Tennis: Wimbledon
USATSI

To help contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the All-England Lawn and Tennis Club announced Wednesday that it's canceling its Wimbledon for the first time since World War II, when it was on hold from 1940 to 1945. And the world's top tennis players are sharing their collective disappointment. 

Wimbledon's cancellation is an especially tough blow to Federer, who is running out of Grand Slam opportunities at age 38. The Swiss star won eight of his record 20 Grand Slams at the tournament.

On the other side of the age spectrum is Coco Gauff, the 16-year-old American who rose to stardom by defeating Venus Williams in the 2019 Wimbledon Championships. This year's tournament offered Gauff a chance at winning her first Grand Slam.

Simona Halep, who won the Wimbledon Championships a year ago, won't have an opportunity to defend her title just yet. She performed masterfully in the 2019 Wimbledon final against Serena Williams, posting only three unforced errors.

"So sad to hear @Wimbledon won't take place this year," Halep wrote on Twitter. "Last year's final will forever be one of the happiest days of my life! But we are 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."

British player Katie Boulter wrote on Twitter that Wimbledon's cancellation "hurt that little extra bit," echoing the sentiments of 2018 winner Angelique Kerber: "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."  

Billie Jean King holds the record for most Wimbledon wins (20, including singles and doubles) and has attended the event for more than half a century. In a Twitter statement, she recognized the importance of containing the COVID-19 pandemic and offered her support.

"With the cancellation of The Championships this year it is more important than ever for those of us in tennis to work together and stand together," she wrote. "I fully understand and support the decision by the committee and it is vital we keep our focus on those most impacted by the pandemic. I have been fortunate to go to Wimbledon every year since 1961 and I am certainly going to miss it this year. Right now, we need to make sure we are taking good care of ourselves and our loved ones. These are challenging times for all of us and now is the time for us to do what is right for our world and works for our sport."

The 134th Wimbledon Championships are now scheduled for June 28-July 11, 2021, but two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova thinks anticipation for the tournament will grow as a result. 

"Not only is this a special tournament to me, but it's a tournament that has been part of history so long that it will leave a big hole in the calendar," Kvitova wrote on Twitter. "I will miss 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!"