Wimbledon – the world’s greatest tennis tournament – is cancelled and players are reacting
We hadn’t heard much from the tennis world in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. That changed on Wednesday.
It is with great regret that the AELTC has today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic.
The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.https://t.co/c0QV2ymGAtArticle continues below ...
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) April 1, 2020
The world’s oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament, Wimbledon, was cancelled on Wednesday in a bit of a shock move, considering The Championships were not scheduled to take place until June 29 – 90 days from now.
A portion of the statement released Wednesday on Wimbledon.com read as follows:
It is with great regret that the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic. The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.
Uppermost in our mind has been the health and safety of all of those who come together to make Wimbledon happen – the public in the UK and visitors from around the world, our players, guests, members, staff, volunteers, partners, contractors, and local residents – as well as our broader responsibility to society’s efforts to tackle this global challenge to our way of life.
The release continued on to site travel restrictions, large crowds and staff training as reasons why the 134th edition of the tournament could not go on:
Since the emergence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in January, we have followed guidance from the UK Government and public health authorities in relation to our year-round operations, alongside developing an understanding of the likely trajectory of the outbreak in the UK …
These considerations are particularly related to the concerns brought about by mass gatherings and the strain on the medical and emergency services, as well as movement and travel restrictions both within the UK and around the world. With the likelihood that the Government’s measures will continue for many months, it is our view that we must act responsibly to protect the large numbers of people required to prepare The Championships from being at risk …
The first Wimbledon was held in 1877, and prior to this year, it had only been cancelled twice, both times due to war.
Tournament officials at the All England Lawn Tennis Club have announced the cancellation of the 2020 tournament.
It’s the first time since 1945, due to World War II, that Wimbledon will not be played, and the first reason other than war, that the event will not be played. pic.twitter.com/X7i4Yj8AVe
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 1, 2020
Furthermore, both the ATP and WTA announced that play will continue to be suspended well into the summer.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) April 1, 2020
Wimbledon is the first of the four 2020 Grand Slam tournaments to be cancelled.
The Australian Open was held Jan. 20 – Feb. 2, and was won by Novak Djokovic on the gentlemen’s side and Sofia Kenin on the ladies’ side.
The French Open was scheduled to take place May 24 – June 7, but was postponed due to the coronavirus. It will now take place Sept. 20 – Oct. 4.
Social media reaction to the Wimbledon cancellation was swift, specifically from some of the game’s greatest champions, including Roger Federer.
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) April 1, 2020
Federer – currently ranked No. 4 in the world – is arguably the greatest men’s tennis player of all time and undoubtedly Wimbledon’s greatest Gentlemen’s Singles champion. Eight of his 20 Grand Slam wins took place at the All England Club.
He last won the tournament in 2017 and lost in the 2019 Wimbledon final last summer.
Absolutely, health and family https://t.co/t31L86vsFk
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) April 1, 2020
Current world No. 9 Serena Williams – widely regarded as the greatest female tennis player of all time – has won the Wimbledon Ladies Singles’ title 7 times. She last won the tournament in 2016.
Williams – who has won 23 Grand Slams in her career – lost in last summer’s Wimbledon final.
I’m Shooked https://t.co/dS0cNcCdm0
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) April 1, 2020
Defeating Williams in the 2019 Wimbledon championship match was current world No. 2, Simona Halep, who also took to Twitter to express her sadness over the cancellation of Wimbledon.
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
The final Grand Slam tournament annually and the grandest tournament in the United States is the US Open, which released a statement on Wednesday as well.
An update on the 2020 US Open: pic.twitter.com/RWERrYUrky
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) April 1, 2020
Tennis legend Billie Jean King, who won 12 Grand Slams during her career, weighed in on the news.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) April 1, 2020
Rod Laver, an 11-time Grand Slam winner and 4-time Wimbledon champion, shared his thoughts on the cancellation as well, while wishing happy birthday to Todd Woodbridge, who won 9 Gentlemen’s Doubles titles and 1 Mixed Doubles title at Wimbledon.
Happy birthday @toddwoodbridge – a 9 time @Wimbledon men's doubles champion, very sad to learn it is cancelled this year. You were the best there legend! Keeping smiling, we will laugh again. 🚀 pic.twitter.com/IZiAcDW8xm
— Rod Laver (@rodlaver) April 2, 2020
Several other ATP and WTA stars shared their reactions via Twitter.
💔 @Wimbledon has confirmed that the tournament will not take place this year. I'm gonna miss playing there 🌱 Bohužel. To, co jsme čekali, už je oficiální. Wimbledon se letos hrát nebude 😢 pic.twitter.com/n0DjSPOjS0
— Karolina Pliskova (@KaPliskova) April 1, 2020
— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) April 1, 2020
i’m gonna miss playing in @Wimbledon this year💔. Stay safe everyone, love you guys❤️🥺
— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) April 1, 2020
I’ve always had so many great memories at @Wimbledon. The grass season will definitely be missed but the most important thing right now for us to focus on is that we’re all staying healthy and safe at home. pic.twitter.com/Btlu9rMfDc
— Kevin Anderson (@KAndersonATP) April 1, 2020
— Angelique Kerber (@AngeliqueKerber) April 1, 2020
— Johanna Konta (@JohannaKonta) April 1, 2020
…. I know that @wimbledon will be back next year even stronger and we will appreciate it even more!! But for now, HEALTH IS THE MAIN PRIORITY
I LOVE YOU @wimbledon 💚💜#Covid_19 #CoronaVirusUpdate #Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/gpMt4kHgWs
— Marion bartoli (@bartoli_marion) April 1, 2020
Will miss you, @Wimbledon. Your tradition, your history, your respect for our sport.
Always a special place… 🤍🌸🌱 pic.twitter.com/olLFVh1ADH
— Carla Suárez Navarro (@CarlaSuarezNava) April 1, 2020
— Barbora Strycova (@BaraStrycova) April 1, 2020
— Félix AugerAliassime (@felixtennis) April 1, 2020
— Katie Boulter (@KatieBoulter1) April 1, 2020
I guess this image says it all.. No Wimbledon ❌ I am the first to say that health comes first. But I would lie if I say it doesn't hurt inside me to see my favorite tournament getting cancelled.. 😢#nowimbledon2020 pic.twitter.com/Cp4Na78CXD
— Kirsten Flipkens (@FlipperKF) April 1, 2020
FOX Fact: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are often considered the three best men’s tennis players in history. At Wimbledon, however, Nadal and Djokovic have yet to match Federer’s success. The two men have 7 Wimbledon titles between them – Djokovic has 5 and Nadal has 2 – one less than Federer’s 8 titles.