This year’s Wimbledon tournament has been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The All England Club held an emergency board meeting on Wednesday to discuss the fate of the 2020 Championships.
And tennis chiefs have now decided to axe this year’s tournament, scheduled to begin on June 29, as they could not justify playing it behind closed doors and a postponement was not “without significant risk and difficulty”.
The announcement means it will be the first time since World War II that The Championship has not been hosted.
Ultimately, it proved tricky to nail down a date later in the calendar.
Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Club: “This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen.
“It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of The Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe that it is a measure of this global crisis that it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s Championships, and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon’s resources to help those in our local communities and beyond.
“Our thoughts are with all those who have been and continue to be affected by these unprecedented times.”
The French Open has already been postponed, shoehorned into the schedule in late September, and it was difficult for Wimbledon to rearrange.
The grasscourt season is only six weeks long and is played at the height of the British summer when daylight hours are at their longest.
The US Open in August is also under threat with the Billie jean King USTA National Tennis Center will be turned into a temporary hospital in New York.
Speaking on Tuesday, two-time Wimbledon mixed doubles champion Jamie Murray admitted he saw no alternative but to cancel this year’s tournament.
Asked whether he thinks a cancellation is more likely than a postponement, he told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4: “I think so, I think for them it is difficult to move the tournament back for many reasons, because you are running into other tournaments.
“I guess for the moment it is still on the schedule. Even things like daylight, to host the event, each week that passes you get less light to play the tournament. They play until 9 or 10pm each night at Wimbledon.
“I guess everyone has been waiting on it, it is obviously the next big event in the calendar that is on for the moment.
“I think there are meetings today and tomorrow about what their plans are. That will give us insight into what that means for our grasscourt season but also the rest of the season going forward after that.”