The Wimbledon 2020 Championship is facing potential postponement or cancellation following confirmation from the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC) that it is continuing to evaluate all scenarios as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Having been contingency planning since January, the AELTC has been working closely with both the UK government and public health authorities in order to understand the impact of COVID-19 and ensure that advice is followed.
Richard Lewis CBE, AELTC Chief Executive, commented: “The unprecedented challenge presented by the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect our way of life in ways that we could not have imagined, and our thoughts are with all those affected in the UK and around the world.
“The single most important consideration is one of public health, and we are determined to act responsibly through the decisions we make. We are working hard to bring certainty to our plans for 2020 and have convened an emergency meeting of the AELTC Main Board for next week, at which a decision will be made.”
As it stands, an emergency meeting of the AELTC Main Board has been scheduled for next week, with the club also confirming it has been in close communication with the LTA, ATP, WTA, ITF, and the other Grand Slams.
The build for The Championships was originally due to begin at the end of April, however, further doubt has now been cast on the event after the AELTC confirmed it has officially ruled out playing behind closed doors.
A statement read: “At this time, based on the advice we have received from the public health authorities, the very short window available to us to stage The Championships due to the nature of our surface suggests that postponement is not without significant risk and difficulty.
“Following the government’s advice, the AELTC’s sites at the All England Club, Wimbledon Park Golf Club and Raynes Park are currently closed with physical operations reduced to the practical minimum to maintain the grass courts and the security of the sites.”
The AELTC is offering support within its local communities through the Wimbledon Foundation, and more broadly throughout the UK population through its partnerships with the British Red Cross and City Harvest.