Three-time major champion Angelique Kerber has again linked up with former coach Torben Beltz, who oversaw her first two grand slam wins.

Kerber will work with Beltz once more after struggling under an array of coaches in recent months as she has tumbled down the WTA rankings.

The German is now ranked 21st and has not won a Tour event since Wimbledon in 2018.

Kerber broke through with Beltz at her side and then reunited with her long-time coach ahead of a hugely successful 2016 season.

Beltz helped her win the Australian Open and US Open while climbing to the top of the rankings.

The pair parted ways again as Kerber hired Wim Fissette, with whom she won at the All England Club in an 11-month partnership.

But 32-year-old Kerber's floundering form since Fissette's departure has now led her back to a familiar face.

Beltz split with Donna Vekic earlier this month after two and a half years guiding the Croatian.

Palermo Open tournament organisers have been left "embittered" and "profoundly disappointed" over Simona Halep's decision to withdraw from the event.

Halep on Sunday cited the rise in coronavirus cases in Romania and anxieties around international air travel as her reasons for opting out of the first WTA Tour event since March.

The Romanian's participation in the tournament, which starts on August 3, was in doubt due to new quarantine regulations in Italy.

It was announced on Friday that all visitors who have spent time in Romania or Bulgaria in the past 14 days would need to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival in Italy.

Tournament director Oliviero Palma wrote to Italy's health minister Roberto Speranza to seek an exemption for Halep, and regional assessor of health Ruggero Razza informed the 2019 Wimbledon champion that tennis players would not need to quarantine.

Yet the two-time grand slam champion has delayed her return as she is not ready to head overseas.

She said in a statement released to Stats Perform News on Sunday: "Given the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Romania and my anxieties around international air travel at this time, I have made the tough decision to withdraw from Palermo.

"I want to thank the tournament director and the Italian ministry of health for all their efforts on my behalf and I wish the tournament a successful week."

Palma was not at all impressed with Halep's withdrawal.

He said: "We found out Halep's decision with great bitterness. Yesterday we were optimistic, and we had informed Halep's staff about the fact that professional players are not obliged to quarantine.

"Nevertheless, Halep's staff only communicated us the final decision, frustrating all our efforts. We are embittered and profoundly disappointed."

Simona Halep has been assured she should be allowed to compete at the Palermo Open, after fears that new quarantine rules in Italy would rule her out.

New restrictions were announced on Friday for all visitors who have spent time in Romania or Bulgaria in the past 14 days; however, tournament organisers are confident they will not apply to athletes.

Tournament chief executive Oliviero Palma wrote to Italy's health minister Roberto Speranza to seek an exemption, but on Saturday he sounded an optimistic note regarding the reigning Wimbledon champion.

"Simona Halep should participate in the 31st Palermo Open," Palma said.

"Following a literal interpretation of the provisions in force, it seems that workers, therefore professional athletes too, should be exempted from the mandatory quarantine.

"We are waiting for an official clarification from the competent authorities, but we are confident. I reassured Simona Halep's manager."

World number two Halep, who has spent lockdown at home in Romania, is due in Sicily for the event which starts on August 3.

The Palermo Open will be the first WTA Tour tournament since March and Halep is the star attraction in the field.

Italy, one of the first nations to be badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, is determined to be cautious about visitors arriving from other countries.

Speranza said on Saturday: "We must protect our country within an international context that is worsening. We live on one planet. The battle is won with determination and solidarity."

Simona Halep faces having to miss the Palermo Open unless an appeal to allow the Wimbledon champion to compete is accepted by Italy's health minister.

Tournament organisers have asked government minister Roberto Speranza to make an exception after quarantine restrictions were announced for all visitors who have spent time in Romania or Bulgaria in the past 14 days.

Halep, who has spent lockdown at home in Romania, has yet to make a public comment on the possibility of being ruled out of the clay-court event, which starts on August 3.

