Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the organisers of the tournament did not hold back in sending out an emotional message to healthcare workers as well as supporters. Wimbledon’s Twitter account shared an inspiring video, narrated by Roger Federer, urging fans to cheer on those fighting on the frontlines in the battle against the novel coronavirus, which has infected 1.5 million people across the world and caused 95,000 deaths.
“Play is suspended, but we cheer for a different kind of champion,” Wimbledon captioned the video.
Play is suspended, but we cheer for a different kind of champion.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) April 9, 2020
In the video, Federer talks about how tennis fans have graced the championship since its inception in 1877, watching through multiple kinds of screens, through all times of the day and night and waited in queues.
“This summer, sadly, we must come together by staying apart,” he says. “No tents will be pitched, no records broken, no trophies engraved.”
“But as we say thank you for your passionate support, we remind ourselves that countless champions will be found,” he says.
“As frontline workers across the globe compete for us, we cheer for them,” the tennis legend adds.
“For now, with play suspended, we are united in hope that tomorrow will be better than today,” he concludes.
Federer, who has won a record eight Wimbledon men’s singles titles, had reacted to the news of the tournament being cancelled with a one-word tweet: “devastated”.
While players and fans were left disappointed by the cancellation, the organisers of Wimbledon are reportedly set to receive $141 million as they had been paying for pandemic insurance for the last 17 years.
Wimbledon was due to run for two weeks from June 29, with Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep set to defend their singles titles.