For the first time since World War II, there will be no Wimbledon. The venerable tournament made it official today announcing the 2020 Championships have been called off due to the coronavirus.
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 tours — ATP, WTA, ITF — followed by extending their suspension of play from June 1 through July 12, effectively ending the grass season.
With the Olympics already postponed, this was no surprise.
Next, though, is the summer hardcourt season, and my guess is we are done for the year. That’s it, we’ll start fresh in 2021!
At least here in the U.S., based on reports and what I hear, we are fighting against a virus we just don’t know that much about.
We don’t know why it infects certain people but not others. Kills some but not all. Survives here but not there. The elderly are far more at risk than the young, but we don’t know the why.
Even how it spreads and how long it can survive is up for some debate. Does the heat or cold have any impact, we don’t know.
We are learning on the go, but we don’t have an answer or enough data, yet. Of course, there’s no vaccine and won’t have one for at minimum more six months.
Clinical trials are being conducted here in the U.S. with results expected this weekend, but even if they are successful (and I read they were in France), they are still probably 4-5 months away from reaching everyone who needs it.
And then you have all the other countries who are getting hit or about to get hit. So it could very well be a long, long road. Everyone is on different timelines, facing different elements which further complicates things.
With that said, I just don’t see how the tour returns this year.
Let’s say the heat slows it down, but won’t it then just pick back up in the fall when the cooler temps return? What does isolation do other than “slow” down the spread. It doesn’t “stop” it and won’t the spread just resume once we re-emerge. And that’s ultimately what we need, something to stop it or at the least alter its ferocity.
I’m not fear-mongering here, either. I’m not that worried about it. The mortality rate and spread is much, much lower than what was initially forecasted (so far… thankfully!) and I think we have enough smart people walking on this planet to figure this thing out. I’m confident of that.
But as for the rest of the 2020 tennis season, I’m just not confident this coronavirus will magically go away in time, and I don’t see the sense of re-starting late October, November or December with an abbreviated Slam-less indoor schedule.
There’s no blame here either. The tours and events have done and will continue to do the best they can, though some will suffer financially as will many of the players and us fans. But I do think we’ll get this solved by the end of the year.
Until then, be safe and follow your local guidelines.
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