Andy Murray has expressed his sadness that Wimbledon has been cancelled but says health and safety must be the priority amid the coronavirus crisis.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club on Wednesday confirmed that the grass-court grand slam, which was due to start on June 29, will not go ahead for the first time since World War II.

That announcement had been expected due to the spread of COVID-19, which has killed more than 46,000 people worldwide.

Murray, a two-time winner of his home major in London, had hoped to make his latest return from a hip injury in Miami last month but it remains to be seen when he will make another competitive comeback.

The former world number one is naturally disappointed he will not play at SW19 and Queen's Club this year, yet he knows organisers had no alternative.

He posted on Facebook: "Very sad that the Fever-Tree Championships and Wimbledon have been cancelled this year but with all that is going on in the world right now, everyone's health is definitely the most important thing!

"Looking forward to getting back out on the grass next year already! Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. #StayHomeSaveLives."

The ATP and WTA announced the suspension of their tours had been extended until July 13, but US Open organisers say the tournament will go ahead as scheduled as it stands.

Roger Federer says he is "devastated" while Simona Halep was left feeling "so sad" following the decision to cancel Wimbledon.

Organisers announced on Wednesday that the 2020 tournament will not take place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ATP and WTA Tours have also been further suspended, with top-level tennis now not expected to resume until at least July 13.

Federer, who has won a record eight Wimbledon men's singles titles, had been planning to return to action in time for Wimbledon and the Olympic Games after undergoing knee surgery.

With both events now not taking place in 2020, the Swiss great tweeted to say he was "devastated" alongside a gif displaying the text 'There is no gif for these things that I am feeling'.

Reigning women's champion Halep was disappointed at missing out on the chance to defend her title this year, writing on Twitter: "So sad to hear Wimbledon won't take place this year.

"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."

Angelique Kerber, the 2018 champion, was left saddened to not only see Wimbledon and the Olympics called off but also the grass-court season as a whole.

"It goes without saying that I'm heavy hearted that the cancellation of the grass-court season also means that I won't be able to play in front of my home crowd in Bad Hamburg and Berlin..." she said.

"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.

"But I also know very well that there are more important things that we have to focus on right now and that professional sports have to take a step back for a while."

Rising American star Coco Gauff tweeted she would miss playing at the All England Club, while Petra Kvitova, winner in 2011 and 2014, said it was "definitely a tough one to take".

"Not only is it a special tournament to me, but it's a tournament that has been part of history for so long that it will leave a big hole in the calendar," Kvitova said.

"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!"

In a message shared by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), Milos Raonic insisted the decision was "the right thing we have to do with everything that's going on around the world right now".

Marin Cilic, finalist in 2017, added: "Enjoy yourself at home. Now is the time to do some things that you don't have so much time to do when you're not at home."

US Open chiefs were taking stock of Wimbledon's cancellation on Wednesday but remained hopeful their grand slam would go ahead.

The coronavirus pandemic made it unrealistic to continue with planning for Wimbledon, which was due to begin on June 29 and run for two weeks.

However, the US Open is not due to get under way until August 24, and there is optimism that the Flushing Meadows event may still go ahead on schedule.

Its host city, New York, is being severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis, yet United States Tennis Association (USTA) officials are not rushing to abandon their major.

In a statement, the USTA said: "We understand the unique circumstances facing the All England Lawn Tennis Club and the reasoning behind the decision to cancel the 2020 Wimbledon Championships.

"At this time the USTA still plans to host the US Open as scheduled, and we continue to hone plans to stage the tournament.

"The USTA is carefully monitoring the rapidly-changing environment surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and is preparing for all contingencies.

"We also rely on the USTA's medical advisory group as well as governmental and security officials to ensure that we have the broadest understanding of this fluid situation.

"In all instances, all decisions made by the USTA regarding the US Open will be made with the health and wellbeing of our players, fans, and all others involved in the tournament."

Rafael Nadal and Bianca Andreescu are the reigning US Open singles champions.

Wimbledon has been cancelled by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision taken on Wednesday means the tournament will not go ahead for the first time since World War II.

