For the first time since 1945, the yearly Wimbledon Grand Slam tennis tournament will not hold, no thanks to the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the globe.
According to a report on Sky Sports, the All England Club cancelled this year’s Wimbledon following an emergency board meeting on Wednesday.
The organisers had hoped to hold off making a final decision for a few more weeks but chief executive Richard Lewis announced that had been brought forward to an emergency board meeting at which it was decided to cancel rather than postpone the two-week grass-court tournament.
Main-draw play at Wimbledon was due to start on June 29 and preparations for the tournament are supposed to begin in late April, requiring a significant number of people on site.
Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer in five sets to win the 2019 title.
It was the Serbian’s 16th major title and his fifth Wimbledon title.
In the Women’s category, Simona Halep defeated Serena Williams to claim the top prize.
Halep has already expressed sadness at the cancellation of the tournament.
So sad to hear @Wimbledon won’t take place this year. Last year’s final will forever be one of the happiest days of my life! But we are going through something bigger than tennis and Wimbledon will be back! And it means I have even longer to look forward to defending my title 🤗 pic.twitter.com/PmppwUuKtD
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) April 1, 2020
But the conditions required to play on grass means fans will have to make do for a year without Wimbledon for the first time since 1945.
Since the first Wimbledon tournament in 1877, there have only been 10 years where it has not been held, all of them due to war. Since 1946, Wimbledon has been staged every year.
Chairman Ian Hewitt, said: “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.
“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.”
Chief executive Richard Lewis, added: “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.”
The Wimbledon thus joins the long list of sporting events that have either been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19.