Game, set and match for Wimbledon's 2020 hopes; British GP next?
The 2020 Wimbledon Championships, the grass-court grand slam, today became the latest casualty of the global coronavirus pandemic that has decimated the sports calendar.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club met today and confirmed that the 29 June to 12 July showpiece in south-west London cannot take place.
Indeed, the entire grass-court season has been abandoned, and there will be no professional tennis anywhere in the world until at least 13 July.Wimbledon follows golf's Masters, the Uefa European Championships and Tokyo Olympics as high-profile events stripped from the 2020 calendar.
This year will be the first time since 1945 that Wimbledon will not go ahead.
Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, said: "This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing 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 that it is a measure of this global crisis that 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.
"Our thoughts are with all those who have been and continue to be affected by these unprecedented times."Men's ATP grass court events in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Stuttgart, London-Queen’s, Halle, Mallorca, Eastbourne, as well as women's WTA grass court events in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Nottingham, Birmingham, Berlin, Eastbourne and Bad Homburg have all been cancelled, the two tours announced today.
The FFT, the French tennis federation, has already switched the French Open, the clay-court grand slam, from the original dates of 18 May to 7 June to 20 September to 4 October, a decision that angered tennis stakeholders because of the lack of communication.
Meanwhile, also in the UK, a decision on whether this year's Formula 1 British Grand Prix will take place will be made by the end of this month.
The race at Silverstone is slated for 19 July but looks increasingly likely to be axed considering the news coming out of the AELTC today.
The global coronavirus crisis has already forced the first eight races of the season to be called off.
The British Grand Prix said in a statement: "We fully appreciate that other UK sporting events in July have taken decisions regarding their events, but it is important to highlight that their logistics and sporting arrangements differ from Silverstone's."Therefore, our timeline gives us until the end of April to make a final decision. The safety of our fans, colleagues and the F1 community will be our priority and we will continue to engage with the appropriate authorities."