The grass-court grand slam had been due to begin in London on June 29.

With the spread of COVID-19 putting sport across the globe on hold, the French Open - originally scheduled for May - has already been moved back to September.

An AELTC statement said the 134th Championships will now take place from June 28 July 11, 2021 instead.

Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep, the respective men's and women's singles victors last year, will consequently be defending champions for another 12 months.

Ian Hewitt, AELTC chairman, said: "This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen.

"It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of The Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe that it is a measure of this global crisis that it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year's Championships, and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon's resources to help those in our local communities and beyond.

"Our thoughts are with all those who have been and continue to be affected by these unprecedented times."

The AELTC said the decision was taken to "protect the large numbers of people required to prepare the Championships from being at risk".

Richard Lewis, AELTC chief executive, added: "While in some ways this has been a challenging decision, we strongly believe it is not only in the best interests of society at this time, but also provides certainty to our colleagues in international tennis given the impact on the grass court events in the UK and in Europe and the broader tennis calendar."

Both the ATP and WTA followed the announcement by confirming the suspensions of the respective Tours will be extended until at least July 13, but US Open organisers plan to stage the tournament as scheduled as it stands.

Tennis, like every sport, has seen its calendar decimated by the COVID-19 outbreak, with the clay-court season completely wiped out and the Olympic Games having been postponed last week.

The decision to move the French Open back to September, after the US Open, sparked a backlash after ATP Tour Council member Vasek Pospisil said organisers had not consulted with players.

Wimbledon has been called off, a brutal blow to sport lovers, and its cancellation sends effects rippling through tennis.

The reality that Centre Court will lie empty through June and July will be a bitter pill to swallow not only for those with dreams of playing there for the first time, but to those who see it as a second home.

Superstars including Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Simona Halep and Serena Williams will feel its loss to the calendar.

Here is a look at those who may be hardest hit by the loss from the calendar of a flagship grand slam.

Serena Williams

It seemed inevitable at one stage that Williams would catch and then pass Margaret Court's record haul of 24 grand slam singles titles, but she remains infuriatingly stuck on 23 majors, and the American all-time great will be 39 years old by the time she next gets the chance to challenge at Wimbledon.

The seven-time Wimbledon champion last reigned in SW19 in 2016, and her last singles slam came at the following year's Australian Open. Agonisingly, the prospect of Williams winning another slam has been immensely hit by this lay-off. Few can handle her grass-court game.

What too of sister Venus? The five-time Wimbledon singles queen will be 41 by the time next year's Wimbledon rolls around. Has she played her last match on grass?

Roger Federer

Federer gave himself an enormous chance in last year's Wimbledon final, when he failed to take two championship points against Novak Djokovic. It left him bereft in the aftermath, but this year Federer may have been able to feed off the knowledge he had been a whisker away, and another run deep into the second week was a realistic target for the eight-time champion.

It seems unimaginable Federer might have played his final match at Wimbledon - surely he will give 2021 a shot - but hopes of adding to his 20 slams have taken a clear hit. Like Williams, he will be 39 - and pushing 40 - by the time of next year's grass-court season.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal

Snapping at the heels of Federer are Djokovic and Nadal, with both men bidding to leapfrog him atop the list of all-time men's slam champions: Serbian Djokovic is three behind Federer on 17, and Nadal is just one adrift of the Swiss.

Losing Wimbledon, and having no certainty the US Open and French Open will take place later in the year, may ultimately end up hurting Djokovic and Nadal more than Federer. Djokovic turns 33 in May, Nadal will be 34 in June, and it is important to remember Federer's longevity is a rare thing in tennis.

With a young generation emerging, missing out on majors and momentum at this stage of their stellar careers may make it difficult for Djokovic and Nadal to rediscover their dominant best when tennis returns. Federer's haul - a record for the men's game - may yet beyond the reach of his two greatest rivals.

Andy Murray

Two-time champion Murray made an emotional return to Wimbledon last year when he played doubles - partnering Serena Williams in the mixed. Injury had ruled the Scot out of the 2018 tournament and threatened his career, but Murray was targeting a singles slam comeback in 2020 and to have that rug pulled from beneath him is a cruel blow.

