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Coronavirus: Wimbledon cancelled for first time since World War Two

Andy Murray playing at Wimbledon
Andy Murray playing at Wimbledon

Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since World War Two due to “public health concerns” linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

The annual tennis tournament was scheduled to be played between 29 June and 12 July but will now take place in 2021.

An announcement was made on Wednesday by the All England Club and posted to the official Wimbledon website.

The statement read: “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. The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.”

The cancellation of The Championships follows the postponement of the French Open, which was supposed to be played in May but will now take place in September.

Wimbledon joins the list of major global sporting events to be called off amidst the Covid-19 crisis. Both the Tokyo Olympics and the UEFA European Football Championship have been postponed until next year.

Ian Hewitt, AELTC Chairman, said: “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.

“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 that it is a measure of this global crisis that 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.”

Judy Murray, mother of Scots tennis star Andy Murray who has won Wimbledon twice, expressed her disappointment at the cancellation but said it has been “inevitable”.

She said: “There are bigger things at play and if we have to wait another year, we have to wait another year.”

She added that she was sure Andy would play The Championships again.

“Andy is 33. Federer is still going strong at 38. There’s no reason – so long as he’s fit and healthy – that he can’t play again.”

The Championships’ charity, the Wimbledon Foundation, is offering funding support for local communities and the UK population through its partnerships with the London Community Foundation and the British Red Cross.