Coronavirus Outbreak: There may be no more tennis this year, says Wimbledon chief Richard Lewis
Richard Lewis, who is set to step down as Wimbledon chief executive in July, said he hoped the situation will stabilise in the coming months to allow the hardcourt season to get underway before the US Open begins on 24 August.
Tennis may not return until 2021 after the coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation of the entire grass court season and most of the clay court campaign, All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) chief executive Richard Lewis said on Thursday.
The outbreak has played havoc with the global sporting calendar and the Wimbledon championships were cancelled by the AELTC on Wednesday for the first time since the second World War.
Lewis, who is set to step down in July, said he hoped the situation will stabilise in the coming months to allow the hardcourt season to get underway before the US Open begins on 24 August.
“The optimist in me – and I’m often not optimistic – still hopes that the American hardcourt season will take place,” Lewis said.
“One hopes that things have settled down a bit and those big 1,000-point tournaments — Montreal, Toronto, Cincinnati — can happen in the lead-up to the US Open. We all know that’s probably tenuous at the moment.
“I don’t think it’s unrealistic to say that there may be no more tennis this year. But let’s hope that the US Open and Roland Garros can take place.”
Roland Garros, originally due to be played from 24 May - 7 June, was postponed and controversially rescheduled by the French tennis federation for 20 September - 4 October — a week after the US Open concludes.
Top players, including eight-times champion Roger Federer and seven-times winner Serena Williams, expressed their disappointment at not being able to play at Wimbledon this year.
The two 38-year-olds are nearing the end of their careers and Lewis is hoping they will return to the All England Club in 2021.
“We’d love to see both of them back,” Lewis said. “It’s something to look forward to, and we’ll hopefully enjoy it all the more, a silver lining to come out of it.”
Federer, who will bid to win a ninth title at Wimbledon which starts 28 June, suffered a shock 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 defeat to 20-year-old Canadian Felix Auger Aliassime, who is almost half Federer's age.
Samsonova, 22, will face world number 12 Belinda Bencic for the title on Sunday after her 6-4, 6-2 win over Azarenka.
Britain's Murray won the second of his two Wimbledon titles in 2016 but due to persistent injury problems is ranked 124, which is outside the cut-off for direct qualification.