Serena Williams has confirmed she will play at the 2020 US Open.

On Tuesday the United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced the grand slam at Flushing Meadows will go ahead as planned despite the global coronavirus pandemic.

The WTA will resume on August 3 and there are three tournaments scheduled before the US Open, which is due to run without fans present from August 31 to September 13.

While reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and world number one Ashleigh Barty have expressed concerns about the tournament in New York, Williams has confirmed she will be involved.

"Ultimately, I really cannot wait to return to New York and play the US Open 2020," Williams told reporters on a Zoom conference call.

"I feel like the USTA is going to do a really good job of ensuring everything is amazing and everyone is safe.

"It's gonna be exciting. It's been over six months since a lot of us have played professional tennis.

"I'll certainly miss the fans, don't get me wrong. Just being out there with that New York crowd and hear everyone cheer, I'll really miss that in some of those tough matches. But this is crazy, I'm excited."

Williams needs one more grand slam title to equal Margaret Court's record haul of 24.

The 38-year-old has ended up on the losing side in each of the previous two US Open finals and the last of her six titles there was won in 2014.

Halep and Barty are not the only elite players to raise concerns about participating in the grand slam while curbing the spread of COVID-19 continues to be an issue for the USA and beyond.

Defending men's champion Rafael Nadal admitted he was not comfortable with travelling while the pandemic continues and world number one Novak Djokovic complained about protocols, which could see players remain at hotels between matches and have only one other person with them at Flushing Meadows.

The US Open will go ahead as planned without spectators beginning in August, New York governor Andrew Cuomo has confirmed.

Both the ATP and WTA have been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the respective Tours announcing in May no competitions would take place until at least the end of July.

Consequently, Wimbledon was postponed for 2020, while the French Open was controversially rescheduled to begin a week after the final of the US Open.

The future of the slam at Flushing Meadows remained unclear but Cuomo announced on Tuesday that the event will take place between August 31 and September 13.

 

 

Serena Williams would relish the chance to play at this year's US Open and continue her quest to surpass Margaret Court's grand slam haul, the American's coach has said.

It has been reported it will soon be confirmed that the US Open shall begin on August 31 without fans, as planned, despite concerns about the coronavirus safety measures from elite men's and women's players.

Men's world number one Novak Djokovic expressed reservations about being kept at a hotel between matches and the possibility of only having one other person with him at Flushing Meadows, while defending champion Rafael Nadal is not keen to travel to New York while the pandemic continues.

However, Patrick Mouratoglou, who coaches six-time US Open champion Williams, believes last year's runner-up in the women's final is keen to play.

Williams needs one more grand slam title to pull level with Court's record of 24.

"Of course, she would love to play," Mouratoglou told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.

"For a player to be out of competition is extremely difficult. She's definitely come back to tennis to win grand slams; that's her goal, so the US Open would be the first opportunity to win one.

"You know this US Open will be extremely special, there will be a lot of restrictions and I have to speak with her to see if she will be able to accept and manage those expectations."

Williams gave birth to a daughter – Alexis Olympia Ohanian – in September 2017 and Mouratoglou noted the possibility of her only having one other person at Flushing Meadows may impact him, as he joked the toddler might actually be a better coach for her mother.

"That's exactly what my thought is - I don't imagine her being three weeks without her daughter," he admitted.

"So, she might have a new coach for the US Open... [a] bit younger! Considering our record in the last grand slam finals, her daughter might be more successful than me!"

Jelena Jankovic says "the door is open" for her to resume her tennis career after the former world number one made a long-awaited return to partner Novak Djokovic on Friday.

Jankovic has not played competitively since losing to Petra Kvitova in the first round of the 2017 US Open due to a back injury.

The 35-year-old showed she may not be finished yet when she linked up with Djokovic for a doubles match at a charity event in her hometown of Belgrade.

Jankovic, a winner of 15 WTA singles titles, savoured being back on court and is not ruling out making a professional comeback.