The Palermo Open will be the first WTA Tour tournament since March and Halep is the star attraction in the field.

Italy, one of the first nations to be badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, is determined to be cautious about visitors arriving from other countries.

Tournament chief executive Oliviero Palma is waiting to hear back from the authorities after sending what he described as an "urgent letter" to Speranza.

Palma wrote on Twitter: "We wrote a letter to the Minister because we're convinced that the health protocols adopted by the WTA are so strict to guarantee the safety and health not only of athletes, yet also of all the various workers involved in the event.

"The provision would penalise a player like Simona Halep, [the] world's number 2 and Wimbledon's reigning champion, who wouldn't take part in Palermo's tournament anymore."

Speranza said on Saturday: "We must protect our country within an international context that is worsening. We live on one planet. The battle is won with determination and solidarity."

The ATP and WTA Tour events scheduled in China for 2020 have been cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The ATP's China Open, Shanghai Masters, Chengdu Open and Zhuhai Championships were scheduled to be played later this year, but were officially cancelled on Friday.

The WTA, meanwhile, has called off seven events that were due to be played in China, including the WTA Finals.

The moves came after the Chinese government announced no international sporting events would be held in the country for the rest of the year.

"Our approach throughout this pandemic has been to always follow local guidance when staging events," ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said in a statement.

"We respect the Chinese government's decision to do what's best for the country in response to the unprecedented global situation.

"It's with a heavy heart that we announce ATP tournaments will not be played in China this year. These important events have been a cornerstone of the Tour's presence in Asia and I want to thank the organisers for their commitment and cooperation.

"Chinese fans are some of the most passionate in the world and I know players will be looking forward to the next opportunity to play in front of them."

Suspended since March, the ATP and WTA Tour seasons are due to resume in August.

There have been more than 15 million confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, with the death toll exceeding 630,000.

Petra Kvitova says there is no guarantee she will compete in the US Open and she knows of players who will definitely not enter the draw in the current climate.

Flushing Meadows is set to stage what will be the second major of the year behind closed doors from August 31 to September 13.

Over 32,000 people in New York state have died after contracting the coronavirus, with more than 431,000 cases reported.

US Open organisers vowed that the tournament will go ahead in the "safest manner possible, mitigating all potential risks".

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova says some players will not travel as it stands.

"I know a few players will definitely not go if the restrictions are like they are now," the world number 12 from the Czech Republic told BBC Radio 5 Live.

She added: "I'm still thinking of what everything will look like, what the restrictions will be, how many people we can take and if they quarantine us."

Kvitova, who has been playing in front of fans at a grass-court exhibition tournament in Berlin this week, is not 100 per cent sure she will head out to the United States next month.

She said: "Playing without the fans in grand slams, I can't really see it.

"If that happens and everything is okay, I will go for sure to compete but there's still a chance I will not go. I will decide when I know everything."

The WTA Tour is set to resume at the Palermo Ladies Open on August 3.

Tennis lovers worldwide should have been licking their lips in anticipation of the Wimbledon finals this weekend.

There were two contrasting singles championship matches last year, Simona Halep dismantling Serena Williams before Novak Djokovic got the better of Roger Federer in an epic marathon five-set thriller.

Centre Court crowds and millions watching all over the planet have been treated to classic finals over the years, but there have also been showdowns that many would have expected to see that never transpired.

While there was no 2020 grass-court grand slam this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, we look at a selection of finals that never occurred at the All England Club for one reason or another.

 

Steffi Graf v Martina Hingis

Graf and Hingis met twice at SW19 but the latest round in which they did battle was for a place in the quarter-finals.

German legend Graf was unable to go for a third consecutive Wimbledon title in 1997 due to injury and it was Swiss sensation Hingis who lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish for the first and only time, defeating Jana Novotna.

Novotna gained revenge by dumping Hingis out at the semi-final stage 12 months later after Graf - 12 years older than Hingis - was beaten by Natasha Zvereva in the third round.

