Tue, 02 Jun 2020

Wimbledon cancelled due to coronavirus

News24
02 Apr 2020, 04:10 GMT+10

Wimbledon organisers on Wednesday scrapped the grasscourt Grand Slam for the first time since World War II as the coronavirus wreaks further havoc on the global sporting calendar.

The cancellation of the only grasscourt major at the All England Club leaves the season in disarray, with no tennis due to be played until mid-July.

"," tweeted eight-time champion Roger Federer.

Wimbledon was due to run for two weeks from 29 June, with Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep set to defend their singles titles.

But tournament chiefs bowed to the inevitable on Wednesday, saying in a statement that they had made the decision with "great regret".

All England Club chairperson Ian Hewitt said the decision had not been taken lightly.

"It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of The Championships has only been interrupted previously by world wars," he said.

"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."

Halep tweeted her disappointment.

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The decision to scrap the tournament was widely expected, with the world struggling to contain the spread of Covid-19, which has infected more than 840 000 people worldwide and killed over 40 000.

It also prompted the ATP and WTA to cancel the grasscourt swing in the build-up to Wimbledon, meaning the tennis season will not now recommence until 13 July at the earliest.

Organisers had earlier ruled out playing the Grand Slam behind closed doors and postponing the event would also create its own problems.

Three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker on Tuesday pleaded for tournament chiefs to wait longer before making a decision.

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But former women's world number one Amelie Mauresmo, the 2006 women's champion, said the 2020 season would probably need to be scrapped.

The cancellation of Wimbledon could mean multiple champions Federer, Serena Williams and Venus Williams have played at the All England Club for the final time.

Federer and Serena will be nearly 40 by the time of the 2021 championships and Venus will be 41.

Serena, beaten in last year's final by Halep, is stuck on 23 Grand Slam singles titles - agonisingly one away from equalling Margaret Court's record.

The French Tennis Federation provoked widespread anger with its unilateral decision to move the French Open from its original 24 May start date to begin on 20 September.

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