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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, April 1, 2020

 
Wimbledon

The AELTC has canceled Wimbledon due to the coronavirus crisis. The 134th Championships will instead be staged from June 28th to July 11th, 2021.

Photo credit: CameraSport

Wimbledon is officially canceled.

The AELTC announced today The Championships will not be contested in 2020 due to health and safety concerns over the coronavirus crisis.

More: Wimbledon Will Cancel

It marks the first time in 75 years Wimbledon will not be contested.

"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 AELTC 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."

The 134th Championships will instead be played from June 28th to July 11th, 2021.




Wimbledon was not played from 1915 to 1918 during World War I. World War II forced the tournament’s cancelation from 1940 to 1945 when Great Britain withstood heavy Nazi bombing.

Governmental guidelines banning mass gatherings, travel bans and safey concerns for players, ball kids and officials were all contributing factors to canceling Wimbledon rather than trying to play without fans as some suggested.  

"These considerations are particularly related to the concerns brought about by mass gatherings and the strain on the medical and emergency services, as well as movement and travel restrictions both within the UK and around the world," the AELTC said.

"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."

If you’re wondering why Wimbledon doesn’t reschedule until later in the summer—possibly even to the July date vacated by the Olympics postponement—German Tennis Federation vice president Dirk Hordorff says it’s not possible because of local laws and the grass-court surface itself.

“Wimbledon has its own laws due to the lawn and the special lighting conditions,” Hordorff told Sky Sport Germany. “Wimbledon in the period from September to October, when nobody knows whether you can play, would be unthinkable due to the lawn situation.”

One key reason why Wimbledon can afford to cancel while Roland Garros stunned the tennis world unilaterally rescheduling from May to September 20th is economics.

The grass-court Grand Slam had the foresight to insure against the pandemic, said Hordorff.

“Wimbledon was probably—as the only Grand Slam tournament—predictive enough many years ago to also insure itself against a worldwide pandemic so that the financial damage there should be minimized,” Hordorff said. “Of course, Wimbledon also has enough reserves to last for several years.”

 

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