Next week an emergency meeting of the AELTC board will take place to determine whether Wimbledon will go ahead or not.
A contingency plan has been looked at since the beginning of the year and the suspension of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has opened up a potential gap at the end of July if postponing the championships for a month is a decision the board make.
The Wimbledon championships are due to begin on Monday 29th of June and finish on Sunday 12th of July.
The gap left by Tokyo 2020 has opened a window to begin on the 27th of July until the 9th of August delaying the start by a month. This would tread on tournaments including Kitzbuhel, Washington and a few others. AELTC have said they are in full consultation with all tennis bodies regarding their decision.
The issue with moving Wimbledon is that it leaves a short windows because of the full outdoor nature of the championships, the surface and the weather. The temperature will drop and we are unfortunately known for our unpredictable weather.
For a Grand Slam like Wimbledon it isn’t just about beginning a Grand Slam on the start date of play but preparations begin before and with the current restrictions it would limit this. The build and preparations are set to begin in 3-4 weeks time towards the end of April, if the championships did get moved back this could be delayed until towards the end of May.
This is potentially the only possibility to move the championships but a decision will be made very shortly.
Before the tours made the decision to suspend play and before authorities in countries suspended events plans were in place for Barcelona Open and Madrid Open to play behind closed doors.
The option of playing Wimbledon behind closed doors has been fully ruled out.
The Chief Executive of AELTC, Richard Lewis has said:
“The unprecedented challenge presented by the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect our way of life in ways that we could not have imagined, and our thoughts are with all those affected in the UK and around the world. The single most important consideration is one of public health, and we are determined to act responsibly through the decisions we make. We are working hard to bring certainty to our plans for 2020 and have convened an emergency meeting of the AELTC Main Board for next week, at which a decision will be made.”