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Roger Federer and Serena Williams: Does Wimbledon cancellation have knock-on effect for legends?
Roger Federer is chasing a record-extending 21st Grand Slam; Serena Williams remains in pursuit of Margaret Court's tantalising yet elusive tally of 24 majors
Last Updated: 02/04/20 6:30am
Wimbledon has become the latest big sporting event to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, but what will it mean for the likes of Roger Federer and Serena Williams?
Since the first Wimbledon tournament in 1877, there have only been 10 years where it has not been held, all of them due to war. Since 1946, Wimbledon has been staged every year, up until Wednesday's shock announcement.
The cancellation of the tournament this summer is another huge blow to tennis, tennis fans, local businesses and tennis players.
We will already be wondering what a knock-on effect of a cancellation could be on the likes of Federer and Williams. Could it mean they have played at the All England Club for the very last time?
Roger and Serena will both be nearly 40 next summer. It has been a hugely special tournament for two very special players. Surely they will do everything they can to be there in 2021?
Federer and his wife Mirka donated one million Swiss francs last week to help families in need in his home country during the pandemic. He is also in good spirits, posting footage on his social media accounts of him practising trick shots during his rehabilitation after keyhole surgery on his knee in February.
The 38-year-old Swiss former world No 1 is an eight-time Wimbledon men's singles champion. Last year, he won't need reminding of how he managed to let slip two Championship points in an epic defeat to Novak Djokovic on Centre Court.
At the US Open, he reached the quarter-finals, while Djokovic stopped him in his tracks at the semi-final stage of this year's Australian Open. He was due to skip the Masters 1000 events on clay to play at Roland Garros this year, but those plans have now gone out of the window as have his summer plans for another assault on the Wimbledon title.
Will Federer add a 21st major in 2021?
So what now? The idea of playing at the US Open then switching surfaces from hard court to clay in the space of a week before playing the French Open in its revised slot of late September is not the scenario most tennis players would welcome, let alone Federer.
The French Open also clashes with Federer's brainchild event, the Laver Cup. But in all likelihood, the exhibition tournament scheduled to take place in Chicago will be moved to accommodate Roland Garros. Will Federer take part in Paris? Well, that's highly debatable.
Should the US Open go ahead, then we can expect to see Federer there, although he hasn't won in New York since 2008. Other than that, the 20-time Grand Slam champion should be fresh and raring to go in 2021. It will also be an Olympic year. More importantly, it could well be Federer's retirement year.
Will Serena finally find a solution?
Serena Williams' pursuit of Margaret Court's 24 majors remains one of the great plotlines of modern sport. The 38-year-old's primary focus would usually be on winning Wimbledon or the US Open.
Since winning the Australian Open in 2017, Williams has finished as a runner-up in four Grand Slam finals, while at this year's Australian Open in Melbourne her latest bid ended with a shock third-round loss to China's Wang Qiang.
Expect her to relish the chance of finally putting her recent Grand Slam hoodoo to rest at Flushing Meadows later this year where she will be among the favourites once again. Williams is also more than adept at playing on clay at Roland Garros where she is a three-time champion.
Despite playing in only eight events in 2018, including the majors, Serena ended a three-year drought by winning in Auckland at the start of the year. She had been hoping to participate a lot more on the WTA Tour, but her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, won't be overly concerned.
"We're not worried," Mouratoglou said after her shock Melbourne exit. "We just need to understand, find solutions, go back to work - which we will do soon because Serena wants it and we will do everything we can to get it."
Williams may be turning 39 during the French Open later this year, but her aggressive, hard-hitting, high risk approach on court won't change. She will no doubt work on her fitness as well as spending time with her family.
Expect an eager Serena to hit the ground running upon the resumption of play where she will be licking her lips at going for back-to-back Grand Slams before the end of the season.