Pestilence now joins war among factors capable of stopping Wimbledon from taking place.
The All England Lawn and Tennis Club announced Wednesday on its website it has cancelled The Championships 2020, this year’s edition of the major tennis tournament better known simply as “Wimbledon,” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The tournament had been scheduled to run between June 29 and July 12. Rather than postponing the major tournament, the All England Club determined to stage the 134th edition of Wimbledon between June 28 and July 11, 2021.
The first Wimbledon was in 1877. This summer will mark the first time Wimbledon won’t take place since 1945. Wold War I prevented the tournament from occurring between 1915 and 1918, and World War II stopped play between 1940 and 1945.
“This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the well-being of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen,” AELTC chairman Ian Hewitt said in a statement.
“It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of The Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, 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. Our thoughts are with all those who have been and continue to be affected by these unprecedented times.”
Wimbledon is the latest major tennis tournament the COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted. The French tennis federation postponed the 2020 French Open from May until September.
The 2020 U.S. Open is scheduled to take place between Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 in New York City, but the U.S. Tennis Association hasn’t ruled out postponing the tournament.