It's the way when I first wrote about him, winning the 2004 US Open boys' title, I called him Andrew.

It's the way not even his mother now calls him Andrew.

It's the way the last person to call him Andrew was likely the court attendant who summoned Murray to be knighted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

It's the way you can't imagine British tennis without Andy Murray.

It's the way he'd rather you call him Andy, and not Sir Andy.

It's the way his old coach, Brad Gilbert, calls him Sir Muzzard.

It's the way his two Wimbledon titles and one US Open meant the world, but triumphing in a team cause at two Olympic Games and the 2015 Davis Cup perhaps brought even greater satisfaction.

It's the way he grew up dreaming of matching Tim Henman's achievements.

It's the way Henman now dreams he'd achieved anything close to Murray's success.

It's the way Fred Perry's son's phone has gone cold.

It's the way a squiffy Sean Connery and Alex Ferguson gatecrashed Murray's US Open final news conference to share in his celebrations.

It's the way the man who conquered Flushing Meadows couldn't help but swear and squirm in embarrassment last week when he shanked a backhand into a neighbour's garden.

It's the way I watched and squirmed next to Wimbledon's practice courts in 2017, when a limping Murray battled through a tough session.

It's the way Murray's hip followed David Beckham's metatarsal in becoming a national obsession.

It's the way he won four matches at that Wimbledon and it almost finished him off.

It's the way when he withdrew from Wimbledon "with a heavy heart" in 2018, you knew that was a spectacular understatement.

It's the way sport reporters and news teams race around Wimbledon each year chasing the most tenuous of Murray leads.

It's the way he loves an ice bath, and won't be rushed to a post-match press conference.

It's the way those delays after a late-night match can make you miss the last tube train out of Southfields into central London.

It's the way he chose Amelie Mauresmo as his coach, on a hunch she was the best person for the job.

It's the way he's pals with Nick Kyrgios. It's the way Kyrgios adores Murray.

It's the way Murray shouts, screams and swears like a sailor on the plush lawns of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

It's the way he gets away with it, indulged like a naughty puppy.

It's the way even the stern Ivan Lendl could not put a lid on that famous potty mouth.

It's the way Murray turned 33 today - May 15, 2020 - and might never play again.

It's the way he's determined to play again, even as his body gives off warning sign after warning sign.

It's the way he was training with brother Jamie and coach Jamie Delgado but following social distancing guidelines on his birthday.

It's the way he's spent better birthdays - like the time he beat Novak Djokovic on clay in the Rome Masters Series final on May 15, four years ago.

It's the way Murray was once part of the 'Big Four' that has been trimmed to a 'Big Three'.

It's the way his three grand slams look paltry against Djokovic's 17, Rafael Nadal's 19 and Roger Federer's 20.

It's the way Djokovic, Nadal and Federer each know he had their number at one stage.

It's the way "anyone but England" was a brilliant, yet hopelessly misunderstood "Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order" moment. And it's the way humourless knuckleheads incredibly still hold it against him.

It's all this and more, Andy Murray.

It's the way the story isn't over yet, if he has his way.

There will be no ATP Tour action until at least August amid the coronavirus pandemic, while the WTA Tour season is also on hold for an extended period.

The men's and women's tours had previously been halted until July 13 due to the global crisis.

Wimbledon has been cancelled, while the French Open was moved to September, with the US Open still scheduled to go ahead in August.

The ATP confirmed a further raft of postponements on Friday, with events in Hamburg, Bastad, Newport, Los Cabos, Gstaad, Umag, Atlanta and Kitzbuhel no longer able to go ahead as scheduled.

"Tournaments taking place from August 1, 2020 onwards are still planning to proceed as per the published schedule," a statement read. "A further update on the ATP Tour calendar is expected in mid-June."

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi added: "Just like tennis fans, players and tournament hosts all over the world, we share in the disappointment the Tour continues to be affected in this way.

"We continue to assess all of our options in an effort to resume the Tour as soon as it is safe to do so, including the feasibility of rescheduling events later in the season."

The WTA has not yet ruled out all July tennis, but Bastad, Lausanne, Bucharest and Jurmala tournaments are off.

"A decision regarding the dates on which Karlsruhe [slated for July 28 to August 2] and Palermo [July 20 to July 26] may be played, along with further updates to the WTA calendar, will be made in June," a statement read.

Elite tennis has been delayed since early March, although a number of other sports similarly affected are now aiming to return.

The UFC returned behind closed doors last weekend, while Germany's Bundesliga will resume this week ahead of further potential restarts across European football.

