Monthly Archives: June 2020

Nick Kyrgios castigates ‘boneheaded’ Novak Djokovic who tested positive for COVID-19 test after Adria Tour fiasco

Nick Kyrgios vented his frustrations at world number one Novak Djokovic on Twitter after his positive test for coronavirus.

Djokovic has tested positive for the lethal virus in the wake of the Adria Tour events he helped organise in Serbia and Croatia this month.

The world number one is the fourth player who played in tournaments to test positive, joining Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki.

Novak Djokovic has apologised after the results of his COVID-19 test were confirmed

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In a statement on his website, Djokovic said he and his wife Jelena, who also tested positive, are currently asymptomatic and will self-isolate.

Djokovic said: “I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection. I hope that it will not complicate anyone’s health situation and that everyone will be fine.

Kyrgios called the decision to stage the event ‘boneheaded’ while British number one Dan Evans described it as ‘a poor example to set’.

Reacting to the news of Djokovic’s positive test, the controversial Australian posted an apparent clip of a party held during the tournament and tweeted: “Don’t @ me for anything I’ve done that has been ‘irresponsible’ or classified as ‘stupidity’ – this takes the cake.”

The Australian has somehow become the voice of reason during these confusing times

Djokovic travelled home from the tournament in Zadar, Croatia to his home in Serbia before being tested for the virus.

In the statement he said: “The moment we arrived in Belgrade we went to be tested. My result is positive, just as Jelena’s, while the results of our children are negative.

“Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions. Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region.”

Djokovic added: “The tour has been designed to help both established and up and coming tennis players from south eastern Europe to gain access to some competitive tennis while the various tours are on hold due to the COVID-19 situation.

Djokvoic poses with his Ardia Tour members, including Grigor Dimitrov

AFP or licensors

“It was all born with a philanthropic idea, to direct all raised funds towards people in need and it warmed my heart to see how everybody strongly responded to this.

“We organised the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the tour had been met.

“Unfortunately, this virus is still present, and it is a new reality that we are still learning to cope and live with.

“I am hoping things will ease with time so we can all resume lives the way they were.”

Source: Tennis

British Superbike rider Ben Godfrey dies in crash at Donington Park, aged 25

British Superbike rider Ben Godfrey has died in a racing accident at the age of 25.

Godfrey fell off his bike during a No Limits Trackdays event at Donington Park in Leicestershire on Sunday.

Godfrey was dubbed a ‘fantastic young man’ by No Limits Trackways director Mark Neate


A statement read: “During the second advanced group session of our No Limits Track day today at Donington Park, Ben Godfrey, 25, collided with another bike on the approach to Redgate and fell from his machine.

“Tragically, he suffered serious injuries and despite immediate medical assistance trackside, he succumbed to his injuries shortly after.”

No Limits Trackdays director Mark Neate paid tribute to Godfrey.

He said: “Ben really was a fantastic young man and friends with so many people in the paddock, he was always smiling and had time for everyone.

“He was very excited for the start of the season and had taken part in many track days in the last month.

Godfrey tragically leaves behind his partner, Jordan


“Our thoughts are with his family, his partner Jordan and his teammates and friends.”

Leicester Police confirmed the news of the tragic incident.

A spokesperson said: “We were called at 11.20am today to a report of a collision at Donington Park. It happened at around 10.30am and involved two motorcycles.

“Officers attended the location where a 25-year-old man was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

“A second man, 31, sustained serious injuries and was taken to Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre for treatment.

“Enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the collision are ongoing.”

Source: Motorsport

Noose found in garage of NASCAR’s only full-time black driver Bubba Wallace as ‘heinous’ act in Alabama condemned

An African-American NASCAR driver who found a noose in his garage insists he will ‘not back down’ in his battle to eradicate racism from the sport.

Bubba Wallace, who recently campaigned successfully to have the Confederate flag banned from NASCAR events, is the only full-time black driver in the Cup Series.

Bubba Wallace, pictured wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt ahead of a race earlier this month

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The sport’s governing body revealed the noose had been discovered in Wallace’s garage stall at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team,” read a statement.

“We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.

“As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”

Bubba Wallace led a successful campaign to ban the Confederate flag from NASCAR events

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Responding to the incident, Wallace released his own statement on Twitter, praising the largely-positive response to his recent campaigns while condemning the ‘reprehensible action’ of placing a noose in his garage.

