Murray in doubt for Australian Open after positive COVID-19 test

By Sports Desk January 14, 2021

Andy Murray's participation at the Australian Open is in doubt following a positive COVID-19 test.

Three-time grand slam champion Murray remains in good health but is isolating at home.

The 33-year-old Briton is still hopeful of being able to travel to Australia later than planned and taking part in the first grand slam of the year.

Murray received a wildcard for the Australian Open, where he has been a runner-up on five occasions.

It is set to be the Briton's first participation at Melbourne Park since announcing after a first-round loss in 2019 that his career was in the balance due to a persistent hip injury.

The Australian Open is scheduled to get under way on February 8.

Rafael Nadal will be without his coach Carlos Moya due to the pandemic, while Dominic Thiem's coach Nicolas Massu tested positive before travelling to Australia.

It is still hoped that Massu can make the trip following a negative result.

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    UEFA is committed to its plan of hosting Euro 2020 across 12 host cities, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

    Euro 2020 was due to take place last year, with 12 nations having been selected to host matches in celebration of the competition's 60th anniversary.

    However, the COVID-19 crisis resulted in UEFA taking the decision last March to push the tournament back to 2021.

    Although Europe is still struggling to deal with the pandemic, with many nations under lockdown rules and travel severely restricted in a bid to limit the spread of the virus, UEFA has reaffirmed its intention for the competition to take place later this year.

    In a statement released on Wednesday, UEFA also said it is retaining hope that the 12 venues will be able to accommodate some fans, despite club competitions continuing behind closed doors.

    The statement read: "UEFA repeated its commitment to holding the Euro across the 12 cities according to the timetable that has already been published.

    "All parties recognise the need for flexibility around decisions to be made on the arrangements for the tournament, in order to reflect the different challenges and circumstances that cities find themselves in. 

    "As a result of that and the fast-changing nature of the situation around the pandemic, the deadline for the submission of plans to accommodate fans inside the stadiums has been moved to early April."

    In limited numbers, spectators had been allowed into venues in certain European nations – including Germany, England and France – in 2020, though those schemes were ended as infection rates increased again.

    "UEFA is committed to holding Euro 2020 in the 12 cities originally planned," UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said.

    "The Euro is the flagship competition for national team football in Europe and is a vital source of funding for grassroots and wider football development. 

    "I am optimistic that things are highly likely to be very different with regard to the virus as we move closer to the tournament and it is important that we give the host cities and governments as much time as we can to formulate an accurate picture of what will be possible come June and July. 

    "Fans are such a big part of what makes football special and that is true of the Euro as much as it is of any game. We must allow ourselves the maximum space to allow their return to the stadiums."

    London, Rome, Glasgow, Bilbao, Dublin, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Baku, Budapest, Bucharest, Saint Petersburg and Munich are the designated host cities for the finals.

    Each city will host three group games, and one match in either the round of 16 or quarter-finals, with the semi-finals and final to be played at Wembley Stadium.

  • Juventus chairman Agnelli expects €8.5billion losses for European football Juventus chairman Agnelli expects €8.5billion losses for European football

    Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli does not expect fans to be allowed back into stadiums this season and fears the losses incurred by European clubs due to the COVID-19 crisis could rise to €8.5billion.

    The Deloitte Football Money League this week reported that the 20 richest clubs in Europe are predicted to lose in excess of €2billion by the end of the 2020-21 campaign as a result of the pandemic.

    A lack of matchday revenue with games played behind closed doors and less broadcast income have hit clubs across the continent hard.

    Agnelli, also chairman of the European Club Association, does not envisage supporters returning to watch their teams live this season and believes the financial picture is bleaker than Deloitte painted.

    "My firm opinion that we will have a real understanding of what this crisis has meant for clubs only at the end of the season," Agnelli said at the News Tank Football seminar on Wednesday.

    "I have seen the Deloitte study that came out yesterday. I was looking at data for the top 20 clubs whereby we had a €1.1billion hit in the 2019-20 season and the estimate for those 20 clubs alone is a €2billion hit for the combined two years.

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    "The thing that I would probably take away the most is that he stuck to his values throughout everything, whether that was in his playing days or after," he replied when asked about Bryant.

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    "It is definitely better for our team to have fans in the arena, knowing they're keeping it as safe as they can," Young said, with approximately 1,300 season-ticket holders allowed in to watch proceedings amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

    "For us, it's just about using that to our advantage. Me, I like putting on a show, so the more fans in there the more fun it is for me. I know our guys enjoyed the fans being in there."

    The Clippers led at half-time but, without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George due to health and safety protocols, were unable to keep pace. Patrick Beverley also missed the game with a knee issue.

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