WIMBLEDON has been called off this summer – one of the highest-profile sporting casualties of the worldwide coronavirus crisis.
For the first time since 1945 – the final year of the Second World War – there will be no Grand Slam event in SW19.
The famous two-week event, which was set to take place on Monday June 29, was cancelled following an emergency board meeting held on teleconference between Wimbledon chiefs.
The decision was made by a committee involving four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman, former cabinet secretary Lord Gus O’Donnell, new chairman Ian Hewitt and ex-player turned sports administrator Debbie Jevans, who was involved in the running of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
It is understood Wimbledon will not suffer financial disaster because they took out an extensive insurance policy that guards against global pandemics.
Two-time winner Andy Murray said: “Very sad that the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s and Wimbledon have been cancelled this year.
“But with all that is going on in the world right now, everyone’s health is definitely the most important thing!
“Looking forward to getting back out on the grass next year already! Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.”
The club will offer refunds to ticket holders who had hoped to be eating strawberries and cream in three months’ time.
The 13.5-acre All England Club grounds (which swells to 42 acres when car parks are included) will now be opened up for the use of the NHS.
This is the first time since 1945 that one of the four tennis majors has been axed.