She said: "This is the first time I've held a tennis racket in a very long time and I was as overjoyed as a child in a candy shop.

"It felt like the very first time. I was sidelined by a back injury which not only hampered my tennis career, it was so bad I couldn't walk properly or sleep.

"I've made a full recovery but I don't know if this is a comeback. The door is open, I never officially retired but I am living a different life now."

 

June 9 is a momentous sporting date that Maria Sharapova and her fans will not forget in a hurry.

Eight years ago on this day, the Russian achieved a career landmark that few tennis players can even dream of with her triumph at the French Open.

This date also represents the 35-year anniversary of a famous day in NBA history, when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar set a mark that still has not been beaten.

We look back at some of the top moments to occur on June 9 in the world of sport.

 

2012 - Sharapova achieves career Grand Slam

After winning her first grand slam in 2004, Sharapova had triumphed at two of the four majors by 2006 and won three by 2008.

The Russian had to wait until 2012 before finally getting her hands on the French Open and sealing an emotional career Grand Slam.

Having made a long recovery from shoulder surgery and lost major finals at Wimbledon and in Melbourne over the previous 12 months, Sharapova was not to be denied in Paris.

She became the 10th woman to complete a career Grand Slam with an easy 6-3 6-2 win in the final against Italian Sara Errani and only dropped one set in the whole tournament.

Sharapova lifted the trophy once more in 2014, which proved to be her last major title in a conclusion to her career that was clouded by injury woes and a positive test for meldonium in 2016.

 

1990 - Seles becomes youngest French Open champion

Teen sensation Monica Seles became the youngest French Open singles champion in 1990 when she won the title at the age of 16 years and six months.

The title was sealed in style with success over world number one Steffi Graf in the final, Seles saving four set points to win a dramatic first set 7-6 (8-6), before claiming the second 6-4. 

Seemingly undaunted by the pressure, she had also won her semi in straight sets against Jennifer Capriati.

Seles went on to triumph at Roland Garros again in 1991 and 1992, with her three consecutive crowns representing a tournament record in the Open Era that was later equalled by Justine Henin.

She did not win the French Open again after recovering from being stabbed on court in Hamburg in 1993, going closest in 1998 before losing a deciding set in the final against Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

Her final tally of grand slam titles was nine.

 

1985 - Kareem is NBA Finals' oldest MVP

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated fierce rivals the Boston Celtics 111-100 on the road in Game 6 to seal a 4-2 series victory in the NBA Finals.

Abdul-Jabbar was named the Finals MVP at the age of 38, making him the oldest winner of the honour in a record that still stands.

The veteran was the Lakers' leading scorer in four of the six contests, including Game 6 when he went for 29 points and Magic Johnson contributed 14 assists.

Abdul-Jabbar's award came 14 years after his other NBA Finals MVP accolade, which he collected after leading the Milwaukee Bucks to their first and only championship in 1971.

The Lakers made eight of the 10 NBA Finals that took place in the 1980s, winning five, and the remarkable Abdul-Jabbar was still playing when they tasted success in 1987 and 1988.

June 8 is likely to be a date forever remembered fondly by Rafael Nadal, who secured two of his historic 12 French Open titles on this day.

Serena Williams also twice had reason to celebrate on the clay of Roland Garros on this date, although one final was tinged with the regret of having beaten her sister.

The Golden State Warriors tasted glory once again in 2018, while there was truly a shock for the ages when Argentina faced Cameroon at the World Cup in 1990.

Going back nearly 60 years, there was also a moment of baseball history for the Milwaukee Braves.

 

1961 - Milwaukee Braves hit home-run record

There were six teams scrambling for top spot in the National League when the Braves met the Cincinnati Reds at Crosley Field.

In front of a sparse crowd of just over 5,000 fans - many seem to have been exhausted by three previous night games in the series - the Reds claimed a 10-8 victory.

The Braves did at least make history with four consecutive home runs through Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock and Frank Thomas in the seventh inning.

