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No major financial impact from Wimbledon cancellation, say organisers

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Wimbledon’s cancellation due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic this year will have no major financial impact on British tennis, outgoing All England club Chief Executive Richard Lewis has said.

The grasscourt Grand Slam was scheduled to start on Monday but was cancelled for the first time since World War II in April.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) said its spending plans would not have to be curtailed.

“It won’t be severely impacted. If you have to cancel, it’s great to have insurance.

“We’re still in a very good position, we’re financially very stable. British tennis is going to be pretty well protected,” Lewis, who will step down as the CEO next month, told British media.

However, Wimbledon would not have similar insurance cover in place next year, he added.

“That’s impossible in the current climate. When I started in 2012, there were some signs that things were not insurable, because of communicable diseases that had taken place, like Sars and swine flu.

“In the immediate aftermath you can’t get insurance but fairly soon after that you can start to get insurance again, the market returns. So there won’t be insurance next year.

“But just because we’ve made one claim, it won’t affect us in the long term,” he said.

The United States Open is going ahead as scheduled from the end of August while the French Open has moved to the end of September from May and Sally Bolton, who will succeed Lewis, said the AELTC would learn all they can from the tournaments.

“We’ve got the United States Open and Roland Garros being staged later this year and we will be looking closely at what they do, working with the constraints they find themselves under and learning what we can,” said Bolton.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

Georgina Bode: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

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Images of players hugging from Adria Tour disappointing–Wimbledon chief

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Wimbledon outgoing chief, Richard Lewis, says   images of players hugging at the net, playing basketball together and partying at Novak Djokovic’s charity exhibition in Serbia and Croatia were “disappointing” and tennis must learn its lesson.

 

Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki contracted the novel Coronavirus after playing in the Adria Tour, which drew big crowds and saw players pose for pictures.

Lewis, who would step down as the CEO of All England Lawn Tennis Club in July, told British media he hoped everyone made a speedy recovery but that the mistakes of the event must not be repeated.

“The images were disappointing and I think that … what needs to come out of it is everybody involved  not just players, but administrators, organisers, entourages  understand that the protocols, rules and regulations are in place for a reason.

“That’s a really important lesson to learn,”Lewis said.

The pandemic forced the suspension of the professional season in early March and the 2020 Wimbledon championships were then cancelled.

The United States Open is the next Grand Slam on the calendar and organisers plan stringent measures to keep those taking part safe.

Some top players, including Djokovic, had initially called those measures “extreme”.

With the Serbian world number one heading the men’s players council, Lewis urged athletes to play  bigger leadership roles.

“I will  hope from an organisers’ point of view  let’s say the United States Open and Roland Garros, but also the other international tournaments  that protocols will be easier to enforce and observed than they otherwise may have been.

“I sincerely hope that when international tennis tournaments resume, the sport will be more disciplined and follow the protocols in place at whatever tournament is being staged at the time ,” said Lewis

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)

 

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With Wimbledon 2020 lost, Federer and Williams running out of opportunities for Grand Slam wins

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The cancellation of Wimbledon this week has not only fanned the possibility of a total tennis wipeout for the rest of the season.

But it may also have put an end to the Grand Slam title chase for both Roger Federer and Serena Williams.

Wimbledon was scrapped for the first time since World War Two on Wednesday due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the suspension of professional tennis extended to July 13.

The entire claycourt and grasscourt seasons have been cancelled, with the four-month shutdown wreaking havoc on the finances of the lower-tier players.

Tennis Australia head Craig Tiley has said it would be tough for the sport to return before 2021.

Also, All England Lawn Tennis Club CEO Richard Lewis agreed that it was not unrealistic to believe tennis might be done for the year.

While 38-year-old Federer is well insulated from the shutdown’s financial fallout, it could well impact his hopes of adding to his record haul of 20 Grand Slam titles.

The last of Federer’s Slams came at the 2018 Australian Open and the closest he came to adding to his tally was last year’s Wimbledon final.

Federer’s last match was in the Australian Open semi-finals before he underwent keyhole surgery on his knee in February.

Now his next chance at a Grand Slam would be the U.S. Open, scheduled in New York from Aug. 31 to Sept. 14.

The French Open, an event he has skipped in the past, has been rearranged from May to September —- a week after Flushing Meadows.

Australian Todd Woodbridge, a nine-times Wimbledon doubles champion and singles semi-finalist, was unsure what was in store for Federer if the season is lost.

“The question that Roger will have to ask himself is how motivated is he to come back for another year?” Woodbridge told Australian Associated Press this week.

“Or, has this actually helped him? But the less match play that you get in this period at that age, it’s so much harder to come back and recover once you start again.

“It has stopped the potential … of Federer winning one or two more. It becomes very highly unlikely for him.”

While Federer has said he would still be around for Wimbledon next year, Williams has been tight-lipped on her future.