Novak Djokovic is "very confident" he will end his career with a record tally of grand slam titles.

Djokovic has 17 major triumphs to his name after retaining his Australian Open title in January, three fewer than Roger Federer's record haul.

Rafael Nadal is also above the Serb in the list for the most men's grand slam singles titles with 19, as the best players in the world wait to discover when they will be back in action after the season was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Djokovic, who turns 33 next Friday, has won five of the last seven grand slams and is the youngest of the 'big three'.

The world number one not only has his sights trained on winning more majors than his rivals, but also the record for most weeks at the top of the rankings.

Djokovic, officially the best player in the world for 282 weeks compared to Federer's record of 310, said in an interview on In Depth with Graham Bensinger: "I don't believe in limits. I think limits are only illusions of your ego or your mind."

He added: "I'm always very confident in myself. I believe I can win the most slams and break the record for longest number one. Those are definitely my clear goals."

That positive outlook is a far cry from when Djokovic declared he was ready to quit after a defeat to Benoit Paire at the Miami Open two years ago.

Djokovic's wife, Jelena, recalled: "He said to me that he's quitting and that's the truth. He lost in Miami. It was a terrible loss. And then he just, you know, gathered all of us and said, 'You know guys, I'm done.'

"And I was like, 'What?' And he goes like, 'Yeah.' He said, 'Edoardo [Artaldi, his agent], you can speak with my sponsors. I want to be clear with them. I don't know if I'm stopping for six months, a year or forever.'"

Rafael Nadal is like a Formula One racing team with the way he operates at the French Open, says Henri Leconte.

After winning on his first appearance at Roland Garros as a 19-year-old in 2005, Nadal has gone on to take the title 12 times in 15 editions to establish himself as the 'King of Clay'.

The left-hander has only lost two matches at the Paris major, going down to Robin Soderling in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in 2015. He withdrew due to a wrist injury ahead of the third round in 2016.

Former French Open finalist Leconte, who lost in the 1988 showpiece to Mats Wilander, believes tweaks to Nadal's game each year at Roland Garros often go unnoticed.

Leconte told Stats Perform: "When you think about it, 12 Roland Garros in 15 years (whistles). You don't think it would be possible. If someone told you that, you'd say, 'You're crazy.'

"What's astonishing to me is how he evolved physically, how he changed his game, how he improved.

"I like to compare him to an F1 racing team which is producing a new car every year, he is coming every year with a new way of playing and adapting. He works on his serve, on his right hand, his left hand, and he's always changing some things.

"He's been able to improve every year which allowed him to win Roland Garros, this is amazing. And mentally, he's out of this world. To play at his level at Roland Garros, under these circumstances, physically and mentally, I couldn't even play one set like that.

"During my time, [Sergi] Bruguera was a bit like him, and when I had to play him on clay, with my style, I knew it was over, I was about to run everywhere and get destroyed.

"Rafa is extraordinary. This is what's impressive and people don't realise how much he works."

Leconte lauded Nadal's ability to take a match away from his opponent on clay, likening him to "a cheetah" and "a bottle of champagne exploding".

"When they tell you, 'You play Rafa in the first round'. If you play him at Wimbledon or the Australian Open, you're like (sighs). It's going to be hard.

"But on clay, and it's five sets, so three sets to win, you just started the match, it's 2-2, you visited Roland Garros, the Bois de Boulogne, you ran everywhere, and it's only 2-2 and you've been playing for 25 minutes. You are thinking, 'I have three more sets like that.'

"This is where he is really strong. He's like a cheetah, he's toying with you, and he decides to kill you, it's over. He's playing with you, 2-2, 3-3. We've seen many players going to 3-3, 4-4, they even get a set point, and suddenly, it's like a bottle of champagne exploding, and then they lose 6-1, 6-2.

"They implode, they can't take it physically. Some players can contain him, but he still can overcome them on clay, someone like Stan Wawrinka who can hit very hard, or Novak Djokovic, or [Andy] Murray who could match him at one point.

"Or you have a guy who did it once in his life, Soderling, he hit flat, full strength on the lines, and it worked. Rafa is amazing."

Nadal will aim to win the French Open for a 13th time when the tournament, which was pushed back to September due to the coronavirus pandemic, takes place.

By the time Anna Kournikova played her final tour match, vultures were already picking at the bones of a once-feted great tennis talent.

Many were leching over those same bones, of course, while glorying in her downfall. Picking out the young Russian as prime schadenfreude fodder while sleazily sparing as much thought for her physical form as her tennis form.

