This summer’s Wimbledon has been cancelled, the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced on Wednesday in a move that had become increasingly inevitable amid the spread of coronavirus.
Ultimately there was no way the championships could proceed as scheduled given the seriousness of the pandemic, which has seen most of the world go into lockdown and the vast majority of sporting events, including the Tokyo Olympics, Euro 2020 and The Masters, postponed or called off for this year. Following a series of discussions the AELTC has now cancelled the tournament outright, having already ruled out playing in front of empty stands or attempting to take advantage of the postponement of the Olympics by shifting Wimbledon, which was due to start on 29 June, to late July.
A statement on the Wimbledon website said: “It is with great regret that the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships have 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.
“Uppermost in our mind has been the health and safety of all of those who come together to make Wimbledon happen – the public in the UK and visitors from around the world, our players, guests, members, staff, volunteers, partners, contractors, and local residents – as well as our broader responsibility to society’s efforts to tackle this global challenge to our way of life.”
The club added: “It is the Committee of Management’s view that cancellation of The Championships is the best decision in the interests of public health, and that being able to provide certainty by taking this decision now, rather than in several weeks, is important for everyone involved in tennis and The Championships. Members of the public who paid for tickets in the Wimbledon Public Ballot for this year’s Championships will have their tickets refunded and will be offered the chance to purchase tickets for the same day and court for The Championships 2021. We will be communicating directly with all ticket-holders.”
It is the first time since the second world war that Wimbledon has been shut down and it is expected that the Davis Cup Finals, which are scheduled to take place in Madrid in November, will soon be called off too. The French Open, meanwhile, has been moved from May to September, a decision that has caused outrage in the tennis world given the lack of communication with players from the French Tennis Federation.
As things stand, the US Open remains set to start as scheduled on 24 August.