Wimbledon: British tennis ‘financially stable’ despite cancellation – Richard Lewis

Richard Lewis and 2019 Wimbledon ladies' singles champion Simona Halep

The finances of British tennis “won’t be severely impacted” by the cancellation of Wimbledon, says chief executive Richard Lewis.

The All England Club’s pandemic insurance policy has shielded it from losses of up to a quarter of a billion pounds – but the cover will not be available next year.

“We’re still in a very good position – which is a slightly strange thing to say when you’ve just cancelled the championships – but we’re financially very stable,” said Lewis.

“I’m optimistic that the surplus [the annual payment to governing body the LTA] will be pretty well protected, and therefore the impact will be somewhat minimised.”

The payment, which effectively funds British tennis’ governing body for the year ahead, was more than £45m in 2019, but is certain to fall next year.

Wimbledon, which was due to run from 29 June to 12 July, was cancelled for the first time since World War Two amid the coronavirus crisis.

The claim will not be finalised for several months, and although insurance of this kind will not be available in the immediate future, Lewis thinks that could change in time.

“When I first started in 2012 there were some signs that things were not insurable because of communicable diseases like Sars and swine flu,” he said.

“In the immediate aftermath you can’t get insurance, but fairly soon after that you can start to get insurance again. The market returns.”

Lewis, who will make way for Sally Bolton at the end of July, says thoughts have already turned to how the Wimbledon 2021 might look – if necessary behind closed doors.

“I don’t think the insurance aspect will be relevant,” he added.

“It genuinely wasn’t relevant this year. If we could have staged the championships in some shape or form, then we would have done.”

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