When the veteran Daily Progress sports writer Jerry Ratcliffe reminisced about the day in 2003 that saw Kournikova come to Charlottesville, Virginia, he remarked: "We were there to see Anna's curves, not her serves."

Sometimes, all you're looking for from a newspaper is honesty, a little truth-telling, putting the story in simple terms, cutting to the chase.

And you know where you stand when a newspaper lets that sentence through the edit.

Given it was on his beat, Ratcliffe had been at courtside for the $25k Boyd Tinsley Clay Court Classic, a tournament so minor that the presence of Kournikova, trying to find some form, was wildly incongruous.

She was ranked 72nd in the world, and just days earlier had pulled out of a semi-final at a similarly low-profile tournament in Sea Island, Georgia, due to injury. Kournikova's opponent that day would have been the 16-year-old little-known Maria Sharapova.

By the time Kournikova's career reached Charlottesville, she was already bordering on desperation, physical pulls, niggles and herniated discs having taken a heavy toll, her confidence inevitably ebbing away. Once a top-10 player, she was in danger of tumbling outside the top 100.  A turning point was what she sought, that elusive first singles title.

And so on May 14, 2003 – 17 years ago – Kournikova played what she hoped would be her first of five matches that week.

It turned out to be the very last match she would play on tour, the Russian beaten in three sets by Brazilian Bruna Colosio, a player who sat 384th in the world rankings.

The girl who had bowled over coaching titan Nick Bollettieri with her enthusiasm when springing into his academy barely a decade earlier was finished. She went down not firing but, according to reports from that day, buried by an avalanche of double faults.

Weeks later, in early June, Kournikova was seen in tears in England, pulling out of the grass-court season without playing a match.

The show was over, the series cancelled. Kournikova had just turned 22.

"THE FAME WAS CREATED BY YOU GUYS"

Here's a noteworthy Kournikova quote, snipped from a 2010 Wimbledon news conference I attended.

It came after a hit-and-giggle exhibition doubles match she played alongside Martina Hingis, at a time when both Kournikova and Hingis, once the self-styled 'Spice Girls' of tennis, were enjoying retirement.

"You know, the fame and everything, I guess most of it was created by you guys, by the media a lot of times, most of the time the yellow press," Kournikova said that evening.

"[I] never tried to pay attention. I mean, obviously it was a little hard times dealing with it being 16, 17 years old, reading some kind of c**p about yourself, you know. Most of it was made up.”

The trials and tribulations of Anna Kournikova. The sob story writes itself and has been written again and again. Look, she still blames the media. What about those results, Anna? What about your c**ppy results? Nobody made those up.

Of course you could pick apart Kournikova's career and float the idea it was a washout because she could not fulfil the potential apparent when she reached the 1997 Wimbledon semi-finals, losing to eventual champion and fellow 16-year-old Hingis.

But it would seem beyond churlish, a witless, hardly original reckoning.

Kournikova, the biggest earner in tennis who made millions in endorsements but couldn't for love nor money lay her hands on a singles crown. Kournikova, the pin-up whose tennis was ancillary to her money-spinning modelling career. Kournikova, the easiest target since the last target was taken down.

It's all been said, and said too often by those who "were there to see Anna’s curves, not her serves". By those who knew where she stood in FHM's top 100 sexiest women, if not the world rankings.

"TELL US ABOUT YOUR DIVORCE"

Taken in isolation, any archive transcript of an interview or news conference will speak of a time and a place.

But when the transcripts stack up, that's when patterns you might have missed at the time begin to emerge.

That's when you notice what a difference six and a half years can make.

Of the 61 news conferences transcribed and made available by sports event stenographers ASAP Sports, from the start of Kournikova's career to its 2003 denouement, it is the questions that bookend those that illustrate what a whirring, bewildering rush those years must have been.

In the first of those news conferences, at the 1996 US Open, the first question for Kournikova was a gentle "Why did you win today?", and the focus remained on her tennis.

By the time those transcripts stopped coming, the last being one from the NASDAQ-100 Open in March 2003, Kournikova departed after being asked, "The story about the divorce, was that any kind of distraction for you at all, preparing for this tournament?"

She and ice hockey player Sergei Fedorov had indeed split, but Kournikova was exasperated by this point.

It is easy for a non-journalist to conflate the news and sport media, and reporters from the front and back of newspapers can be disdainful of each other's lines of questioning. Kournikova became distrustful, and as her losses had piled up and the criticism followed suit, so she became increasingly resentful.

