Wimbledon officially joined the ever growing list of sports events canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the All England Club announced Wednesday in a statement.
“It is with great regret that the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic,” the statement read.
“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.
The change comes two weeks after the French Open — originally scheduled to be played from May 24 to June 7 — was postponed to Sept. 20 to Oct. 4.
“Though nobody is able to predict what the situation will be on 18th May, the current confinement measures have made it impossible for us to continue with our preparations and, as a result, we are unable to hold the tournament on the dates originally planned,” Roland-Garros organizers said in a statement on March 17.
This is the first time The Championships — the famed Grand Slam tournament played on the iconic grass courts outside London — have been canceled since World War II. Since the tournament’s inception in 1877, the only time the tournament has not been played has been during both World Wars.
This year’s tournament was scheduled to be played June 29 to July 12. The tournament will next be held from June 28 to July 11, 2021, the All England Club announced.
Wimbledon had contemplated postponing the tournament for another date, later in the summer, but concluded there was no way they could be ready in time without risking the public health and safety of tournament staff. Choosing to cancel now was also an important factor, tournament organizers said, as preparation for Wimbledon typically starts in April.
“This is a decision that we have not taken lightly,” AELTC Chairman Ian Hewitt said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with all those who have been and continue to be affected by these unprecedented times.”
Shortly after Wimbledon was canceled, the WTA and ATP jointly announced the cancelation of their tours until at least July 13 also because of the growing coronavirus outbreak.
As of now, the U.S. Open is still scheduled to play from Aug. 24 to Sept. 13, according to the U.S. Tennis Association.
“At this time, the USTA still plans to host the US Open as scheduled, and we continue to hone plans to stage the tournament,” USTA said in a statement Wednesday. “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 US Open will be made with the health and well-being of our players, fans, and all others involved in the tournament.”
The current U.S. Open grounds are being outfitted to serve as a temporary hospital to help combat the growing coronavirus pandemic in its new epicenter: New York City.
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