Wimbledon canceled for the first time since World War II due to a virus

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For the first time in almost a century and a half of history, Wimbledon was canceled for a reason other than war, abandoned on Wednesday 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With Britain stuck on a national scale, the All England Club announced its decision to cancel its two-week field tennis tournament, which had not happened at the sport’s oldest Grand Slam tournament in 75 years old.

“It has weighed heavily on our minds that the holding of the Championships was only interrupted by the World Wars,” said club president Ian Hewitt, “but, after a thorough and thorough review of all the scenarios, we think that this is a measure of this global crisis that it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s Championships, and to focus instead on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon resources to help those in our local communities and beyond. “

Wimbledon was scheduled to take place on the outskirts of London from June 29 to July 12. Instead, the next edition of the tournament will take place from June 28 to July 11, 2021.

Roger Federer, eight-time Wimbledon champion, surely spoke on behalf of many tennis players, officials and fans with a message in one word on Twitter: “Devastated”.

Also on Wednesday, ATP and WTA announced that professional male and female tours will be suspended until at least July 13, bringing the number of elite tennis tournaments affected by the new coronavirus to more than 30 since early March. . pending until June 7. The lower level events of the Challenger Tour and the ITF World Tennis Tour are also suspended for the first two weeks of July.

Wimbledon took place for the first time in 1877 and has been contested every year since, with the exception of two sections: from 1915-18 due to the First World War and from 1940 to 45 due to the Second World War.

Now, the prestigious tournament – known for its carefully maintained turf, its Royal Box at Center Court, its rules on the wearing of white, its strawberries and its cream and, alas, its rain delays – joins the growing list of major sporting events canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 epidemic.

This includes the Tokyo Olympics – which has been postponed for 12 months – and the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball university tournaments.

Wimbledon is the first Grand Slam tournament wiped out due to coronavirus; the start of the French Open was postponed from the end of May to the end of September.

Shortly after the news from Wimbledon, the U.S. Tennis Association issued a statement saying that it “still plans to host the US Open as planned” from August 31 to September 13 in New York.

From now on, the French Open should start six days after the men’s final at Flushing Meadows, where an installation housing indoor training courts is now a 350-bed temporary hospital and the Louis Armstrong stadium is used to prepare 25 000 meal packs per day. for patients, workers, volunteers and school children in the city.

Wednesday’s All England Club decision means Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep will not have a chance to defend their Wimbledon titles from 2019.

“We are going through something bigger than tennis and Wimbledon will be back!” Halep wrote on social media. “And that means I have more time to wait to defend my title. “

Serena Williams retweeted the club’s message about the cancellation and wrote, “I am shaken. “

The move removes what could have been one of Federer’s best chances at trying to add to his men’s 20 Grand Slam title record. Federer, who turns 39 in August, is recovering from knee surgery and plans to return in time for the European turf circuit which has now been dropped from the calendar.

In a statement last week, the All England Club said that the postponement of the two-week event would not be “without significant risk and difficulty” due to the grass surface which is affected by the weather. The club also said it had ruled out “playing behind closed doors” without spectators.

Hundreds of thousands of people have caught COVID-19 worldwide and tens of thousands have died. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough, but also milder cases of pneumonia, sometimes requiring hospitalization.

The All England Club has said it will work to assist in the emergency response to the pandemic, including distributing medical supplies and food and providing other means of using their facilities.

In the past few weeks, daily life has been interrupted in many ways in many parts of the world, and sport is a reflection of this.

The NBA, the NHL and the Major League Baseball are on hold indefinitely; the Kentucky Derby and Indianapolis 500 were pushed back several months until September; The English Premier League and other club football competitions are currently suspended; and the European football championship – which is slated to end in London on the same day as the Wimbledon men’s final – has been postponed from 2020 to 2021.

“I have been lucky enough to go to Wimbledon every year since 1961, and I will definitely miss it this year,” said Billie Jean King, who won a total of 20 trophies at the All England Club – six for singles, 10 for the women’s doubles, four for the mixed doubles. “Right now, we have to make sure that we take good care of ourselves and our loved ones. These are difficult times for all of us and now is the time for us to do what is good for our world and what works for our sport. “

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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More AP Tennis coverage: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



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