While expected, this year’s cancellation of this year’s Wimbledon caused a wave of emotion among tennis fans for the first time since World War II.
Strawberries and cream, Pimm’s, Tim Henman, Sue Barker … it will all stand still until 2021 as the coronavirus crisis continues to decimate the sports calendar.
While such sentiments are minor in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has raised fears that a major sports era will now come to an anticlimax.
Roger Federer and Serena Williams pose in 2012 with their Wimbledon trophies
Roger Federer was ‘heartbroken’ and Serena Williams ‘shook’ as they led the comments on the prospect of no action on the green grass at SW19 this summer.
Both are scheduled to turn 40 next year, just weeks after the 2021 championships, from June 28 to July 11. They are the great champions of not only modern times, but always.
Federer’s chances of coming out on top in the Grand Slam race against Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have certainly been hit and Serena is now up against the clock to overtake Margaret Court.
But 20-time Grand Slam winner Federer is already focusing on next year, “I can’t wait to come back next year. It just makes us appreciate our sport even more in these times. We are going through difficult times, but we will come out stronger. ‘
Serena has stayed blunt so far, but it would be a huge shock if she didn’t walk away from Center Court in 15 months.
So how will Wimbledon’s cancellation affect the two GOATS and the rest of the game? Sports email answer the burning questions.
Federer admitted he was ‘devastated’ after Wimbledon was canceled on Wednesday
Williams aspired to win Wimbledon to match the Margaret Slam record of 24
So there is no Wimbledon this year?
That is the sad truth. On Wednesday, the All England Club confirmed that for the first time in 75 years, since 1945, the doors would remain closed during the summer months.
Wimbledon became the last major summer sports event to be canceled, with Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics postponed for 12 months.
It follows the postponement of the French Open, which is scheduled to begin in May, but has been moved to September 20 – October 4.
“This is a decision we have not taken lightly, and we have done it with the utmost respect for the public health and wellbeing of all who come together to make Wimbledon happen,” said Ian Hewitt, President of the All England Lawn Tennis Club .
“It has weighed heavily on us that the organization of the championships has only been interrupted earlier by the world wars, but after thorough and extensive study of all scenarios, we believe that this is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s championships and instead, focus on how we can use Wimbledon’s resources to help people in our local communities and beyond.
Coronavirus forced Wimbledon to cancel for the first time since World War II
The All England Club became the last sport victim of the global pandemic
“Our thoughts are with all those who are and are affected by these unknown times.”
Unlike Roland Garros, where the clay courts can be kept, it was considered impossible for Wimbledon to be moved later in the year or played without fans, so the leaders pulled the plug completely.
From June 29 to July 12, this year was the scheduled fortnightly period for Wimbledon and due to the lack of daylight, the tournament will be impossible to play later in the year. Matches at Wimbledon, played outdoors on grass courts, often run until late in the evening on every day of the tournament. Only Center Court and No 1 Court have a roof to allow indoor matches in bad weather or light.
The LTA also confirmed that all pre-Wimbledon tournaments, including at The Queen’s Club, Nottingham and Eastbourne, have also been canceled due to the corona virus outbreak.
Which tennis can you look out for in 2020?
The entire gravel and grass season has been wiped out, and although a resumption of the tour is currently scheduled for July 13 in Hamburg, Bastad, Bucharest and Lausanne, don’t hold your breath.
There is increasing speculation as to whether anything will happen in tennis this season at all, even though the French Open has pushed itself back to a September 20 start date.
In Flushing Meadows, home of the US Open, which kicks off in late August, some of the indoor facilities are currently being converted into a temporary medical center.
Federer tweeted in response to news that this year’s tournament had been canceled
Williams tweeted that she was “shocked” after hearing the news on Wednesday afternoon
The last Slam of the year was organized in Indian Wells, California in December, but that seems unlikely.
The Olympic tournament – the only gold medal missing from Federer’s illustrious streak – is clearly on hold. Even the annual curtain shutter, the November ATP World Finals are threatened with this year’s latest being held at London’s O2 Arena.
In a global sport like tennis, with players so regularly crossing continents, every game while the pandemic rages seems impractical, if not impossible.
2006 Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo said on Twitter earlier this week: ‘I think we should draw a line under the 2020 tennis season.
“An international circuit = players of all nationalities, but also coaches, spectators and players from all over the world to bring these events to life.
“No vaccine = no tennis.”
What does it mean for Roger Federer and Serena Williams?
Federer claimed the last of his eight titles after defeating Marin Cilic on Center Court in 2017
Novak Djokovic defeated Federer in a five-part epic at Wimbledon’s Center Court last year
Neither do they get younger, and waiting long for tennis to resume will hurt their chances of further success.
Federer turns 40 on August 40, Serena a month later. They’ve gathered admirably against the fading light in recent years, especially Williams after taking a long hiatus during the delivery of her first child in 2017.
