By Blaise Crwys-Williams
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 2 of VARSITY News.
Wimbledon, one of the four Grand Slams on the tennis calendar, has been cancelled following the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The All England Club confirmed on Wednesday that the tournament would not go ahead, making it the first time since 1945 (due to World War II) to not feature in a calendar year. The tournament was due to be played from the 29th of June until the 12th of July 2020.
“Regrettably, the ongoing Covid-19 global pandemic leaves us with no choice but to suspend the Tour further” – ATP Chairman
The cancellation of The Championships coincides with the decision from the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to suspend all tours until the 13th of July, which encompasses the entire grass court season. “Regrettably, the ongoing Covid-19 global pandemic leaves us with no choice but to suspend the Tour further; a decision we’ve made in close cooperation with our members and the other governing bodies of tennis,” said Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman.
Wimbledon chief executive, Richard Lewis, has expressed his fears that the tennis season might be over after having only played the Australian Open – one of the four grand slams for the year which takes place in January. “I don’t think it’s unrealistic to say that there may be no more tennis this year. But I would like to think that things will settle down so that tournaments can be played sooner rather than later”.
The cancellation of Wimbledon is the latest, and one of several major sporting events to be cancelled, due to the coronavirus. Other notable suspensions are that of the Tokyo Olympics, Formula 1, Premier League, Serie A, Euro 2020 and the Super 15, to name a few.
Rafael Nadal, current world number 2, and NBA player Pau Gasol, kickstarted the #NuestraMejorVictoria campaign, with the aim of raising €11 million to fight the virus. Reigning men’s champion, and current world number 1, Novak Djokovic, also made a contribution to the campaign, and had already undertaken to donate €1 million in order to bolster the global fight.
“We have begun distributing medical equipment and offered the use of our facilities” – Wimbledon Association
The prestigious tournament has now changed its focus to fighting the pandemic, “We have begun distributing medical equipment and offered the use of our facilities to the National Health Service (NHS) and to the London Resilience Partnership, the collection of agencies in London fighting the battle against Covid-19.”
The 134th edition of the tournament will now take place between the 28th of June and the 11th of July 2021.