, and I’m ready to play again, to compete, to fight. Hopefully, I can play many more matches.”

Petra Kvitova on how she spent her down time after being eliminated in the quarterfinals by Elina Svitolina last week in Stuttgart: “I’ve been very happy to be home, do my laundry, just pack again, and we arrived yesterday. It was quick, two days at home. It felt good. It’s important for me to be healthy, and I’m looking forward to playing, again.”

What they’re podcasting

In the latest installment of  The Tennis Podcast, co-hosts David Law, Catherine Whitaker and Matt Roberts explore Barcelona, Belgrade and the Barty bonanza.

What they’re writing

On the ATP Tour website, Javier Mendez has written an insightful story about why Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina added a marathon running legend to his team.


What they’re sharing on social media

The WTA / ¡Bienvenida a Madrid!


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