LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 14: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) In this handout image supplied by the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Simona Halep of Romania and Novak Djokovic of Serbia, the Ladies Singles and Gentlemens Singles champion photographed at the Champions' Dinner at The Guildhall on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Thomas Lovelock / AELTC via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 14: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) In this handout image supplied by the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Simona Halep of Romania and Novak Djokovic of Serbia, the Ladies Singles and Gentlemens Singles champion photographed at the Champions' Dinner at The Guildhall on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Thomas Lovelock / AELTC via Getty Images)

Wimbledon may not be held in 2020

Wimbledon officials are the latest sporting body to announce they are considering cancelling their 2020 championships due to the coronavirus.

The All England Club says it will decide at an emergency meeting next week whether or not to postpone this year's event - scheduled to start to on June 29 - or abandon the event altogether.

"The single most important consideration is one of public health, and we are determined to act responsibly through the decisions we make," AELTC chief executive Richard Lewis CBE said in a statement.

 

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The French Open was the first of this year's three remaining Grand Slams to be postponed due to the virus.

Originally scheduled to run from May 24 to June 7, the clay-court tournament was moved to September 20 by the French Tennis Federation in a move that angered some players.

The new date for Roland Garros is just one week after the US Open finishes and clashes with the Laver Cup, the popular exhibition team competition set up by Roger Federer and featuring leading players from Europe and the rest of the world.

Wimbledon, whose singles titles were won by Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep last year, is the crown jewel of the sport's four Grand Slams.

But moving it deeper into the tennis calender might be tricky after the outcry over the unilateral French Open switch.

Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics have both been put back by a year to allow the health crisis to be resolved.

Pressure is growing on the All England Club to make a decision and organisers have ruled out playing the tournament behind closed doors.

"The build for The Championships is due to begin at the end of April," the statement said.

"At this time, based on the advice we have received from the public health authorities, the very short window available to us to stage The Championships due to the nature of our surface suggests that postponement is not without significant risk and difficulty. Playing behind closed doors has been formally ruled out."

Given it takes two months to get the Wimbledon site ready for the event, a decision needs to be made soon and All England Club chief executive Richard Lewis expects the call will be made at the emergency summit.

"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," Lewis said.

"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."

Originally published as Wimbledon may not be held in 2020


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