Wimbledon and Australian Open chiefs fear end of tennis season
Richard Lewis and Craig Tiley, the chief executives of the All England Lawn Tennis Club and Tennis Australia, respectively, have both expressed concerns that the sport may not return until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The AELTC this week took the decision to cancel the Wimbledon Championships in June and July, and indeed the entirety of the grass-court season has now been axed.
Much of the clay-court season has also been affected, while the FFT, the French tennis federation, has 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.
Lewis, who is set to step down in July, said he hoped the situation will stabilise in the coming months to allow the hard-court season to get under way before the US Open begins on 24 August.
He said: “The optimist in me – and I’m often not optimistic – still hopes that the American hardcourt season will take place. One hopes that things have settled down a bit and those big 1,000-point tournaments — Montreal, Toronto, Cincinnati — can happen in the lead-up to the US Open. We all know that’s probably tenuous at the moment.
“I don’t think it’s unrealistic to say that there may be no more tennis this year. But let’s hope that the US Open and Roland Garros can take place.”
Before confirmation of Wimbledon's cancellation, Tiley had told the Sydney Morning Herald: "My personal view is I think for tennis to come back this year is going to be tough. It relies on global travel, and I think that's probably the last thing that's going to come back. I think sports that have a domestic focus are in a strong position and sports that have a global focus are more challenged."