WASHINGTON, April 1, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)
With today’s news that the 2020 Wimbledon Championships have cancelled and with the French Tennis Federation already having moved the dates of this year’s French Open from May to September – and with ATP, WTA and ITF tournament play now suspended until July 13 – this year’s tennis season been upended like no other time in recent memory.
The Wimbledon Championships, which began in 1877, have previously been cancelled only by the First and Second World Wars – and not since 1945.
Soon, after the All England Club announced the cancellation of this year’s Wimbledon Championships – the first Grand Slam to fall victim of the novel coronavirus pandemic – the U.S. Tennis Association released a statement on its website in reaction:
“We understand the unique circumstances facing the All England Lawn and Tennis Club and the reasoning behind the decision to cancel the 2020 Wimbledon Championships. At this time the USTA still plans to host the US Open as scheduled, and we continue to hone plans to stage the tournament.
“The USTA is carefully monitoring the rapidly-changing environment surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, and is preparing for all contingencies. We also rely on the USTA’s Medical Advisory Group as well as governmental and security officials to ensure that we have the broadest understanding of this fluid situation.
“In all instances, all decisions made by the USTA regarding the US Open will be made with the health and well-being of our players, fans, and all others involved in the tournament.”
An update on the 2020 US Open: pic.twitter.com/RWERrYUrky
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) April 1, 2020
Currently, portions of the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center – the Indoor Tennis Center and Louis Armstrong Stadium – are being used by the City of New York to combat the global pandemic in its U.S. epicenter. A temporary 350-bed hospital is being constructed inside the Indoor Tennis Center while Louis Armstrong Stadium, the second largest stadium on the National Tennis Center grounds, will be as used a commissary to make food for patients, health care workers, volunteers and underprivileged city schoolchildren.
As of March 23, the National Tennis Center closed for play and instruction opportunities through May 3.