In today’s “the ‘rona ruins everything” news, the sports world continues to suffer as the coronavirus pandemic rages on and major athletic events are either postponed or outright canceled.
This time it’s the Wimbledon tennis championship that will go the way of NASCAR and the second half of the NBA 2020 season, as organizers announced Wednesday that the Grand Slam event set to begin on June 26 will be suspended indefinitely for the first time since World War II, CNN reports.
Just to reiterate that last point for all of the “it’s all media hype” people still plaguing our social media newsfeeds: The only other event besides the coronavirus pandemic that was massive enough to cause the cancellation of the Wimbledon games was arguably the most well-known international war in history.
Tournament organizer the All England Club (AELTC) held an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss possible options before making its announcement.
“This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the well being of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen,” said AELTC chairman Ian Hewitt.
“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.”
While there were attempts to save this year’s professional tennis season, the writing has been on the wall for a while now. According to Reuters, German Tennis Federation (DTB) vice-president Dirk Hordorff told Sky Sports Germany that, while the AELTC still hadn’t made any official decisions yet, it was unlikely we would be seeing Wimbledon in 2020.
“It is completely unrealistic to imagine that with the travel restrictions that we currently have an international tennis tournament where hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world would travel. That is unthinkable,” Hordorff said.
The only good that may come from canceling the games might be AELTC pledging to use its resources to aid efforts in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
“Our efforts will now be focused on contributing to the emergency response and supporting those affected by the coronavirus crisis. We have begun distributing medical equipment and offered the use of our facilities to the NHS and to the London Resilience Partnership, the collection of agencies in London fighting the battle against COVID-19. We are working with the local authorities in Merton and Wandsworth, particularly on food distribution, and we are distributing food supplies through our partnership with City Harvest,” the AELTC statement read.
As of today, there are still major sporting events that have managed to stave off complete cancellation and have only been postponed, such as the French Open which was set to begin on May 18 but is now being pushed to September, and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo which will now take place in Summer 2021.
It sucks, but we can’t let sports trump our collective health and well-being.