Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Wimbledon Canceled for 2020; ATP, WTA and ITF Announce Suspension of Events Through July 13; NCAA Extends Dead Period Through May 31

The expected but unwelcome news came today, with Wimbledon officially announcing the cancellation of its event in 2020, due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 global pandemic. This is the first time the tournament has been canceled since World War II and the first time that the cancellation was not due to war.

Ian Hewitt, AELTC Chairman, commented: “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. 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.”
With the US Open now the next slam on the docket, after the French Open announced that it would move from June to September, the USTA put out a statement immediately following Wimbledon's notice of cancellation:

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. We also rely on the USTA’s Medical Advisory Group as well as governmental and security officials to ensure that we have the broadest understanding of this fluid situation. In all instances, all decisions made by the USTA regarding the US Open will be made with the health and well-being of our players, fans, and all others involved in the tournament.

Immediately after Wimbledon's announcement, the ATP and WTA followed with their joint statement that all pro tour events were canceled through July 13.

The ITF issued a similar statement, with all its events, including all those on the junior circuit, canceled until July 13.  That means the next Grade A event on the Junior Circuit will be the US Open, in September, with the Grade A in Milan in May and Wimbledon Junior Championships in July now canceled. 

The ITF World Junior Championships, the team event in August for 14-and-under players, has not been canceled, but qualifying for that event, which is generally held in April and May, is off, so it remains to be seen whether that tournament, in the Czech Republic, will be played. The Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup is set for the end of September at the National Campus in Lake Nona, and the qualifying for that competition may again prove to be a problem, not to mention the fact that the date for that 16-and-under ITF team competition now conflicts with the second week of the French Open, which is the same week the junior championships would take place in Paris.

So far the USTA has not announced any cancellations beyond May 3rd, but I would not be surprised to hear in the next several weeks that they have adopted a similar timeline to that of the ITF.

The NCAA has extended its dead period for recruiting until May 31st for Division I and Division II after previously announcing that no in-person recruiting on or off campus would be prohibited through April 15. The NCAA did lift its earlier restriction on issuing financial aid agreements, which will now be allowed after April 16.