Wimbledon under threat of cancellation in 2020
A decision will be made next week on whether tennis’ Wimbledon championships take place this year.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club, which organises the world-famous grand slam event, has called an emergency meeting of its main board at which, in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, postponement and cancellation will be considered.
The grass-court tournament is presently scheduled for 29 June to 12 July, and the AELTC has ruled out playing it behind closed doors.
The ‘build’ for the championships is due to begin at the end of April, but the club is presently closed with physical operations reduced to a minimum.
Ahead of the meeting, the AELTC is in communication with the UK’s Lawn Tennis Association, the men’s ATP, the women’s WTA, the International Tennis Federation and the other grand slams over the scheduling of Wimbledon.
The club will also be considering the insurance situation and the extent to which the coronavirus constitutes a force majeure for which it would be fully covered.
The FFT, which organises the French Open, has already moved the start of that tournament from May to September, but came in for criticism from other event organisers over a lack of consultation, and the Wimbledon situation is complicated by the challenges in maintaining grass courts.
In a statement, Richard Lewis, the AELTC chief executive, said: “The unprecedented challenge presented by the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect our way of life in ways that we could not have imagined, and our thoughts are with all those affected in the UK and around the world.
“The single most important consideration is one of public health, and we are determined to act responsibly through the decisions we make. We are working hard to bring certainty to our plans for 2020 and have convened an emergency meeting of the AELTC Main Board for next week, at which a decision will be made.”