“Today’s despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism,” he wrote.

“Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across the NASCAR industry including other drivers and team members in the garage.

“Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone.

“Nothing is more important and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate.

“As my mother told me today, ‘They are just trying to scare you.’ This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”

The lack of diversity in motorsport saw Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton launch his own commission to bring more black people to the fore.

Hamilton also revealed on Twitter that he had joined Sunday’s Black Lives Matter protests in Hyde Park, seemingly incognito.

He wrote: “Went down to Hyde Park today for the peaceful protest and I was so proud to see in person so many people of all races and backgrounds supporting this movement. It was really moving. I’m feeling extremely positive that change will come, but we cannot stop now. #blacklivesmatter.”

Source: Motorsport

Lewis Hamilton: Six-time Formula One champion to set up commission to increase diversity in motorsport

Lewis Hamilton will set up a commission to increase black representation in motorsport.

The six-time world champion has previously expressed “so much anger, sadness and disbelief” following the death of George Floyd, and has spoken widely on race in light of protests following the killing in Minneapolis.

Hamilton says the aim of the commission is to make the sport “become as diverse as the complex and multicultural world we live in”

AFP or licensors

He wrote in The Sunday Times that racism was ‘only too familiar to me’ and said while people were quick to condemn racist gestures like monkey noises being shouted at black footballers, they were less quick to address structural issues.

“I’ve been fighting the stigma of racism throughout my racing career – from kids throwing things at me while karting, to being taunted by fans in black face at a 2007 Grand Prix, one of my first Formula One races,” he said.

“I’m used to being one of very few people of colour on my teams and, more than that, I’m used to the idea that no one will speak up for me when I face racism, because no one personally feels or understands my experience.”

The Mercedes driver said the aim of his commission would be to make the sport “become as diverse as the complex and multicultural world we live in”.

Hamilton is one of F1’s greatest ever drivers but wants to make a bigger impact on the sport as a whole

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He said it would be a “research partnership dedicated to exploring how motorsport can be used as a vehicle to engage more young people from black backgrounds with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and, ultimately, employ them on our teams or in other engineering sectors”.

Hamilton, 35, posted #BlackLivesMatter to his 5.7million Twitter followers following the death of Mr Floyd, with his post featuring a video of a young black American girl in tears about inherent racism in society.

He then went on to post an apparent criticism of F1 colleagues on his Instagram story, saying: “I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice.

Hamilton has called on his fellow F1 employees to do more

Instagram – @lewishamilton

“I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can’t stand alongside us.

“The way minorities are treated has to change, how you educate those in your country of equality, racism, classism and that we are all the same!”

He wrote in the paper that the “institutional barriers that have kept F1 highly exclusive persist” adding that the thousands of people employed in motorsport need to be more representative of society.

“Winning championships is great, but I want to be remembered for my work creating a more equal society through education”, he added.

Source: Motorsport

US Open 2020 will happen but fans will not be allowed inside grounds at Flushing Meadows

Tennis’ final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open, will go ahead as scheduled in late August behind closed doors.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has confirmed the event will be held at Flushing Meadows between August 31 and September 13, making it the first major tournament to be held after the coronavirus pandemic.

The US Open could go ahead but spectators will not be allowed in

The United States Tennis Association has also confirmed the Western & Southern Open, usually held in Cincinnati, will also be held at Flushing Meadows in the lead up to the US Open.

Cuomo tweeted: “The @usopen will be held in Queens, NY, without fans from August 31 to September 13.

“The USTA will take extraordinary precautions to protect players and staff, including robust testing, additional cleaning, extra locker room space, and dedicated housing and transportation.”

What guise the tournament takes remains to be seen as the world’s top players may not be in New York.

World number one Novak Djokovic has said proposed safety protocols are ‘extreme’ and make it ‘impossible’ to play while defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal has also said he has no desire to travel overseas currently.

The USTA chief executive Mike Dowse said they are ready for the “tremendous responsibility” of hosting one of the world’s first major sporting events post Covid-19.

“We are incredibly excited that Governor Cuomo and New York State have today approved our plan to host the 2020 US Open and the 2020 Western & Southern Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre,” he said in a statement.

