French Open postponed until September due to COVID-19

The French Open was postponed for about four months because of the coronavirus pandemic, shifting from May to September and juggling the tennis calendar.

The French tennis federation said Tuesday it will hold its 15-day clay-court event at Roland Garros in Paris from Sept. 20 to Oct. 4, instead of May 24 to June 7, “to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in organizing the tournament.”

In the statement announcing the move, federation President Bernard Giudicelli described it as “a difficult yet brave decision in this unprecedented situation.” Later, in a conference call with reporters, Giudicelli acknowledged the other Grand Slam tournaments and the men’s and women’s professional tours were informed of the change — but not consulted.

“It’s unthinkable for us to remove Roland Garros from the calendar. The only thing we had in mind is the interests of the tournament, of the players,” Giudicelli said. “We looked at the fortnight that was least damaging for the other (tournaments).”

The French Open’s new dates place it right after the hard-court U.S. Open, which currently is scheduled to be held in New York from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13. Having just one week between two major championships, played on different surfaces, would be unusually short.

The U.S. Tennis Association said later Tuesday it is considering “the possibility” of postponing the U.S. Open because of the outbreak.

In a not-so-veiled jab at the French federation, the USTA issued a statement saying that if there were a change in timing, “we recognize that such a decision should not be made unilaterally.”

The USTA added that it would only move its major championship “in full consultation” with others, including Grand Slam organizers, the WTA and ATP tours and the International Tennis Federation.

The new timeline for the French Open also conflicts

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Cricket’s greatest innovators: Andy Flower torments spinners with his reverse sweep

With its origins dating all the way back to the 16th century, cricket has evolved greatly over the years.

From changes in its laws to adopting entirely new formats, the game has always been in a constant state of flux. While cricket’s lawmakers and custodians have played their part in evolving the sport with time, there have also been several players along the way who have created their own impact.

These players have helped change the manner in which the game is approached and their legacy is permanently etched in stone. Whether it be introducing a completely new shot with the bat or bringing a fundamental shift in the game, these players are cricket’s greatest innovators.

There is the great Sir Viv Richards who stood out among his contemporaries in the 1980s with his swagger and brilliance in playing ‘across the line’. Then there is Pakistan spin ace Saqlain Mushtaq who gave off-spinners a new dimension with his mastery of the ‘doosra‘. Who can forget the outrageous genius of Kevin Pietersen and his ‘Switch Hit’. Or the manner in which Sanath Jayasuriya completely revolutionised ODI cricket with his 1996 World Cup exploits.

Among these luminaries of cricket, there is one from Zimbabwe who stands tall in the form of Andy Flower.

The rebellious genius

Such has been Andy Flower’s impact as a coach that his exploits as a player are often forgotten. The South Africa-born wicketkeeper batsman is arguably the greatest cricketer to don the Zimbabwe jersey in a 10-year international career which ended abruptly in 2002.

The elder of the Flower siblings to represent Zimbabwe, Andy blossomed into one of the finest players of spin the world of cricket has ever seen.

Zimbabwe have fallen way down the pecking order since Flower’s retirement and now carry

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Football club Valencia confirms over third of squad has coronavirus

The competition’s official ball is pictured prior to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match Atalanta Bergamo vs Valencia on February 19, 2020 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

Valencia, the first Spanish football club to report coronavirus infections, said Monday that 35 percent of players and staff members have tested positive for the disease.

The club said the virus spread among the squad following last month’s trip to Milan, “an area confirmed as ‘high risk’ by the Italian authorities days afterwards”, for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Atalanta.

“Despite the strict measures adopted by the club” after the match, “these latest results show that the exposure inherent to such matches has caused a positive test rate of around 35%,” Valencia said in a statement.

“All cases are asymptomatic and those involved are currently isolated at home, receiving medical assessment and carrying out their scheduled training plan.”

On Sunday, Valencia announced that five of the club’s players and staff had tested positive for COVID-19, including Argentine defender Ezequiel Garay.

Spain is the second worst affected country by the virus in Europe, with more than 9,100 confirmed cases and 309 deaths.

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What you need to know about Coronavirus.

For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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