What to expect from a new-look Wimbledon
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Wimbledon’s men’s and women’s champions could be crowned without even hitting a ball in the final this year if COVID-19 strikes again.
British No 1 Johanna Konta had to withdraw from Wimbledon on Sunday night after a member of her team tested positive for COVD-19, and she was forced to self-isolate for ten days after being identified as close contact.
And the All England Club confirmed today that the same strict rules will apply even before the semi-finals and finals at Wimbledon this summer.
So if a winning semi-finalist either tests positive or is ordered to self isolate for ten days like Konta after coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive person – then their opponent would be crowned champion on a walkover, just as if they dropped out through injury.
Wimbledon chief executive Sally Bolton said today that the All England Club are applying strict protocols as laid down by the government and Public Health England as a test event.
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Bolton said: “Jo had to withdraw from the tournament because she has to isolate for ten days as per the rules, and the rules are very clear, and there is no question about that.
“In terms of when that circumstance may or may not arise in the rest of the tournament, the rules are the same.
“That’s not about us kicking anybody out of the tournament. That is the need for that player to withdraw because they have to isolate.”
But, Bolton said: ““In planning for the tournament and putting together the minimised risk environment, and looking at the experience across tennis with these bubbles, this is not unexpected.
“What is happening now is not particularly unexpected. It is none the less terribly sad for the players it affects, but this is something that we had planned for, so we have the protocols and the controls in place.
“We have had two players at this point withdraw from the tournament because of close contacts, and that is currently where we stand. We have all the plans in place to deal with it.”
Wimbledon is not offering different treatment to players who have been vaccinated, and has no record of this who have or have not had the jab.
Bolton said: “In terms of the protocols we have agreed with the government and with PHE, vaccine status for players is not taken account of. A close contact is a close contact, as deemed, irrespective of the vaccine status of either of those two individuals.”
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