Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since the Second World War, with All England Club chiefs making the tough decision at an emergency board meeting on Wednesday.
The coronavirus pandemic has put paid to many sporting events, and The Championships are the next to fall, with the UK death toll currently standing at 1,789. It was considered impossible for the tournament to be moved back to later in the year, or to be played without fans, and so chiefs have pulled the plug entirely.
This is the first time that Wimbledon will not be staged since 1945. Only one Grand Slam has missed a year since the war, the 1986 Australian Open, and that was for the technical reason of the date shifting forward from December into January. It is the biggest blow to hit Wimbledon since 1973, when 81 male players staged a boycott in protest at the refusal to allow Yugoslavian Nikki Pilic to enter, in a row over individuals being penalised for refusing to play in the Davis Cup.
The LTA have also confirmed all pre-Wimbledon tournaments including at The Queen’s Club, Birmingham and Eastbourne have also been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak
The cancellation means that there will be no chance for Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep to defend their singles titles, while it is a huge blow to Roger Federer’s hopes of adding to his 20 Grand Slam titles. Serena Williams, who will also turn 39 in late summer, is another who is seeing their window closing.
June 29 to July 12 was the scheduled fortnight for Wimbledon this year, and due to the lack of daylight,2 it will be impossible for the tournament to be played later in the year.
Matches at Wimbledon played outside on grass courts, often run late into the evening on each day of the tournament. Only Centre Court and No 1 Court have a roof to enable indoor matches in case of bad weather.