The American, who turns 39 in September, lost in last year’s Wimbledon final and remains one Grand Slam short of tying Margaret Court’s record 24 major titles.

She has reached four Grand Slam finals since giving birth to daughter Olympia in 2017 but failed to win any of them.

Martina Navratilova, winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles, says the situation is not ideal for anyone but for players like Williams and Federer the clock is ticking.

“The youngsters are missing a chance to improve and match up against higher-ranked players,” she said. “The middle players are kind of stuck, and the older players like Serena Williams and Roger Federer, time is not their friend.

“So they lost basically this year this opportunity.”

OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
(NAN)

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‘There may be no more tennis this year’, says Wimbledon chief Lewis

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Tennis may not return until 2021 after the Coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation of the entire grass court season and most of the clay court campaign.

All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) Chief Executive Richard Lewis said this on Thursday.

The pandemic has played havoc with the global sporting calendar and the Wimbledon championships were cancelled by the AELTC on Wednesday for the first time since the second World War.

Lewis, who is set to step down in July, said he hoped the situation will stabilise in the coming months to allow the hard court season to get underway before the U.S. Open begins on Aug. 24.

“The optimist in me and I’m often not optimistic still hopes that the American hardcourt season will take place.

“One hopes that things have settled down a bit and those big 1,000-point tournaments Montreal, Toronto, Cincinnati can happen in the lead-up to the U.S. Open.

“We all know that’s probably tenuous at the moment.

“I don’t think it’s unrealistic to say that there may be no more tennis this year. But let’s hope that the U.S. Open and Roland Garros can take place,” Lewis said.

The French Open, originally due to be played from May 24 to June 7, was postponed and controversially rescheduled by the French tennis federation for Sept. 20 to Oct. 4, a week after the U.S. Open concludes.

Top players, including eight-times champion Roger Federer and seven-times winner Serena Williams, expressed their disappointment at not being able to play at Wimbledon this year.

The two 38-year-olds are nearing the end of their careers and Lewis is hoping they will return to the All England Club in 2021.

“We’d love to see both of them back.

“It’s something to look forward to, and we’ll hopefully enjoy it all the more, a silver lining to come out of it,” Lewis added.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Emmanuel Yashim
(NAN)

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Wimbledon 2020 cancelled, first time since World War II

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The Wimbledon championships were cancelled for the first time since World War Two on Wednesday as the coronavirus pandemic struck another blue-riband sports event off the calendar.

The development meant a wipe-out of the entire tennis grasscourt season.

The decision had looked inevitable for some time, since the virtual shutdown of world sports and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics.

But Wimbledon had been one of the few events not to have been officially cancelled or postponed.

However, after emergency talks between the various stakeholders over the last few days, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) made its announcement.

It said it was impossible for the grasscourt Grand Slam, scheduled for June 29 to July 12, to take place.

“It is with great regret that the main board … have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic,” the AELTC said in a statement.

“The 134th Championships will instead be staged from June 28 to July 11, 2021.”

Following the cancellation of the grasscourt major, and with the pandemic worsening in Europe and the U.S, the men’s ATP Tour, women’s WTA Tour and the International Tennis Federation extended the suspension of professional tennis for another five weeks to July 13.

“At this time, tournaments taking place from July 13, 2020 onwards are still planning to proceed as per the published schedule,” said a joint statement from the governing bodies.

Britain’s death toll from the virus reached 2,352 on Wednesday, according to NHS figures.

The French Open, originally due to be held from May 24 to June 7 was postponed.

It was controversially rescheduled by the French tennis federation for Sept. 20 to Oct. 4, shortly after the end of the U.S. Open.

The U.S. Open organisers said they were continuing with their plans to host the hardcourt Grand Slam in New York as scheduled from Aug. 31 to Sept. 14.

Players across the tennis fraternity have since reacted with shock and sadness at the cancellation of Wimbledon.

Roger Federer, whose record haul of 20 Grand Slam titles includes eight Wimbledon trophies, said he was “devastated”.

“There is no gif for these things that I am feeling,” he added.

In a statement from the organisers of the Halle Open, which was also cancelled, Federer said: “We are going through difficult times but we will emerge stronger.

“I already look forward to returning to Halle next year. Stay healthy.”

Former Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo did not think either the U.S. Open or the French Open would go ahead this year.

“I think we’re going to have to draw a line under the 2020 tennis season,” Mauresmo said on Twitter this week.

“International circuit = players of all nationalities plus management, spectators and people from the 4 corners of the world who bring these events to life. No vaccine = no tennis.”

Unlike the French Open which is played on clay, Wimbledon’s scope for re-arranging the start date was extremely limited.

While Centre Court and Court One boast a roof, playing elite level tennis outside on grass would have been extremely challenging in late summer or autumn.