 

1990 - Argentina shocked by Cameroon

Perhaps the biggest World Cup upset in history, the reigning champions were beaten 1-0 by Cameroon at Italia 90.

A solitary goal from Francois Omam-Biyik was enough for the Indomitable Lions to defeat Diego Maradona's Argentina at San Siro.

Cameroon progressed as group winners and reached the quarter-finals, where they lost to England. Argentina made it to the final again but were beaten by West Germany.

 

2002 - Serena wins all-Williams final in Paris

The first of Serena's three French Open singles titles came 18 years ago when she defeated sister Venus 7-5 6-3.

It was the first step in the American's path to winning all four majors in a row, which would become known as the 'Serena Slam'; she claimed Wimbledon and the US Open later that year before winning the 2003 Australian Open, defeating her sister in each of those finals.

Twelve years later, Serena would achieve the feat a second time.

This date also marks seven years since Serena beat Maria Sharapova in the final at Roland Garros.

 

2008 - Nadal equals Borg record with Federer thrashing

Nadal became the first man since Bjorn Borg to win four French Open singles titles in a row when he defeated Roger Federer in the 2008 final.

The Spaniard, a 12-time champion at Roland Garros, triumphed 6-1 6-3 6-0 in a decidedly one-sided contest against his long-time rival.

Six years later, Nadal won French Open number nine on the same date, defeating Novak Djokovic 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4 to draw level with Pete Sampras on 14 major singles titles. He has won a further five since.

 

2018 - Warriors claim third title in four years

Inspired by NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant, the Warriors claimed their third NBA championship in four seasons on this day two years ago.

Golden State completed a 4-0 sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 108-85 win at what was then known as Quicken Loans Arena.

It was the second time in his career that LeBron James suffered the ignominy of a Finals sweep, having also endured it against the San Antonio Spurs in 2007.

Rising United States tennis star Coco Gauff was more mature at 14 than other players at 25, according to Patrick Mouratoglou.

Gauff became an overnight sensation last year when, at the age of 15 and at her maiden grand slam, she defeated Venus Williams at Wimbledon and went on to reach the fourth round.

She also became the youngest WTA Tour singles title-holder since 2004 when she won the Linz Open in October last year.

Gauff has won praise for her efforts off the court too and delivered a powerful speech at a Black Lives Matter rally in Florida this week, which was held amid widespread protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Mouratoglou, whose academy is affiliated with Gauff, says the youngster has an inner strength that sets her apart even from vastly more experienced players on the Tour.

"She's just different," he told the Guardian. "It's something I have known since I met her – she came to my academy at 10. I spoke to her, I had an individual one-on-one discussion with her. I said: 'Guys, she's different.'

"When you meet people who are exceptional, you know it. I feel it straight away. Since that day, she's been surprising me all the time, even though I know she's so special. At 14 she was more mature than women on tour who are 25. That's incredible.

"She has an inner strength that is completely unusual. She has a self-confidence that serves her in her tennis, but to be able to come and make a speech at 16 the way she did? You don't see that. Again, she surprised me. I'm not surprised that I am surprised, but I'm surprised."

Mouratoglou has been promoting his new Ultimate Tennis Showdown, an event geared towards filling the void of a season wrecked by the coronavirus pandemic while also attracting a new generation of fans.

Wimbledon was cancelled and the French Open moved to September, while the US Open has put forward strict new protocols in a bid to be given the go-ahead to take place from August 31 to September 13.

Players including Novak Djokovic have expressed concern around the plans, which include limiting the members in player support teams, using charter planes from a handful of cities and possibly scrapping the qualifying rounds.

Mouratoglou does not believe the big names will be put off from competing, though.

"I don't think any player will miss a grand slam if they can play," he said. "Especially at the moment, most of them would not have any competition until the US Open. If the US Open can take place, I think they will go. Whatever the conditions are."

Serena Williams, who has been coached by Mouratoglou since 2012, will be 39 in September and has not played since losing to Anastasija Sevastova in the first round of the Fed Cup qualifiers in Everett, Washington, in February.