Hingis never went beyond the quarter-finals after that, while in 1999 Graf fell to Lindsay Davenport in her last appearance at a tournament she won seven times.

 

John McEnroe v Boris Becker

McEnroe and Becker have shared a commentary box at Wimbledon, but they were never on the opposite side of the net in a final.

A packed crowd would have most certainly been on the edge of their seats to watch two of the most colourful characters in the sport throw everything at each other in pursuit of major glory, but it was not to be.

The closest it came to materialising was in 1989, when American legend McEnroe was denied a place in the final by Stefan Edberg.

Becker beat Edberg in the final to take the title for a third and last time. They may well have met in a final if McEnroe had not missed the 1986 tournament due to taking a break from the sport or suffered a back injury the following year.

 

Justine Henin v Kim Clijsters

Belgium would have surely come to a standstill if Henin and Clijsters had graced Centre Court in a final.

Henin won seven grand slam titles before retiring in 2008 aged only 25 and although she made a comeback in 2010, the former world number one called it a day again the following year as she struggled with an elbow injury.

She quit as a two-time Wimbledon runner-up, while Clijsters - who announced she was making a surprise comeback last year - has never reached the final at SW19.

Semi-final appearances in 2003 and 2006 are as far as Clijsters has been at Wimbledon, and it is a great shame the four-time major singles winner and her compatriot never contested a battle of Belgium for one of the biggest prizes in sport at the peak of their powers.

 

Andy Murray v Rafael Nadal

There have been 24 matches contested by Murray and Nadal, with three of those staged at Wimbledon.

Nadal broke the hearts of Murray fans by beating him on each occasion at his home grand slam, twice in the semi-finals and once in the last eight 12 years ago.

You have to go back to 2011 for Spanish legend Nadal's last appearance in a Wimbledon final, while Murray was crowned champion four years ago but has not played in the tournament since 2017 due to career-threatening hip injury.

While a fit-again Murray is hoping to work his way back to the top and Nadal remains a huge force, time is not on their side and it appears unlikely they will be opponents in a Wimbledon final.

Wimbledon has been praised for its "amazing" decision to pay players £10million from a prize money pot despite the 2020 tournament being cancelled.

The All England Club (AELTC) had pandemic insurance, meaning its decision to call off the championships in April was not one that risked becoming a huge financial blow.

It was revealed on Friday that 620 players would benefit, based on world rankings, potentially handing a lifeline to lowly players from across the world who may be struggling to make ends meet.

Wimbledon is paying out £25,000 per competitor to 256 players from the men's and women's singles, and £12,500 to a further 224 players who would have taken part in qualifying.

Doubles players and those from the wheelchair events will also collect money from the fund, with Wimbledon stressing there would be only one payment per player, meaning there could be no claims for multiple events.

Three-time US Open champion Kim Clijsters wrote on Twitter: "Amazing news — always a class act and leader of our sport!! Well done @Wimbledon – can't wait to be back next year!"

Clijsters, 37, was in the early stages of a comeback after seven years in retirement when the COVID-19 outbreak led to tennis being suspended across the globe.

The Belgian is a two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist who would have almost certainly received a wildcard into this year's tournament.

Spain's Paula Badosa, the world number 94, indicated what the windfall would mean to rank-and-file players.

"Such a nice gesture @Wimbledon on these tough moments. Means the world for us, thank you," Badosa wrote.

Wimbledon said its decision was taken "in the spirit of the AELTC's prize money distribution in recent years".

This year marked the first time Wimbledon had been called off since World War II. Its finals would have been contested this weekend.

AELTC chief executive Richard Lewis said: "Immediately following the cancellation of the championships, we turned our attention to how we could assist those who help make Wimbledon happen.

"We know these months of uncertainty have been very worrying for these groups, including the players, many of whom have faced financial difficulty during this period and who would have quite rightly anticipated the opportunity to earn prize money at Wimbledon based on their world ranking.