He also turns 33 in May, and Murray has already toyed with retirement. He would be forgiven for questioning whether putting himself through another year of hard graft to remain competitive is worth the physical toll.

Reports in the UK this week suggested there is growing support to void the current Premier League season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin admitted the 2019-20 campaign might have to be scrubbed from the records, after Euro 2020 was moved back 12 months.

Although the likes of runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool would understandably despair at such a prospect, there are other clubs enjoying seasons to forget who might enjoy the escape clause.

With that in mind, we took a look back at the teams and individuals who might like to expunge an ignominious season or period of time from history.

 

MANCHESTER UNITED 2013-14

The seven years since Alex Ferguson's retirement have not exactly gone swimmingly for United, but that ill-fated first season remains the real low point. 

David Moyes lasted just 10 months as Ferguson's replacement as the reigning Premier League champions finished seventh in 2013-14, suffering truly humiliating defeats to top two Manchester City and Liverpool along the way. A wretched 2-0 loss at Moyes' former club Everton proved the final straw.

At least they won the Community Shield in August 2013. 

NOVAK DJOKOVIC 2017

When Novak Djokovic defeated familiar foe Andy Murray to win the 2016 French Open, the modern-day legend was in possession of all of tennis' grand slams. The question was, who can stop this man? Well, the answer was actually himself.

A round-three exit at Wimbledon followed a month later and, although he reached the US Open final that year, a barren 2017 followed. Djokovic did not go beyond the quarters at any slam that year and reached just one final at the Italian Open, which he lost. Djokovic rediscovered the winning habit in slams at Wimbledon in 2018, beginning a run of five triumphs in the past seven at tennis' big events.

DETROIT LIONS – 2008

The Lions secured an unwanted place in history when they became the first NFL team in the 16-game season era to go 0-16. They went 7-9 in 2007 and were then undefeated in preaseason, meaning few would have thought a historically bad campaign was on the cards.

Detroit started three QBs over the course of the campaign - Jon Kitna, Dan Orlovsky and Daunte Culpepper - all of whom struggled with form and injuries despite the presence of star receiver Calvin Johnson, but worst of all was their woeful defense, which gave up 517 points.

Team president and CEO Matt Millen was fired after four weeks, while head coach Rod Marinelli was shown the door at the end of the season and has not led a team since.

TIGER WOODS - 2014-2017

Tiger Woods' standing as one the greatest, if not the greatest, golfer of all time is in no doubt. By the end of 2013, Woods was standing again atop the world rankings after winning five times during the year, earning the prestigious PGA Tour Player of the Year award. 

It would take five years for Woods to win again as the American great endured a horrendous time with debilitating back injuries and loss of form. At one stage it looked as though he may have to retire and his world ranking had plummeted to a scarcely credible 1,199th in December 2017. But just a year ago Woods was back in major-winning form as, at the age of 43, he became Masters champion for a fifth time.

BARCELONA 2002-03

Years of drift since the 1999 LaLiga title came to a head in 2002-03, as Barcelona endured a miserable season that saw Louis van Gaal sacked as coach and led to the departure of president Joan Gaspart. 

Barca ended up sixth in the league – their worst finish in 15 years – as the Real Madrid Galacticos ruled. They also exited the Copa del Rey in the first round and lost in the Champions League quarter-finals. 

After that season, in came Joan Laporta as president, Frank Rijkaard as head coach, and a certain Brazilian called Ronaldinho. And things got a bit better. 

ENGLAND – 2013-14 ASHES

England made it three Ashes victories in a row with a 3-0 home triumph in 2013 – the first time they had enjoyed such a run of success against old enemies Australia since 1977-1981. However, a rejig of the international cricketing schedule meant a swift return Down Under. The Mitchell Johnson-inspired hosts exacted brutal vengeance on their way to a 5-0 whitewash as a great England team fell to pieces.