But Mouratoglou has no concerns about her ability to come back and challenge for majors again.

"I don't think six months is gonna make a big difference," he said. "Six months ago, she was 38 and a half and she's going to be 39. I don't see any change. It's the same for her as for everyone: find the inner motivation to continue to grow. That's the challenge for everyone."

Rafael Nadal has celebrated plenty of times on Court Philippe Chatrier, but the jubilation he felt on June 5, 2005 is likely to live with him forever.

It was on this day 15 years ago when 'The King of Clay' won the first of his, to date, record 12 French Open titles.

Novak Djokovic and Francesca Schiavone were also crowned champions on June 5 in years gone by, while Michael Jordan produced one of the shots of his career in the 1991 NBA Finals.

Here we take a look at the most memorable sports events to have occurred on June 5.

 

1991 - Mid-Air Jordan switches hands for stunning lay-up

At this point 29 years ago Jordan was still the nearly man; a two-time MVP who had yet to win a championship ring.

The Chicago Bulls had lost Game 1 of the 1991 NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers too, but they would level the series at home with a convincing 107-86 victory in Game 2 as Jordan scored 33 points.

But his display that night is best remembered for a single shot in the third quarter. Jordan drove towards the basket ready for a right-handed dunk, only to switch the ball into his left hand in mid-air upon seeing Sam Perkins and somehow flip a shot up off the glass and through the net to astound those in Chicago Stadium.

The Bulls would go on to win the series 4-1, beginning a dynasty that would see them dominate the NBA for most of the next decade.

 

2005 - Nadal begins French Open dominance

At this point 15 years ago Nadal was still a promising teenager hoping to win his first grand slam.

However, he was considered the favourite in the final against Mariano Puerta, having won three clay-court tournaments in the build up to the French Open and, despite dropping the first set, he would emerge victorious 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-1 7-5.

Nadal has won all but three French Opens since, though on June 5, 2016, it was Djokovic lifting the trophy as he beat Andy Murray in four sets to complete a career grand slam.

 

2009 - England stunned in World Twenty20 opener

Eleven years ago England suffered one of their most humiliating losses in any format.

In the opening game of the second World Twenty20 tournament, the hosts were expected to encounter few difficulties against the Netherlands at Lord's.

With England, who failed to hit a single six, having made 162-5 first up after being restricted to 73 in the second half of their innings, it came down to the chasing side needing two off the final ball to clinch a famous victory.

And they got them in farcical fashion as Stuart Broad's overthrow allowed Edgar Schiferli to scamper through for a second, sealing an incredible four-wicket win for the Netherlands.

 

2010 - Schiavone makes grand slam history

Tennis fans had become accustomed to the sight of Nadal winning grand slams by 2010 when Schiavone became the first Italian woman to reach a major singles final.

The 17th seed was up against Australia's Sam Stosur – who had beaten Justine Henin and Serena Williams along the way – and it was Schiavone who came out on top 6-4 7-6 (7-2).

Schiavone not only became the first Italian woman to win a grand slam singles title, but she was also the second-lowest ranked woman to win at Roland Garros in the Open era.

Coco Gauff delivered a call for action at a Black Lives Matter rally in Florida as the 16-year-old American tennis rising star said: "I demand change now."

In a powerful speech, Gauff told a crowd outside Delray Beach City Hall to engage in "tough conversations" and "use your voice", stressing racism was a problem that involved everyone.

The death last week of African-American man George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has sparked protests across the United States and beyond.

Gauff has called on her social media followers to campaign for justice to be served in that case, and in her speech she repeated a message she shared earlier in the week: that "being silent is choosing the side of the oppressor".

Protests have centred on police brutality towards the black community.

Gauff said it was "sad" she was having to deliver a message on injustices her grandmother fought against half a century ago.

