Wimbledon chief executive Richard Lewis fears the tennis season may not resume again this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The sport was suspended last month and is not due to resume until 13 July at the earliest after the championships at the All England Club were cancelled on Wednesday. It is the first time the tournament will be missing from the sporting calendar since World War II.
The announcement followed the rescheduling of the French Open to September, a week after the US Open is set to conclude. Although Lewis wants tennis to return sooner rather than later, he also has his doubts.
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“Who knows what will happen over that period?” Lewis, who is stepping down as Wimbledon CEO at the end of July, told the Guardian. “It’s a challenge for everybody. Let’s hope the US Open and Roland Garros can take place. It would be genuinely wonderful if the sport was off and running again.
“The optimist in me – and I am often not optimistic – still hopes the American hard-court season, the big tournaments, the Masters and the Premiers, will take place: Montreal, Toronto and then Cincinnati. But 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 I would like to think that things will settle down so that tournaments can be played sooner rather than later.”
Lewis is also hopeful there will be no financial implications from SW19’s cancellation.
“We’re fortunate to have the insurance and it helps,” he added. “The insurers, the brokers and everybody involved have been excellent to work with so far, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”
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