Off-spinner Graeme Swann retired mid-series and Kevin Pietersen's tempestuous exit from the international stage was set in motion, while Andy Flower – the head coach he despised – stepped down. Of the XI that started the concluding 281-run loss in Sydney, Pietersen, Michael Carberry and debutants Scott Borthwick and Boyd Rankin would never play red ball cricket for England again.

REAL MADRID 2008-09

In Spanish football's great rivalry, Real Madrid or Barcelona doing well is only half the deal. Success is truly sweet if the other half of El Clasico's enduring grudge are having a tough time. Madrid won LaLiga in 2007-08, with Barca a distant fourth as the Rijkaard-Ronaldinho era disintegrated under the weight of its own excess.

However, the tables flipped spectacularly next time around – Barca stormed to an unprecedented treble under rookie coach Pep Guardiola, Lionel Messi leaped from exceptional talent to generational superstar as Madrid were walloped 6-2 by their sworn foes at the Santiago Bernabeu and a dynasty was born.

Madrid finished a distant second, were thrashed 5-0 on aggregate by Liverpool in the Champions League last-16 and coach Juande Ramos followed predecessor Bernd Schuster out of the exit door.

PAULA RADCLIFFE – 2004 OLYMPICS

After setting a new world record in London in 2003 and having won the 2004 race in New York, Radcliffe was favourite for marathon gold at the 2004 Olympics. 

However, after struggling badly to continue, Radcliffe withdrew 23 miles in and was taken for a medical check-up. She later competed in the 10,000 metres but again retired.  In a tearful appearance on British TV, Radcliffe refused to blame the heat and humidity in Athens and admitted she was "desperately trying to find a reason for what happened". 

A year later, she was back winning and breaking the world record at the London marathon - despite a brief toilet break by the side of the road - before taking gold at the World Championships in Helsinki.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 2019-2020

After a fifth straight NBA Finals appearance in 2019, things went rapidly downhill for the Golden State Warriors. All-Star duo Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins left in free agency, while 'Splash Brothers' Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have been out injured – the latter is yet to play this season. 

The Warriors sit bottom of the Western Conference and have the worst overall record in the NBA at 15-50. An improved chance of getting the first pick in the 2020 draft is their only solace.

MANNY PACQUIAO 2012

After losing to Erik Morales in 2005, Manny Pacquiao went on sensational 15-fight winning streak that established him as an unprecedented seven-division world champion. The Morales loss was twice avenged via stoppage, with the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto similarly dispatched. A mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr awaited, only for the wheels to fall off in 2012.

Timothy Bradley halted Pacquiao's streak when he was – somewhat farcically – awarded a split-decision verdict over the Filipino great. Juan Manuel Marquez knew all about scorecard controversy from his previous three meetings with Pacquiao and duly took them out of the equation, chillingly leaving his rival face down and motionless on the Las Vegas canvas that December. The Mayweather bout had to wait until 2015, but that is one of only two losses suffered since by Pacquiao, who reigns as WBA welterweight champion at 41.

CHELSEA 2015-16

Chelsea won the Premier League title in 2014-15 and 2016-17. What came in between was nothing short of a complete shambles. Jose Mourinho had returned for a second spell in charge and collected a third winners' medal in England's top flight but the Portuguese's famously abrasive tendencies then appeared to wear his players down at an alarming rate.

Beginning with the 2-2 draw against Swansea City that ignited Mourinho's sapping spat with club doctor Eva Carneiro, Chelsea won only one of their opening five Premier League fixtures. That form was far from a blip and they were 16th when Mourinho was sacked in the wake of a 2-1 December loss to would-be champions Leicester City. Caretaker boss Guus Hiddink restored a modicum of respectability with a 10th-place finish before Antonio Conte arrived and the Stamford Bridge faithful were soon wondering if it had all just been a bad dream.

SERENA WILLIAMS 2006

Williams started the year by losing her Australian Open crown with a third-round exit to Daniele Hantuchova, before injuries forced her to miss tournaments in Tokyo and Dubai. Come April, she had dropped out of the WTA top 100 for the first time since November 1997, and it came as little surprise that she competed at neither the French Open nor Wimbledon. 

