The ongoing Coronavirus crisis has thrown this year’s Wimbledon tennis tournament into doubt.
It comes as the impact of Covid-19 around the world has taken its toll on the sporting calendar, forcing the likes of the Olympics, Premier League and Euro 2020 to be postponed.
Sporting fans who have been looking forward to a packed summer line-up of sports entertainment could be about to receive another blow, as the fate of Wimbledon is to be decided this week.
The hugely popular tennis event is a British institution and is undoubtedly one of the summer’s biggest sporting highlights, with thousands of Wimbledon fans tuning in every year.
But the tennis tournament is now under threat due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it is uncertain whether the event will go ahead.
A decision on the fate of this year’s event will be decided at an emergency board meeting next week, the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC) has said.
In a statement on Wednesday, March 25, the club said: “The AELTC can confirm it is continuing a detailed evaluation of all scenarios for The Championships, including postponement and cancellation, as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“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.”
All professional tennis events have been stopped until the beginning of June, but no Grand Slam has officially been cancelled since 1945.
- Could Wimbledon be held indoors?
Playing behind closed doors has been formally ruled out, given government restrictions on mass gatherings.
It is expected when the AELTC board meets next week it will be decided it is not feasible to stage the tournament this year.
With playing indoors ruled out, it is unlikely up to 40,000 will be permitted on-site to watch the sporting event every day.
Work to prepare the ground for Wimbledon is due to begin next month, but this cannot be done without a significant number of people on site, as this would flout social distancing rules.
- When is Wimbledon meant to take place?
This year’s tennis tournament is currently scheduled to take place on Monday, June 29, but the event may be forced to postpone.
The tournament runs for two weeks, ending on Sunday, July 12 with the final of the men’s singles.
Wimbledon traditionally is traditionally the third Grand Slam tennis event each year, taking place after the Australian and the French Open.
This year’s French Open has now been postponed and will be played later in the year from September 20 to October 4, 2020.
- Will I get a refund if it is cancelled?
If Wimbledon is forced to be cancelled, ticket holders should be able to get a refund in such an event, the i newspaper has reported.
The tennis tournament could be cancelled by government decree, in which case it is understood that insurance policies already in place would allow the AELTC to refund the tickets that have been sold in advance.