April 1 (UPI) -- Wimbledon -- one of professional tennis' four Grand Slam tournaments -- was canceled Wednesday because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 134th Championships will be held June 28 to July 11, 2021, at the All England Club in London. The main board of the All England Club and the committee of management of the tournament met Wednesday and then announced the cancellation.
"This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the well-being of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen," All England Club chairman Ian Hewitt said.
The 39th edition of Wimbledon was deferred from 1915 to 1919 during World War I. The 60th edition of Wimbledon was deferred from 1940 to 1946 due to World War II.
Hewitt added: "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 ..."
He urged that members of the All England Club 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."
Wimbledon organizers said they considered postponing the tournament, and they worked with government and public health authorities before making the "best decision in the interests of public health."
Members of the public who purchased tickets for the tournament will receive refunds and offered the chance to purchase tickets for the same day and court of the 2021 tournament.
"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," All England Club chief executive Richard Lewis said.
Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep are the 2019 Wimbledon singles champions.
The 2020 U.S. Open is the next Grand Slam on the tennis schedule, scheduled for Aug. 14 to Sept. 13 in Queens, N.Y. U.S. Open officials said Tuesday they have no current plans to cancel to tournament.
The WTA Tour and ATP Tour are suspended until at least June 7 due to the pandemic.