After a fourth-round exit at the US Open, Williams ended a title-less year 95th in the world. It meant she returned to the Australian Open in January 2007 as an unseeded player. She won it. 

Wimbledon will be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to German Tennis Federation (DTB) vice-president Dirk Hordorff.

The grand slam is scheduled to begin in London on June 29 but may not be held for the first time since 1945, when there was no event due to World War II.

A decision on the tournament is expected in the coming week and Hordorff said Wimbledon officials would cancel the event.

"Wimbledon has stated that they will have a board meeting next Wednesday and will make the final decision there," he told Sky Sport on Sunday.

"I am also involved in the bodies of the ATP and WTA. The necessary decisions have already been made there and Wimbledon will decide to cancel next Wednesday. There is no doubt about it. This is necessary in the current situation.

"It is completely unrealistic to imagine that with the travel restrictions that we currently have an international tennis tournament, where hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world would travel. That is unthinkable."

The French Open, which was due to start in May, has already been postponed until later in the year and it remains uncertain when the ATP and WTA Tour seasons will resume.

Hordorff said it was difficult to push back Wimbledon, while adding the financial impact of a cancellation should not be too greatly felt.

"Wimbledon has its own laws due to the lawn and the special lighting conditions. Wimbledon was probably the only grand slam tournament many years ago predictive enough to insure itself against a worldwide pandemic, so that the financial damage should be minimised there," he said.

"Of course, Wimbledon also has enough reserves to last for several years. Wimbledon in the period September, October, when no-one knows whether you can play, would be unthinkable due to the lawn situation."

Wimbledon management will hold an emergency meeting next week to decide if this year's tournament will go ahead.

The All England Club is due to stage the grand slam from June 29, but the event is in doubt due to the ongoing global coronavirus crisis that has decimated the sporting calendar.

Both the ATP and WTA tours are cancelled until June 8 at the earliest, while Roland Garros officials opted to shift the French Open from May to September.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the All England Club (AELTC) revealed it has been looking into contingency options for Wimbledon since January, working closely throughout with the UK Government and public health authorities.

Organisers will convene to decide what steps to take, with postponement and cancellation expected to be discussed, but they have formally ruled out playing behind closed doors.

AELTC chief executive Richard Lewis 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."

Top-level tennis will not resume until the second week of June at the earliest, the men's and women's tours announced on Wednesday.

In a shared statement, the ATP and WTA said all tournaments through to June 7 would not go ahead as planned due to the continuing coronavirus outbreak.

The tours' stance follows Tuesday's announcement that the French Open would be moved, a step that appeared to catch both by surprise.

The apparent discontent over the decision by Roland Garros chiefs to move the clay-court grand slam from a May start to September - clashing with a host of tournaments - was reflected on Wednesday in the joint ATP and WTA statement.

It concluded by saying decisions over a revised tour schedule should be taken "in unison", adding that view was shared by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), Wimbledon's All England Club (AELTC), Tennis Australia and the United States Tennis Association (USTA). Tellingly, it did not mention the French Tennis Federation.

Whether it is possible to fit Wimbledon, the French Open and the US Open on this year's calendar remains to be seen. Wimbledon said on Tuesday it was still working towards a June 29 start date, albeit conscious that may not be possible.

Major events on the calendar, including the clay-court events in Madrid and Rome that were scheduled for May, now look highly unlikely to take place at all in 2020. The clay-court season has been effectively lost.

The ATP and WTA statement read: "After careful consideration, and due to the continuing outbreak of COVID-19, all ATP and WTA tournaments in the spring clay-court swing will not be held as scheduled. This includes the combined ATP/WTA tournaments in Madrid and Rome, along with the WTA events in Strasbourg and Rabat and ATP events in Munich, Estoril, Geneva and Lyon."

Both tours were already suspended, but there had remained a lingering hope the clay-court swing could still take place.

The statement said the extension also applied to the lower-tier ATP Challenger Tour and ITF World Tennis Tour, and announced that world rankings would be frozen "until further notice".

