Officials on Wednesday made the difficult but increasingly inevitable decision to cancel Wimbledon amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, calling the tournament off for the first time in decades.

“It is with great regret that the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be canceled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic,” a statement posted online said. “The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.”

The tournament, which had been scheduled to run from June 29 to July 12, joins a raft of sports events that have been canceled or postponed during the global pandemic.

“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,” Ian Hewitt, the club chairman, said in the statement. “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, and 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 has not been canceled since 1945.

“Our efforts will now be focused on contributing to the emergency response and supporting those affected by the coronavirus crisis,” club officials added. “We have begun distributing medical equipment and offered the use of our facilities to the NHS and to the London Resilience Partnership, the collection of agencies in London fighting the battle against COVID-19.”

The announcement reduces the number of Grand Slam tournaments from four to three, and presents a challenge for stars such as Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – who are battling both age and younger rivals.

Federer, the eight-time men’s singles champion, used one word to describe the cancellation: “Devastated.” His response was tempered by reality, however, as he went on to urge an emphasis on “health and family.”

Williams, the seven-time women’s singles champion, had her own reaction, tweeting :I.m I’m Shooked.”

Wimbledon officials were caught in a pinch after the French Open, the second Slam, was moved from May 24 to Sept. 20. That means that the French Open is now scheduled to start one week after the conclusion of the U.S. Open, which is traditionally the final Slam event of the calendar year.

Finding a spot for Wimbledon, the third event on the traditional calendar, became increasingly difficult.

Players who reach the final weekend of the U.S. Open, for instance, and play the rescheduled French Open would have to contest four weeks of Grand Slam-caliber matches – for men, best-of-five-set matches; for women, best-of-three – on two radically different surfaces over a five-week span. Wimbledon is played on yet another surface, grass. That, compounded by weather, makes it extremely difficult for Wimbledon, with only two covered courts, to be rescheduled.

“It’s almost impossible,” said Hall of Famer Donald Dell, a former U.S. Davis Cup captain turned sports agent and a co-founder of the Association of Tennis Professionals. “With the U.S. Open and French Open being so close, in some ways I wouldn’t be surprised if the top 20 players select the one with the surface that’s best for them. Federer’s best chance is on concrete. Some players are much better on clay, like Nadal and [Dominic] Thiem. Djokovic, it seems, can play on water!”

The U.S. Open is scheduled for Aug. 24 to Sept. 13 in New York. The Australian Open took place earlier this year.

Wimbledon has never been canceled for a reason other than war. It was not held from 1915 to 1918 because of World War I; it was suspended from 1940 to 1945 because of World War II.