Wimbledon could be postponed or canceled; decision likely next week

Ruben Hill
March 25, 2020

The All England Club says a decision regarding this year's Wimbledon will be made next week.

AELTC Chief Richard Lewis said in a statement: "The unprecedented challenge presented by the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect our way of life in ways we could not have imagined, and our thoughts are with everyone affected in the Kingdom United and its surroundings, the world".

Wimbledon is set to start in London on 29 June, but the continuing spread of the virus has caused havoc with the sporting schedule and the grass-court Grand Slam could be the next major event to be delayed.

"The solitary crucial factor to consider is among public wellness, and also we are established to act properly with the choices we make". The AELTC has ruled out playing the tournament without spectators, and admits that postponement may be hard due to the necessity of maintaining the grass surface.

Contingency planning began as long ago as January, discussing scenarios including postponement, cancellation, playing behind closed doors or in an altered format.

Playing behind closed doors was always considered problematic because it would still involve a large number of staff to run the event.

"Following the government's advice, the AELTC's sites at the All England Club, Wimbledon Park Golf Club and Raynes Park are now closed with physical operations reduced to the practical minimum to maintain the grass courts and the security of the sites".

That includes the head groundsman, Neil Stubley, and a number of other grounds staff, but administration workers and others have been operating from home for the past week.

Wimbledon, whose singles titles were won by Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep previous year, is the crown jewel of the sport's four Grand Slams.

Both the ATP and WTA tours are cancelled until June 8 at the earliest, while Roland Garros officials opted to shift the French Open from May to September.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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