The ATP and WTA called for "greater collaboration than ever from everyone in the tennis community".

"Now is not a time to act unilaterally, but in unison," the tours said. "All decisions related to the impact of the coronavirus require appropriate consultation and review with the stakeholders in the game, a view that is shared by ATP, WTA, ITF, AELTC, Tennis Australia, and USTA."

The Laver Cup is planning to go ahead as scheduled in 2020 despite overlapping with the French Open following the latter's "surprise" announcement.

It was announced on Tuesday that the French Open, due to start in May, would instead begin in September because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the September 20 start would see it overlap with the Laver Cup, which is set to be held in Boston beginning five days later.

Despite the overlap, the Laver Cup said it would proceed as scheduled later in the year.

"The tennis world learned today that the French Tennis Federation intends to schedule Roland Garros from Sept 20 – Oct 4, 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19," a statement read on Tuesday.

"These dates overlap with the dates of Laver Cup 2020, already sold out, and scheduled for September 25-27, 2020 at TD Garden in Boston.

"This announcement came as a surprise to us and our partners – Tennis Australia, the USTA and the ATP. It raises many questions and we are assessing the situation.

"At this time, we want our fans, sponsors, broadcasters, staff, volunteers, players and the great city of Boston to know that we intend to hold Laver Cup 2020 as currently scheduled."

US Open organisers are hoping the tournament can go ahead as scheduled in 2020 as they appeared to aim a dig at the French Open.

The French Open was pushed from a May start to September on Tuesday due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But that move seemed to come as a surprise to some players, with ATP council member Vasek Pospisil saying there was no communication with the players or the ATP.

It means Roland Garros is set to start just a week after the US Open ends with the men's final on September 13.

The US Open is prepared to push back the start of the tournament, and it seemed to aim a dig at the French Open over its lack of communication.

"The USTA is continuing to plan for the 2020 US Open and is not at this time implementing any changes to the schedule," read a statement posted by the US Open Twitter account on Tuesday.

"These are unprecedented times, though, and we are assessing all of our options, including the possibility of moving the tournament to a later date.

"At a time when the world is coming together, we recognise that such a decision should not be made unilaterally, and therefore the USTA would only do so in full consultation with the other grand slam tournaments, the WTA and ATP, the ITF and our partners, including the Laver Cup."

Wimbledon management have promised to "act responsibly" and insist they are preparing for the tournament to go ahead on schedule.

The French Open was moved on Tuesday from a May start date to September, taking players by surprise, with suggestions the men's and women's tours may also have been caught out.

In the fast-moving climate of concern over the coronavirus pandemic, the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC) is preparing for Wimbledon to begin on June 29, but there is acknowledgement that may not be possible.

The AELTC said on Tuesday it has closed down parts of its grounds, including its museum, and many staff were working remotely.

Chief executive Richard Lewis stressed no risks would be taken in putting on the tournament.

He said: "At the heart of our decision-making is our commitment to the health and safety of our members, staff, and the public, and we are grateful to the government and public health authorities for their advice and support.

"While we continue to plan for the championships at this time, it remains a continuously evolving situation and we will act responsibly, in the best interests of wider society.

"We thank all of our members, staff, players, partners, contractors and the public for their patience and trust as we continue to navigate this unprecedented global challenge."

French Open organisers were facing a backlash on Tuesday after revealing new dates for the clay-court grand slam.

ATP tour council member Vasek Pospisil, a Canadian who was a Wimbledon doubles champion in 2014, said there had been "no communication" with the men's tour and labelled the decision "madness".

The ATP and WTA tours are at a standstill, with tournaments cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, and it appears entirely unrealistic that Paris, currently a city in lockdown, will be ready to stage a grand slam by late May.

The Roland Garros tournament's new dates of September 20 to October 4 mean it will begin seven days after the US Open men's final, and clashes with Davis Cup and Laver Cup matches mean the calendar will need a major overhaul.

Pospisil's accusation that French Open organisers have gone it alone by declaring its switch to a September start may suggest the newly revealed dates could face serious opposition.

