(Reuters) - The Wimbledon championships were canceled for the first time since the Second World War on Wednesday as the coronavirus pandemic struck another major sports event off the calendar to wipe out the entire tennis grasscourt season.
Here are some of the reactions to the Grand Slam — originally scheduled for June 29-July 12 — being canceled for the first time in 75 years.
Roger Federer, record eight-times Wimbledon men’s singles champion:
“Devastated,” the Swiss wrote on Twitter, adding that “health and family” came first.
Serena Williams, 23-times Grand Slam champion:
“I’m shooked,” the American wrote on Twitter.
Boris Becker, former champion and Eurosport tennis expert:
“The problem is the surface, you only have the summer months to prepare and ultimately play on the best grass courts which is usually the case at Queen’s and Wimbledon.
“But in order to do so the grass courts need much more preparation time than any other surface. You can play the French Open or the U.S. Open later... even in October maybe. But on grass you can only play in the summer months.”
Billie Jean King, 12-times Grand Slam singles champion:
“I fully understand and support the decision of the committee and it is vital we keep our focus on those most impacted by this pandemic,” she wrote on Twitter.
“I’ve been fortunate to go to Wimbledon every year since 1961 and I am certainly going to miss this year.”
Simona Halep, 2019 Wimbledon women’s singles champion:
“So sad to hear Wimbledon won’t take place this year. Last year’s final will forever be one of the happiest days of my life!
“But we’re 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.”
Petra Kvitova, twice Wimbledon women’s singles champion:
“Definitely a tough one to take... Not only is it a special tournament to me, but it’s a tournament that has been part of history for so long that it will leave a big hole in the calendar.
“I will missing playing on the beautiful grass and wearing my whites, but of course we know it will be back better than ever next year. And maybe we will all appreciate it even more!”
Angelique Kerber, 2018 Wimbledon women’s singles champion:
“It goes without saying that I’m heavy hearted that the cancellation of the grass court season also means that I won’t be able to play in front of my home crowd in Bad Homburg and Berlin.
“It’s disappointing for me but also for all those who put their heart and soul into these events and for the fans who love our sport and support us players all year round.”
Marion Bartoli, former women’s champion:
“It does hurt deeply to hear that Wimbledon is cancelled this year,” she wrote on Twitter.
“Of course, it has a very special place in my heart but not only in mine, in the heart of millions of tennis fans around the world, in all the players whom over the decades stepped on those immaculate courts.
“I know that Wimbledon will be back next year even stronger and we will appreciate it even more!”
Kevin Anderson, 2018 finalist:
“I’ve always had so many great memories at Wimbledon. The grass season will definitely be missed but the most important thing right now for us to focus on is that we’re all staying healthy and safe at home.”
Coco Gauff, the youngest player to qualify for Wimbledon in the professional era:
“I’m going to miss playing in Wimbledon this year. Stay safe everyone, love you guys,” she wrote on Twitter.
(This story corrects typo in Serena quote.)
Compiled by Rohith Nair and Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris