Roger Federer narrates a Wimbledon video urging fans to stay at home

Roger Federer has narrated a Wimbledon video urging fans to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion put his voice to a video released by the AELTC, which praises frontline workers who are putting their lives at risk.

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In the video titled ‘We cheer for them’ the eight-time Wimbledon champion says “this summer, sadly, we must come together by staying apart.

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Coronavirus: Heather Watson is ‘gutted’ by Wimbledon postponement

Heather Watson says she is ‘gutted’ at not being able to compete at Wimbledon this year.

The tournament was scheduled to take place from June 29 to July 12 but was called off last week because of the coronavirus crisis.

Watson reached the top 50 of the WTA singles rankings before the pandemic halted all play until at least the middle of July.

The 27-year-old said during an Instagram Live with Functional Tennis: “The grasscourt season is just the highlight of my life.

“I love it and live for it every year so I’m gutted, but it’s a tough time for everyone and I just hope that everyone gets through this safe and as quick as possible.”

She also recalled winning the only Grand Slam title of her career to date, when she claimed the mixed doubles with Finland’s Henri Kontinen in 2016.

She said: “One of the best days of my life was winning the mixed doubles with Henri and it was the first time we played together and got on like a house on fire.

“To win a title at Wimbledon, no matter what it is, you are on history walls forever and nobody can take that away from you so I’m really proud of myself for that and the trophy is front and centre in my living room.”

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Roger Federer’s Grand Slam hopes doubted after coronavirus forces Wimbledon cancellation

Roger Federer is “highly unlikely” to win another Grand Slam following the extended break from tennis due to the global coronavirus pandemic. That is the view of former Australian player Todd Woodbridge.

On Wednesday, Wimbledon announced it was forced to cancel the 2020 event due to public health concerns over the outbreak which has claimed the lives of more than 48,000 people.

Wimbledon was set to be the second tournament in Federer’s comeback from knee surgery.

And he will have been hoping to bounce back from the major disappointment of losing the final last year to Novak Djokovic.

But those plans have been scuppered and tennis faces a wait before it can resume again.

In the aftermath of Wimbledon’s announcement, Federer confirmed his intention to play at Wimbledon in 2021, saying: “I can’t wait to come back next year. It only makes us appreciate our sport even more during these times.”

Without Wimbledon on the schedule, Federer loses out on one of his best chances to add to his Grand Slam titles haul.

The Swiss star stands alone at the top on 20 but has Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on 19 and 17 respectively.

In August, Federer will turn 39 and is clearly in the final stages of his illustrious career.

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And Woodbridge feels the extended break could leave Federer asking serious questions of himself.

“The question that Roger will have to ask himself is how motivated is he to come back for another year?,” Woodbridge told Australian Associated Press. “Or has this actually helped him?

“But the less match play that you get in this period at that age, it’s so much harder to come back and recover once you start again.

“So I really think that post-2020 will be a new era of people trying to create records because it’ll have really have broken up a great period in tennis.

“It has stopped the potential, I think, of Federer winning one or two more. It becomes very highly unlikely for him.”

With Wimbledon cancelled, the tennis season has been suspended until July 13 but that date could be pushed back if the situation does not improve.

So far, 32 tennis tournaments have had to be called off due to coronavirus.

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Wimbledon: Andy and Jamie Murray back decision to cancel championships

Andy and Jamie Murray have expressed their disappointment at the cancellation of Wimbledon but are insistent health and safety must come first.

The Championships became the latest sporting event to be called off due to the coronavirus pandemic, and will not take place for the first time since the Second World War.

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Two-time Wimbledon singles champion Andy, took to Facebook to offer a brief reaction to the news, while brother Jamie joined Sky Sports News and described the decision as “inevitable”.

Andy Murray said: “Very sad that the Fever-Tree Championships and Wimbledon have been cancelled this year but with all that is going on in the world right now, everyone’s health is definitely the most important thing!

“Looking forward to getting back out on the grass next year already! Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. #StayHomeSaveLives”

Jamie Murray, himself a two-time doubles champion at the All England Club in 2007 and 2017, backed the decision to cancel the tournament outright rather than postponing it for later in the year.

