Wimbledon was canceled on Wednesday because of the coronavirus pandemic, the first time since World War II that the oldest Grand Slam tennis tournament won't be played.
Britain imposed a nationwide lockdown just over a week ago, and the All England Club announced after a two-day emergency meeting that the event it refers to simply as The Championships is being scrapped for 2020. That hadn't happened since 1945.
Wimbledon was scheduled to be played on the club's grass courts on the outskirts of London from June 29 to July 12.
Instead, the next edition of the tournament will be June 28 to July 11, 2021.
Eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer surely spoke for many with a one-word message on Twitter: “Devastated.”
Also Wednesday, the ATP and WTA announced that the men's and women's professional tours would be suspended until at least July 13, bringing the number of elite tennis tournaments affected by the coronavirus to more than 30. The top tours already had been on hold through June 7. Lower-level events on the Challenger Tour and ITF World Tennis Tour also are called off through mid-July now.
Wimbledon first was held in 1877 and has been contested every year since, with the exception of two stretches: from 1915-18 because of World War I, and from 1940-45 because of World War II.
“It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of The Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars,” club chairman Ian Hewitt said in a press release, “but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe that it is a measure of this global crisis that it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s Championships, and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon’s resources to help those in our local communities and beyond.”
Wimbledon joins the growing list of sports events called off completely in 2020 because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
That includes the Tokyo Olympics — which have been pushed back 12 months — and the NCAA men's and women's college basketball tournaments.
Wimbledon is the first major tennis championship wiped out this year because of the coronavirus. The start of the French Open was postponed from late May to late September.
Shortly after the news came from Wimbledon, the U.S. Tennis Association issued a statement saying it “still plans to host the U.S. Open as scheduled,” from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 in New York.
Wednesday's decision by the All England Club means Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep will not get a chance to defend their Wimbledon titles from 2019.
“We are going through something bigger than tennis and Wimbledon will be back!” Halep wrote on social media. “And it means I have even longer to look forward to defending my title.”
Serena Williams retweeted the club's message about the cancellation and wrote: “I'm Shooked.”
The move also takes away what might have been one of Federer's best chances to try to add to his men's-record 20 Grand Slam titles. Federer, who turns 39 in August, is currently recovering from knee surgery and planned to return in time for the European grass-court circuit that now has been erased from the calendar.
In a statement last week, the All England Club said that postponing the two-week event would not come "without significant risk and difficulty" because of the grass surface that is affected by weather conditions. The club also said then that it had ruled out "playing behind closed doors" without spectators.
Hundreds of thousands of people have caught COVID-19, and thousands have died. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough, but also milder cases of pneumonia, sometimes requiring hospitalization.
The All England Club said it would work to help with the emergency response to the pandemic, including distributing medical equipment and food and offering the use of their facilities in other ways.
Regular day-to-day life has come to a halt in many ways in many parts of the world in recent weeks, and sports has reflected that.
The NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball are on hold indefinitely; the Kentucky Derby, Masters and Indianapolis 500 were pushed back several months until September; England's Premier League and other club soccer competitions are currently suspended; the European soccer championship — scheduled to end in London on the same day as the Wimbledon men's final — was postponed from 2020 to 2021.
In an effort to keep cricketers fit during the holidays announced to curb the spread of COVID-19, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has designed a guideline for maintaining a basic level of fitness and conditioning as well as mental health.
All cricketing activities remain suspended in the country including domestic tournaments and preparation camps.
The BCB is mindful of the challenges the cricketers will face when they return to the field and the guideline has been prepared as a priority. The exercise instructions from BCB’s Head of Physical Performance Nick Lee are easy to follow at home even if someone does not have access to fitness equipment or a gym.
The National Team players have been given a specialised programme. A general guideline and day by day workout plan is available to all cricketers through the Board’s official digital platforms. A sudden return to cricket after a prolonged lay off raises risks of injury. That is why the Board expects the players to make the best use of this initiative.
The Board also acknowledges the need for mental support during these difficult times. Accordingly, the BCB medical team has developed a Mental Health document for the players which is also accessible on the BCB’s official website and facebook page.
More than 1 million euros ($1.1 million) was raised for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic with the help of athletes and musicians in Spain, the country's soccer league said Wednesday.
The final tally was announced four days after the athletes and musicians took part in a four-hour online music festival organized by the league to help purchase medical supplies and support fans confined to their homes.
