Could The 2020 Tennis Season Be Postponed?
No sport in the world has been hit harder than tennis during the coronavirus pandemic. The sport relies on the athletes travelling around the world to compete in various competitions, which means questions have been raised regarding whether the season will even resume at any point this season. The grass section of the season has been hit the hardest with Wimbledon cancelled for the first time since the Second World War.
The French Open was also suspended, with the new date seeing the Grand Slam beginning just six days after the conclusion of the US Open. The schedule is packed, and players have already admitted that competing in both competitions will be incredibly tough. But, with mounting calls from ex-players calling for the season to be ended for good, could we see any of the Grand Slams take place this year?
Could It Hinder The Very Best Players?
Fans love tennis because of the superstars that are involved. The cancellation of Wimbledon means that Roger Federer may not get another chance to play at the iconic Grand Slam, and hopes of achieving a 21st success could be hanging by a thread. Of course, it’s incredibly likely that the Swiss will be returning in 2021, but whether he can compete with the younger players at 39-years-old remains to be seen. The same can also be said for Serena Williams.
Williams has been on the edge of history for the last couple of years now, but that elusive 24th Grand Slam is still evading her. She has been stuck on 23 successes for the past three years after winning the 2017 Australian Open. The record of Margaret Court seems to be playing a part on the iconic star, as she has fallen in four Grand Slam finals. Time is running out on Williams to win the record-equalling title, and the cancellation of the entirety of this season would have a detrimental impact on her chances.
The lack of tennis being played has also left a void for gamblers around the world especially for the ones registered on Gamstop (a self-exclusion scheme). They have been forced to look elsewhere to wager their money in this time where their cooling down periods don’t apply in the same way as before, which has increased the number of money being gambled on non Gamstop betting sites across virtual sports, eSports and one-off matches here and there that are still going ahead.
Is It The Only Choice That Can Be Made?
The global pandemic has affected every sport, as the health of the players, organisers and fans are undoubtedly the most important aspect. Every government around the world has reacted differently to the outbreak, and with tennis being a global sport that attracts fans from around the world, it would be incredibly hard to see the tennis season resuming at any point unless there is a vaccine. That was something that was alluded to by Amelie Mauresmo is her recent tweet, as she admitted it would be hard to see the tennis resuming, and urged organisers to just draw a line under the season and start again in 2021.
As far as tournaments in the near future go, there is very little hope. Tour events in Bastad, Hamburg and Bucharest remain pencilled in, but the 13th July start date is edging ever closer. Meanwhile, the tennis event at the Olympics has been cancelled, while the warm-up events for the US Open in Toronto and Montreal are also likely to be cancelled. Rumours have also speculated that the USTA may look at pushing the US Open back three months and hosting the event at Indian Wells. But should they do that, then the US Open isn’t really the US Open.
These are certainly unprecedented times, and no sporting governing body around the world has expertise in dealing with the situation. The tennis organisers will have to do what is right for everybody when they make their final decisions, which means putting the health and wellbeing of their players, fans and supporting staff at the forefront.