After a traumatic year without it, Wimbledon is back for 2021, giving us a much-needed fix of top-tier grass court tennis - and qualifying has already begun.

After a French Open that saw huge upsets in the women's draw, and saw Nadal denied his typical title in the men's, there's plenty of reason to hope that Wimbledon will be just as eventful - especially now that former champions Venus Williams and Andy Murray have both been given wildcards to compete, while Nadal, Halep & Osaka have decided not to compete.

The two-week tournament has started and you may even still be able to buy tickets and attend in person.

Here's how you can tune in to watch Wimbledon live - for free and on any device - whether you're in the UK or elsewhere, at home or sneakily watching at work, or even if you want to catch up later on in your own time.

When does Wimbledon start?

The Wimbledon Championship runs from Monday 28 June to Sunday 11 July, ending with the women's final on Saturday afternoon, and the men's on Sunday.

The player draw is now official, so you can see who's lined up to face who - with Federer and Djokovic on opposite sides, so there's at least a chance of the two of them facing off in the men's final.

The tournament's order of play can be found here so you can check when every match is on. Use the search facility and star players to follow their progress.

How to watch Wimbledon in the UK

If you're in the UK then Wimbledon will be shown by the BBC, as usual.

During the main tournament TV coverage presented by Sue Barker usually begins at 11:00am BST on BBC 2, the Red Button, and iPlayer, and continues on BBC One at 1.45pm. 11:00am is when play begins on the outside courts but you might be most interested in the afternoon, as Centre and Court One - where the big games happen - typically start play at 1:00pm.

If you don't want to watch on TV, the BBC is making Wimbledon available to watch live across BBC TV, Red Button, radio, online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and smart TV. Whenever coverage is live, you'll be able to tune in online by visiting the BBC Sport website or iPlayer.

The tennis is streaming live from the BBC on both of those websites, and through its dedicated BBC Sport (iPhone, Android) and BBC iPlayer (iPhone, Android) apps.

Remember that you need a TV Licence to watch live on TV or online, or even on catch-up.

Wimbledon will also be broadcast on Eurosport on Virgin (channels 521 and 522), Sky (channels 521 and 411) and BT (channels 435 and 436).

The tournament will also be shown on Eurosport Player. But access is not free: you need to subscribe directly to watch on Eurosport Player, which costs £6.99 per month on a rolling plan (or £4.99 for an annual plan), or have the Eurosport 1 and 2 channels included in your TV package with Sky, Virgin or BT.

How to watch Wimbledon in the US

In the US, Wimbledon will exclusively be broadcast by ESPN and The Tennis Channel.

If you don't have either of those included in your tennis package, you can always sign up to ESPN+. This costs $5.99 per month, or $59.99 per year, but you can get better value if you sign up for the $14 per month Disney+ bundle that includes both ESPN+ and Hulu.

US fans can also subscribe to Tennis Channel Plus, though it's not cheap at $110 per year. On the other hand this will let you watch over 100 ATP & WTA events, so it might be worth it if you're a tennis devotee.

Wimbledon BBC iPlayer

How to watch Wimbledon anywhere in the world

The good news is that it's possible to watch Wimbledon from anywhere. The first thing to do is check the tournament's official broadcaster list to find out who has the rights to the tournament in your country.

Even if there's no broadcaster where you live - or they're tied to an expensive cable plan - you can always watch the UK's BBC coverage from outside the UK.

To do so you'll need a VPN - two good bets are NordVPN and SurfShark - to get around the geographical blocks put in place on BBC iPlayer - see our best VPNs round-up for more.

BBC iPlayer now also requires you to register for an account before streaming, which is done to ensure all viewers have a valid TV Licence. The BBC says that the aim of the account isn't to pursue iPlayer users who haven't paid for a TV Licence, but admitted that it will cross-reference the email addresses with people who've previously claimed not to need a TV Licence.

A second catch is that you'll need to provide a valid UK postcode in order to sign up, which shouldn't be an issue if you are simply holidaying outside the UK. Read more in our guide to how to watch BBC iPlayer abroad.

How to watch Wimbledon in 4K HDR

After successful trials in 2018 and 2019, the BBC is sticking to the same plan for the 2021 tournament. That means it will be broadcast in 4K HDR but limited to matches on Centre Court.

Naturally you'll have to make sure you have a compatible 4K TV or streaming device plugged into a 4K TV, along with sufficient internet bandwidth to keep up with the stream. Check out our dedicated guide to watching Wimbledon in 4K Ultra HD and HDR for more info.

How to watch Wimbledon on catch-up

If you happen to miss a match you'll find that programmes are available for a month following their transmission on BBC iPlayer, but note that the service's Download and Series Record features are not usually available for sporting events. 

To watch Wimbledon on a Windows, Mac or Linux PC, simply head to bbc.co.uk/iplayer for the desktop version of the site. Dedicated apps are available from Google Play and the App Store, while Xbox and PlayStation owners can stream content from Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network.

If the tennis match you're after isn't featured on the home page, search Wimbledon in the bar at the top right. The following screen will show the Wimbledon coverage that is currently available to watch. Scroll down to find and select the match in the list. Click the arrow in the video frame to begin playback.

Will there be spectators at Wimbledon 2021?

With the easing of the final Covid restrictions in the UK delayed by four weeks, there have been understandable concerns that fans wouldn't be allowed to watch the tournament in live at the All England club.

Fortunately, that's not the case. Wimbledon has been included in a trial of larger sporting events, and as a result will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity from the start of the tournament, building up to full capacity - 15,000 people - in Centre Court over the finals weekend.

Fans won't even have to wear masks while they're watching matches, though will be required to keep them on when moving about the grounds, and some social distancing measures will still be in place.

How to buy Wimbledon tickets

With all of the uncertainty this year, the usual Wimbledon tickets ballot hasn't been run, and the customary Queue will not be running either.

Instead, tickets will be sold online on the Wimbledon site. The first batch has already been and gone, but the tournament says that more tickets will be sold, including returns.

However, in order to buy tickets you must create a free myWimbledon account - so if you haven't already, then make sure to sign up for a chance to buy tickets.

Anyone attending will be required to show proof of a negative lateral flow test, or that it's been at least 14 days since their second vaccine dose.