The Wimbledon tennis tournament will not take place this year due to uncertainty regarding the spread of the coronavirus. The London grass tournament was scheduled to take place from June 29 to July 12. With the cancellation of this ancestral event, the specter of a cancellation of the season is now raised.
Only the first two world wars (1914-1918 and 1939-1945) had gotten the better of Wimbledon. It is therefore the first time the London tournament created in 1877 is canceled as peace. Wimbledon is the birthplace and the temple of tennis. A monument in the history of sport, like the Olympic Games, the Ryder Cup Golf, the Davis Cup, the America Sailing Cup or the Tour de France cycling race. “Canceling Wimbledon is like removing the Tour de France from the calendar. It's implausible”, says Nicolas Mahut.
Wimbledon is, along with the Australian Open, Roland-Garros and the US Open, one of the 4 pillars that support the whole “tennis” structure. Without Wimbledon, the season is deprived of its most prestigious symbol. And it’s all tennis wavering on its old foundations.
It is with great regret that the AELTC has today decided that The Championships 2020 will be canceled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic.
The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.https://t.co/c0QV2ymGAt
– Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) April 1, 2020
Men and women combined, 31 tournaments including the Australian Open since the start of the year, 44 have been canceled including Wimbledon, or 33% of the scheduled events. There are 55 left before the end of the season including the US Open (August 24 to September 13) and Roland Garros (September 20 to October 4). Players have not participated in any tournament since March 9. And they must now wait, in the best of cases, July 13 to find the path to competition, but again without any guarantee that the tournaments planned from this date can take place because to date, no one can say what will be the health situation across countries around the world.
To maintain tournaments without knowing if they will take place or to end a season which today is cut by a third of its tournaments? This is the question that the leaders of world tennis will have to answer and if possible, as soon as possible, so as not to leave the players expectant. Behind the scenes, world tennis leaders (ATP and WTA) discuss the cancellation of the season. The players are already thinking about it like Richard Gasquet, confined to Sérignan where he is treating a foot injury: “If we have to start again next year, we will start again next year. We mustn't take any risks. We will follow the recommendations but today, given the situation, tennis is largely secondary. The most important thing is everyone's health.
Perhaps we will have to make up our minds and say that we must draw a line under the 2020 season and plan for 2021.at franceinfo
Richard Gasquet is not the only one to talk about the cancellation of the season. Gérard Tsobanian, the organizer of the Masters 1000 in Madrid agrees. His clay court tournament was scheduled for May and like all the others, it was canceled. And when it comes to talking about the rest of the season, Gérard Tsobanian is adamant: “It's a dark year and you have to accept the idea of drawing a line on it and already looking towards 2021. I'm really skeptical for the rest of the season.”
The consequences of a cancellation would be economically considerable not only for tournament organizers, some of whom could be in very great financial difficulty, but also for players who, since March 9, have had no source of income. Those ranked above the 50th place in the world earn their living, more or less, depending on the results they obtain. But, for the time being, without a tournament there is no money to be entered and that … it could last. It is for this reason in particular that Pierre-Hugues Herbert prefers to delay without ruling out the idea of a cancellation: “For me it is still too early to cancel the entire season. But it is certain that we must be ready for this option. We must also be ready for this confinement to be even longer. Now, you have to see how the situation evolves, see if there is still a window to play at the end of the year. But to make such a serious decision, it is better to apply the technique of 'wait and see'. “
And then there are those who don't want to hear about a season suspension. Benoît Paire, the French number 2, is one of them: “I am really against a cancellation of the season. A complete cancellation would be really catastrophic. As soon as possible, we will have to replay tennis even if it is in October or November. Try to cram as many tournaments as possible.”
As soon as possible, we must show that it has started again, that it is not the disease that will stop us. I sincerely hope that the season will not be white.at franceinfo
Like Benoît Paire, the vast majority of players want the season to resume, at one time or another, as soon as the health situation allows. Nicolas Mahut is in favor. “It is true that we can afford to doubt right now. Even if we were to play only one month, we would have to put all the tournaments possible during this period. We have to work on this possibility and then s 'adapt, hoping that the health situation has improved all over the world. “
– ATP Tour (@atptour) April 1, 2020
World tennis leaders and tournament organizers are increasing the number of videoconference meetings. And for them, it's crucial to replay, “As soon as possible, we must resume”, says Jean-François Caujolle, the director of the Marseille tournament, without restraint. “Each available week should be filled with as many tournaments as possible. There is no reason to stop the season because Wimbledon has been canceled.”
The leitmotif right now in meetings is 'As soon as we can, we play and as soon as we play, we play as much as possible'.at franceinfo
For his part, even if he is pessimistic about the rest of the season, Gérard Tsobanian still hopes to be able to organize the Masters 1000 in Madrid from September 14 to 19 between the US Open and Roland Garros: “The season is compromised but there is still the possibility of seeing tennis this year. The leaders of the ATP and the WTA will have to be reactive. If they grant me the right to organize the Madrid Tournament at September must be told by the end of June at the latest. After that it will be too late. But in June, where will the pandemic be? No one knows. “