Novak Djokovic retained his Wimbledon title last year, but the 2020 Championships could be in doubt. Image by EPA PHOTO

tennis

Wimbledon set to meet on 2020 cancellation

2020-03-26 16:32:41

Wimbledon officials are the latest sporting body to announce they are considering cancelling their 2020 championships due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The All England Club says it will decide at an emergency meeting next week whether or not to postpone this year’s edition – scheduled to start to on June 29 – or abandon it altogether.

“The single most important consideration is one of public health, and we are determined to act responsibly through the decisions we make,” AELTC chief executive Richard Lewis said in a statement.

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.

“The government’s emergency measures on The Championships, and our thoughts are with all those affected by this crisis at this time,” the club said in a statement.

Wimbledon officials will consult the LTA, ATP, WTA, ITF – the respective governing bodies of British, men’s, women’s and international tennis – as well as all three other grand slam organisers – before making a final decision.

“The build for The Championships is due to begin at the end of April,” the AELTC club said in a statement.

“At this time, based on the advice we have received from the public health authorities, the very short window available to us to stage The Championships due to the nature of our surface suggests that postponement is not without significant risk and difficulty.

“Playing behind closed doors has been formally ruled out.

“Following the government’s advice, the AELTC’s sites at the All England Club, Wimbledon Park Golf Club and Raynes Park are currently closed with physical operations reduced to the practical minimum to maintain the grass courts and the security of the sites.

“The AELTC, through our charity the Wimbledon Foundation, is offering support within our local communities and more broadly for the London and UK population through our partnerships with the British Red Cross and City Harvest.

“The unprecedented challenge presented by the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect our way of life in ways that we could not have imagined,” Lewis said.

“And our thoughts are with all those affected in the UK and around the world.”

Some players have already told AAP they are resigned to not be able to return to competition at all in 2020, let alone at Wimbledon in July.