Nadal won the men’s singles title last year but may not be there to defend his title this year


“We recognise the tremendous responsibility of hosting one of the first global sporting events in these challenging times, and we will do so in the safest manner possible, mitigating all potential risks.

“We now can give fans around the world the chance to watch tennis’ top athletes compete for a US Open title, and we can showcase as the ideal social distancing sport.

“Being able to hold these events in 2020 is a boost for the city of New York and the entire tennis landscape.

“We will have more detail and an official announcement tomorrow.”

Professional tennis has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic as both the men’s ATP Tour and women’s WTA Tour have been shutdown since March.

Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since the Second World War while the French Open, usually at the end of May, has been rescheduled until the week after the US Open final.

The two main tours are due to resume on August 1.

Source: Tennis

How the Ultimate Tennis Showdown, created by Serena Williams’ coach, plans to revolutionise the sport

Tennis fans have been blessed in the 21st century with three of the greatest stars in the men’s game in Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic all playing at the same time.

Meanwhile, the women’s game has been dominated by 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams over the past two decades.

Before we know it, the likes of Djokovic and Federer will be off the court


However, all four are well into their 30s – Djokovic is the youngest at 33 years old – so it won’t be too long before we see these greats leave the court.

So, what happens next?

Well here lies the problem the sport is facing. Yes, there are players such as Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas who have come through but their profiles are not as high as the likes of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Williams.

Patrick Mouratoglou, who coaches Williams, has revealed the average age of a tennis fan is 61 and the sport is having trouble bringing in younger supporters.

He exclusively told “Tennis is an amazing sport, it’s extremely addictive, and once you’re a fan, you’re a fan for life. But right now it’s failing to be attractive to the younger generation.

“I think the situation has been boring for the future of our sport for quite a long time.”

But Mouratoglou has an idea that will hopefully help attract that much-needed young fanbase – the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS), which starts on Saturday at his Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in between Nice and Cannes.

The UTS is the first global competitive live broadcast tennis showdown league without spectators and features ten players, including Thiem and last year’s ATP World Finals champion Tsitsipas.

UTS participants

1. Dominic Thiem (AUT) – ATP ranking: No.3

2. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) – ATP ranking: No.6

3. Matteo Berrettini (ITA) – ATP ranking: No.8

4. David Goffin (BEL) – ATP ranking: No.10

5. Benoit Paire (FRA) – ATP ranking: No.22

6. Richard Gasquet (FRA) – ATP ranking: No.50

7. Feliciano Lopez (ESP) – ATP ranking: No. 56

8. Lucas POUILLE (FRA) – ATP ranking: No.58

9. Alexei Popyrin (AUS) ATP ranking: No. 103

10. Dustin Brown (GER) ATP ranking: No. 239

The matches will be broadcast via a live streaming platform, with subscribers paying about £9 a month.

Matches are very much against the traditional tennis format as they will last for a maximum of one hour and will be divided into four quarters of ten minutes each, all played in the style of a tie-break, with players taking it in turns to serve two points in a row.

If scores are level at the end of a quarter a deciding point will be played. And if the score is 2-2 after four quarters the match will go to sudden death, with the serve changing after each point and the winner will be the first to get two points in a row. Meanwhile, there will be a time limit of just 15 seconds between points.

There will be more interaction between player and coach during matches as a 30-second coaching time out during each quarter is allowed, which they can communicate with the players via headsets. All communications between players and coaches will have to be in English and will also be heard by viewers. At changeovers the players will answer questions from interviewers.

Players will have the chance to use two ‘UTS cards’ in each quarter. The benefits of the cards include having three serves on one point, making your opponent take only one serve on a point and winning two points if you hit a clean winner.

Mouratoglou is hoping to see the personality of the players shine through at this tournament and beyond.

He added: “I think there’s a big gap between the quality of the game and the quality of the show. The idea is to create a platform where the show can take place. It can’t just be two players hitting balls.”

Mouratoglou referenced John McEnroe vs Bjorn Borg as the perfect rivalry due to their contrasting fire and ice mannerisms and suggested he wants to see more of that in tennis today.

He added: “I’m expecting two things. We need to have a good show and we need to have authenticity. I want players who are playing a role and I want diversity. I want people who are showmen, I want people who throw themselves around the court, and people who stay very calm.

