Wimbledon cancelled for first time since World War II
Thursday 2 April 2020 10:30, UK
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.
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?
"For tournaments in August or September, there might be restrictions still in place in those countries so some players might not be allowed to travel.
"It is difficult times and a lot of the decisions are not necessarily in the players' hands, and might not be in the tours' hands."
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