The premier tennis event of the season, Wimbledon, has been canceled in response to the Coronavirus. The first time the grass court event, played at the historic All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, has been canceled since the Second World War. The tournament had been scheduled to run from June 29 through July 12.
The United Kingdom and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have recently advanced many of the same shelter-in-place policies that have taken hold in the United States and elsewhere around the globe. PM Johnson himself has tested positive for the virus and has reported mild symptoms. The Prime Minister is self-quarantined and has been conducting his position remotely from 10 Downing Street.
While the continued cancelation of sporting events should come as no shock as we approach three full weeks without major professional sports, what struck me through this announcement is that there is no chance at postponement. Outside of the XFL, no sports league has canceled its season, with the NHL, MLB, and the NBA holding out hope to resume operations.
Earlier this year, the French Open and the French Tennis Federation came under heavy fire for moving the dates of the clay court major unilaterally from May 24 to September 20.
Whether the organizers of the lone grass court major didn’t want to hurt small regional tournaments that are scheduled throughout the season, or just felt as though the uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak makes rescheduling too difficult, we should applaud their decision to ensure the safety of all players, staff, and fans.
This decision could not have been an easy one to come too, but it is one that keeps everyone safe, and the sacrifices we make today ensure all of us have a healthier future to look too.