The Wimbledon Championships for this year have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the All England Club confirmed in a statement Wednesday.
Wimbledon had been scheduled to be played between June 29 and July 12. Though the All England Club considered a number of alternatives, including postponement, it decided that cancellation was the best option.
“It is with great regret that the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic,” Wimbledon said in a statement on their website.
“Uppermost in our mind has been the health and safety of all of those who come together to make Wimbledon happen — the public in the UK and visitors from around the world, our players, guests, members, staff, volunteers, partners, contractors, and local residents — as well as our broader responsibility to society’s efforts to tackle this global challenge to our way of life.”
It is the first time Wimbledon has been cancelled since 1945, the last year of World War II. Since the tournament first began in 1877, this will be the first time that Wimbledon will not be played during peacetime.
Next year’s event will be held June 28 to July 11, 2021.
While moving the tournament into late July or August was discussed, not enough sunlight and too much dew at that time of year made any move problematic.
Playing the tournament behind closed doors, with no spectators, was ruled out by the club in a statement last week.
Sources told ESPN that the All England Club is insured against cancellation.
Wednesday’s decision came a few hours after it was announced that 563 people — the highest one-day figure so far — had died from the virus in England from 9 a.m. Tuesday to 9 a.m. Wednesday, taking the death toll to 2,352.
Britain is under severe restrictions due to the virus. People have been told to stay home and work from home, leave the house only for necessities, such as food, and go out only once per day for exercise.
The French Open, which was scheduled to be played May 24 to June 7, announced last month that the event will now be played Sept. 20 to Oct. 4.