Long before COVID-19 and its detrimental effects forced countless forms of entertainment to be cancelled or postponed, The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) began preparing in January for a Plan B, C and so forth with staging its biggest event: Wimbledon.
On Wednesday evening in London, the organization revealed it has called an “emergency meeting” next week with the AELTC Main Board. The tournament’s build is set to get underway at the end of April and an outcome on its status is expected to be made as part of the assembly's agenda.
“We are working hard to bring certainty to our plans for 2020,” said Richard Lewis CBE, AELTC Chief Executive. “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.”
The AELTC has greatly diminished activity on its grounds, taking only necessary measures related to maintaining the health of its renowned grass courts and security of its facilities.
“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,” the statement said. “Playing behind closed doors has been formally ruled out.”
Tournament action on the ATP and WTA tours is currently on hold through June 7. Wimbledon is scheduled to begin on Monday, June 29. With Tuesday’s postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, it could potentially open a window in late July and early August for the tournament to consider for a contingency plan.