'No doubt': Details of sad 75-year Wimbledon first come to light

Chris Young
Sports Reporter
Novak Djokovic may not get the chance to defend his Wimbledon championship, with the tournament likely to be cancelled for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

With sporting events worldwide largely cancelled or suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, speculation has been rife about the fate of this year’s Wimbledon tournament.

Not yet officially cancelled or postponed, Wimbledon is scheduled to be played from June 29 to July 12 - but it seems increasingly unlikely that it will go ahead.

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The All-England Club is hosting an emergency meeting this week to decide the fate of the tournament.

The most likely outcome is that Wimbledon will be cancelled outright for 2020, the first time since World War II the tournament has not run.

While nothing will be set in stone until the club meets, German Tennis Federation vice-president Dirk Hordoff believes missing a year at Wimbledon is inevitable.

“Wimbledon has stated that they will have a board meeting next Wednesday and will make the final decision there,” Hordorff said.

“I am also involved in the bodies of the ATP and WTA. The necessary decisions have already been made there and Wimbledon will decide to cancel next Wednesday.

“There is no doubt about it. This is necessary in the current situation.

“It is completely unrealistic to imagine that with the travel restrictions that we currently have an international tennis tournament, where hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world would travel.

“That is unthinkable.”

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The All-England Lawn Tennis Club has been contingency planning since January, working closely with the UK government and public health authorities to follow their advice and understand the likely impact of Covid-19.

"The government's emergency measures on The Championships, and our thoughts are with all those affected by this crisis at this time," the club said in a statement.

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Wimbledon officials will consult the LTA, ATP, WTA, ITF - the respective governing bodies of British, men's, women's and international tennis - as well as all three other grand slam organisers - before making a final decision.

"The build for The Championships is due to begin at the end of April," the AELTC club said in a statement.

"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.

"Playing behind closed doors has been formally ruled out.”

With AAP