Just as Dirk Hordorff, vice-president of the German Tennis Federation, hinted a few days ago, the AELTC has made a decision to cancel Wimbledon 2020 due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
This is not the first time in the history of Wimbledon that the event will not be played, but it is the first time ever that the reason is not a war. The grasscourt tournament, established in 1877, was not held from 1915 to 1918 because of World War I and again from 1940 to 1945 because of World War II.
Wimbledon 2020 had been due to take place between 29th June and 12th July this year, but the 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28th June to 11th July 2021.
Moreover, the WTA and ATP have jointly extended the suspension of all tournaments until 13th July 2020, meaning that grasscourt season is definitely off. Two weeks ago, the WTA and ATP thought that play would resume in time for the tournaments on grass, but now it’s evident that not even in two and a half months will it be possible to organize large gatherings of people.
The US Open is the only Grand Slam that has been played every year since its first staging in 1881 and although a few weeks ago it looked like the tournament would preserve its intact continuity in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, now that New York City has an overwhelmingly growing number of people infected with coronavirus, the season’s final major is likely to be called off as well. However, USTA is still hoping for the best, as we can conclude from their today’s official statement:
At this time the USTA still plans to host the US Open as scheduled, and we continue to hone plans to stage the tournament. The USTA is carefully monitoring the rapidly-changing environment surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, and is preparing for all contingencies.
Alas, there goes Wimbledon. What is going to happen to the ranking system ? The current rule is clearly to the benefit of Federer and Andreescu, who were already injured at the time Indian Wells started and now will have months to recover from injury. Are the 2019 points shifted towards 2021 ? How about the special ATP Ranking rule ? Should Roland Garros, if it ever gets started, be in or out the ranking system of 2020 ? I agree the current rule is more fair than a ranking where points just leak away, but I am not sure if a solution like Darren Cahill suggests is the perfect solution to reality either. Your kind opinion please ?
Maarten Verheul, those are all questions that tennis officials are considering now, but they will make a final decision when the situation about the resumption of play becomes clearer. As for now, the rankings are frozen, everything is at a standstill. When play resumes, and who knows when it will happen, they will decide what to do with points. If they eventually prolong the season and play some tournaments during the off-season, we’ll see which tournaments they’ll decide to organize. It is all very complicated and eventually the solution will probably not be fair to everyone, but I’m sure they’ll work on finding the fairest possible solution.