Organizers of the Wimbledon tennis tournament will decide next week if the event will need to be postponed or canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The London-based event is one of the four major Grand Slams in the sport and is regarded by many as the most prestigious. It is due to run June 29-July 12 this year.
The French Open, one of the four Grand Slams, has already postponed its dates from May to September. The other two, the U.S. Open and Australian Open, run in September (before the French’s proposed new dates), and January, respectively.
All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, which runs Wimbledon, posted an update on its website stating that because preparations for the event begin next month, it needs to make a decision shortly on whether to press on with its 2020 edition. The org said both postponement and cancellation were on the table.
An emergency meeting of its board is scheduled for next week, and the club explained that it is working with global tennis bodies and other Grand Slams to game plan its next moves. It added that, “the nature of our surface suggests that postponement is not without significant risk and difficulty”, indicating that a cancellation could be likely. The org also ruled out playing behind closed doors.
“The unprecedented challenge presented by the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect our way of life in ways that we could not have imagined, and our thoughts are with all those affected in the UK and around the world,” said the club’s chief exec Richard Lewis. “The single most important consideration is one of public health, and we are determined to act responsibly through the decisions we make. We are working hard to bring certainty to our plans for 2020 and have convened an emergency meeting of the AELTC Main Board for next week, at which a decision will be made.”
Many major sporting events have been moved or cancelled around the world, including this summer’s European Football Championships. The Olympics, due to take place July 24-August 9 in Japan, are set to delay one year to 2021.