For the first time since 1945, the All England Club will not open its gates for the players and spectators this June and July, canceling Wimbledon due to a coronavirus pandemic. Novak Djokovic has been the player of the season so far with 18 wins from as many matches but the virus has taken all the headlines since the beginning of March, putting the season on hold at least until the second part of July but probably for much longer.
Roland Garros is seeking some other place in the calendar while the US Open organizers still hope to host the best players in the world at the end of August, although it seems very unlikely with the current situation in New York.
The change of date was not an option for Wimbledon, as they head groundsman Neil Stubley explained to the Telegraph. In his words, it is impossible to host Wimbledon in late summer because the courts would become slippery much earlier than in July, shortening the window for matches and making it extremely difficult to organize that many encounters between 11:30am and 5pm.
The All England Club is already preparing for the 2021 edition and another festival of tennis in the cathedral of our sport that saw one of the best Major finals ever between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer a year ago. "One of the beauties about my job is that I get to showcase my work to the world every year," Neil Stubley told the Telegraph.
"When the eyes of the world are looking to how Centre Court is for that first day of The Championships, it's always a nervous moment. It will be a funny feeling, through June and July, not to have that adrenalin rush.
In late summer, the sun gets lower in the sky. The dew point on the grass arrives earlier and the courts get slippery. The window for play becomes shorter at both ends. As much as it would be lovely to be able to play in late summer and autumn, it's not possible.
We have indeed staged Davis Cup matches in September. But the play would start at 11.30am or noon and finish by 5pm. Whereas, at The Championships, you're going from 11am until 9pm every day. To get through 670 matches over 13 days is a challenge in the height of summer, let alone at other times of the year."