The teenager is a major rising star in her sport. She reached the fourth round of Wimbledon last July as a 15-year-old and won her first WTA singles title in Linz, Austria, in October. She is ranked 52nd in the world and is expected to be a future top-10 star.

Billie Jean King, who led the fight for gender equality in tennis, praised Gauff's stance by tweeting: "Thank you, @CocoGauff, for using your platform to speak to both the young and the not so young about injustice. We stand with you and the entire black community."

This is the full text of the speech Gauff gave in Delray Beach:

"Hi everyone. My name is Coco and I just spoke with my grandma and I think it's sad that I'm here protesting the same thing that she did 50-plus years ago.

“I'm here to tell you we must first love each other, no matter what. We must have the tough conversations with friends. I have spent all week having tough conversations and trying to educate my non-black friends on how they can help the movement.

"Second, we need to take action. Yes, we're all out here protesting and I am not of the age to vote - but it is in your hands to vote for my future, for my brothers' future and for your future, so that is one way to make change.

"Third, you need to use your voice: no matter how big or small your platform is, you need to use your voice.

"I saw a Dr [Martin Luther] King quote that said the silence of the good people is worse than the brutality of the bad people. So you need to not be silent, because if you are choosing silence, you are choosing the side of the oppressor.

"I've heard many things in the last week and one of the things I've heard is, 'It's not my problem'. This is why I have to tell you this: if you listen to black music, if you like black culture, if you have black friends, then this is your fight, too.

"It's not your job, it's not your duty, to open your mouth to say Lil Uzi Vert is my favourite artist but I don't care what happened to George Floyd? Now how does that make sense?

"So I demand change now. And it's sad that it takes another black man's life to be lost for all of this to happen, but we have to understand that this has been going on for years. This is not just about George Floyd. This is about Trayvon Martin. This is about Eric Garner. This is about Breonna Taylor.

"This is about stuff that's been happening. I was eight years old when Trayvon Martin was killed. So why am I here at 16 still demanding change?

"And it breaks my heart because I'm fighting for the future for my brothers. I'm fighting for the future for my future kids. I'm fighting for the future for my future grandchildren. So, we must change now, and I promise to always use my platform to spread vital information, spread awareness and fight racism.

"Black lives have always mattered, they mattered then, they matter now, and they will matter in the future. Thank you."

Shane Warne made an indelible mark on the Ashes on this day in 1993.

Daria Kasatkina has no problem playing grand slams behind closed doors amid the coronavirus pandemic, while the former world number 10 talked up the possibility of an ATP-WTA Tour merger.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc globally, with the WTA Tour suspended since March and not expected to return until August at the earliest.

The French Open has been pushed back to September and the US Open is still scheduled to go ahead, with Wimbledon cancelled for the first time since World War II.

Events are set to be staged without fans when tennis returns, though French Open organisers remain hopeful spectators will be able to attend the rearranged slam at Roland Garros.

World number 12 and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova said she would rather see majors cancelled than be held without fans, but Kasatkina has no issue with a spectator-less slam.

"It's going to be completely different, especially at grand slams and in night sessions on the big courts, it will lose its energy," 2018 French Open and Wimbledon quarter-finalist Kasatkina told Stats Perform News.

"At the same time, at least if we can play the tournament without spectators, for me it's fine. Yes it's different but to play a tournament and gram slam, it doesn't matter spectators or no spectators. As I think Marin Cilic said, it will be different to win a grand slam like the US Open without spectators there, which is true. At least it will be very special and it will stay in the history forever.

"For the moment, Roland Garros looks very positive. If we see how it goes and it keeps like that, I think Roland Garros will happen and they want to do it with spectators, which is really good. It's different to play with spectators, that's for sure.

"The US Open, of course everyone wants to play and I wish to play the US Open – it's such a special tournament – but I'm not that sure because the situation in the United States is still shaky. The main thing is travelling. If it's going to happen, it's going to be very good. I'll be very happy."

The re-arranged French Open in Paris could provide headaches for players, with the clay-court slam set to take place a week after the final of the US Open on hard courts in New York.