AFTER TENNIS, THE QUIET LIFE

She was asked in that same NASDAQ-100 news conference about her continuing losses, about the criticism she faced, and whether it hurt.

"I can't change what other people think and all I can do is go and play," she said. "That's what I should really be focusing on, is just doing my thing, practising and playing and then if I do well, there will be less criticism.

"There will be criticism of something else. But at the end of the day, I can't really do anything with it. There's going to be one thing or another, so it's your job, guys, right?"

Whatever she did, Kournikova believed there would be criticism.

Which perhaps explains to a large part her current life, retired and living privately in Miami, with long-time partner Enrique Iglesias, the Spanish pop singer.

Such is the couple's secrecy, it is not known whether they are married. They have three children together, including twins that were born in December 2017, without the world having had a clue Kournikova was pregnant.

Tabloid whispers that Kournikova might have been expecting again only emerged days before she gave birth to their third child in January of this year. She keeps that low a profile, and why not?

She and Iglesias remain gossip-mag favourites but rarely give interviews.

She chooses when to accept modelling gigs, skipping strictly to her own beat.

"I WAS BEING PULLED IN EVERY SINGLE DIRECTION"

Kournikova got plenty off her chest in that 2010 Wimbledon news conference, barely letting Hingis interject.

She spoke of how mother Alla tried to protect her during her mid-teens but ran into opposition, discovering "people didn't really like her that much for that". Kournikova promised she would "try to guard them as much as I can" if she had a 16-year-old of her own.

"It's hard," Kournikova said. "I was being pulled in every single direction. Really there was no guides or rules.

"My mum and me, we were just learning everything as we were going through it. I was here 15 years old, Wimbledon. I played a Centre Court match. I wasn't even seeded or anything.

"It's a lot for a kid."

A kid. A kid who'd routinely face questioning from men – usually the reporters were men – on topics they'd balk at broaching with their own teenage daughters.

A kid who reached that fricking Wimbledon semi-final at 16, got to number eight in the world, beat Hingis, Graf, Davenport and Capriati, won two grand slam doubles title and banked over $3.5million from playing – and way more from sponsorship deals that were accelerated by her looks but hinged absolutely on her being an elite sports star in the first place.

A kid who couldn't help but weep when she knew the tennis dreams of her childhood were over.

A kid whose name became synonymous with failure, when it was a broken body rather than broken resolve that ended her career and our broken moral compass that directed the vultures to their prey.

Henri Leconte hit out at plans to hold the French Open behind closed doors, saying it made "no sense".

Originally scheduled to begin in May, the French Open was pushed back to start in September, likely without fans, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 led to Wimbledon being cancelled for the first time since World War II, while the US Open is still scheduled to proceed at this stage.

Leconte, the 1988 French Open runner-up, believes Roland Garros should not be played without fans in attendance.

"I honestly think [playing Roland Garros behind closed doors] is not the best solution," he told Stats Perform.

"I think it's more a way for the [French Tennis] Federation to keep people alert following the lockdown. It's only been two days since the lockdown was eased.

"We've realised that the French public are not [very careful]. We see kids and youngsters not being careful. I just hope that we won't face another wave.

"I also think that playing Roland Garros behind closed doors makes no sense. I don't think that it serves the sponsors, it's a complicated thing to deal with for the players. It's more of a political decision.

"The federation hopes that in a few months everything will be behind us and that we will be able to play Roland Garros. They're trying to keep that hope alive. That's my opinion."

France has seen more than 178,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with its death toll exceeding 27,000.

Sports stars based in the United Kingdom have received the go-ahead for a phased return to organised training, but new government guidance also provides athletes with an opt-out choice.

As sport looks for a pathway back to competition amid the COVID-19 crisis, the new instruction gives elite competitors permission to resume training immediately.

However, the guidance published on Wednesday is defined as a step one, allowing for training to take place but with social distancing continuing to apply.

Crucial to the planning is the instruction that any sportsperson or member of support staff must be assessed in a one-to-one session before returning to training, in which their physical and mental health will be examined and risks and protocols discussed.

Anyone returning to a training environment must have 'actively' agreed to opt in, and the guidance makes it clear they are entitled to refuse.

It states: "All athletes and staff should also be clear on their route to 'opt out' of the organised training environment under step one conditions at any time without unreasonable steps being taken against them consequently."

That was welcomed by Sally Munday, chief executive of government agency UK Sport, who said: "Every sport is different and everyone's personal circumstances are different and whilst clearly there are many who are keen to return to training as soon as possible, there are those who will have genuine concerns or personal circumstances that make this challenging."