“When you have diversity it’s better and you can connect with the players that you like, you know who they are, you can identify with them and then you can engage with the matches.

“This is one thing I regret about tennis. We have a lot of people who seem like they’re the same personality, but they’re not actually. But they behave the same in matches. Tennis has become standardised on court and off court.”

Mouratoglou is Williams’ coach and has his own tennis academy but UTS may be his biggest project in the sport yet


Failure to do this and tennis will be in ‘big trouble’, believes Mouratoglou.

He hopes that the success of the UTS will allow him to sit down with bodies such as the ATP going forward.

But even if these plans don’t work right away, Mouratoglou had the perfect analogy to explain why those in charge of the sport should not be resistant to change.

He said: “It’s funny because sometimes players are scared of making changes to their game because they’re afraid to lose something rather than trying to learn and get better. They just stick to what they know and they’re scared to make a change.

“The champions do the exact opposite. They’re always trying to improve and aren’t scared of change. Tennis should act like a champion and not be scared.

“When you change something in your game, sometimes it’s not going to work immediately and you start to make unforced errors and you have to go through that to get better. Tennis has to do that too so it can make the necessary evolution and appeal to the younger generation.”

Source: Tennis

Michael Schumacher: Formula 1 legend set for stem cell surgery in bid to ‘regenerate his nervous system’

Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher is due to undergo a stem cell operation which could help regenerate his nervous system.

According to reports, the Ferrari icon – a seven-time F1 world champion – will be treated by noted medical pioneer Dr Philippe Menasche, who has worked on the technique of grafting stem cells onto a damaged heart.

Schumacher has been kept out the public eye since suffering horrific injuries in 2013

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The ‘part experimental’ surgery is to deal with the atrophying of Schumacher’s muscles, caused by him being bed-ridden for so long.

Schumacher, 51, suffered a serious head injury in December 2013 when he fell and hit his head while skiing off-piste in the Alps.

He was in a coma for six months and has remained out of the public eye for the almost seven years since his accident.

Schumacher reportedly began various stem cell operations last year.

“Our sources say that Michael Schumacher is receiving stem cell perfusions that … produce a systemic anti-inflammatory effect,” read a report in Le Parisien.

F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says he is ‘completely overcome with rage’ following the death of George Floyd in America

Lewis Hamilton is ‘completely overcome with rage’ following the death of George Floyd in America.

The six-time Formula One world champion has urged people to speak up on behalf of the Black Lives Matter movement in a passionate post on social media.

The British racing star has been left deeply affected by the shocking events in America


Floyd, an unarmed black man, died on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes. Mr Floyd’s death has sparked furious protests across the US and condemnation around the world.

Hamilton is the only black driver in Formula One and was critical of the sport’s reaction to Mr Floyd’s death on social media over the weekend.

In his latest Instagam post on Tuesday, shared to his 16.3million followers, Hamilton wrote. “This past week has been so dark. I have failed to keep hold of my emotions. I have felt so much anger, sadness and disbelief in what my eyes have seen.

“I am completely overcome with rage at the sight of such blatant disregard for the lives of our people. The injustice that we are seeing our brothers and sisters face all over the world time and time again is disgusting, and MUST stop.

Formula 1 confirm first eight races for 2020 season starting in July with two British Grands Prix scheduled after opening with Austria double-header

The 2020 Formula 1 season will get under way next month as the first eight races were announced today.

The first two rounds of racing will be held in Austria in July on consecutive weekends at the start of the month.

Formula 1 has been hit hard by coronavirus, with the 2020 season to be like no other in history

Getty Images – Getty

The Hungary Grand Prix will be held on July 19th before two races will take place in Great Britain.

The first will be from July 31 to August 2 with the second the following week of August 7 to August 9.

Races will then head to Spain, Belgium and Italy with further events set to be announced in the coming weeks.

Racing was due to start in Australia in March but the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to all Grands Prix for the foreseeable future, like most sporting events around the globe.

Plans are now in place to hold the first eight in Europe with all races expected to be staged behind closed doors with a minimum number of team personnel at the circuits.

A statement said: “Formula 1 has been working closely with all partners, authorities, the FIA and the ten teams to create a revised calendar that will allow a return to racing in a way that is safe for the communities we visit and the entire Formula 1 community.

