Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Wimbledon canceled for first time in 75 years

Roger Federer tweeted "Devastated" after Wimbledon, which he has won eight
times, was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. 2017 photo by Mal Taam
   Tennis suffered its biggest blow of the coronavirus pandemic when Wimbledon was canceled today.
   It's the first time the tournament has been canceled in 75 years and the first time Wimbledon will not be played during peacetime since it began in 1877. 
   "Devastated," tweeted eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, who on Monday posted a video of himself hitting trick shots against a backboard in the snow after having arthroscopic knee surgery on Feb. 19.
   Wimbledon had been scheduled for June 29 to July 12. Next year's tournament is set for July 28 to July 11. Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics also announced Monday that the games, scheduled for July 24 to Aug. 9, would be pushed back to the same time slot in 2021.
Simona Halep, shown at Indian Wells in 2015, will
have an extra year to defend her Wimbledon title.
Photo by Mal Taam
   "So sad to hear @Wimbledon won't take place this year," women's defending champion Simona Halep tweeted. "Last year's final will forever be one of the happiest days of my life! But we are going through something bigger than tennis and Wimbledon will be back! And it means I have even longer to look forward to defending my title."
   The ATP and WTA also jointly announced that all events have been canceled through July 13, wiping out the grass-court season. The International Tennis Federation made the same decision.
   All England Club officials declined to postpone the tournament because staff, supplies and services would be unavailable and the condition of the grass would be inadequate. The club also ruled out playing the tournament without spectators.
   The All England Club is insured against cancellation, sources told ESPN. Wimbledon had been canceled only because of World War I (1915-18) and World War II (1940-45).
   The U.S. Open remains scheduled for Aug. 31 to Sept. 13. However, ESPN tennis commentator Patrick McEnroe, interviewed on the network today, estimated the chances of that happening at less than 50 percent.
   McEnroe, a 53-year-old Stanford graduate and resident of Bronxville, N.Y., in the New York area, announced Tuesday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus but feels fine.
   Organizers of the French Open announced on March 17 the postponement of the tournament from May 24-June 7 to Sept. 20-Oct. 4. The unilateral move angered many players, including Vasek Pospisil of Canada.
   "This is madness," tweeted Pospisil, a member of the ATP Player Council. "Major announcement by Roland Garros changing the dates to one week after the U.S. Open. No communication with the players or the ATP .. we have ZERO say in this sport. It's time. #UniteThePlayers"

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