More than 665,000 euros ($731,000) had been raised by the end of the donation period on Sunday, with the rest being added following the confirmation of bank transfers and donations made with international credit cards, the league said.
The league said the money is enough to purchase 115 non-invasive respirators, 500,000 protective gloves, nearly 12,600 sterilized suits and more than 430,000 masks, in addition to the 1 million donated by league sponsor Santander.
The league said more than 50 million people connected to watch the event, which was broadcast live to 180 countries through the league's international broadcasters and streamed via YouTube and Facebook.
Barcelona's Gerard Piqué, Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos and tennis great Rafael Nadal were among those who participated in the charity event. Celebrities included singers Aitana, Alejandro Sanz, Beret and Luis Fonsi, actress Danna Paola, music bands Morat and Taburete, and Chinese pianist Lang Lang.
They all participated from home.
Spain on Wednesday became the third country to confirm more than 100,000 cases of the coronavirus, after the United States and Italy.
The Cricketers Welfare Association of Bangladesh (CWAB), a platform of former and current cricketers, has decided to support the poor people during the coronavirus crisis.
They formed two committees -- Advisory Committee and Convening Committee -- comprising current and former star cricketers, cricket organisers and fans.
In a press release on Wednesday, CWAB said it has formed new committees to raise funds to help the poor during this crisis that has left many day labourers, roadside tea stall owners, street hawkers and others who live from hand to mouth in dire situations.
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Nazmul Hassan Papon will lead the committee as the chief advisor while former captain of Bangladesh National Cricket team Naimur Rahman Durjoy MP will lead the main committee as convener.
“We will try to extend this initiative to as many places as possible. We have a strong base in more than 30 districts. We understand it’s a big challenge to overcome the current situation created by coronavirus. But we believe it’s possible [to tackle the situation] if we extend a helping hand,” Debabrata Paul, the member secretary of CWAB, told UNB on Wednesday.
At the same time, he urged people to contribute to this initiative. He said: “It’s a big challenge. We will try to help the people at the upazila level. So I would like to request interested people to contribute to the initiative so that we can reach as many people as possible.”
Earlier, the top 27 cricketers of the country donated their 15-day salary to help the people who have lost their jobs or who lead a hand-to-mouth life. The initiative was taken by Bangladesh ODI captain Tamim Iqbal.
Bank details to contribute CWAB initiative:
One Bank Limited, Dhanmondi Branch, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Account Name: Cricketers welfare association of Bangladesh (CWAB),
Account No: 0130105469004, Swift code: ONEBBDDH, RN No: 165261184
Members of Advisory Committee: Nazmul Hasan Papon MP (Chief Adviser), Tanvir Mazharul Islam Tanna, Enayet Hossain Siraj and Ahmed Sajjadul Alam Bobby (advisers).
Members of Convening Committee: Naimur Rahman Durjoy (Convener), Khaled Mhmud Shujon, ,Tamim Iqbal and Mominul Haque (joint conveners).
Members: Raquibul Hasan, Akram Khan, Minhajul Abedin Nannu, Habibul Bashar Sumon, Iftekhar Rahman Mithu, Ziauddin Ahmed Shovon, GM Faisal Hossain Robin, AKM Ahsanullah Hasan, Nafees Iqbal, Rajin Saleh and Debabrotho Paul (Member Secretary).
A German club's supporters are planning to replace real-life fans with plastic ones when the Bundesliga resumes — and raise some money for a child's medical treatment in the process.
Borussia Mönchengladbach supporters have come up with a novel way to support their team, even though they probably won't be allowed to attend games for a while longer because of the coronavirus outbreak.
One Gladbach supporters group is giving members the chance to create life-size plastic figures that will be placed in the stadium in their places when — and if — the Bundesliga is able to complete its season.
"We don't have any concrete expectations but it should be a couple of thousand fans anyway," the FPMG club's liaison officer Thomas "Tower" Weinmann told The Associated Press.
For 19 euros ($21) each supporter can have their portrait taken and reprinted on hard weatherproof plastic cutouts. From each sale, 2 euros ($2.20) will go toward a fundraising campaign for a boy named Ben to receive treatment for spinal muscular atrophy. Another portion of the money raised will go toward supporting seven workers in the fan club whose jobs are under threat with no soccer being played.
"The rest is pure manufacturing and processing costs. With this we're also helping two small companies in Mönchengladbach that had to close their shops," FPMG says on its website. "So no profit will be made, and when the 'war is won' and we can all go back to the stadium, everyone can take their portrait in plastic as a souvenir of a memorable time."