Wimbledon cancelled for first time since WWII

Wimbledon cancelled for first time since WWII

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The oldest Grand Slam tennis tournament, Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since World War Two because of the coronavirus pandemic, the sportsbay reports.

The tournament was due to be played between 29 June and 12 July.

The entire grass-court season has been abandoned, and there will be no professional tennis anywhere in the world until at least 13 July.

Wimbledon is the latest major summer sporting event to be called off, with Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics postponed for 12 months.

It follows the postponement of the French Open, which was due to begin in May but has been rescheduled to 20 September-4 October.

“This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen,” said Ian Hewitt, All England Lawn Tennis Club chairman.

“It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of the Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s Championships, and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon’s resources to help those in our local communities and beyond.

“Our thoughts are with all those who have been and continue to be affected by these unprecedented times.”

Two-time champion Petra Kvitova said the cancellation was tough to take.

“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!” she tweeted.

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The decision to cancel Wimbledon was widely expected, with the world struggling to contain the spread of COVID-19, which has claimed more than 43,000 lives and infected more than 860,000 people, according to an AFP tally.

Organisers had earlier ruled out playing the event behind closed doors while postponing it would also have created its own problems, with shorter days later in the English summer.

The ATP and WTA have also cancelled the grasscourt swing in the build-up to the tournament, meaning the tennis season will not now restart until July 13 at the earliest.

The US Tennis Association said it was sticking to its August 31 to September 13 dates for the US Open in New York.

“At this time the USTA still plans to host the US Open as scheduled, and we continue to hone plans to stage the tournament,” it said in a statement.

“The USTA is carefully monitoring the rapidly changing environment surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and is preparing for all contingencies.”

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