"We are pleased that our insurance policy has allowed us to recognise the impact of the cancellation on the players and that we are now in a position to offer this payment as a reward for the hard work they have invested in building their ranking to a point where they would have gained direct entry into the championships 2020."

Dayana Yastremska apologised after being slammed for posting images of herself in blackface, saying she was "misunderstood".

World number 25 Yastremska was criticised after posting images of herself with one half of her body white and the other half black on Twitter and Instagram.

The 20-year-old's posts came amid anti-racism demonstrations and Black Lives Matter protests around the world following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis in May.

After deleting the posts, Yastremska – the Ukrainian who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon last year – apologised.

"Earlier today I posted pictures that I thought would spread a message of equality. It clearly did not and has been misunderstood," she wrote.

"I have been warned about the negative impact but I did not – and still don't – consider it as a "blackface". I did not intend to caricature but to share my feelings about the current situation: we should all be treated as equal.

"I am so disappointed that my message has been corrupted: these pictures divided people when they were meant to unite. That's why I deleted them.

"I sincerely apologise to all the people I have offended. I truly had only good intentions."

French Open organisers are planning for this year's event to go ahead with spectators present at a level between 50 and 60 per cent of full capacity.

The grand slam event in Paris is scheduled to take place between September 27 and October 11.

It was recently pushed back by one week as the ATP Tour and WTA Tour announced their schedules to return, the tournament having initially been postponed from its May start date due to the coronavirus pandemic.

When confirming the new date in June, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) had expressed their determination to admit fans, with the number depending on the outcome of talks with public authorities.

Having held those discussions, the tournament set a target of 50 to 60 per cent of capacity on Thursday, as they confirmed ticket sales will open to the general public on July 16, with priority purchasers having the chance to buy from July 9.

"The Roland Garros tournament announces the opening of the ticket and specifies its conditions for welcoming visitors," read a statement.

"The French Tennis Federation – which is acting responsibly and in close collaboration with the French government authorities, while benefiting from the advice of a committee of multi-disciplinary experts – is adapting and will continue to adapt to the situation caused by the Covid-19 crisis." 

Explaining the measures, the statement continued: "On the three show courts, the tiered seating will follow a precise protocol: on every row, one seat will be left empty between every group of purchasers (a maximum of 4 people who wish to sit in adjacent seats). 

"On the outside courts, every other seat will be out of bounds, and spectators may sit in any of the available seats. This way, the number of spectators allowed inside the stadium will be 50% to 60% of its usual capacity, allowing us to ensure the barrier measures are respected.

"The FFT will adapt the way spectators move around inside the stadium in order to ensure that the barrier measures and social distancing are respected." 

Also confirmed were rules around cleaning standards, a commitment to ensure social distancing in areas around the grounds and instructing fans to wear marks while moving around the stadiums, with coverings recommended at other times too.

Strict protocols surrounding players and their entourage are due to follow, while the number of fans in attendance could end up being higher or lower than the current target range.

"If the situation continues to improve, more tickets may be put on sale at the beginning of September," added the statement. 

"However, if the situation requires more stringent hygiene standards that force us to reduce the number of spectators on site, the tournament organisers will refund any supplementary tickets sold."

Sofia Kenin helped Team Peace beat Team Kindness at the Credit One Bank Invitational in Charleston.

Kenin, this year's Australian Open champion, won three of her four matches at the tournament, played with the WTA Tour season suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The American had mixed singles results, beating Alison Riske and losing to Madison Keys, while teaming up with Bethanie Mattek-Sands for two doubles victories.

Also part of Team Peace, Eugenie Bouchard claimed two wins from four matches.

For Team Kindness, Amanda Anisimova and Sloane Stephens both went 3-1, Madison Keys was 2-2 and Victoria Azarenka struggled, losing all four of her matches.

