The cancellation of this summer’s edition of the tennis tournament is a big blow for fans and athletes as well
The length of the men’s tennis season at Wimbledon is one that is often debated and there seems to be a general acceptance that it is undoubtedly the longest when compared with other forms of team sports like football. Wimbledon is not just a championship, it is a culture. But in all the eeriness of the Coronavirus, this sporting event, too, has fallen victim like other games and championships. Everybody understands the need to prioritise public health but the regret is more about not getting back to the constancies that have so far defined our lives as we knew it. It was, perhaps, the biggest blow that the oldest Grand Slam tournament, one that has maintained continuity ever since it was first held in 1877 with the exceptions of World War-I and World War-II, suffered when its leaders unanimously announced not a postponement but the rescheduling of the event for June next year. But the cancellation was inevitable. Some may argue that the decision came too early with the game scheduled for May and the UK Government yet to review restrictions but the organisers took the right call by giving certainty to the players than the game itself. Yes, with global sporting events receding on account of the present crisis, the news that there will be no Wimbledon this year will jolt many fans and athletes as well. Millions of spectators will miss the classic final between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, unending rallies by champions and traditional delicacies like strawberries and cream. Of course, players, for whom rankings depend on their form and performance, stand to lose the most, especially when it is a matter of prowess on the grass court. Eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer took on to Twitter to express his shock and could do so with a one-liner, “devastated.” An equally devastated seven-time Wimbledon singles champion Serena Williams, too, expressed it with a two-liner, “I’m shocked.”
With age not on their sides, it remains unclear if Federer and Serena would still be playing when Wimbledon resumes in 2021. Federer is almost 40 now and with the Wimbledon cancelled this year, he stands to lose an opportunity to add the 20th slam to his well-decorated cap. Serena, 39 right now, remains stuck with 23 Grand Slam singles titles, just one step away from equalling that of Margaret Court’s record. In the midst of all this, the only succour is that the game will still manage to maintain its relevance, prestige and financial clout. Unlike other sporting events, Wimbledon may not face any monetary rout for the early decision and has an extensive insurance policy that would guard it against the global pandemic.
(Courtesy: The Pioneer)