Sport suffered another body blow yesterday, when Wimbledon became the latest casualty to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The tournament was scheduled to be played from 29th June and 12th July, but the All England Club took the decision to cancel the tournament, for the first time in 75 years.
It follows the postponement of the French Open, which was due to begin in May, but has now been rescheduled to the 20th September.
“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, All England Lawn Tennis Club chairman yesterday.
Wimbledon is the latest major summer sporting event to be called off, with Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics postponed for a further 12 months.
The swift cancellation of the tournament should help reduce losses that Wimbledon may occur, as the All England Club had the foresight to take out insurance policies which will protect them from huge losses. They will therefore be able to refund ticket holders, broadcasting companies and sponsors, a bill that is expected to be around £200 million.
However, the governing body of the sport the LTA have already lost over £12 million in the past two years alone, and after yesterday’s news that all summer grass court events will also be cancelled- the Fever Tree Championships at Queens Club, popular summer events at Nottingham, Edgbaston and Eastbourne as well, this is a big kick in the teeth for British Tennis.
There will now be no professional tennis anywhere in the World until at least the 13th July, which is going to have a significant impact on not just the top ranked players, but more so many up and coming players and others who are ranked a long way down the rankings.
These are the players who must rely on the ATP Challenger Tour events up and down the country alongside many smaller tournaments around the world. This is their bread and butter, with many having to play in these events to simply try and survive year on year.
Another blow to this predictable news is that no Queens, Eastbourne or Wimbledon means no BBC TV coverage of the sport. No exposure on terrestrial television will possibly see a reduction in people wanting to take up the sport.
The World of Tennis will be hoping and praying that the sport will resume at some point this year. The hopeful start for a resumption has been pencilled in on 13th July, with events in Hamburg, Bastad, Bucharest and Lausanne all in the balance.
The Olympic tournament is already on hold, with the USTA chewing over the idea of pushing back the US Open start date of 31st August, with the event being moved from Flushing Meadow in New York to Indian Wells, California.
The WTA themselves seem keen to make up for lost time, by continuing beyond the WTA Championships scheduled for the beginning of November.
As 2006 Wimbledon Champion Amelie Mauresmo tweeted yesterday. “I think we are going to have to draw a line under the 2020 tennis season”. “No vaccine= no tennis.”