Serena Williams remains tantalisingly close to Margaret Court's all-time grand slam record of 24 major victories.

The American, still going strong at the age of 38, has lost her last four grand slam finals against Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu.

Wimbledon is a special event for Williams, who has reached the final on 11 occasions, including those recent losses to Kerber and Halep.

The tournament therefore represents one of the best chances for the seven-time champion to draw level with Court's historic mark.

However, the event in 2020 was cancelled – the first time that has happened since World War II - due to the coronavirus pandemic, complicating Williams' record pursuit.

Ahead of what would have been the start of Wimbledon next week, Stats Perform News debated whether Williams can already be considered the greatest player in women's tennis history.


Graf is the greatest

By Joe Wright

Serena is a modern powerhouse, her serve and shot-making unrivalled at its best; Martina Navratilova's serve-and-volley skills delivered 59 majors across singles and doubles from 1981 to 1990; Margaret Court still tops the tables for grand slam singles titles, winning 24 between 1960 and 1973, spanning the shift to the Open era.

The greatest, then, would be a player who could feasibly have thrived in any of those eras. The greatest, then, is Steffi Graf.

The German ruled women's tennis for more than a decade after winning the 1987 French Open. A year after that triumph in Paris, she became the first to win tennis' 'Golden Slam' - all four major singles titles and Olympic gold in the same year. She was 18.

Between 1987 and 1996, she won 22 grand slam singles titles spread neatly across the four events: four in Australia, six in France, seven at Wimbledon and five in the United States. She held the number one ranking for 377 weeks, a record never beaten in the women's or men's game.

Her 107 tour titles puts her behind only Navratilova and Chris Evert on the all-time list and only she and Court have won three majors in a single calendar year five times.

'Fraulein Forehand' could overpower opponents from the baseline, unbalance them with a wicked sliced backhand and demoralise them with ferocious serves and precision volleys.

She combined power and elegance in such a way that she could dominate on every surface. She would have been a match for Court in the 60s, she beat Navratilova in four of six slam finals and, had she not retired at just 30 in 1999, she'd have known how to handle a young Serena.

In that same year, Billie Jean King proclaimed: "Steffi is definitely the greatest women's tennis player of all time." That should be proof enough.

 

Serena has dominated in toughest era

By Chris Myson

On and off the court, Serena has had a monumental impact in taking women’s tennis to incredible heights.

Twenty-one years after her first grand slam title at the 1999 US Open, she remains a fierce contender for the sport's biggest accolades, having changed the game with her unrivalled talent, athleticism and longevity.

Seven Wimbledon titles, six US Open crowns and three French Open wins are on her record.

Throw in another seven Australian Open victories, including her remarkable 2017 triumph while pregnant with her daughter, and you have a resume that may never be topped.

Thirty-three major finals in a 20-year span is a statistic made all the more remarkable when you factor in she missed 15 slams over that period.

Serena held all four grand slams when she won in Australia in 2003, while 11 years later she was celebrating a three-peat at Flushing Meadows by beating close friend Caroline Wozniacki.

Not that it is needed to bolster her claim, but Serena has also won 14 women's doubles majors with her sister Venus, having never lost a grand slam final in that format.

She has two mixed doubles crowns as well, taking her total major haul to 39.

Most significantly, these incredible feats have taken place in the modern era, where the level of competition has never been so strong and so deep, due to the global growth of tennis.

Top-tier rivals are more plentiful than in the eras of Graf, Navratilova and Court, while they are stronger, fitter, better equipped and more prepared than ever before.

Serena’s impact and staggering commercial success off the court has paved the way for future generations like Osaka to thrive.

But it is her play on it that means her place as the greatest women's player of all time is secure, even if the cancellation of Wimbledon has made her path to the elusive 24th crown more complicated.

The Davis Cup and Fed Cup have both been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was confirmed on Friday.

Due to be hosted in Madrid, the Davis Cup Finals were supposed to have taken place from November 23-29, but following a three-month review it was deemed too challenging to stage this year.