A number of Premier League footballers, including Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, have previously expressed reservations about returning to action while the UK continues to be hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidance, published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), is clarified as not being legal advice, with clubs and organisations urged to seek independent medical instruction before resuming any form of training.

Clubs and training centres will have to abide by stringent rules, including the regular screening of athletes and the cleaning of equipment and areas between sessions.

Step two of the return to training will allow for social clustering, meaning the likes of footballers may be able to train more normally on a pitch. However, no timescale has been disclosed for when that may occur.

Could John McEnroe beat Serena Williams, if they played tomorrow?

It's an equivalent question that was asked in 1973, when Bobby Riggs went head to head with Margaret Court.

And just as a global television audience would be sure to tune in for any McEnroe-Williams clash, so the Battle of the Sexes that took place 47 years ago this week captured the world's imagination.

On May 13, 1973 – 47 years ago this week – it came down to the crapshoot of predicting whether 55-year-old Riggs, the long-retired 1939 Wimbledon champion and twice US Open winner, could match up to 30-year-old Court, by then already a 22-time grand slam winner.

It became known as the Mother's Day Massacre.

Who was Bobby Riggs, and what did he have to gain?

Riggs was a 55-year-old American who in his day had rivalled the likes of Jack Kramer and Fred Perry. Known otherwise for his gambling and hustling, the flamboyant Riggs was presumed long finished as a serious tennis player before he challenged Billie Jean King, who refused to play him, and then Court to a winner-takes-all match.

Australian Court accepted, prompting King to say, according to a Sports Illustrated report at the time: "If Margaret loses, we're in trouble. I'll have to challenge him myself."

Both players are said to have pocketed healthy appearance fees, with $10,000 at stake in the contest itself.

Where did Court vs Riggs happen?

California's San Vicente Valley staged the showdown, a gloriously off-the-beaten-track spot for a Sunday afternoon's tennis.

The drama unfolded on a green hard court, surrounded by four temporary stands housing 3,000 spectators paying $10 a head, including stars of the day, with the American football star OJ Simpson and the actor Bill Cosby among those drawn to the desert.

"I kinda think that if you're competing seriously all the time, Margaret Court will have an edge," Simpson told a US TV crew.

How did Riggs approach his greatest hustle?

Determinedly boorish, Riggs, who wore black thick-rimmed glasses, was focused on ensuring this match was about the hustle as much as the tennis.

His objective was to knock Court out of her stride before they began, and contemporary reports speculated that inveterate gambler Riggs had rather more riding on the outcome than the relatively modest prize money.

He played up his image as an enemy to womankind, and many Americans were revolted, with Riggs crowing: "I am the greatest money player in history."

There was the date, Mother's Day, that brought added intrigue. A day to celebrate mothers, and womankind, was in danger of being hijacked. Court was a new mother herself.

Crucially, Riggs had trained hard, knocking several vices on the head, or at least limiting them, and achieving prim shape, certainly for a man in his mid-fifties.

Court dressed for the occasion, in a patriotic yellow and green pastel kit, 'Margaret' stitched onto the collar. The New York Times reported it was the first time she had not worn white.

She had plenty of support, too. 'Women's libbers', as they were popularly known at the time, were out in force to back Court.

But Riggs was not to be outdone, and the showman walked down onto the court from a stairway in the stands decked out in a tracksuit as blue as the sky, carrying a bouquet of roses, that he presented nonchalantly to Court, who instinctively curtsied.

First blood, Riggs.

What a Bobby dazzler!

A match that the bookmakers could not call was to prove utterly one-sided, indeed hugely anti-climactic.

Once the drama of the build-up was done, Riggs pegged back serve-volleyer Court and tore to a 6-2 6-1 victory.

Hardly what the CBS television audience, and those watching back in Australia, had expected.

Court's performance was unusually listless, and she said afterwards the gentle nature of Riggs' game, which he had mixed up to compelling effect, had caught her out.

As an excuse, it was bunk really. Riggs the show pony had completely outfoxed her, steering her to distraction.

"My concentration was bad today," Court told reporters, "and I've been concentrating really well in the last six months or so. I saw everything going on around the court today which was very unusual for me."

Riggs rejoices, and "proves a point"

Court had stressed before the match she was not interested in the 'Battle of the Sexes' element of the contest and was not carrying any banner, but Riggs was all over that aspect.

"I think it proves a point," he said afterwards.

"Fifty-five-year-old, one foot in the grave, night and day difference. And she's the best woman player of all time.

