Wimbledon may be setting the stage for a possible cancellation of this summer’s edition as the COVID-19 virus threatens Britain.

With the island nation now pursuing a controversial strategy of allowing the spread of the virus in  the hope of establishing “herd immunity” among its public, the once-improbable idea of not playing the grass court Grand Slam may be coming to life.

A communication officer from the All England Club has left the possibility of skipping the 2020 edition open.

“The AELTC is continuing to monitor the coronavirus situation, working closely with the government and the relevant health authorities, and we are following their advice regarding promoting good hygiene practices across our Estate.” Eloise Tyson said.

“While we continue to plan for The Championships at this time, we will act responsibly, in the best interests of wider society.

“In the event that the government required us to cancel, our insurance policies would enable us to offer refunds to ticket holders and debenture holders.”

The classic which has been played for almost a century and a half has never been cancelled during peace time

In Paris, the French worsening virus situation is also raising doubts about Roland Garros, which is  played a month earlier than Wimbledon in late May-early June.

TD Guy Forget began dropping the hint to sports daily L’Equipe.

Court Simonne Mathieu, Stade Roland Garros, Photo : Christophe Guibbaud / FFT

“I think, as a priority, of the health of the spectators and player.. we will explore all the possibilities but anyway, it is not going to be up to the French federation.

“We will follow the recommendations [of the government.”

The ATP and WTA circuits are currently on hold, with no play scheduled until at least April depending, of course, on the COVID-19 situation which is currently  expanding across Europe and the US as it runs its course in China.