In recent years, Federer has found it increasingly difficult to keep up with the top of the men, especially his great rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who are five and six years younger respectively.
He has already adjusted his game step-by-step, increasingly favoring serve and volley to shorten points and maintain his stamina. He remains incredibly competitive – reaching at least the last 16 of every Slam he has entered since 2015.
But two defeats in the semifinal and the painful loss to Djokovic in last year’s Wimbledon final show just how often the hardest hurdle can be overcome.
Serena Williams jumps for joy after winning the 2012 final – one of six triumphs at SW19
Williams was a losing finalist to the last two Wimbledons, defeated by Simona Halep in 2019
It has been a similar story for Williams since she brought up her 23rd Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in 2017. It seemed only a matter of time then before she came right up with Margaret’s Court swipe of 24.
But she missed maternity leave for the rest of that year and has since lost four straight Slam finals, including her amazing meltdown to chair umpire Carlos Ramos in a defeat to Naomi Osaka in the U.S. in 2018.
Wimbledon and the US remain her best shot at making history, and no one can doubt a competitive success that has kept her coming back.
But it would put a lot of strain on her body to go deep in 2021.
Where does it place Federer in the men’s Grand Slam race?
The aging body of the Swiss legend is not his greatest obstacle to future success. Nadal and Djokovic have been his biggest competitors for the past 15 years and they are now exhaling his neck in the Grand Slam race.
The Spaniard stands at 19 and if the French continue this fall, chances are there will be an incredible 13th title there and level with Federer.
Federer had initially opted out of the clay court season, but may think again if he continues to scrap the lawn campaign and the uncertain season in late summer.
Rafael Nadal can compete with Federer at 20 Grand Slam this year during this year’s French Open
Novak Djokovic has won five of the last seven Major titles and has 17 Grand Slams to his name
Djokjovic recaptured his place at the top of the world rankings with victory in Melbourne in January and he is undoubtedly the world tennis formman, winning five of the last seven slams. Only injuries can make the 17-time winner feasible to catch up.
But now there is the rise of the next generation, which has bubbled beneath the surface for years. Alexander Zverev eventually made it to a Grand Slam and reached the Australian semi-finals, while Dominic Thiem reached his first Major final outside of Parisian clay.
Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Canadian Canadian child prodigy Felix Auger-Aliassime will all be a year older and more mature by 2021. If they stay in shape and keep an eye on them, they will inevitably pose a greater threat within a year.
And will Serena ever overtake Margaret Court?
Williams has come so close, but four final defeats against four different opponents illustrate how difficult her job is to get even more Slam in hand, let alone two.
Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu have all beaten her in the Major finals since 2018. There is an ever-growing competitive field in the women’s game, full of young talent who grew up glorifying Serena.
The extraordinary Coco Gauff, who made such an impression last year as a 15-year-old debutant at the All England Club, is constantly developing jumps.
Serena Williams is still looking to catch up and catch up on Margaret Court’s string of 24 Slam titles
Ashleigh Barty remains head and shoulders the best woman player in the world. Sofia Kenin impresses quickly after winning her first Slam in Melbourne.
It’s hard to argue that, aside from reputation, Serena is no longer separate or at the top of the women’s game.
She has become part of a busy field and has been shown to be fallible at crunch moments for the past two years. That is the biggest obstacle she must overcome in pursuing Slam Nos 24 and 25.
Did Andy Murray get a chance?
A big winner of all this – as there is – could be former world number 1 Andy Murray.
Wimbledon is the tournament he was so desperate for before saving his career with hip renewal surgery. Now it has become the tournament he is so desperately aiming for to return his singles Slam.
The Scot has not played since he suffered a groin injury in November and it seemed that a return to action for the grassy season was about to disappear a few months ago.
He said on Wednesday: “Very sad that the Fever-Tree Championships and Wimbledon have been canceled this year, but with everything that is happening in the world right now, everyone’s health is the most important thing!
Andy Murray has not returned to the Wimbledon singles since a hip injury flared up in 2017
Murray has built his way back to fitness after undergoing hip surgery last year
“I look forward to going on the grass again next year! I hope everyone stays safe and healthy. ‘
His mother, Judy, is ‘sure’ that he will be there next year. She told BBC Scotland: ‘It would be three months before Wimbledon would have been and then it would be another 12 months and Andy is still only 33 [he turns 33 next month] and look at [Roger] Federer!
“He’s still doing well at the age of 38 and there is Serena [Williams, who is also 38]so there is no reason, as long as he stays fit and healthy, why he can no longer play at Wimbledon. It’s the same for Jamie too.
“One of the things that Jamie said recently when asked what his goals are or what he wants to achieve before the end of his career was that he wanted to be able to play a Wimbledon with his brother, so let’s hope you can happen one day. ‘
Perhaps Murray will help him overcome his various injury problems and prevent him from making a premature return that could have hindered his progress.