No major financial impact from Wimbledon cancellation, says organiser

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Richard Lewis, Chief Executive of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club

Wimbledon’s cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic this year will have no major financial impact on British tennis, outgoing All England club Chief Executive Richard Lewis said.

The grasscourt Grand Slam was scheduled to start on Monday but was cancelled for the first time since World War Two in April.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) said its spending plans would not have to be curtailed.

“It won’t be severely impacted. If you have to cancel, it’s great to have insurance,” said Lewis, who will step down as the CEO next month.

“We’re still in a very good position, we’re financially very stable. British tennis is going to be pretty well protected.”

However, Wimbledon would not have similar insurance cover in place next year.

“That’s impossible in the current climate,” Lewis added. “When I started in 2012, there were some signs that things were not insurable, because of communicable diseases that had taken place, like Sars and swine flu.”

“In the immediate aftermath you can’t get insurance but fairly soon after that you can start to get insurance again, the market returns. So there won’t be insurance next year.”

“But just because we’ve made one claim, it won’t affect us in the long term.”

The U.S. Open is going ahead as scheduled from the end of August while the French Open has moved to the end of September from May and Sally Bolton, who will succeed Lewis, said the AELTC would learn all they can from the tournaments.

“We’ve got the U.S. Open and Roland Garros being staged later this year and we will be looking closely at what they do, working with the constraints they find themselves under and learning what we can,” said Bolton.

 

Chidi Nwoke.

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