The latest on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting sports around the globe:
McIlroy says Ryder Cup should be postponed until 2021
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy believes the Ryder Cup is unlikely to take place this year and postponing the biennial match play event to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic would be the right call to make.
The golf calendar has been decimated by the coronavirus outbreak, with three of the sport’s four majors rescheduled and the British Open cancelled.
The Ryder Cup is due to take place from Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin but fans will almost certainly be asked not to attend.
“My personal hunch is that I don’t see how it is going to happen, so I do not think that it will happen,” McIlroy, 31, told BBC.
World TeamTennis plans for fans at West Virginia matches
If World TeamTennis gets its way, Grand Slam champions Sofia Kenin and Sloane Stephens could be among the first tennis players to compete in front of fans after the coronavirus pandemic prompted lockdowns around the globe.
WTT said Tuesday it is planning to allow up to 500 spectators at each of its outdoor matches during a three-week season from July 12 to Aug. 2 at a resort in West Virginia.
The league also announced an increase in total prize money to $5 million US this year, $1.5 million more than for its 2019 season.
All tennis events sanctioned by the ATP, WTA and International Tennis Federation are on hold until at least late July because of the COVID-19 outbreak. That includes the French Open, which was supposed to have started its 15-day main draw Sunday but was postponed until September, and Wimbledon, which was cancelled outright for the first time in 75 years.
But WTT is not affiliated with those tours — no ATP or WTA ranking points are available for its matches — and does not need to abide by their decisions about when it is OK to compete.
WADA working to fill testing ‘gaps’ caused by pandemic
The World Anti-Doping Agency says the COVID-19 pandemic may have harmed the fight for clean sport and that “additional targeted testing” was being planned to eliminate gaps as competition resumes.
Athletes have expressed concern about reductions in testing for banned substances and urged clarity from authorities about the validity of test results during the global sports shutdown.
“Placing public health above the needs of the anti-doping system means that there may be impacts on the fight against doping in sport,” WADA said. “However, there is significantly less training being carried out and significantly fewer competitions taking place.”
WADA said doping control samples continued to be stored for future analysis and, with the help of the athlete biological passport, some samples collected post-COVID-19 might reveal doping that occurred during the shutdown period.
N.J. Gov. Murphy approves activities for pro teams
Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted Tuesday that as long as the NFL’s Giants and Jets and the NHL’s Devils follow health and medical protocols, they could open training camps or even hold competition.
The NFL’s pre-season and training camps wouldn’t begin until midsummer — teams are doing virtual workouts in place of the usual on-field activities because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the NHL is planning ways to complete the 2019-20 season. Should those plans include the Devils, they now can reopen their training facilities.
“Professional sports teams in NJ may return to training and even competition, if their leagues choose to move in that direction,” Murphy wrote on Twitter.
A Jets spokesman said: “We are working closely with Gov. Murphy’s office, the league and our medical staff to establish prudent, health and safety measures for our staff and players. Based on those guidelines, we will begin to open our facility using a phased approach at a time that is the most practical for our operations.”
The Giants echoed those sentiments and said: “With today’s announcement by the governor, we are finalizing our plans to reopen the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.”
Cilic, Coric added to Djokovic’s Balkan tennis tour
Croatians Marin Cilic and Borna Coric will join world No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s tennis tournament to be played across the Balkans June 13-July 5, the Serb said on Tuesday.
Their inclusion will complete a formidable field also featuring Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Grigor Dimitrov, with the first of four legs set to take place in Belgrade on June 13 and 14.
The series will then move to Croatia’s coastal resort Zadar, where 2014 U.S. Open winner Cilic and 23-year old Coric will take centre stage in front of their home fans.
The final two legs of the tour are provisionally to be held in Montenegro and Bosnia, but Djokovic revealed at Monday’s news conference in Serbia’s capital they might have to be moved if the infrastructure is not completed in time.
All four legs of the tour will feature eight players competing in two pools of four on a round-robin basis, with the winners of each pool advancing to the final.