He also believes the uncertainty of when the pandemic will ease would have made any attempts at re-scheduling troublesome.

“It was fairly inevitable with all the restrictions that are currently in place in the country and we don’t know when that’s going to be relaxed,” Jamie said.

“For Wimbledon as an event, health and safety is obviously a priority and I am sure they could not guarantee that and they were left with the obvious decision to cancel.

“There’s still no guarantee that the event would be able to go ahead, they would obviously have to work with a lot of different events, stakeholders within tennis to try and fit it in and also they are so reliant on the natural light to host the event.

“Often at Wimbledon we play until between nine or 10 o’clock in the evening and obviously if you’re putting the event back five or six weeks, you would lose a lot of that.”

Without a grass-court season at all, the more pressing concern for players will now be what financial ramifications might arise if the rest of the tennis season is curtailed.

As Murray admits, the continuing uncertainty over if or when travel restrictions will be eased has also placed the rest of the season in jeopardy.

That’s despite US Open organisers remaining adamant that they are still operating under the assumption that the tournament at Flushing Meadows will go ahead as planned in August.

Murray said: “At the top of the game, there’s a lot of money to be made, lower down the rankings that changes fairly dramatically.

“But I guess for tennis, what makes it so difficult to earn a living is that the expenses are so high in the sport.

“You are travelling the world all the time, you are paying for flights, you are paying for hotels, maybe you are paying for coaches or physios.

“We’re all unsure of how this virus is going to develop. What’s going to be the fallout of that in terms of how long it will take for the world to get back to normal?

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US Open tennis still due to take place as planned while ATP and WTA Tours extend suspension

The US Tennis Association reacted to news of the postponement of Wimbledonby maintaining that the US Open is still due to take place as planned.

The US Open at Flushing Meadows in New York, which begins on August 24, could be vulnerable, though organisers said it was business as planned on Wednesday.

A USTA statement read: “We understand the unique circumstances facing the All England Lawn and Tennis Club and the reasoning behind the decision to cancel the 2020 Wimbledon Championships.

“At this time, the USTA still plans to host the US Open as scheduled, and we continue to hone plans to stage the tournament.

“The USTA is carefully monitoring the rapidly-changing environment surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, and is preparing for all contingencies.”

An update on the 2020 US Open: pic.twitter.com/RWERrYUrky

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Meanwhile, the ATP and WTA Tours have confirmed they are extending the suspension of the current season until July 13.

A joint statement read: “In conjunction with the cancellation of The Championships, Wimbledon, the ATP and WTA have jointly announced the continued suspension of the ATP and WTA Tours until July 13, 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Wimbledon cancelled due to coronavirus – where does that leave tennis in 2020?

Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since World War Two because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The tournament was due to be played between 29 June and 12 July.

The entire grass-court season has been abandoned, and there will be no professional tennis anywhere in the world until at least 13 July.

Wimbledon is the latest major summer sporting event to be called off, with Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics postponed for 12 months.

It follows the postponement of the French Open, which was due to begin in May but has been rescheduled to 20 September-4 October.

“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,” said Ian Hewitt, All England Lawn Tennis Club chairma.

“It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of the Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars 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.

“Our thoughts are with all those who have been and continue to be affected by these unprecedented times.”

Why decide now?

The All England Club did not need to make a decision before the end of April, but the writing has been on the wall for some time.

That is when on-site preparations would have had to begin in earnest: a forlorn hope given the current restrictions in place in the UK.

As was the thought that by the end of June, 40,000 people would be able to take their seats in packed stands, and jostle for the best vantage point in the narrow walkways bordering the outside courts.

The government’s advice that large gatherings should not take place is aimed, in no small part, at relieving the pressure on the emergency services, which would otherwise be in attendance. It is undeniably optimistic to assume the demands on the health service will have returned to normal levels by mid-summer.

Swift cancellation should help reduce any losses that Wimbledon, and the LTA’s series of grass-court events, might incur – but there is also the issue of perception.

The All England Club would not want to be seen to be pushing ahead with a sporting event as the death toll continues to rise and the country remains in the grip of the pandemic.

