The All England Lawn Tennis Club has announced the cancellation of this summer’s Wimbledon championships due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The grass-court tournament was due to be played between June 29 and July 12. It is the first time since World War II that the tennis grand slam has been called off.
The move, taken after an emergency board meeting, appeared inevitable following the virtual shutdown of global sports in recent weeks and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics until 2021.
Wimbledon’s scope for postponing was also considered impossible due to the lack of daylight and inclement weather for grass court tennis later in the year. Only Centre Court and No. 1 Court have roofs to allow matches to be played in the evenings.
AELTC chairman Ian Hewitt 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.”
Professional tennis is on hold amid the ongoing health crisis, with the ATP and WTA today suspending their tours until at least July 13. The French Open, meanwhile, has been provisionally postponed from May until late September.
In a joint statement, the ATP and WTA said: “In addition to Wimbledon, the suspension covers the entirety of the ATP/WTA European grass court swing, including ATP events in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Stuttgart, London-Queen’s, Halle, Mallorca, Eastbourne, as well as WTA events in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Nottingham, Birmingham, Berlin, Eastbourne and Bad Homburg.”