The 29-year-old wrote on Twitter: "This is madness. Major announcement by Roland Garros changing the dates to one week after the US Open. No communication with the players or the ATP.. we have ZERO say in this sport. It’s time. #UniteThePlayers"

From the women's tour, American Madison Keys posted a response to the French Open announcement featuring a cartoon on Twitter of a house burning down, adding the caption: "Everything is fine."

Croatian Donna Vekic also reacted to the tournament announcement, writing: "Excusez moi?"

Regardless of the exceptional circumstances, any move by the French Open that lacked the co-operation of either the men's ATP Tour or the women's WTA Tour - if that is the case here - will test the good faith of both in the French slam organisers. It also creates a logistical nightmare.

As well as Davis Cup matches in the two days prior to the French Open, the men's tour has tournaments organised for the two-week duration of the tournament in St Petersburg, Metz, Chengdu, Zhuhai and Sofia. The Laver Cup is also due to take place from September 25-27.

On the women's tour, the Zhengzhou Open is due to finish on the first day of the rescheduled Roland Garros, followed over the duration of the tournament by events in Guangzhou, Seoul, Tokyo, Wuhan and Tashkent. Its China Open is also due to begin on October 3, the projected day of the women's final in Paris.

The 10-man ATP council on which Pospisil sits is led by world number one Novak Djokovic, with Roger Federer and 12-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal also members.

The French Open has been postponed and will be played in September and October, tournament organisers have announced.

The coronavirus pandemic has meant the men's ATP and women's WTA tours have been put on hold, with no indication of when tennis can resume.

That meant the original French Open dates of May 24 to June 7 looked incompatible with the prospect of hosting the grand slam.

Tournament organisers said the clay-court tournament in Paris would instead go ahead from September 20 to October 4.

A statement issued by Roland Garros officials said: "The current confinement measures have made it impossible for us to continue with the dates originally planned.

"The whole world is affected by the public health crisis connected with COVID-19. In order to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in organising the tournament, the French Tennis Federation [FFT] has made the decision to hold the 2020 edition of Roland Garros from September 20 to October 4 2020."

FFT president Bernard Giudicelli confirmed the decision had been a reaction to the rapid spread of coronavirus.

France is currently on lockdown, in keeping with large parts of Europe.

Giudicelli said: "We have made a difficult yet brave decision in this UNPRECEDENTED situation, which has evolved greatly since last weekend. We are acting responsibly, and must work together in the fight to ensure everybody’s health and safety."

Qualifying for the French Open would have begun in the week ahead of the tournament, and with just two months until that point it seemed unimaginable that Paris would be ready to hold the event.

The Roland Garros statement added: "The current confinement measures have made it impossible for us to continue with our preparations and, as a result, we are unable to hold the tournament on the dates originally planned.

"In order to act responsibly and protect the health of its employees, service providers and suppliers during the organisation period, the FFT has chosen the only option that will allow them to maintain the 2020 edition of the tournament while joining the fight against COVID-19."

Rafael Nadal is the reigning men's champion and will be seeking a record-extending 13th French Open title this year, with Australia's Ash Barty the defending women's title holder.

With the French Open postponed, Wimbledon is due to be the next grand slam to be played, with a start date of June 29.

The WTA tour has been suspended until May 2 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Forthcoming tournaments in Stuttgart, Istanbul and Prague will not take place as planned.

The latest cancellations follow those of the Indian Wells Open, Charleston Open and Miami Open in the United States, along with events in Bogota and Guadalajara.

The tour will make a decision on the status of its remaining European clay court tournaments later this week.

A WTA statement said: "Due to the ongoing global coronavirus outbreak, the WTA tournaments in Stuttgart, Istanbul and Prague will not be held as scheduled.

"We regret this is the case for all of our loyal fans, players, sponsors and all those who support women's professional tennis.
 
"At this point in time, the WTA Tour is now suspended until May 2. We will make a decision in the week ahead regarding the remaining WTA European clay court events and will continue to monitor this situation closely and its impact on the 2020 WTA Tour season."

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