“Due to the ongoing fluidity of the COVID-19 situation internationally, we will be finalising the details of the wider calendar and hope to publish that in the coming weeks with an expectation of having a total of 15-18 races before we complete our season in December.

“We currently expect the opening races to be closed events, but hope fans will be able to join our events again when it is safe to do so.

“The health and safety of all involved will continue to be priority number one, with Formula 1 and the FIA having a robust and detailed plan to ensure our races maintain the highest level of safety with strict procedures in place.”

There had been question marks over Silverstone’s place on the calendar due to concerns over a quarantine programme due to be introduced by the UK Government, impacting travellers arriving into the UK from June 8.

Lewis Hamilton won last year’s Formula One championship

Getty Images – Getty

However, elite sports events are set to be exempt from the quarantine period, enabling racing to go ahead at the Northamptonshire circuit.

Formula One chairman Chase Carey said: “We are pleased to be able to set out our opening eight-race calendar today and look forward to publishing our full calendar in the coming weeks.

“I want to thank every promoter and partner for their support and ongoing commitment to Formula 1.

“While we currently expect the season to commence without fans at our races we hope that over the coming months the situation will allow us to welcome them back once it is safe to do, but we know the return of Formula 1 will be a welcome boost to sports fans around the world.”

Formula 1 2020 confirmed races

  • Austria – July 3-5
  • Austria – July 10-12
  • Hungary – July 17-19
  • Great Britain – July 31-August 2
  • Great Britain – August 7-9
  • Spain – August 14-16
  • Belgium – August 28-30
  • Italy – September 4-6

Source: Motorsport

George Floyd death: Lewis Hamilton blasts fellow Formula 1 stars for ‘staying silent in the midst of injustice’

Lewis Hamilton, the six-time Formula 1 world champion, has blasted his fellow employees for refusing to speak out following the death of George Floyd in the United States.

Mr Floyd died last month, aged 46, while being pinned to the ground by a police officer, who placed his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes.

The police officer, Derek Chauvin, has since been charged with murder and widespread riots have flared across the US in response to Mr Floyd’s death.

Protests have spread throughout America in the wake of Mr Floyd’s death while in police custody

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Sports stars have similarly shown their support for the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, with Jadon Sancho, the England forward, showing off a T-shirt with the slogan ‘Justice for George Floyd’ after he scored the first goal of what proved to be a hat-trick in Borussia Dortmund’s 6-1 defeat of Paderborn.

F1 star Hamilton also spoke out on Mr Floyd’s death and the ongoing protests in the US, while he also had criticism of those in the paddock who have not made their voices heard ‘in the midst of injustice’.

“I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice,” wrote Hamilton on Instagram. “Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white-dominated sport.

“I’m one of the only people of colour there yet I stand alone. I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can’t stand alongside us. Just know I know who you are, and I see you.”

He added: “I do not stand with those looting and burning buildings but those who are protesting peacefully,” Hamilton wrote.

Hamilton shared the following message on Instagram, hitting out at his fellow F1 employees

Instagram – @lewishamilton

He also spoke out about the ongoing protests which began in the wake of Mr Floyd’s death

Instagram – @lewishamilton

“There can be no peace until our so called leaders make change. This is not just America, this is the UK, this is Spain, this is Italy and all over.”

“The way minorities are treated has to change, [and] how you educate those in your country of equality, racism, classism and that we are all the same. We are not born with racism and hate in our hearts, it is taught by those we look up to.”

The aforementioned Sancho, who was booked for removing his Dortmund shirt to reveal the slogan on his T-shirt, was part of the England squad that was subjected to sickening racist abuse in last year’s Euro 2020 qualifiers in Montenegro and Bulgaria.

He similarly posted on Instagram: “Solid performance from the team!!

“Delighted to get my first career hat trick, a bittersweet moment personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that we must address and help make a change.

Sancho showed off his ‘Justice for George Floyd’ message after scoring for Borussia Dortmund


“We shouldn’t fear speaking out for what’s right, we have to come together as one & fight for justice. We are stronger together! #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd”

His Dortmund team-mate Achraf Hakimi also revealed a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ message by lifting up his top after scoring.

“Together we will defeat racism! Justice,” the Morocco international, who is on loan from Real Madrid, said on his Twitter account.

Source: Motorsport