Wimbledon set to be cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic,

LONDON • Wimbledon organisers will announce the cancellation of the grass-court Grand Slam this week due to the coronavirus pandemic, German Tennis Federation vice-president Dirk Hordorff has told Sky Sports.

All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) officials last week hinted as much, saying the June 29-July 12 tournament would not be played behind closed doors and postponement was not without significant risk and difficulty.

"Wimbledon has stated that they will have a board meeting (on) Wednesday and will make the final decision there," Hordorff said.

"I am also involved in the bodies of the ATP and WTA (Tours). The necessary decisions have already been made there and Wimbledon will decide to cancel (on) Wednesday. There is no doubt about it. This is necessary in the current situation.

"It is completely unrealistic to imagine that, with the travel restrictions we currently have, an international tennis tournament where hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world would travel. That is unthinkable."

The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics has opened up a two-week window in the tennis calendar between July and August, but it is unlikely to be feasible for Wimbledon, which has only two covered courts and cannot be held past late summer.

The AELTC did not respond to a request for comment on the likelihood of a cancellation - no Grand Slam has been scrapped since 1945, the year World War II ended.

Should Wimbledon be the latest sporting event to be shredded by Covid-19, its organisers would have consulted the tennis fraternity before making the call - unlike the French Open organisers.

Two weeks ago, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) stunned many in the sport by unilaterally postponing the clay-court Grand Slam at Roland Garros from May to late September because of the contagion.

It has come under heavy fire from players and fellow federations around the world at the lack of communication, with the new dates clashing with several other events on the calendar like the Laver Cup.

The ATP and WTA Tours require their players to participate at the four Slams, but the new French Open dates are yet to feature on the calendars of either association.

On the fallout from the FFT's decision, Hordorff said: "The unilateral behaviour of the organisers has been criticised by everyone and I can simply predict that the French Open will not be relocated as it was intended."

Warning that if the FFT had to bear the consequences should it press ahead with the new dates, he added: "They will be deprived of the points and they will degenerate into a chaos event.

"Even those there have understood that and they are slowly crawling back. Solidarity is the order of the day, it is a matter of being together and not going it alone, as the president of the (FFT) did."