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Tennis News • Wimbledon Officially Cancelled, Can Tennis At All Be Saved In 2020?

By Ricky Dimon

As expected, the 2020 Wimbledon event was officially cancelled on Wednesday afternoon to the spreading coronavirus pandemic. Dating back to last weekend, rumors ran rampant that a Wednesday All-England Lawn and Tennis Club meeting would result in cancellation, and that is exactly what happened.

“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,” a statement read. “The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.”

This marks the first time since World War II, which cancelled six consecutive installments of the tournament from 1940 through 1945, that Wimbledon will not be held.

“This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen,” said Ian Hewitt, chairman of the AELTC. “It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of The Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe that it is a measure of this global crisis that it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s Championships, and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon’s resources to help those in our local communities and beyond. Our thoughts are with all those who have been and continue to be affected by these unprecedented times.”

Although inevitable, Wednesday’s news is without question the most crushing blow suffered by tennis during the pandemic. After all, Wimbledon is by far the biggest tournament that has been completely cancelled. The French Open, which had been scheduled for its normal May and June slots, was merely postponed. It still hopes to be played in September and October.

Wimbledon’s cancellation also brings with it a grim reality that the entire rest of the 2020 tennis season could be over. All events between now and July 13 have been either postponed or cancelled, meaning only the summer and fall hard-court swings remain. If and when those tournaments start getting the axe, it will be time to write of tennis for the remainder of the year.

For now, the U.S. Open (late August and early September) is holding out hope.

“We understand the unique circumstances facing the All-England Lawn and Tennis Club and the reasoning behind the decision to cancel the 2020 Wimbledon Championships,” the USTA stated. “At this time the USTA still plans to host the US Open as scheduled, and we continue to hone plans to stage the tournament.

“The USTA is carefully monitoring the rapidly-changing environment surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, and is preparing for all contingencies. We also rely on the USTA’s Medical Advisory Group as well as governmental and security officials to ensure that we have the broadest understanding of this fluid situation. In all instances, all decisions made by the USTA regarding the US Open will be made with the health and well-being of our players, fans, and all others involved in the tournament.”

Given that Flushing Meadows is currently being used as a makeshift hospital right now with New York City a disaster zone, we would probably need a miracle for the U.S. Open to take place.

But miracles can happen, and the least we can do is have hope.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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