DPA/London, United Kingdom
Wimbledon’s cancellation for the first time since World War II left some of tennis’ big names lost for words.
Eight-time champion Roger Federer, who endured the longest final in history last year with current champion Novak Djokovic in a five-hour thriller, simply tweeted “devastated”.
Serena Williams’ hunt for a record-equalling 24th major singles title could go on for another year. She wrote “I’m shooked,” which is a slang word for a shaking up of emotions.
Other players preferred to look at the positives such as women’s champion Simona Halep. The Romanian reflected on her first title and the fact she will hold on to the Venus Rosewater Dish for a while longer.
“So sad to hear Wimbledon won’t take place this year,” she wrote on Twitter.
“Last year’s final will forever be one of the happiest days of my life! But we are going through something bigger than tennis and Wimbledon will be back! And it means I have even longer to look forward to defending my title.”
Former champion Angelique Kerber decided to pen a letter which also lamented the loss of the Tokyo Olympics, which has now moved to 2021.
No professional tennis will be played until at least July 13 with the grass court season wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Going into the new season, I was looking forward to so many highlights. The Olympics for example mean the world to me!,” Germany’s Kerber said.
“I am heavy-hearted that the cancellation of the grass court season means I won’t be able to play in front of a home crowd in Bad Homburg and Berlin.
“But I also know very well that there are more important things and sports have to take a step back for a while.”
The 2018 Wimbledon men’s runner-up Kevin Anderson said: “The grass season will definitely be missed.
“The most important thing right now for us to focus on is that we’re all staying healthy and safe at home.”
Women’s great Billie Jean King, a six-time champion of the grass grand slam, says the trip to Wimbledon is often routine for her but now her focus, like everyone else’s, should switch to personal matters.
“I have been fortunate to go to Wimbledon every year since 1961 and I am certainly going to miss it this year,” she said.
“Right now, we need to make sure we are taking good care for ourselves and for our loved ones.”
American teen Coco Gauff made a stunning debut last year by becoming the youngest player to reach the last-16 stage at just 15-years-old.
“I’m going to miss playing in Wimbledon this year. Stay safe everyone, love you guys!,” Gauff tweeted.
The 2021 Wimbledon championships will take place between June 28 and July 11, with many looking forward to a return.
Twice champion Petra Kvitova added: “It will leave a big hole in the calendar. But we know it will be back next year and maybe we will all appreciate it more!”
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