Wimbledon, the third grand slam of a calendar year and one of the star attractions of the English summer sporting calendar, has been called off by the All England Club on Wednesday for the first time since the Second World War owing to rise on coronavirus concerns hence leaving tennis calendar in complete disarray.
The Championships, as they call it, was scheduled to be held from June 29 onwards until July 12, but the members of the AELTC decided to scarp the 134th edition of the tournament following a two-day emergency meeting held amid the 21-day lockdown in Britain.
The All England Club chairman, Ian Hewitt, said in a statement: “This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen,.”
The cancellation implies that US Open will 2020's second grand slam after January's Australian Open. Earlier this month, French Open, scheduled to begin from May 24, was postponed until September 20, just a week after US Open is slated to end. Moreover, ATP and WTA suspended all professional tennis tournaments until July 13, implying a cancellation of the entire grass-court season and leaving only the North American hardcourt swing for the players to gear up for the US Open.
Veteran tennis players Roger Federer and Serena Williams seem to be the worst affected by the announcement which has denied them an opportunity to break bigger records.
Australian Open and the Wimbledon have been the only two grand slam events that Federer hasn't missed since his debut in both tournaments in 1999. He missed the French Open thrice between 2016 and 2018 in a bid to improve his career longevity while he missed the 2016 edition of US Open owing to an injury. And among Australian Open and Wimbledon, the Swiss Maestro has won the latter most number of times - 8 - 2003–2007, 2009, 2012, 2017 -also the most in Open Era.
Moreover, he has at least reached the quarterfinal round at the SW19 since his maiden win in 2003 reaching the final a record 12 times with 2013 being the only exception when he was stunned by World No. 116 Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round. Hence, when it's the Wimbledon, Federer remains the hot favourite even amid the rampaging form of Novak Djokovic, who defeated him in three finals at the All England Club. And a cancellation only implies robbing him of the opportunity to extend his grand slam tally to 21 which would, in turn, make it difficult for his competitors - Djokovic (17) and Rafael Nadal (19).
Federer will indeed have the opportunity at his 21st in 2021, but will it possible for the eight-time champion at the age of 39?
The cancellation also leaves an open opportunity for the remainder of the Big Three to extend their grand slam rally. While the French Open tournament will imply a massive opportunity for Rafael Nadal to equal Federer's all-time record, the US Open tournament will provide the Serb to take his tally to 18 although the Spaniard too has won four majors at the Flushing Meadows.
Like Federer, Serena too enjoys playing at the SW19 where she has won seven titles as many as her Australian Open titles and two behind the Open Era record of nine held by Martina Navratilova.
For the American, she has been stuck with 23 majors since her Australian Open win in 2017. Following her return from maternity leave, Serena had reached a grand slam final four times - twice each at US Open and Wimbledon - but failed on all four occasions with three of her defeats coming to maiden major winners. In Wimbledon, she lost to Angelique Kerber in 2018 and to Simona Halep in 2019.
For Serena, aiming at the record haul in 2021 will only be difficult given that she will be 39 then. Well, she still has the US Open to equal Magaret Court's record of 24 slams, a tournament she hasn't won since 2014.
Former British No.1 Annabel Croft said, as quoted by Mirror, “How many more times can Roger Federer realistically try to win Wimbledon?
“And if the French Open does take place later in the year, that benefits Nadal more than anybody potentially. And then you look at Serena and her best chance to win another Slam is on the grass courts at Wimbledon so that affects her as well. She is now 38 and has started a family. There are so many different scenarios and question marks."