Wimbledon chiefs to discuss postponement or cancellation next week amid coronavirus crisis

  • Will Day

An emergency board meeting is to take place next week with Wimbledon chiefs weighing up options for this year’s tournament, including postponement and cancellation.

Pressure has increased on the All England Club (AELTC) to make a decision with the Olympics 2020 being postponed by a year.

It’s thought to be unlikely that The Championships will take the time slot of the Olympics, as it’s viewed as too close to the scheduled June 29 start date to make enough of a difference in terms of normal life resuming or crowd and travel restrictions being lifted.

Despite this, every option will be considered at the meeting next week, including the option of the cancellation of the Grand Slam.

In a public statement, the AELTC said, as per the Metro: ”The AELTC can confirm that it is continuing a detailed evaluation of all scenarios for The Championships 2020, including postponement and cancellation, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.”

They also said: “The AELTC has been contingency planning since January, working closely with the UK government and public health authorities to follow their advice and understand the likely impact of COVID-19 and the government’s emergency measures on The Championships, and our thoughts are with all those affected by this crisis at this time.”

The tennis season is currently suspended until June 8, with that meaning Wimbledon this summer is in serious danger of being cancelled.

The French Open, one of the other four Grand Slam events, has already been forced to find a new date, although the French Tennis Federation’s decision to relocate the tournament at the end of September, without speaking to other governing bodies in the sport, was not well received.

Currently the situation is this. Wimbledon to go ahead has slim to no chance, and it is almost guaranteed to get cancelled because it’s not like the Wimbledon chiefs can just put the event back a year.

Day Thirteen: The Championships - Wimbledon 2019

Coronavirus isn’t looking like it’s going to come to a halt anytime soon, and health experts are predicting that there will be no vaccine or cure for it by the end of this year. Therefore, if this does come to be true, Wimbledon can’t be played at all this year, meaning it will have to be played next year.

Wimbledon being played next year is next to impossible as there is already going to be a Wimbledon 2021 regardless of what happens this year, unless coronavirus is still around and about.

Not only would there have to be two competitions in a year, it would interrupt the rest of the tennis season because there are many questions like: when would it be played without clashing with another event, how would players be able to play with all the fatigue from other events building up?

Wimbledon chief executive Richard Lewis said in an interview with Metro: “The single most important consideration is one of public health, and we are determined to act responsibly through the decisions we make.”

Baring this in mind, it would only make sense to cancel The Championships, as health experts are giving coronavirus no chance to be wiped out by the summer, which is the only time the event could practically be played.

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