The All England Club announced on Wednesday morning that the 2020 Wimbledon Championships are canceled. The announcement comes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping across the globe and shutting down live sports and major sporting events. This is the first time that Wimbledon has been canceled since 1945, and the first time that it won’t be played during peacetime.
Wimbledon dates back to 1877, and it has been played every year with the exception of years during both World Wars. World War 1 caused the tournament to be canceled from 1915-1918, and the tournament was canceled from 1940-45 amidst fighting in World War 2. This year’s tournament was scheduled to take place from June 29 through July 12.
The Wimbledon Championships is one of the four Grand Slam events on the tennis tour, and it is the only event that is played on a grass surface. The All England Club had looked into the possibility of postponing the event until August, but weather conditions would not allow for the court to be suitable for play.
There was also a chance that the event could be played without fans in the stands, but this notion was also shut down.
The country of England has been hit extremely hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with over 2,500 deaths being reported as of Wednesday morning. All work must be done from home, and residents are not allowed to leave their house except to get essential goods.
Several of the top tennis players in the world took to Twitter to express their disbelief and sadness that the tournament was canceled. Next year’s tournament is set to take place from June 28-July 11. The All England Club does have an insurance policy that will cover its losses from this year’s cancellation.
All Professional Tennis Shut Down Through Mid-July
Not only will the sport of tennis be without the Wimbledon Championships this year, but they will also be without any tennis at all through July 13. The ATP and the WTA made a joint announcement on Wednesday that sent shockwaves through the sport.
Both organizations agreed to cancel all levels of their professional events through the middle of July. This not only cancels several tournaments on the calendar, but it also wipes out the entire grass-court season.
Both organizations were looking for a solution to postpone some events, or play without fans in the stands, but ultimately they were forced to cancel.
Could French Open and US Open Be Next?
The 2020 French Open was supposed to take place from May 24 through June 7, but that event has already had to be postponed once. The new date of the 2020 French Open is set for Sept. 20-Oct. 4, but the organization is keeping a close eye on the coronavirus pandemic. There is hope that this event will be played as scheduled, and no other announcements are scheduled anytime soon.
The US Open could be a different story, as that is now the next major tennis event on the schedule. Flushing, NY, is the host city for this event, and that state has been hit hard by the pandemic.
The Billie Jean King Memorial Tennis Center, which is where the US Open will be played, has been turned into a temporary medical facility. Over 350 beds have been installed, and food packages are also being prepared at the facility.
The United States Tennis Association announced on Wednesday that the tournament was scheduled to begin on Aug. 24, and it is expected to be played.