Wimbledon, the most prestigious of all tennis tournaments, was officially canceled this week due to the coronavirus pandemic. So, the All England Lawn Tennis Club will not hold its annual fortnight of tennis mastery for the first time since World War II.
“It’s kind of crazy that this epidemic has happened in such a fashion that our lives of fun and playing sports have been affected as well as many other people’s livelihoods,” said Coco Vandeweghe, a two-time quarterfinalist at Wimbledon.
Vandeweghe sees what many outside the tennis world don’t see, something that makes the loss of major events like a Grand Slam even hurt even more.
“Wimbledon gives a lot of money back to a lot of charities, I know that,” said Vandeweghe.
The French Open would be the next major tennis event on the calendar. Then August brings the U.S. Open, which takes place in New York. That’s where Vandeweghe won her first Grand Slam doubles title. Both are in jeopardy so Vandeweghe has the same question many athletes who may have lost the rest of their seasons have.
“What do we do next?” said Vandeweghe. “What can we do? What are we training for and how can we train? What are we doing? That’s kind of been the question for me. I started weeks before motivated to train because Wimbledon’s still on the calendar.”
Then Wimbledon was gone, and with it the reason many professional tennis players put in long hours practicing.
“I was like, I don’t even feel like training. What’s the point? It was one of those kinds of blocks that I think everyone hits, not just athletes but people working. They’re kind of like, why did I come out to work? It’s just kind of useless at this point.”
But once that wears off, the desire to compete comes back and it comes back strong.
“I can’t wait. Along with that is being a San Diegan. I want to get back outside and enjoy myself in a free capacity,” said Vandeweghe. “I was trying to make a joke the other day to a kid I was playing with on a private court. I was like, we’re playing for something now. That’s Arthur Ashe Stadium that’s cheering behind me after I won that 10-point game, making it up for myself. It’s definitely a lot of adrenaline that is missed. I think as anyone that’s gone on a roller coaster, anything, that adrenaline junkie comes out of you and it’s definitely being missed in the upcoming weeks of Grand Slams that are going to be skipped and tournaments that you love to play.”
Even beyond tennis Coco is a sports fan. Not being able to watch any sporting events has been a tough adjustment. But there’s something new coming soon. In March, Vandeweghe was part of a World Team Tennis Celebrity All-Star Match as a member of the San Diego Aviators. It was taped at La Costa Resort and Spa and turned out to be one of the last sporting events to be held in front of a San Diego crowd.
“It’s definitely hard times for everyone and hopefully they get some relief watching this weekend, the World Team Tennis All-Star Game.”
It will air on Saturday morning at 10:30 on CBS Sports.