"Sixty million people watching. Biggest match of all time. Battle of the Sexes. And we've all had plenty of time to get ready for it. And you saw what happened, I don't have to explain it to you.

"I think it was the tension, the pressure, the biggest match ever played. The 60 million audience on television. All the press, the way the thing has been built up over the last six months 

"She arrived here with the whole pressure of the women's world on her."

King and I

After seeing off Court, Riggs could name his price for a follow-up match, providing he could find a worthy opponent.

In stepped King, just as she promised, and both reportedly landed $75,000 just for taking part in a September 1973 clash, with a further $100,000 for the winner.

Hosted at the Houston Astrodome, King sauntered to a 6-4 6-3 6-3 victory to land the cash, strike a crucial blow for women in sport, and surely give Court more than a little pause for thought.

Giuseppe Farina won the first ever Formula One race on this day in 1950 and much more recently May 13 was a historic day for Manchester City.

Farina put his name in the record books with victory in the British Grand Prix 70 years ago.

Sergio Aguero scored a last-gasp winner against QPR to snatch a first Premier League title for City on an afternoon of high drama in Manchester eight years ago.

It was also Arsene Wenger's last game in charge of Arsenal and there was a tennis first on this day.

 

1950 - Flying Farina storms to Silverstone victory

Italian Farina dominated the inaugural F1 race at Silverstone after starting from pole position.

With King George VI among an estimated crowd of up to 120,000, Alfa Romeo driver Farina took the chequered flag ahead of team-mates Luigi Fagioli and Reg Parnell.

The great Juan Manuel Fangio retired from the race, also titled as the Grand Prix d'Europe, due to engine trouble. 

Farina went on to win the title after such a strong start.

 

1973 - Riggs beats Court in 'Battle of the Sexes' opener

Former world number one Bobby Riggs and the legendary Margaret Court contested the first 'Battle of the Sexes' match on this day in 1973.

Riggs had stated he could beat any top female player at the age of 55 and after Billie Jean King declined his challenge, Court stepped forward to take him on.

Court, the best female player in the world at the time, was soundly beaten 6-2, 6-1 at the San Vincente Country Club in Ramona, California.

Riggs then challenged King once again and she accepted on this occasion, beating him in straight-sets four months later, with the $100,000 winnings donated to charity.

 

2012 - Aguero puts City in dreamland

City looked set to miss out on being crowned champions of England for the first time in 1968 when they trailed 10-man QPR on the final day of the 2011-12 season.

Manchester United were minutes from popping the champagne corks, but neighbours City staged a remarkable fightback at the Etihad Stadium.

Edin Dzeko equalised after 92 minutes and the lethal Aguero rifled home a couple of minutes later, with time almost up, as City sensationally snatched a 3-2 victory to win the title on goal difference.

QPR had played much of the second half a man down after Joey Barton's dismissal.

 

2018 - 1-0 to the Arsenal for Wenger farewell

There was not a dry eye in the away end when Arsene Wenger's long reign as Arsenal manager ended with a 1-0 victory at Huddersfield Town two years ago.

Wenger went over to salute the Gunners faithful before kick-off in West Yorkshire, with the Frenchman also taking a bow.

There was a standing ovation for the departing Arsenal boss after 22 minutes to celebrate the number of years he had been charge of the London club.

Banners were flown over the ground before the visitors took all three points in a game with nothing at stake other than pride, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring the only goal.

It is still too early to write off the whole 2020 tennis season despite the coronavirus pandemic, according to ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi. 

World number two Rafael Nadal recently said he would sign up to halting plans for any tournaments to be held this year in order to ensure the 2021 Australian Open can go ahead.

But Gaudenzi has not reached that point yet, saying it may be premature when playing without fans remains an option at a time the extent of future international travel restrictions is unclear.

"It would be unwise to call it quits now," he told reporters, per Sky Sports. "Nobody knows what will happen, we want to keep an optimistic overview.

"Obviously, there could be a subset of options, which is playing with closed gates or deciding how to deal with travel restrictions. 

"But we have not made these decisions so far because they are all hypothetical scenarios."

Wimbledon has been cancelled, but the US Open is still scheduled for August 31.

The French Open was previously postponed from May until September, with organisers last week saying it could be played without fans and subject to a further delay.

"We have set a deadline of May 15 for the tournaments in July, post Wimbledon and June 1 for the tournaments in August," explained Gaudenzi.

"So we are, in principle, dealing it on I would say six to eight weeks in advance in time for making a decision. Longer than that, it would be foolish to make decisions in my opinion.

