Roger Federer (R) and Novak Djokovic after the men's singles final during Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, UK, July 14, 2019. (Photo: VCG)
Wimbledon could be postponed or even cancelled after All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) chiefs called an "emergency meeting" for next week to discuss whether to go ahead with this year's tournament amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Wimbledon is set to start in London on June 29, but the continuing spread of the virus has caused havoc with the sporting schedule and the grass-court Grand Slam could be the next major event to be delayed.
"The AELTC can confirm that it is continuing a detailed evaluation of all scenarios for The Championships 2020, including postponement and cancellation, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak," an All England Club statement said on Wednesday.
The Wimbledon logo during Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, UK, July 10, 2019. (Photo: VCG)
The event will not be played behind closed doors and postponing the only Grand Slam grasscourt event until later in the year "is not without significant risk and difficulty," according to the AELTC.
Switching to a later time in the year is less likely as Wimbledon has only two covered courts and elite outdoor grasscourt tennis is not feasible past late summer.
Chief executive Richard Lewis said "The single most important consideration is one of public health, and we are determined to act responsibly through the decisions we make."
If Wimbledon is cancelled, it will be the first time to miss a year since 1945.
Wimbledon said it is communicating closely with the LTA, and with the ATP, WTA, ITF and the other Grand Slams.
Both the ATP and WTA tours are currently suspended until early June, effectively cancelling the clay-court season, and the French Open has been put back until late September, making the tennis circuit's traditional second slam the last of the year.
(With input from agencies)