In news which doesn’t really come as a surprise, Wimbledon has been cancelled for 2020 as a direct result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, marking the first time the annual tennis championship has been called off since World War II.
With a frank acknowledgement that staging a major tennis tournament in the middle of a global health crisis is probably unwise, the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced the Championship will no longer kick off on June 29.
Instead, the next Championship will begin June 28, 2021.
“With the likelihood that the [UK] 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,” organisers said in a statement.
While the premiere competition has been binned, organisers said they have offered medical equipment which may have been used during the tournament to the nation’s public health response. Catering supplies locked in for the contest are also being distributed, they say.
The cancellation means Novak Djokovic loses the chance to go back-to-back-to-back in the men’s singles title, and deprives Simona Halep the chance to make it two women’s singles titles on the bounce.
Australia’s own Dylan Alcott will remain the first and only person to claim Wimbledon’s quad wheelchair singles title after his huge success at last year’s inaugural contest.
Tennis legends have responded with shock to the news, for good reason.
I’m Shooked https://t.co/dS0cNcCdm0
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) April 1, 2020
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) April 1, 2020
So sad to hear @Wimbledon won’t take place this year. Last year’s final will forever be one of the happiest days of my life! But we are going through something bigger than tennis and Wimbledon will be back! And it means I have even longer to look forward to defending my title ???? pic.twitter.com/PmppwUuKtD
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) April 1, 2020
Catch you in 2021, we guess.Image: Shi Tang / Getty Images