Sticking resolutely to a place on the calendar, only to cancel abruptly, or postponing by a few weeks before having to concede defeat, is messy. It is not the way Wimbledon does things. Better, instead, to face facts and plan to return with a flourish in 2021.

What about refunds and impact on finances?

The All England Club had the foresight to take out insurance policies which will shield them from eye-watering losses. They will therefore be able to refund ticket holders, broadcast partners and sponsors – a bill which, even according to conservative estimates, will top £200m.

The Lawn Tennis Association will also receive its ‘annual surplus’ of profits. The payment, which effectively funds British tennis’ governing body for the year ahead, was over £40m in 2018.

It is likely to fall, but should not leave an irreparable hole at the heart of the LTA’s finances, especially as it has reserves of over £160m

But the LTA has lost over £12m in the past two years, and will also be hit by the loss of all of the summer grass-court events. Of those, only the Fever Tree Championships at Queen’s Club actually returns a profit, but as they are not insured against cancellation, this year’s losses will inevitably be greater.

But the biggest blow for British tennis is the loss of the best shop window of the year. No Queen’s, Eastbourne or Wimbledon means no BBC TV exposure for the sport, and even if we are allowed to return to the courts, there is very unlikely to be the dramatic spike in participation usually seen in the months of June and July.

Will there be any tennis at all in 2020?

No-one is holding their breath for a resumption of the tour in Hamburg, Bastad, Bucharest and Lausanne on 13 July.

The Olympic tournament is already on hold; the prestigious events in Toronto and Montreal in the middle of August are said to be under threat; and the USTA has publicly floated the possibility of pushing back the US Open start date of 31 August.

There has even been talk behind the scenes of staging the US Open in Indian Wells, California, in December. But if you take the US Open out of New York and push it back three months, it won’t be the US Open.

If professional tennis is able to resume, then the WTA in particular seems keen to make up for lost time and continue beyond the WTA Championships scheduled for the first week in November.

But the global nature of the sport, which requires players to cross continents with so much regularity, may yet make this debate an academic one as far as 2020 is concerned.

As the 2006 Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo said on Twitter earlier this week: “I think we are going to have to draw a line under the 2020 tennis season.

“An international circuit = players of all nationalities, as well as coaches, spectators and those coming from all four corners of the world to bring these events to life.

“No vaccine = no tennis.”

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Wimbledon ‘desperate’ to avoid cancelling event with decision to be made next week

British tennis star Jamie Murray has revealed Wimbledon officials are “desperate” for the tournament continue as normal this summer. It was announced this week that a decision will be made in the next seven days on whether Wimbledon will be postponed.

The Australian Open went ahead as normal earlier in the year, but the coronavirus pandemic has since spread across the globe.

Countries are in lockdown with governments requesting people to stay at home unless necessary to do so.

As a result, sporting events have been either postponed or cancelled altogether.

The French Open was quick to act by pushing back their scheduled Grand Slam from May to the autumn.

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Now it is expected Wimbledon will follow the same route in pushing back the tournament.

Wimbledon is scheduled to take place between June 29 and July 12.

But there are logistical problems in moving the event to a time of year which lacks daylight and could be more at risk to weather conditions.

And Murray, a two-time mixed doubles champion at Wimbledon, insists if the All-England club are forced to move the event then they will do so with a heavy heart.

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“I don’t know how long they could push it back,” Murray told BBC Scotland.

“They’re desperate to have their event on, it’s still over three months away and a lot can change in that time.

“For them, optics don’t necessarily look great, I guess, if there’s sporting events all over the world getting cancelled and they’re trying to crack on with things.

“There’s a lot of other stakeholders, a lot of other tournaments to consider. Even things like daylight for the tournament.

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“Once the tournament gets put back, there’s less and less daylight.

“When you play at Wimbledon normally, you can play until 10 at night.”

With fears over the spread of coronavirus, Wimbledon officials are keen to point out their main concern is the health of the general public.

“The single most important consideration is one of public health, and we are determined to act responsibly through the decisions we make,” Richard Lewis, the All England Club chief executive, said.

“We are working hard to bring certainty to our plans for 2020.”

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