"The [US Open] announcement might be a little bit later, we don't know. Once we get to the beginning of June, we will probably know more about the US summer."

Gaudenzi concedes travel restrictions, and how they may differ across nations, is among the toughest challenges to solve.

"You can have an estimate that it's going to be fairly difficult and unlikely that all these countries will align to one single policy relating to travel restrictions," he said.

"Australia today for example is probably in a completely different phase than the United Kingdom. You look at Sweden, they have taken a completely different approach. 

"So we could play a tournament in Sweden probably today. But can we travel 100 players to Sweden today? No. So that's the challenge."

Gerard Pique is "pessimistic" about the hosting of the 2020 Davis Cup due to Spain's restrictions on fans attending sporting events as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Barcelona defender's investment group Kosmos acquired the rights to tennis' international team competition in 2018.

Last year, the Davis Cup began a new week-long format that was won by Spain in Madrid.

The Spanish capital is due to host the Davis Cup again this year in November, but Pique cast doubt as to whether it will go ahead.

Speaking to Movistar, he said: "I'm a bit pessimistic, to have the Davis Cup without fans is difficult.

"There is a lot of uncertainty. We are listening to what the sport's ministry and the government are telling us about whether we'll be able to have fans in the stadium.

"There are different opinions and no-one is sure if we'll be able to have fans or if it'll have to be behind closed doors."

Spain's tough lockdown measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic have made organising the Davis Cup tricky, but Pique said work is being done should the easing of restrictions mean the event can go ahead.

"I think in the next few weeks we'll have more clarity but right now we're trying to be prepared," he added.

"People are working from home and obviously we can't go to Madrid to look at facilities, we are prepared in case we end up being able to organise it."

Venus Williams hailed Ines Ibbou as "my hero" after the low-ranked Algerian tennis player criticised Dominic Thiem for speaking out against the Player Relief Fund.

Ines Ibbou, a 21-year-old from Algiers, pleaded with Thiem to recognise the inequalities in tennis, and how some players are battling on the breadline to make their way in the game.

Thiem said last month he would not be donating to the fund that has been promoted by Novak Djokovic. it has been designated as a means to lend a helping hand to players down the rankings whose income has been decimated by the coronavirus crisis.

Austria's world number three said there were certain players who "don't give everything to sport", questioning why he should support a fund that might benefit those individuals.

Ibbou said his remarks were "hurtful to say the least".

Once a promising junior who played the grand slam girls' events, Ibbou has been struggling to make a successful transition to the women's tour, citing injury and a near-total lack of support from within Algeria as factors in her tough quest to make the grade.

However, at 620th in the world, she is her country's only female player with a world ranking.

She pointed to Thiem's privilege, as a European in a "magical world" where federation backing and sponsors have allowed his career to flourish.

“I was wondering what could have changed for me at that time if I was part of your closed circle, shared the same environment and rules,” Ibbou said in an Instagram video.

She added: "I'm wondering, Dominic, what is it like to have a coach who assists you on tour, a personal trainer, a physiotherapist, a mental coach, a dedicated staff?"

She went on to say: “Dear Dominic, unlike you, many share my reality.

"Just a reminder, it's not because of your money that we survived until now. And nobody requested to you anything. The initiative went from generous players who showed instant compassion with a classy touch. Players eager to spread solidarity and find solutions to make a difference. Champions at all cost."

She said the COVID-19 crisis was "revealing who people truly are".

"Dominic, I told you we did not ask anything from you," Ibbou said.

"Except a bit of respect to our sacrifice. Players like you make me hold on to my dream. Please don't ruin it.”

Five-time Wimbledon champion Williams responded, “You're my hero”, to which Ibbou replied: "You always been mine too, and now you're even more to me. Thank you so much."

Australian maverick Nick Kyrgios, an ATP rival to Thiem, told Ibbou: "Respect. Keep doing you!! I'm always willing to support."

French Open organisers say the tournament could be staged behind closed doors as they prepare for more talks over scheduling.

The clay-court grand slam was postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic and put back to September.

Wimbledon has since been cancelled amid the COVID-19 crisis, but the US Open and French Open are to go ahead as it stands.

French Tennis Federation (FFT) president Bernard Giudicelli knows what would be the final major of the year may have to take place without spectators.

"We haven't ruled out any option. Roland Garros is first and foremost a story of matches and players," he told the Journal du Dimanche.

"There is the tournament taking place in the stadium, and the tournament on TV screens.

"Millions of viewers around the world are waiting. Organising it behind closed doors would allow part of the business model - television rights [which provide more than a third of French Open revenue] - to go ahead. This cannot be overlooked."

