Wimbledon should have started this week

VIDEO SHOWS: RECENT AND FILE FOOTAGE OF THE ALL ENGLAND LAWN TENNIS CLUB (AELTC) - THE VENUE FOR WIMBLEDON AND PLAYERS PRACTISING, FILE FOOTAGE OF DEFENDING WOMEN'S WIMBLEDON CHAMPION, SIMONA HALEP, FILE FOOTAGE OF FILE FOOTAGE OF THE FRENCH OPEN AND U.S. OPEN

SHOWS:

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - MARCH 27, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. EXTERIOR OF THE ALL ENGLAND LAWN TENNIS CLUB

2. SIGN, READING: "AELTC" ON GATE

3. EXTERIOR OF THE AELTC

4. VARIOUS OF AELTC FLAG

5. EXTERIOR OF AELTC, CENTRE COURT SEEN IN BACKGROUND

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - JULY 1, 2019) ( REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

6. VARIOUS OF FANS ENTERING WIMBLEDON AS GATE OPENS

7. PLAYER SERVING / CROWDS ENTERING

8. CLOSE OF CROWDS

9. FANS WALKING PAST BOARD SHOWING ORDER OF PLAY

10. VARIOUS OF FANS TAKING SEATS BY COURTS

11. PEOPLE QUEUING UP OUTSIDE THE GROUNDS

12. FANS WAITING FOR ON THE DAY TICKETS IN NEARBY PARK

13. FANS WALKING

14. SIGN ON GATE READING: "AELTC"

15. PEOPLE PASSING THROUGH SECURITY

16. UNION FLAG BEHIND SIGN FOR CENTRE COURT

17. VARIOUS OF MAN PAINTING WHITE LINES ON COURT

18. WORKERS READYING COURT

19. PEOPLE LOOKING AT BOARD SHOWING ORDER OF PLAY

20. DETAILS OF FIRST MATCHES ON BOARD

21. VARIOUS OF PEOPLE EATING STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - JUNE 29, 2018) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

25. VARIOUS OF ROGER FEDERER PRACTISING

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - JUNE 28, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

26. WORLD NUMBER ONE NOVAK DJOKOVIC TRAINING

27. DJOKOVIC SERVING

28. DJOKOVIC SITTING DOWN

29. RAFAEL NADAL SERVING

30. NADAL PLAYING

31. VARIOUS OF NADAL RECEIVING SERVES

32. SEVEN-TIMES WIMBLEDON CHAMPION, SERENA WILLIAMS PRACTISING

33. SERENA WILLIAMS AT NET / PULL OUT TO SHOW HER WITH SISTER, FIVE-TIME CHAMPION, VENUS WILLIAMS

34. SERENA PREPARING TO SERVE

35. SERENA SERVING

36. VARIOUS OF WORLD NUMBER ONE ASHLEIGH BARTY PRACTISING

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - JUNE 2018) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

37. SIMONA HALEP TRAINING

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA (FILE - JULY 15, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

38. WIMBLEDON WOMEN SINGLES CHAMPION, SIMONA HALEP WALKING TOWARDS AIRPORT BUILDING WITH TROPHY

39. ROMANIAN FLAGS

40. SIGN, READING (Romanian): "WE THANK YOU SIMONA!"

41. HALEP POSING FOR PICTURES WITH WIMBLEDON TROPHY

STORY: The Wimbledon tennis championships should have started on Monday (June 29) had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The novel coronavirus forced the only grass court grand slam to be cancelled for the first time since World War Two.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) announced on April 1 that it was impossible for the tournament, scheduled for June 29-July 12, to take place.

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 with a lack of light and 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.

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

The re-scheduled French Open was first moved to a Sept. 20-Oct. 4 slot but the main draw will now start on Sept. 27 and end on Oct. 11.

It means there is more space between the end of the U.S. Open on Sept. 13 and the French Open main draw.

The U.S. Open will be staged without fans and will not include a qualifying draw.

The men's ATP Tour will resume on Aug. 14 with the Citi Open, ATP 500 event in Washington, D.C., while the first WTA event will be staged in Palermo, Italy from Aug. 3.

Following the Citi Open, the Cincinnati Masters 1000 will be held at Flushing Meadows, followed by the U.S. Open.

The men's claycourt swing will start on Sept. 8 in Kitzbuehel, Austria, overlapping with the second week of the U.S. Open. Players will then be able to get more time on clay at the Madrid and Italian Opens before Roland Garros.

The WTA announced 20 tournaments, beginning in Palermo, before Cincinnati (played at Flushing Meadows) and the U.S Open before moving to the clay of Madrid and Rome.

After that the WTA Tour will traverse Europe and Asia Pacific, including the China Open in Beijing and the season-ending WTA Finals in Shenzhen set for Nov. 9-15.

(Production: Tim Hart)

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting