London: The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) has ruled out the possibility of hosting the Wimbledon 2020 behind closed doors in the wake of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

AELTC said it is continuing a “detailed evaluation” of all scenarios including postponement and cancellation of Wimbledon, which is scheduled to take place from June 29 to July 12.

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“The AELTC can confirm that it is continuing a detailed evaluation of all scenarios for The Championships 2020, including postponement and cancellation, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak,” the club said on Wednesday (March 26).

“The AELTC has been contingency planning since January, working closely with the UK government and public health authorities to follow their advice and understand the likely impact of COVID-19 and the government’s emergency measures on The Championships, and our thoughts are with all those affected by this crisis at this time.

“At this time, based on the advice we have received from the public health authorities, the very short window available to us to stage The Championships due to the nature of our surface suggests that postponement is not without significant risk and difficulty. Playing behind closed doors has been formally ruled out,” it added.

The club will hold an emergency meeting next week. “An emergency meeting of the AELTC Main Board is scheduled for next week, and in preparation we are communicating closely with the LTA, and with the ATP, WTA, ITF and the other Grand Slams. The build for The Championships is due to begin at the end of April.”

Richard Lewis, AELTC Chief Executive, said, “The unprecedented challenge presented by the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect our way of life in ways that we could not have imagined, and our thoughts are with all those affected in the UK and around the world. The single most important consideration is one of public health, and we are determined to act responsibly through the decisions we make. We are working hard to bring certainty to our plans for 2020 and have convened an emergency meeting of the AELTC Main Board for next week, at which a decision will be made.”