Emma Raducanu was greeted with cheers and enthusiasm as she entered Centre Court at Wimbledon this afternoon for her match against Caroline Garcia in the second round, but there were still some empty seats.
The 19-year-old US Open winner, who easily defeated Alison Van Uytvanck on Monday, was back in action while sporting her signature Tiffany earrings.
She was one of nine British players who advanced to the second round, a record number.
Raducanu would advance to the final round if he defeated Garcia, 28, but the teenager struggled to a 3-6 loss in the opening set.
However, despite being undoubtedly the tournament’s main draw, SW19 hasn’t drawn as many spectators as usual because of coronavirus concerns and the rainy weather.
On the first day, 36,603 spectators showed up, while 39,450 showed up on the second.
The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) had projected a daily ticket sales rate of 42,000.
In contrast to cancellation in 2020 owing to a coronavirus outbreak and a 50 percent cap in 2021, this year marks the return to full capacity for the first time since 2019.
Italy’s Matteo Berrettini, who finished second last year and was one of the favorites to win this year’s men’s championship, and Croatia’s past finalist Marin Cilic were both eliminated by the coronavirus.
Fitness manager Mark Wyatt, 32, of Wanstead, east London, claimed that people were still hesitant to visit his gym as a result of the coronavirus and that he thought the same concerns were affecting Wimbledon attendance.
According to him, Wimbledon was at its height in 2019 thanks to “Murray fever” and a surge in tennis interest. However, this year, attendance has declined, and the fact that it hasn’t been as hot as in previous years could be to blame.
It’s unquestionably less busy now than it was earlier.
Covid, in my opinion, would definitely turn off some folks.
You’ve seen people stop coming to sporting events, break habits, isolate themselves a lot, and avoid making social connections.
On Wednesday morning, Mr. Wyatt and his father David Wyatt, 68, were in line for premium on-the-day tickets. Mr. Wyatt noted that many of the empty seats were in the corporate parts of the stands, leaving less space for “genuine tennis fans.”
“I do feel that they didn’t receive nearly as many corporate tickets or providing these tickets to these associations and then people are grabbing them or turning up,” the gym trainer said. “We’d have greater atmospheres for these major players, which would assist.”
His father, a retired teacher, continued: “There were no corporate people at all and it was a very different environment when we’ve occasionally had a wet Sunday play and they just sold tickets to everyone and it was the true tennis fans that turned up.”
He told PA, “There are certainly some things going on right now that perhaps limit people from attending to things like this – it’s an expensive day out.”
You may have noticed that the cricket hasn’t been selling out at Lord’s, which is usually a given.
Additionally, it’s more difficult to travel around; this is likely deterring some foreign visitors who were planning to attend Wimbledon.
It’s unfortunate, especially when you watch later matches like Murray’s the other day and think, “I’d love to be there.”
“But at the same time, the atmosphere is wonderful, there are a lot of people here today, and obviously not being able to attend to these kinds of events in the last couple of years, or reduced at Wimbledon last year, I think it’s still quite great,” the speaker continued.
The 64-year-old Tom Walewski, who traveled from Warsaw, Poland, for the competition, described it as “frustrating” to see vacant seats in Centre Court since “there are a lot of people who really want to go and see and enjoy the day.”
People in the line, he claimed, “desperately want to go to the Centre Court, and second option is of course Court 1.” He admitted that he didn’t fully grasp the rules involving tickets and attendance.
Tennis legend Serena Williams, 40, unexpectedly lost her first singles match on Tuesday against France’s Harmony Tan. This may have been Serena’s final Wimbledon performance.