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Wimbledon has returned after a one-year hiatus with play underway at the 2021 edition of the Grand Slam.

Normally one of the highlights of the British sporting calendar, the SW19 festival was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic but is proceeding for the next two weeks with new measures in place.

Chief among the changes is the reduced number of fans able to attend, with capacity limited to just under 50 per cent with 21,000 spectators per day.

But Centre Court will host a capacity crowd of 15,000 for the women's and men's singles finals next Saturday and Sunday respectively.

The tournament is operating at half capacity until the weekend of the finals
(Image: REUTERS)

The two showpieces have been chosen as pilot events to trial the return of large numbers of fans to venues as the UK emerges from lockdown.

Unfortunately for those in attendance over the two weeks, however, there will be no selfies or autographs with players as they move around the All England Club.

The world's elite tennis players often interact with their fans as the move from venue to venue but the rules of entry this year stipulate: "ticket holders shall not approach any competitor for any photographs or otherwise".

The only queues outside the venue are for those who already have tickets
(Image: PA)

There are changes outside the venue itself too, with 'The Queue' nowhere to be seen this year.

This means there is no sign of the hundreds of tents and hopeful fans usually amassed in Wimbledon Park aiming to get a glimpse of the action.

An online ticket sale took place last week, while those fortunate enough to get a ticket will likely need to queue to get into the grounds.

Wimbledon Park isn't the only area less busy than usual, as players are unable to rent the luxury homes in the area throughout their stay.

Fans attending Wimbledon on Monday were grateful for the roof installed on No. 1 Court in 2019
(Image: PA)

To limit the chances of coronavirus bubbles being breached, everyone competing at the tournament is staying at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

Players will be chauffeured from the central London hotel to the Wimbledon grounds, while anyone found to be breaching Covid-19 regulations will be kicked out.

Meanwhile, fans must wear masks except when seated at various courts, and must provide proof of a negative coronavirus test within 48 hours of admission, or show they are double-vaccinated.

Tournament organisers have also confirmed that players, umpires, ball kids and staff will undergo "rigorous daily testing and monitoring".

The big screen is up at Henman Hill as usual – with some aptly-British weather on the first day to boot
(Image: REUTERS)

Another change to the status quo sees press conferences conducted via Zoom in a bid to lessen the chances of spreading coronavirus.

British No. 1 Johanna Konta endured heartbreak on the eve of the tournament after a member of her team tested positive for the disease.

Other stars to miss the tournament include injured duo Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep, as well as Naomi Osaka.

Nonetheless, a fantastic tournament awaits, with 14 Brits across the men's and women's singles draws, and Champagne and strawberries and cream sure to be consumed liberally on Henman Hill.