The coronavirus pandemic has taken more than 44,000 lives around the world so far, putting the entire planet on hold and canceling all the sporting events as well. After Dubai, Acapulco and Santiago, the fans could enjoy the Davis Cup weekend at the beginning of March and those were the last official matches on the ATP Tour probably for a very long time, with the organizers having to cancel Indian Wells and Miami and the upcoming spring clay swing.
The ATP announced the break that would last at least until the second week of June but only a few could hope to see some tennis on grass in June in July due to the current situation in Western Europe and the rest of the world.
As was expected, the All England Club has canceled Wimbledon on Wednesday, with no other possibility of staging the most prestigious tennis event at some other point of the year. Standing as the oldest Major that kicked off in 1877, Wimbledon had not been held only ten times during the war years between 1914-18 and 1940-45, starting all over in 1946 and serving as the festival of tennis throughout the Open era.
In the last year's final, Novak Djokovic fended off two match points to defeat Roger Federer after a thriller, with the rivals for the top hoping to chase the Holy Grail of tennis again in July 2021. Ian Hewitt, AELTC Chairman, commented: "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.
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." Richard Lewis CBE, AELTC Chief Executive, commented: "While in some ways this has been a challenging decision, we strongly believe it is not only in the best interests of society at this time, but also provides certainty to our colleagues in international tennis given the impact on the grass court events in the UK and in Europe and the broader tennis calendar.
We have appreciated the support of the LTA, and the ATP, WTA and ITF in coming to this decision, and our friends and partners who stage these grass court events that are so important in the build-up to Wimbledon. I would like to thank the UK Government and public health authorities for their guidance and support, and we will do whatever we can to assist their efforts in tackling the crisis.
Finally, I would like to thank all those who love Wimbledon for their understanding of these unique and unquestionably challenging circumstances. It is your passion for The Championships that has shaped our event over the years and will continue to do so, and we look forward to preparing a fantastic Championships for 2021."