There is a lack of light and there are problems caused by dew forming on the surface late in the day.

Shortening the format of the tournament, or playing behind closed doors, would also have proved extremely unpopular with the players.

“While in some ways this has been a challenging decision, we strongly believe it is not only in the best interests of society at this time, but also provides certainty to our colleagues in international tennis.

“This is in the face of the impact on the grass court events in the UK and in Europe and the broader tennis calendar,” AELTC Chief Executive Richard Lewis said.

Tickets-holders will be offered the chance to purchase tickets for the same day and court for 2021 championships.

They will also be issued with a refund for this year’s event, organisers added.

Wimbledon had been held every year since 1946 after a six-year hiatus because the country was at war.

OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
(NAN)

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Wimbledon champion Halep enjoys Romania’s adulation as govt., church hail

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Romania’s presidency and the Orthodox Church awarded Wimbledon women singles’ tennis champion Simona Halep their highest distinctions on Monday.

This came as hundreds of fans cheered her home after she blitzed American opponent Serena Williams on Saturday in the competition’s final in London.

Halep, 27, became the first Romanian to win a Wimbledon singles title after stunning seven-times champion Serena Williams 6-2 6-2 in the 56-minute match final.

“I played my chance. I did the best I could and that’s why I managed to win,” a beaming Halep told reporters at Bucharest international airport, clutching her trophy and flowers as fans shouted “Bravo, Simona!”.

“I’ve been staying focused on my tactics … Serena is the best player of all times.”

It was Halep’s second Grand Slam title following her triumph at Roland Garros in Paris last year.

The presidency awarded her the Star of Romania while the church gave her the Patriarchal Cross.

OLAL

(Edited by Olawale Alabi)

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Djokovic beats Federer in Wimbledon epic to win fifth title

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Novak Djokovic again proved the toughest of nuts for Roger Federer to crack to claim his fifth Wimbledon title on Sunday.

The Serbian repelled everything the Federer could throw at him in am epic final worth every minute.

The defending champion was outshone at times on Centre Court and saved two match points deep into a gripping decider.

But he dredged his tank of mental and physical resilience to claim a thrilling 7-6(5) 1-6 7-6(4) 4-6 13-12(3) win.

Nothing could split the players in an intoxicating final set and the match was already the longest Wimbledon singles final in history.

The Swiss would have become the oldest man to win a Grand Slam title in the professional era.

Victory took the 32-year-old Serbian level with Bjorn Borg in fourth place on the all-time list of men’s winners at Wimbledon.

(Edited by Olawale Alabi)

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News Flash: Djokovic stops Federer in nail-biting five-set Wimbledon thriller

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News Flash: Novak Djokovic wins his fifth Wimbledon title by beating Roger Federer 7-6(5) 1-6 7-6(4) 4-6 13-12(3).

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Mochizuki makes history for Japan with Wimbledon junior title

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Teenager Shintaro Mochizuki became the first Japanese to win a junior boys’ Grand Slam title, beating Spain’s Carlos Gimeno Valero 6-3 6-2 in the Wimbledon final on Sunday.

The 16-year-old backed his aggressive backhand throughout the contest and went on to win 17 of his 23 points at the net to seal victory in 61 minutes.

Mochizuki became Japan’s only second Grand Slam junior champion, following the footsteps of Kazuko Sawamatsu, who captured the Wimbledon and French Open girls’ titles in 1969.

Having began playing tennis at the age of three, Mochizuki has fine-tuned his game under coach Natsuo Yamanaka at IMG’s tennis academy in Bradenton, Florida.

That is where Japan’s current number one Kei Nishikori also honed his game.

“I like coming into the net, yeah, a lot… My coach taught me, like, I’m good at that,” Mochizuki said of his adventurous serve-and-volley approach. “I just practised a lot and improved with all matches.”

While Nishikori and reigning Australian Open and U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka have changed the landscape of Japanese tennis in recent years, Mochizuki found his role model in Roger Federer.

“I love watching him (Federer) on TV,” he added. “I don’t want to copy him, but I love watching him.”

OLAL

(Edited by Olawale Alabi)

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Halep stuns Serena to win Wimbledon title

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Serena Williams’ wait for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title goes on after Simona Halep stunned the off-key American 6-2 6-2 in a one-sided Wimbledon final match on Saturday.

An inspired Halep took full advantage of an error-strewn display by seven-times champion Williams to become the first Romanian to win the Wimbledon title.

She remained rock solid throughout and Williams simply could not respond.

There were signs that Williams was finding her range in the second set but Halep was undaunted and reeled off the last five games.

The contest ended after Williams buried a forehand into the net after 56 minutes.

It is the second year running that Williams arrived in the final seeking to match Margaret Court’s record 24 singles majors.

Last year she failed to get a set against Angelique Kerber.

(Edited by Olawale Alabi)

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