Wimbledon 2020 is canceled because of COVID-19 pandemic

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This year’s edition of Wimbledon has been canceled, officials of the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced on Wednesday, adding yet another premier sports event to the list of those canceled around the world because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wimbledon, the oldest of the four tennis Grand Slam events, last was canceled in 1945 because of World War II.

“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,” the All England Club said in a statement.

“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.”

Delaying the tournament was considered but was ultimately ruled out because restrictions on travel and mass gatherings would complicate efforts to gather supplies and train personnel for the event.

“With the likelihood that the Government’s measures will continue for many months, it is our view that we must act responsibly to protect the large numbers of people required to prepare The Championships from being at risk — from the training of ball boys and girls to thousands of officials, line judges, stewards, players, suppliers, media and contractors who convene on the AELTC Grounds — and equally to consider that the people, supplies and services legally required to stage The Championships would not be available at any point this summer, thus ruling out postponement,” the statement said.

The All England Club has begun making its facilities available to the National Health Service and plans to donate food and equipment to groups that are fighting the pandemic. It said the championships will return next year from June 28 through July 11.

The cancellation, club Chairman Ian Hewitt said, “is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the well-being 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.”

The ATP men’s tour and WTA women’s tour announced the suspension of their respective tours will continue through July 13. That will wipe out the European grass court swing.

Organizers of the French Open, traditionally the second Grand Slam tournament on the tennis calendar, previously postponed the start of that clay court tournament until Sept. 20, a week after the end of the U.S. Open.

The U.S. Tennis Association said the U.S. Open remains on schedule to start Aug. 24 and run through Sept. 13 and that it is continuing “to hone plans to stage the tournament.”

“We understand the unique circumstances facing the (All England Lawn Tennis Club) and the reasoning behind the decision to cancel the 2020 Wimbledon Championships,” the USTA said in a statement.

“The USTA is carefully monitoring the rapidly changing environment surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and is preparing for all contingencies. We also rely on the USTA’s Medical Advisory Group as well as governmental and security officials to ensure that we have the broadest understanding of this fluid situation. In all instances, all decisions made by the USTA regarding the U.S. Open will be made with the health and well-being of our players, fans, and all others involved in the tournament.”


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