Monday should have been the start of Wimbledon.
But, like much of this year’s sporting calendar, it was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
That means some of tennis fans’ big questions remaining unanswered: will Serena Williams match Margaret Court’s 24 Grand Slam singles titles? Can Coco Gauff become a genuine Grand Slam contender? Does Roger Federer have one more Wimbledon win in him? Who will be the next great British hope?
But, competition aside, there are plenty of other things we’ll miss about the tournament.
The celeb spotting
Don’t pretend you come for the sport alone. We see you, you celeb hunters.
Wimbledon is obviously great for this kind of thing. The glamour of it. You have your mainstay celebs – who you can usually count on to be in attendance – your Beckhams, your Jaggers etc.
Then there are the exciting American prospects.
This year, we won’t be able to see whether singer Pharrell Williams might turn up and flout the dress code again.
Or whether Drake might, in a display of emotional maturity we could never attain, show up there to cheer on his ex, Serena Williams, like he did in 2017.
Our very British preoccupation with the weather
The weather – that great gift to British conversationalists.
Will it be a glorious British summer? Will the retractable roofs be brought into play? Is it still OK to drink Pimm’s in a downpour?
This is the kind of jeopardy that makes live tennis in the British summer such a thrilling prospect.
Waiting to see what Serena will wear
Williams was banned from wearing a catsuit at the French Open in 2018. It had been worn at least in part to help prevent blood clots, after giving birth.
The next year, she wore a custom Nike/Virgil Abloh two-piece, with the words, ‘Mother, Champion, Queen, Goddess’ printed on in French.
We’ll miss seeing what statement look she might have brought to London.
Kyrgios saying something outrageous
Death, taxes and Nick Kyrgios giving a slightly bolshie news conference – three certainties in this life.
Here’s the bad boy of tennis, at last year’s tournament, absolutely savaging all conventional, British notions of ‘politeness’ and outright refusing to apologise for going to the pub before his match against Rafael Nadal.
The Fed fans
You can’t really miss them when they’re around – they’re a vocal and passionate fanbase. Sometimes, some might argue, a little over-zealous. Federer’s army were criticised for booing Novak Djokovic in last year’s men’s final.
They, like the rest of us though, will be sorely missing Wimbledon this year and, at 38, how many more Wimbledon finals will the great man himself play?
Generally just dreaming about getting Centre Court tickets
In lots of ways, Wimbledon is about aspiration. What must it be like to get Centre Court tickets, rubbing shoulders with the great and the good?
What’s the spread really like?
Do you get unlimited refills or are you only allowed one turn around the buffet?
These are the fanciful reveries that occupy us and one of the things that keep us hooked.
Ah well, at least we’re able to play tennis in parks again. And at least pubs are opening. Kyrgios will be pleased.