Organisers Kosmos Tennis and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) pointed to the fact more than 90 athletes would have been expected to be involved, while the international event attracts thousands of fans, officials, staff and other stakeholders from across the globe, with many countries at differing stages of the pandemic.

With the competition now set to begin on November 22, 2021, it was confirmed the 18 teams that have already qualified for the men's global team tournament will have their places secured, while the draw for the finals remains the same.

Kosmos president and Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said: "It's a huge disappointment for all of us that the Davis Cup Finals will not be held in 2020.

"We don't know how the situation will develop in each qualified nation, or if restrictions in Spain will remain sufficiently eased, as such it is impossible to predict the situation in November and guarantee the safety of those travelling to Madrid.

"This postponement has no long-term bearing on our collective ambitions for the Davis Cup. The ITF and Kosmos Tennis look forward to delivering an outstanding competition in 2021, when it is safe and feasible to do so."

The women's equivalent, the Fed Cup, has also unsurprisingly hit a similar stumbling block and will now take place from April 13-18.

Budapest remains its location and, much like the Davis Cup, the teams that have already qualified will retain their places. The Fed Cup Play-offs will go ahead at the start of February.

Neither postponement has come as a surprise, particularly following the chaos caused by the Adria Tour event earlier this month.

Organised by world number one Novak Djokovic and played across locations in Serbia and Croatia, the event did not adhere to social distancing procedures and attracted large crowds. Legs in Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina were ultimately postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.

Several of the marquee players ended up testing positive for the virus, including Djokovic himself, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki, and the event was met with widespread criticism.

As Novak Djokovic and the Adria Tour gang cavorted in a Belgrade nightclub, the limbo-dancing tennis stars demonstrated precisely how low the sport could go.

If the president of the ATP player council can get it so egregiously wrong in a time of global crisis, and if Nick Kyrgios can pipe up as the voice of reason, then tennis has just thrown up the most shocking of double faults within its established conventions.

So tennis is in crisis: Wimbledon is cancelled, the US Open will attempt to go ahead without fans, and the French Open is clinging to hope it could happen starting in September.

People have lost their jobs, tournaments have been scrapped and might struggle to return, and coronavirus has caused untold damage, aided and abetted by bewildering human assistance.

A relief fund for low-ranked players whose livelihoods were under threat was openly scorned by multi-millionaire Dominic Thiem, whose argument was put brutally dismantled by near-penniless Algerian player Ines Ibbou.

This is tennis then, midway through 2020.

What's happened so far?

The season was suspended on March 12, days after the Indian Wells Masters was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, and there has been no tennis on the ATP or WTA Tours since.

Rafael Nadal said in May that he doubted there could be any more tennis played in 2020, but the harsh economic reality means there is a strong will to find a way.

And that means tennis is coming back in August, public health and player buffoonery permitting, with a string of tournaments leading up to the US Open, which has kept its regular place on the calendar.

The Cincinnati Masters is moving to Flushing Meadows, but Washington is staying in D.C., and Kitzbuhel, Rome and Madrid are all billed ahead of Roland Garros.

On the women's side, tennis will relaunch in Palermo, Italy, with 20 tournaments scheduled to happen before the end of the year.

Wimbledon, to which the eyes of the sporting world routinely turn at this time of year, looks poised to come out of this intact because of pandemic insurance cover.

Other tournaments have not been so prudent, and are feeling the pinch.

How realistic is a resumption?

If anyone needed a warning about how badly wrong this could all go, Djokovic's exhibition Adria Tour at least provided that. That he, Borna Coric, Grigor Dimitrov and Viktor Troicki – others too – should test positive for COVID-19 was a damning indictment of an event set up with good intentions that descended into an apparent free-for-all.

Tennis within a bio-secure bubble, with regular testing and restrictions on movement, should allow the sport to push ahead with some of its plans.

