Sporting fans have now received another blow as Wimbledon has officially been called off this summer.
Why isn’t Wimbledon going ahead?
The hugely popular tennis event is a British institution and is undoubtedly one of the summer’s biggest sporting highlights, with thousands of Wimbledon fans tuning in every year.
But the tennis tournament has now been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, marking the first time it has not gone ahead since 1945.
The fate of this year’s event was decided at an emergency board meeting on Wednesday (1 Apr) by the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC).
The committe involved four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman, former cabinet secretary Lord Gus O’Donnell, new chairman Ian Hewitt and ex-player turned sports administrator Debbie Jevans, who was involved in the running of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
A statement posted on the Wimbledon website said: “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.”
All professional tennis events have been stopped until the beginning of June, but no Grand Slam has officially been cancelled since 1945.
Could Wimbledon be held indoors?
Playing behind closed doors has been formally ruled out, given government restrictions on mass gatherings.
Work to prepare the ground for Wimbledon was due to begin next month, but this could not be done without a significant number of people on site, as this would flout social distancing rules.
When was Wimbledon meant to take place?
This year’s tennis tournament was scheduled to take place on Monday 29 June, but the event has been forced to postpone.
The tournament runs for two weeks, ending on Sunday 12 July with the final of the men’s singles.
Wimbledon traditionally is traditionally the third Grand Slam tennis event each year, taking place after the Australian and the French Open.
This year’s French Open has now been postponed and will be played later in the year from 20 September to 4 October 2020.
Will I get a refund if it is cancelled?
The club will be offerin refunds to those who have purchased tickets to the summer event.
The 13.5-acre grounds, which extends to 42 acres when car parks are included, will now be opened up for the use of the NHS instead.