Wimbledon bosses admitted on Wednesday that cancellation of the 2020 Championships is a possibility due to the COVID-19 emergency, with a crisis meeting set next week.

However they also added  that  the grass court slam will not be rescheduled to take up the vacant Olympics dates in the tennis calendar,  the AELTC saying it would “make little sense”.

The grass-court Grand Slam is due to start on Jun 29 – but the with the current increasingly serious virus situation in Britain, nothing is certain.

The 2020 clay-court season has already been cancelled.

 

Wimbledon and other grass-court tournaments remain on the calendar but it looks increasingly likely they will not go ahead.

There has already been changes as the French Open, originally set to start on May 24, has been rescheduled for September 20.

And with news of the Summer Olympic Games in Japan postponed there is a vacant spot in the calendar from July 25 until August 2.

The London Daily Mail reported that Wimbledon should consider using the Olympics slot, but officials are believed to be not interested.

“Sources at the All England Club suggested on Tuesday that, amid the huge uncertainty, it makes little sense now to postpone The Championships from their current start date of June 29,” the Daily Mail reported.

“The delayed window is not considered significant enough extra time to warrant the enormous upheaval of rescheduling the big fortnight. For now the official policy is to stick with the current arrangements, even though major sports events are falling like nine pins.”

After turning down the chance to perhaps move into the now-vacated Tokyo Olympic slot in late July, organisers are pondering their options.

“The AELTC can confirm that it is continuing a detailed evaluation of all scenarios for The Championships 2020, including postponement and cancellation, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak,” a statement read.

With the start of event preparations traditionally set for late April, there remains only a window of hope that the show can go on.,

“The AELTC 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 and 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 .

“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.”

Added Club CEO Richard Lewis, whose facility is operating with bare bones staff and only necessary operations in place to take care of the valuable grass courts:

CEO Richard Lewis

“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.

“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.”

 

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