But that is a highly expensive exercise and many tournaments will inevitably come to rely on self-policing.

Tennis without fans, living out of hotels, promises to be an austere experience. At the US Open, the stars will be able to see the Manhattan skyline, but they reportedly face being banned from visiting the island.

For the players that cannot afford to rent a house – which will come from a limited supply – then the US Open fortnight will see them split their time between Flushing Meadows and a hotel next to JFK airport.

It will take discipline to make not only the US Open work, but every tournament until the end of the season and beyond. Pockets of infection could be economically ruinous, and from a health perspective the worst-case scenario ought to be lost on nobody.

What has been said?

Serena Williams says she "really cannot wait to return to New York". Her involvement is a huge boon to the US Open, with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) in need of good news, having made 110 job cuts during the pandemic period, change in the organisation hastened by the crisis.

In a recent conference call, USTA chief executive Mike Dowse said US Open net operating income stood to be down by "about 80 per cent" for 2020, but he said keeping prize-money at a high level by delving into reserves amid the fall in revenue was "not a model that can continue".

Expect that to be the case practically across the board, with tournaments pulling out all the stops this year in the hope of saving tennis from the prospect of a season all but wiped out.

While the grand slams can just about cope without fans, many other events face an uncertain future if they face behind-closed-doors orders.

Herwig Straka, who manages Thiem and is tournament director of the Vienna Open, told German newspaper Der Standard the event would be "doable" provided it could operate at least at 50 per cent of crowd capacity.

"It is of course not enough," Straka said. "We'd be in the red. We don't want the public to take a year off. It would be impossible below 40 per cent."

Saint Nick?

Australian firebrand Kyrgios has quite the rap sheet, punished at various points for insulting umpires, his vulgar tongue, and even showing a lack of effort.

But this has been open season for the mercurial 25-year-old, who sniped after the news of Djokovic's positive test: "Don't @ me for anything I've done that has been 'irresponsible' or classified as 'stupidity' - this takes the cake."

If Kyrgios is enjoying his break from the tour, so too must the umpires be relishing their time away from him.

His greatest misstep during the pandemic, however, appears to have been going perhaps a touch heavy on the red wine during an Instagram live session with Andy Murray in May.

What happens next?

For all the best intentions, it remains hard to imagine every ATP and WTA tournament going ahead as planned, once the season resumes.

Tennis, like golf, relies on its biggest stars travelling from city to city, country to country, and the speed at which this virus moves and takes hold is hardly conducive to such a lifestyle.

Golf's PGA Tour is already encountering problems, and so will tennis.

The sport is living on the edge. At this point, it needs its star players to be setting a high bar, rather than going low, danger-dancing like nobody's watching.

The French Open has been provisionally put back a week, while the WTA and ATP Tours are set to resume in Palermo and Washington respectively in August.

US Open organisers on Tuesday confirmed the grand slam will start as scheduled behind closed doors on August 31.

September 20 was due to be the revised date for the French Open to begin, but the Paris major was listed as getting under way seven days later when the WTA and ATP announced their revised calendars on Wednesday.

The tournament could not be held in May and June due to the coronavirus pandemic, which brought sport all over the world to a halt in March.

Five months after the season was suspended, it is hoped WTA Tour action will return at the Palermo Ladies Open on August 3.

Events will only take place if medical experts give the green light along with governments and travel restrictions are relaxed.

There were 20 tournaments listed on the new WTA schedule, including the Western and Southern Open, which has been switched to New York, and the Madrid Open leading up to Roland Garros.

August 14 is the proposed date for the resumption of the ATP Tour, with the Citi Open the first tournament for the men to return if the all-clear is given.

There were just seven events listed on the ATP Tour schedule, with the potential for an Asia swing to be included on the next update in the middle of next month.

As with the Madrid Open and Western and Southern Open, both the men and women have the prestigious Internazionali BNL d'Italia clay-court tournament in Rome on the calendar.

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