Officials from the All England Club ( announced Wednesday they've begun discussing how Wimbledon could be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Both a postponement and outright cancellation are among the options on the table.
"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," their statement read. "Playing behind closed doors has been formally ruled out."
Christopher Clarey @christophclarey
Wimbledon's organizers say they are considering both cancellation & postponement, acknowledging that postponement because of grass's characteristics, will be tough to manage. Playing without fans has been ruled out. Emergency meeting next week with decision possible https://t.co/Mktqa3P2PY
The outbreak of COVID-19 already forced the cancellation of the BNP Paribas Open, one of the biggest tournaments outside of the four Grand Slams.
The ATP Tour and WTA initially suspended play until May to limit the spread of the disease. The organizations released a joint statement March 18 to confirm the 2020 season would remain suspended until at least June 7.
The 2020 installment of the Wimbledon Championships is slated to begin June 29, a date that might be untenable. Even if the ATP Tour and WTA have returned by June 7, players would have only three weeks to prepare for their trip to London.
The French Tennis Federation postponed the French Open until September, but the All England Club's statement underscored why taking the same step would be difficult for Wimbledon.
Due to the grass surface, guaranteeing peak playing conditions might be impossible if the event is pushed back until the fall. Wimbledon's official site lays out the numerous steps taken to maintain the courts to ensure they're ready when June and July roll around.
As a result, Wimbledon appears headed for the same fate that has befallen numerous sporting events across the world.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club was last forced to cancel Wimbledon from 1940 to '45 due to World War II.