Sports digest: Wimbledon planning to make its return in 2021

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TENNIS

The Wimbledon tennis tournament, the only Grand Slam tournament canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, is planning its comeback in 2021 as the All England Club announced its plans Friday.

“Staging The Championships in 2021 is our number one priority and we are actively engaged in scenario planning in order to deliver on that priority,” All England Club chief executive Sally Bolton said.

The tournament, canceled this year for the first time since 1945, is scheduled to run next year from June 28-July 11. It could be held at full capacity, reduced capacity or without fans, the club said. All of the options are dependent on the status of government and public health guidelines, the club said.

The U.S. Open and French Open were held this year but with strict protocols to reduce the possibility of spreading the virus. No fans were allowed at Flushing Meadows, while Roland Garros was limited to 1,000 fans per day.

“Our overriding priority will continue to be the health and safety of all of our stakeholders, in particular our guests, our staff, and our competitors,” the All England Club said. “We are working closely with the relevant government and public health authorities, alongside the rest of the sports industry, to understand the varying challenges and opportunities presented by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”

SKIING

WORLD CUP: No fans, no race ceremonies and no promotional villages are planned at World Cup ski events in Switzerland this season.

The Swiss ski federation said Friday it is working with local organizers to have competitions without the public as coronavirus cases peak in the Alpine nation ahead of the winter sports season. Crowds of about 30,000 typically attend Switzerland’s signature races on back-to-back Saturdays in January – the men’s giant slalom in Adelboden and the men’s downhill in Wengen.

The 2020-21 season also includes women’s race weekends in St. Moritz and Crans-Montana, the World Cup finals week for men and women in Lenzerheide, and a ski jumping event in Engelberg.

SAILING

AMERICA’S CUP: America’s Cup challenger American Magic has launched its second racing yacht in Auckland, revealing significant design developments compared with its predecessor. The 75-foot Patriot was publicly revealed by the New York Yacht Club-backed team at its launching ceremony Friday morning local time.

Patriot more closely approaches the design features of boats developed by defender Team New Zealand and Italian challenger of record Luna Rossa, which had a head start in the design process because they collaborated in forming the class rule.

American Magic appears to have moved away from the flat-bottomed design of its experimental first-generation sailboat, Defiant, to a deeper skiff-style design apparently favored by the New Zealand and Italian teams. The striking, deep blue Patriot also features flared decks at the bow, with the helm and grinding stations more deeply inset into the deck for aerodynamic reasons. The helm has also been moved forward.

Patriot’s debut precedes a flurry of launches. British syndicate INEOS Team UK will launch its new boat Saturday and Luna Rossa will do so on Tuesday.


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