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Coronavirus latest: Threat of Wimbledon cancellation growing

Coronavirus latest: Threat of Wimbledon cancellation growing
© Reuters
The vice-president of the German tennis federation, Dirk Hordorff, claimed Wimbledon has already decided to cancel.

Wimbledon officials have yet to make a final decision on the fate of this year's tournament but the cancellation of the championships remains likely.

A statement from the All England Club last week said that several options remained on the table, but the PA news agency understands that the final call has yet to be made.

The possibility of a postponement remains, but the message appeared to be paving the way for cancellation of the 2020 championships.

Wimbledon had hoped to hold off making a final decision for a few more weeks but chief executive Richard Lewis announced that had been brought forward to an emergency board meeting this week.

The clear assumption is there is only one realistic outcome and German tennis federation vice-president Dirk Hordorff added fuel to the fire by claiming in an interview with Sky Sports Germany that it has already been decided.

He said: "I am also involved in the bodies of the ATP and WTA. The necessary decisions have already been made there and Wimbledon will decide to cancel next Wednesday. There is no doubt about it.

"This is necessary in the current situation. It is completely unrealistic to imagine that, with the travel restrictions that we currently have, an international tennis tournament where hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world would travel (can happen). That is unthinkable."

PA understands that, while everyone at the All England Club appreciates how difficult it would be to stage one of the world's biggest sporting events at the end of June, there is a final decision still to be made.

The conditions required to play on grass mean a postponement is impractical, and tennis fans are braced for a year without Wimbledon for the first time since 1945.

Specific insurance to cover for a disease pandemic such as the coronavirus means Wimbledon is in a good situation financially, and the Lawn Tennis Association would also still receive the usual surplus that makes up a huge chunk of its funding.

Wimbledon has been consulting widely within tennis, unlike the French Tennis Federation, which provoked a lot of anger with its unilateral decision to move the French Open from May/June to September/October.

Hordorff revealed organisers have tried to repair some of the damage since, and he voiced doubt that the tournament will end up taking place on its intended new start date of September 20.

"I can simply predict that the French Open will not be relocated as it was intended," said Hordorff.

"Either it will let itself be included in a sensible plan with the entire tennis family or it will feel the consequences of the entire tennis family. It will be deprived of (ranking) points and will degenerate into a chaos event.

"Even people there have understood that and they are slowly creeping back. Solidarity is the order of the day. It is a matter of being together and not going it alone, as the president of the French tennis federation did."

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