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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, April 2, 2020

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Wimbledon looks certain to be scrapped for the first time since World War II as the coronavirus wreaks further havoc on the global sporting calendar.

The cancellation of the only grasscourt Grand Slam tournament at the All England Club would leave the tennis season in disarray after the French Open was controversially moved and all events cancelled until June 7.

Wimbledon, in leafy southwest London, is due to run for two weeks from June 29, with Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep set to defend their singles titles.

A decision to scrap the tournament is widely expected, with the world struggling to contain the spread of COVID-19, which has infected more than 840,000 people worldwide and killed over 40,000.

    Lead-up tournaments in the short grasscourt season are also likely to be scrapped following talks on Tuesday, understood to have involved Wimbledon chiefs and the game's governing bodies.

Organizers had earlier ruled out playing the Grand Slam behind closed doors and postponing the event would also create its own problems.

Three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker on Tuesday pleaded for tournament chiefs to wait longer before making a decision.

"I really hope Wimbledon will wait until the end of April for decision!" he tweeted. "The tourney is first week of July... patience is a virtue."

But former women's world number one Amelie Mauresmo, the 2006 Wimbledon champion, said the 2020 season would probably need to be scrapped.

"I think that we are going to have to draw a line under the 2020 tennis season," she tweeted.

The cancellation of Wimbledon could mean multiple champions Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Venus Williams have played at the All England Club for the final time.

Federer and Serena will be nearly 40 by the time of the 2021 championships and Venus will be 41.

Serena, beaten in last year's final by Halep, is stuck on 23 Grand Slam singles titles -- agonisingly one away from equalling Margaret Court's record.

The conditions required to play on grass in England mean a postponement is impractical and a date later in the summer or early autumn would mean much shorter evenings.

American giant John Isner, who won the longest-ever tennis match over three days at Wimbledon in 2010, said the scrapping of the tournament would be a "tough pill to swallow".*AFP

 


Secrecy and suspense
over Tour de France

Less than three months before the Tour de France's scheduled start, the possibility of cycling's greatest show taking place remains shrouded in doubt, while the organisers have thrown up a wall of silence.

The highlight of the French sporting calendar is due to embark from Nice on June 27 and end on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 19.

But with France entering its third week of coronavirus lockdown and more than 3,000 deaths in the country, organisers ASO are refusing to comment on their plans, other than to say they will act in the best interests of the general public.

Unless the health crisis takes a turn for the better in the weeks to come, a postponement is increasingly likely.

Most of the potential competitors are in lockdown and unable to train normally, and would clearly prefer to be in full training before taking on the gruelling Tour.

Unlike all other races, almost every contender likes to arrive at the Tour in peak form, and that requires intensive training.*AFP

Mickelson wants golf rematch with Tiger

Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson hinted that a possible one-on-one rematch against Tiger Woods is in the works, one that could be contested despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Mickelson, a left-hander who turns 50 in June, defeated Woods, a 15-time major winner and reigning Masters champion, in "The Match" -- a 2018 pay-per-view, winner-take-all duel for $9 million at Las Vegas.

Asked in a Twitter chat Sunday night about the chances for a rematch with Woods, Mickelson tweeted, "Working on it."

Pressed on the subject, Mickelson responded, "I don't tease. I'm kinda a sure thing."

The US PGA Tour has postponed all events until late May as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that has shut down major sports worldwide.

But a man-to-man matchup of the US stars with no live spectators would require only an official for rulings and television camera operators to produce likely hit programming, possibly even in a charity event to raise money to combat coronavirus.

A golf course would offer plenty of space to meet social distancing guidelines, with Mickelson tweeting on March 18 he had successfully played using safety measures.

"I played golf using these guidelines and it was nice to get outside, be active and still be safe for myself and others," Mickelson tweeted.

Mickelson sank a four-foot putt on the fourth playoff hole to beat Woods in the November 2018 showdown at Shadow Creek.*    AFP

 


Sports
ButtonWimbledon set to be cancelled
ButtonSecrecy and suspense
over Tour de France

ButtonMickelson wants golf rematch with Tiger


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