Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since the Second World War due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The tough decision was made by all the England Club chiefs at an emergency board meeting on Wednesday, where they decided that it will be impossible for the tournament to be moved back to later in the year, or to be played without fans.
The Wimbledon was initially due to start on 29 June, to late July.
A statement on the Wimbledon website said: “It is with great regret that the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic. The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.
“Uppermost in our mind has been the health and safety of all of those who come together to make Wimbledon happen – the public in the UK and visitors from around the world, our players, guests, members, staff, volunteers, partners, contractors, and local residents – as well as our broader responsibility to society’s efforts to tackle this global challenge to our way of life.”
The club added: “It is the Committee of Management’s view that cancellation of The Championships is the best decision in the interests of public health, and that being able to provide certainty by taking this decision now, rather than in several weeks, is important for everyone involved in tennis and The Championships. Members of the public who paid for tickets in the Wimbledon Public Ballot for this year’s Championships will have their tickets refunded and will be offered the chance to purchase tickets for the same day and court for The Championships 2021. We will be communicating directly with all ticket-holders.”
It is the first time since 1945 – the final year of the Second World War there will be no Grand Slam event in SW19.
Coronavirus has already claimed 1,789 lives in the UK, with over 25,150 cases.