2020 Wimbledon Canceled Due to Coronavirus Concerns; 2021 Dates Announced

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2020

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 10: The Wimbledon logo amongst flowers during Day Nine of The Championships - Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 10, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
Visionhaus/Getty Images

Tennis' most famous tournament is the latest marquee sporting event impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.    

The 2020 Wimbledon tournament, which was scheduled for June 29-July 12, was canceled Wednesday:

Wimbledon @Wimbledon

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/c0QV2ymGAt

This comes after the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club released a statement on March 25 revealing there would be an emergency meeting to discuss the tournament's fate and that it was evaluating different scenarios while "contingency planning since January, working closely with the UK government and public health authorities."

The statement pointed out the grass surface at the venue further complicates postponing the event until later in the year.

Jamie Murray, Andy Murray's older brother and a two-time Wimbledon mixed doubles champion, pointed to factors such as the extended daylight the tournament typically enjoys in the summer when talking about potential changes, per BBC Sport:

"They're desperate to have their event on, it's still over three months away and a lot can change in that time.

For them, optics don't necessarily look great, I guess, if there's sporting events all over the world getting cancelled and they're trying to crack on with things.

"There's a lot of other stakeholders, a lot of other tournaments to consider. Even things like daylight for the tournament. Once the tournament gets put back, there's less and less daylight. When you play at Wimbledon normally, you can play until 10 at night."

Cindy Boren of the Washington Post noted that events set to be held during World Wars I and II were the only other times Wimbledon was ever canceled.

She also discussed the challenges a condensed schedule for three of the four Grand Slams would create for the players if Wimbledon were postponed until the fall. While the Australian Open already happened in January, the French Open was moved from May to Sept. 20-Oct. 4, which isn't long after the U.S. Open on Aug. 31-Sept. 13.

The coronavirus has upended the sports calendar for 2020.

Outside of tennis, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the Masters and the Kentucky Derby were among the biggest events postponed. The NCAA canceled all winter and spring championships, including the men's and women's basketball tournaments, while the NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS all suspended their seasons.

Wimbledon is the latest staple of the schedule to be changed.


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