The worst Wimbledon fears have come true. After days of speculation Wimbledon would be cancelled, the authorities announced Wednesday the competition would indeed not be played this year because of the coronavirus spread.
This year’s Wimbledon was going to be played from June 29 but it follows in the footsteps of the Summer Olympics and Euro 2020 to not be played this year. Interestingly, earlier, the French Open authorities had postponed the tournament to September 20, but Wimbledon chose not to take the option of a postponement.
The last time Wimbledon got cancelled was during the second World War between 1940 and 1945.
It is with great regret that the AELTC has today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic.
The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.https://t.co/c0QV2ymGAt
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) April 1, 2020
With this, the ATP and WTA have also announced the tennis season has been suspended till at least July 13. Earlier, the competitions had been abandoned till the first week of June but the entire grass court swing has now been cancelled.
High-level Wimbledon officials met on Wednesday to discuss the future course of action but the writing looked to be on the wall when Dirk Hordorff, the German Tennis Federation (DTB) vice-president announced few days back the cancellation decision was all but taken.
Ian Hewitt, the All England Lawn Tennis Club chairman, said about the cancellation:
“This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the well-being of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen.”
“It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of the Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s Championships, and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon’s resources to help those in our local communities and beyond.”
The work for Wimbledon usually begins in the last week of April. However, with governments world over still trying to contain the Covid-19 ailment by using social distancing as the only trusted method so far and no vaccines in site for now, it looked highly unlikely Wimbledon would have gone ahead as planned even if they waited for another month to take a call.
The next edition of Wimbledon has been scheduled for June 28 to July 11, 2021.
The big question now is whether there would be any tennis played in 2020. The ATP and WTA tours have been postponed till July 13, when the Hamburg Open, Hall of Fame Open, Bastad Open, Bucharest Open and Lausanne Open have been scheduled. However, the likelihood of these tournaments being held as scheduled looks extremely unlikely too.
The Olympics were scheduled to begin on July 24 but they have already been postponed to 2021, and the chances of the start to tennis getting pushed further ahead sadly look higher.