COVID-19 stole yet another event from the sporting world. Wimbledon canceled its Grand Slam tennis tournament on Wednesday for the first time since World War II.
The event, which was scheduled for June 29 to July 12, was abandoned for public health concerns relating to the coronavirus, marking the first time the tournament will not be played in peacetime since its start in 1877.
The decision came hours after the UK reported its largest one-day coronavirus death toll of 563 people, causing the death toll to surpass 2,352 in England on Wednesday. Wimbledon was to be held in London where there have been 736 fatalities as of Wednesday.
AELTC chairman’s official statement
All England Club (AELTC) chairman Ian Hewitt said the club will try to utilize their resources to help those suffering from the virus. Read the full statement in the tweet below:
“We believe, given the measure of this global crisis, that it is ultimately the right decision to cancel The Championships 2020 and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of our resources to help those in our local communities and beyond”
– Ian Hewitt, AELTC Chairman
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) April 1, 2020
“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,” Wimbledon announced via Twitter. “The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.”
Tickets will be refunded
Wimbledon explained via Twitter that ticket holders who paid for their tickets in the Wimbledon Public Ballot will receive a refund and have the option to buy a pair of tickets to the 2021 Championships for the same day and court.
Reaction to Wimbledon cancellation
Veteran and new tennis players took to Twitter to share their reactions to the news. Some expressed shock and others voiced concern for others’ health during this pandemic.
The 38-year-old, 20-time Grand Slam champion tennis player Roger Federer simply tweeted “Devastated” and attached a gif in his reaction.
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) April 1, 2020
Serena Williams, 23-time Grand Slam winner, tweeted “I’m Shooked” upon hearing the news of the cancelation.
I’m Shooked https://t.co/dS0cNcCdm0
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) April 1, 2020
Coco Gauff, a 16-year-old rising tennis star, said she is going to miss playing in Wimbledon 2020 and tweeted out support for others.
British’s top female professional tennis player, Johanna Konta, tweeted a picture of herself serving and looks to forward 2021.
Canadian tennis star, Felix Auger Aliassime, also tweeted he’s looking forward to 2021 and encouraged everyone to stay home.
“We are going through something bigger than tennis,” said the reigning Wimbledon 2019 champion, Simona Halep, in a lengthy tweet reminiscing on the Wimbledon 2019.
What ESPN tennis broadcaster Patrick McEnroe had to say
ESPN tennis broadcaster Patrick McEnroe said he expected Wimbledon to be canceled.
The former French Open champion confirmed via Twitter on Tuesday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus almost a week ago and is feeling fine. On Wednesday, McEnroe said that Wimbledon had no other choice but to cancel the event:
The US Tennis Association lends New York facility to aid COVID-19 patients
Darren Rovell reported via Twitter that the US Tennis Association will be making a makeshift hospital with 350 beds for coronavirus patients in New York.
On the day that Wimbledon is canceled, the US Tennis Association is lending it’s facility in New York to the construction of a makeshift hospital with 350 beds to take in Covid-19 patient overflow from a nearby hospital. pic.twitter.com/sYzPCYpiXd
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 1, 2020
The complex, Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, is located in Queens and will support the patients who tested positive but do not need ICU care to help with hospital overflow.