Guidicelli added that the action in Paris may not start until September 27 - a fortnight after the US Open is due to finish.

He said: "I have regular discussions with Andrea Gaudenzi [ATP president], Steve Simon [WTA president] and David Haggerty [head of the ITF] and another call is planned next week to see how we have progressed.

"We are working well together, but it is still a bit early to precisely determine the schedule."

The transformation of Barcelona under Johan Cruyff took an important step forward on May 10, 31 years ago.

The Catalans won their first trophy since the great Cruyff's return to his old club, beating Sampdoria to claim the Cup Winners' Cup.

Liverpool became European champions for the second time on this day in 1978 as they defended the trophy by defeating Club Brugge.

More recently, May 10 has brought about historic achievements from Stephen Curry and Rafael Nadal.

 

1978 - Liverpool defend European Cup

Liverpool became the first English team to retain the European Cup in 1978 – and they did so at the national stadium, too.

A solitary goal from Kenny Dalglish in the second half secured a 1-0 victory over Club Brugge at Wembley in a game that was a far cry from the thrilling 4-3 aggregate win for Liverpool against the same opponents in the UEFA Cup final two years earlier.

The Reds will not have cared too much, though. It was their second European Cup triumph, following on from 1977's 3-1 defeat of Borussia Monchengladbach, and they would go on to lift the trophy twice more in the next six years.

 

1989 - Barcelona win Cup Winners' Cup to kick-start Cruyff legacy

Johan Cruyff was a legend as a Barcelona player, but he returned as coach during a time of real strife at his old club.

Within a year, he had secured his first trophy in charge, as the Catalans claimed a 2-0 victory over Sampdoria to lift the 1988-89 Cup Winners' Cup.

Goals in each half from Julio Salinas and Luis Lopez Rekarte were enough to seal the win and kick-start the sustained success of Cruyff's fabled 'Dream Team'.

By the end of the 1993-94 season, Barca had won four LaLiga titles in a row, a Copa del Rey, three Supercopas de Espana, the UEFA Super Cup of 1992 and the European Cup of the same year, where they beat Sampdoria again.

 

2016 - Curry becomes first unanimous NBA MVP in history

Stephen Curry led the Golden State Warriors to a historic 73-9 in a regular season in which they seemed to break records at will, only to lose the Finals 4-3 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Still, there was little argument against Curry being named MVP for the second year in a row. In fact, it seems there was no argument at all.

He swept all 131 first-place votes to become the first unanimous winner of the award in history, with Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs a distant second.

2018 - Nadal breaks McEnroe record for consecutive set wins on single surface

Rafael Nadal is quite good at tennis on clay courts, if you were not aware.

Two years ago, he reminded everyone just how imperious he can be on the red dirt (if 12 French Open singles triumphs since 2005 was not proof enough).

By beating Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-4 at the Madrid Open, Nadal broke the record for winning consecutive sets on a single surface. He reached 50 set wins in a row on clay, surpassing the 49 on carpet set by John McEnroe in 1984.

Remarkably, the run ended in rather meek fashion in his next match, as Dominic Thiem won their quarter-final 7-5 6-3.

Tennis Australia (TA) chief executive and Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said preparations are underway for next year's grand slam to be held in Melbourne amid coronavirus concerns.

During the week, Tiley conceded the 2021 Australian Open could be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc globally.

Both the ATP and WTA Tours are suspended until at least mid-July as a result of the coronavirus crisis – Wimbledon has already been cancelled for 2020, while the French Open has been pushed back to September amid uncertainty over the Roland Garros and US Open events.

Speaking on Sunday, Tiley said the tournament has drafted contingency plans, though he is confident the Australian Open will be in a "positive position" come January.

"It's very uncertain times as we all know well. We are preparing for multiple futures. We don't know what January will bring," Tiley told Channel Nine's Wide World of Sports.

"At this point today, we are preparing for an Australian Open, with finding a way to get our 500 internationals into Australia. At the same time, hopefully we have fans. Likely, at least it will be Australia-New Zealand fans in the first instance.

"Seven months is a long time away but we are planning for an Australian Open. We also have to plan for the scenario of players only and no crowds, and also the possibility of moving it or not having it at all."  

"We are planning an Australian Open with all the players and with Australian, and likely, New Zealand crowds as a starting point," he added. "We'll have some guidelines for social distancing."

There have been more than four million confirmed cases across the world, with over 280,400 deaths.

In Australia, 97 people have succumbed to the virus as the country starts to relax lockdown measures.

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