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Wimbledon canceled for first time since World War II; ATP, WTA suspended until mid-July

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The Championships, the official name of the tennis Grand Slam known around the world as Wimbledon, will not be held in 2020.

“It is with great regret that the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic,” the All England Tennis Club announced Wednesday. “The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.”

Organizers expect Britain’s measures to combat the spread of the virus for many months. The supplies and services needed to put on the tournament would not be available at any other point in the summer, ruling out a postponement until later in the year, organizers said.

Also on Wednesday, the ATP Tour announced that the suspension of the ATP and WTA tours would continue until July 13, the day after Wimbledon was supposed to end. The tennis competition at the Olympics was scheduled to start July 24.

The French Open has been postponed until late September. The USTA said Wednesday that the U.S. Open is still expected to be held on its scheduled time frame of Aug. 24 to Sept. 13.

Wimbledon started in 1877 has been held every year except during World War I and World War II.

Roger Federer, who has been dealing with a right knee injury that would have kept him out of action for the next couple of months even if tournaments were going forward, reacted with one simple word: “Devastated.”

Federer has not yet announced his retirement despite some April Fools Day-inspired pieces around the Internet on Wednesday.

Defending women’s champion Simona Halep was quick to share her thoughts as well: “(W)e are going through something bigger than tennis and Wimbledon will be back!”

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French Open changes dates due to coronavirus

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The French Open tennis Grand Slam has been postponed from a May 24 start to Sept. 20-Oct. 4 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Roland Garros will now start one week after the end of the U.S. Open, traditionally the season’s last Slam.

“Though nobody is able to predict what the situation will be on 18th May, the current confinement measures have made it impossible for us to continue with our preparations and, as a result, we are unable to hold the tournament on the dates originally planned,” according to a tournament press release.

Previously, the ATP and WTA Tours called off all tournaments into late April, including the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, considered the sport’s fifth-biggest annual tournament after the four majors.

The next scheduled Grand Slam is Wimbledon from June 29-July 12.

The French Open was scheduled to be the final tournament in the Olympic qualifying window. ATP and WTA rankings after the event were to determine the Olympic singles fields.

The new French Open dates coincide with the Laver Cup, a men’s team event that drew Roger FedererRafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic among its first three editions. This year’s Laver Cup is scheduled for Boston from Sept. 25-27.

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ATP, WTA tennis tours suspend weeks of tournaments

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The ATP suspended all men’s professional tennis tournaments for six weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the WTA said Thursday it was calling off one event in April and would decide on any further changes to the women’s tour schedule within a week.

After the men’s tour said it would halt ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour competition until late April, WTA spokeswoman Amy Binder told The Associated Press the women’s tour was not immediately prepared to do the same.

“At this point in time,” Binder wrote in an email, “we are not looking to put in a 6 week suspension.”

Later, WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon said the tournament in Charleston, S.C., won’t be held as scheduled because of concerns about coronavirus. The clay-court Volvo Car Open was supposed to be April 6-12.

Simon added that the WTA will work with player and tournament leadership to make a decision in the next week about the European clay-court season.

In a further indication of the fractured nature of tennis decision-making, the International Tennis Federation said its lower-tier events would be on hold until April 22; the men’s tour said its tournaments would not resume before the end of that week.

The next Grand Slam tournament, the French Open, is still scheduled to be held in Paris beginning May 24.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

The combined men’s and women’s tournament at Indian Wells, Calif., that was scheduled to begin main-draw play this week already had been called off Sunday because of fears about the virus outbreak.

Thursday’s ATP announcement affects the combined men’s and women’s Miami Open, where play was supposed to begin in less than two weeks, along with the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston, the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech, the Monte Carlo Masters, the Barcelona Open and the Hungarian Open.

The Miami Open was supposed to be played March 23 to April 5 at the NFL’s Dolphins stadium complex in Miami Gardens.

With Miami-Dade County under a state of emergency, Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced the cancellation of the Miami Open, along with a county youth fair and all major events at the Miami Heat’s arena.

Unlike with Indian Wells, where there was an insistence that rescheduling later this year might be possible, Miami Open tournament director James Blake made clear that his event would not be played until 2021.

The Miami Open draws fans from all over the world, which compounded health concerns. Last year’s attendance totaled nearly 389,000, the most in tournament history. Tournament officials estimated the economic impact for South Florida at $390 million.

Most of the world’s top tennis players were supposed to participate in Miami; 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer was not going to be there because he is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

The ITF said Thursday its suspension applied to all tournaments on the men’s and women’s ITF World Tennis Tour, the ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors, the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, ITF Beach Tennis World Tour and ITF Seniors Tour.

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