'Helps him the most': Tennis great's bold crisis call about Big Three

Tennis fans will be keen to see how the disrupted 2020 season affects the Big Three of the men's game. Pic: Getty

Tennis has been left reeling by the news that the coronavirus pandemic has forced Wimbledon to be cancelled for the first time since World War II.

The "devastating" news has already sparked fears that we’ve seen the last of Roger Federer and Serena Williams at the All England Club.

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Both ageing champions will be almost 40 when the next Wimbledon tournament rolls around in 2021.

With no tennis to be played until at least mid-July this year, the break could be seen as an advantage for the older generation of players.

Serena Williams and Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2019. Image: Getty

As Wimbledon great Todd Woodbridge sees it though, the disruptions to the 2020 season could change the course of tennis history.

The Aussie doubles great can't see the Big Three of Federer, 33-year-old Rafael Nadal (19 slams) and 32-year-old Novak Djokovic (17) continuing to rule as they have for the past decade-and-a-half.

However, Woodbridge says of those three players, it's Djokovic whom he thinks will benefit the most from the tennis layoff.

"Because of the uncertainty, it makes it hard to see how the three can dominate when they come back because of the age of Roger and Rafa," Woodbridge said.

"It also puts more pressure on Rafa and it changes all of those storylines that were on the table for 2020.

"For Novak, it may come at a good time in his career to actually rejuvenate him again, give him another big burst.

"So if anything, this period helps him the most."

Battling Father Time, an opponent no athlete has ever conquered, Federer now also faces the prospect of the coronavirus-enforced layoff ending his days as a genuine grand slam force.

The winner of an all-time-best 20 men's singles majors, Federer will be a month shy of his 40th birthday if and when he returns for another crack at a ninth Wimbledon crown in 2021.

‘Has this actually helped’ Federer

"The question that Roger will have to ask himself is how motivated is he to come back for another year?," Woodbridge told AAP after The All England Club announced it would not hold the tournament for the first time since World War II.

"Or has this actually helped him?

"But the less match play that you get in this period at that age, it's so much harder to come back and recover once you start again.

"So I really think that post-2020 will be a new era of people trying to create records because it'll have really have broken up a great period in tennis.

"It has stopped the potential, I think, of Federer winning one or two more.

"It becomes very highly unlikely for him."

Federer tweeted that he was "devastated" after Wimbledon's cancellation before reportedly saying he hopes to return in 2021 for a crack at his ninth All England title.

However, Woodbridge insists the current situation will have "changed the history books" when tennis eventually resumes.

"I think from here, this will be a line in the sand in terms of records," he said.

"We had all the records from the amateur days, the open records and then this will be a new line.

"It will be post 2020.

"So it will have changed the history books in the long run when we do get back and playing again, for sure."

with AAP