WASHINGTON, April 4, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)
In a week of challenging circumstances facing tennis, Wednesday’s announcement that this year’s Wimbledon Championships had been cancelled by the All England Club has brought out many thoughtful responses.
On Wednesday, 2018 Wimbledon women’s singles champion Angelique Kerber of Germany reached out to her more-than-400,000 Twitter followers by posting a seven-paragraph message that conveyed her feelings. The 21st-ranked Kerber wrote:
“Only a few weeks ago, I still had the illusion of control over my schedule. Since then, a lot has changed.
“Going into the new season, I was looking forward to many highlights. The @olympics, for example, mean the world to me … and the thought of playing @wimbledon has always been the biggest source of motivation!
“It goes without saying that I’m heavy hearted that the cancellation of the grass court season also means that I won’t be able to play in front of my home crowd in Bad Homburg and Berlin …
“It’s disappointing for me but also for all those who put their heart and soul into these events and for the fans who love our sport and support us players all year round.
“But I also know vvery well that there are more important things that we have to focus on right now and that professional sports have to take a step back for a while.
“I am sure that this phase has the potential to strengthen our community, because sports unites – in good and in bad times. And once this has passed, it may even help us appreciate our everyday routines and the beauty of our sport even more than before.
“Thanks to everyone who is working 24/7 to get us through this uncertain time.
Armstrong Stadium now a food prep and distribution center
Earlier this week, it was announced that portions of the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, would be transitioned into a temporary 350-bed hospital and commissary to aid in New York City coronavirus relief. On Friday, Hall of Fame great Billie Jean King, the National Tennis Center’s namesake, posted a photo taken inside Louis Armstrong Stadium on Twitter. It shows the playing surface has been covered and is now being used as a staging area with row upon row of boxes of food and supplies. Staff are preparing up to 25,000 food packages daily, each with two days-worth of meals, for patients, workers and disadvantaged schoolchildren.
This is Armstrong Stadium in BJK National Tennis Center. Other parts of the center will become a hospital. This stadium is a food prep & distribution center where hero staff will prepare up to 25,000 food packages daily, each w/2 days’ worth of meals for patients, workers & kids. pic.twitter.com/smh1YYkvmu
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) April 3, 2020
#StayHomeSavesLives: We’re all in this together
Earlier this week, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) of Great Britain produced a thoughtful video with a message of hope: “We’re all in this together and we’ll definitely come out stronger.” Sharing the message, which was posted on the LTA’s Twitter page, were: Johanna Konta, Feliciano Lopez, Harriet Dart, Milos Raonic, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Katie Boulter, Jamie Murray, Marin Cilic, Donna Vekic and Grigor Dimitrov.
“We’re all in this together and we’ll definitely come out stronger”
Special message to you from @JohannaKonta, @feliciano_lopez, @harriet_dart, @milosraonic, @felixtennis, @KatieBoulter1, @jamie_murray, @cilic_marin, @DonnaVekic & @GrigorDimitrov #StayHomeSaveLives pic.twitter.com/WgUAIWo8UI
— LTA (@the_LTA) April 1, 2020
What they’re writing
Since the 2020 Wimbledon Championships cancellation at mid week, many of the world’s best and most recognizable tennis writers have been chronicling their thoughts on the impact of the All England Club’s decision and the impact the coronavirus has had on this year’s tennis season. Among them, Reem Abulleil shared her thoughts about what a tennis season without Wimbledon means for The National, an Abu Dhabi-based English-language daily, and Christopher Clarey, who has written on tennis and global sports for The New York Times for nearly 30 years, says: “With Wimbledon canceled and the rest of the season in doubt, tennis has troubles aplenty but also an opportunity.”
Reem Abulleil, The National (U.A.E.) columnist
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) April 2, 2020
Christopher Clarey, New York Times tennis correspondent
With Wimbledon canceled and the rest of the season in doubt, tennis has troubles aplenty but also an opportunity. My latest https://t.co/ZLPndpa4Up
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) April 3, 2020
What they’re tweeting
Richard Lewis CBE, Wimbledon Chief Executive
“I’d like to thank all who love Wimbledon for their understanding of these unique and challenging circumstances. Your passion has shaped our event and continues to do so.
“We look forward to preparing a fantastic Championships in 2021.”
– Richard Lewis CBE, Chief Executive pic.twitter.com/6MOO0LnWxO
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) April 2, 2020
Kyle Edmund, Great Britain, ranked No. 44
“In the tennis world there is disappointment, but ultimately what is going on is bigger than tennis right now”
— LTA (@the_LTA) April 3, 2020
Harriet Dart, Great Britain, ranked No. 146
— Harriet Dart (@harriet_dart) April 1, 2020