Wimbledon chief hits back at Gary Neville and Manchester mayor Andy Burnham

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Wimbledon chief has told Gary Neville he is wrong to claim tennis has been given special treatment because it is a posh sport. The Government announced on Monday that The Championships will have 50% capacity from the start on June 28 – and a full Centre Court for finals weekend.

Neville took to Twitter to complain: “Can’t dance at a wedding but can stuff strawberries and champagne down your neck at The All England Club packed with tens of thousands crammed like sardines in a tin.”

And Manchester mayor Andy Burnham added: “One rule for tennis, another for everyone else.”

But Wimbledon chief executive Sally Bolton, the first woman in the role who used to run Wigan rugby league club, said: “I wouldn’t really comment on what his views are – that is a conversation you will have to have with him.

“The reason we are able to have an increased number of spectators at the Championships is that we are part of the event research programme and to that extent we are helping to support the Government and the sector to understand how we can increase fans as we work our way out of the pandemic.

“We are really pleased to be playing a part in that. I don’t think that has got anything to do with class.

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“That has just got to do with testing at events. And it is likely that they are a number of other events that will be announced in the coming days that will also be part of that third stage eent research programme.”

Meanwhile, Andy Murray has been handed a Wimbledon wildcard along with Venus Williams.

The Scot has not played a singles match at SW19 since 2018 but won his opening match on grass this year at the cinch Championships against Benoit Paire.

Liam Broady, Jay Clarke and Jack Draper will also be invited.

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Five-time champion Williams got a 40th birthday present by being invited along with five British women.

Wimbledon men’s wildcards

1. Carlos ALCARAZ (ESP)

2. Liam BROADY (GBR)


4. Jack DRAPER (GBR)

5. Andy MURRAY (GBR)

Wimbledon: Tournament to go ahead without queues this summer

Wimbledon women’s wildcards

1. Katie BOULTER (GBR)

2. Jodie BURRAGE (GBR)

3. Harriet DART (GBR)

4. Francesca JONES (GBR)




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