Andy Murray and Roger Federer are among the top tennis stars to express sadness over the news that Wimbledon has been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus crisis.
The tournament was scheduled to take place at the All England Club from June 29 to July 12 but will now be missing from the sporting calendar for the first time since World War II.
Murray reacted by posting on a message on his official Facebook page, which reflected the fact that the pre-Wimbledon Fever-tree Championships at Queen’s Club has also been cancelled.
Very sad that the Fever-Tree Championships and Wimbledon have been cancelled this year but with all that is going on in…
Murray wrote: “Very sad that the Fever-tree Championships and Wimbledon have been cancelled this year but with all that is going on in the world right now, everyone’s health is definitely the most important thing!
“Looking forward to getting back on the grass next year already! Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy #StayHomeSaveLives”.
Eight-time Wimbledon men’s champion Federer simply wrote “Devastated” following the news, while seven-times women’s champion Serena Williams wrote: “I’m shooked (sic)”.
— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) April 1, 2020
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova released a statement on Twitter, expressing how much she will miss competing at the tournament.
“Definitely a tough one to take, with the announcement of the cancellation of Wimbledon this year,” she said.
“Not only is it a special tournament to me, but it’s a tournament that has been part of history for so long that it will leave a big hole in the calendar.
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) April 1, 2020
“I will miss playing on the beautiful grass and wearing my whites, BUT of course we know it will be back better than ever next year. And maybe we will all appreciate it even more! Stay safe and stay inside.”
Meanwhile Coco Gauff, the teenager who stunned everyone by reaching the last 16 last year, tweeted: “I’m gonna miss playing in Wimbledon this year. Stay safe everyone, love you guys.”
British number one Johanna Konta tweeted: “Here’s to seeing you in 2021 @Wimbledon”.
— Johanna Konta (@JohannaKonta) April 1, 2020
Organisers of the French Open, which had been due to begin on May 24, announced last month they would move their tournament to September, starting one week after the end of the US Open, which is due to begin on August 31.
But rather than look for dates later in the year, the All England Club simply cancelled this year’s tournament in SW19.
“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,” a statement said.
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
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) April 1, 2020
“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.
“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.
“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 – from the training of ball boys and girls to thousands of officials, line judges, stewards, players, suppliers, media and contractors who convene on the AELTC Grounds – and equally to consider that the people, supplies and services legally required to stage The Championships would not be available at any point this summer, thus ruling out postponement.”
— ATP Tour (@atptour) April 1, 2020
Shortly after the decision was announced, the ATP and WTA Tours followed with a joint statement announcing they were extending the suspension of the current season until July 13.
“In conjunction with the cancellation of The Championships, Wimbledon, the ATP and WTA have jointly announced the continued suspension of the ATP and WTA Tours until July 13, 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.
There have been no ATP events since the end of February, while the WTA has been on hiatus since the first week of March.
The US Tennis Association reacted to the Wimbledon postponement by reiterating its hope of staging the US Open as planned later this summer.
“We understand the unique circumstances facing the All England Lawn and Tennis Club and the reasoning behind the decision to cancel the 2020 Wimbledon Championships,” a statement said.
“At this time the USTA still plans to host the US Open as scheduled, and we continue to hone plans to stage the tournament.
“The USTA is carefully monitoring the rapidly-changing environment surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, and is preparing for all contingencies.”