"It's going to be an interesting experience, especially to change the surface and the time so much," the Russian said. "At least between Roland Garros and Wimbledon there is one month, but at least it's in one part of the world. If it's like this, players have to accept it. I'll be happy, even if it's going to be like this.

"When we were juniors and just starting to play professional tournaments, we'd play one tournament there on clay and another here and there. For sure, for some players it will be tough and for many players with injuries it will be a little bit dangerous but I hope everything will be okay."

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, talk of an ATP-WTA merger has emerged – a tweet from 20-time slam champion Roger Federer backing a unified tennis tour sparking the discussions.

Asked about the possibility of the ATP and WTA joining forces, two-time tournament winner Kasatkina said: "I think it would be good to work together because it's much easier to do something with one structure than two structures like the situation we have now. It's easier to promote tennis as a big tour, not like men's or women's tennis.

"I was a little bit surprised because I never thought they were talking about this, I didn't hear anything. So, it was a little bit surprising especially from Roger Federer on Twitter. But I think it's a good idea. Why not be together? It's better."

The coronavirus-enforced break has provided Kasatkina with plenty of time to reflect and recharge, having struggled in 2019 after her breakout season in 2018.

Kasatkina burst onto the scene two years ago by reaching the French Open and Wimbledon quarter-finals before eventually losing to finalists Sloane Stephens and Angelique Kerber, while she also faced Naomi Osaka in the 2018 Indian Wells decider.

However, Kasatkina endured a frustrating 2019 campaign – only progressing beyond the opening round of a slam once last year, at the French Open, and dropping to 66th in the world rankings. There were, though, signs that the 23-year-old was returning to her best prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

Kasatkina reached the last four of the Lyon Open in March, her first WTA semi-final since claiming the Kremlin Cup in October 2018.

"I had a lot of expectations for myself and not only me but the people around after my very successful year in 2018, which I wasn't ready for, especially mentally," Kasatkina, who has become somewhat of a social media queen during the tennis hiatus, said.

"After this, my game fell apart little bit because you have no confidence in your head, there's no confidence in your shots. Rankings drop down as well because I was losing matches.

"I spoke with my coach and many things happened. I was pretty lost at that time but I think that helped me a lot to rebuild my confidence, rebuild my game maybe to change something.

"I think I started the year, not in Australia [first round], but after it better in Lyon. I really felt like I was building up my game again and I'm hungry to play the tournaments and win. Because I finally taste this semi-final, this special tournament. When I came to Indian Wells, I was feeling perfect in the practices. I really felt that if there wasn't the situation with coronavirus, maybe that was the point I could really start again.

"What happened, happened. Now I have the time for myself to maybe think a bit more, to work on the things which I'll probably need when the season starts again. Everything is going the way it should be."

Since losing 6-3 6-2 to Osaka in the 2018 Paribas Open final, Kasatkina has watched the Japanese star go on to win the US Open and Australian Open. Is it a motivation for the right-hander?

"Well after that final and during the tournament, of course I felt I was close to a very high level of tennis," Kasatkina continued. "I showed some good results and finished top 10, which was very positive at the time but maybe a little bit early. After the final, I felt like okay it seems like I have something inside that can bring me higher. But mentally, I wasn't ready."

Kasatkina, who believes she was close to rediscovering her 2018 form before the pandemic, believes the enforced break has been beneficial.

"For sure because for the past season, it was really tough," she added when asked about her time away from the sport. "Maybe it was good I had this time to come down a little bit and live a normal life. Not to rush to every tournaments, tournament by tournament, week by week."

Petra Kvitova is not in favour of playing at a grand slam behind closed doors, claiming she would rather see the events cancelled than be held without fans.

The WTA and ATP Tour have been heavily disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, with many tournaments postponed – the French Open having been pushed back to September – and others, including Wimbledon, cancelled altogether.

Kvitova is returning to the court in a tournament in her native Czech Republic this week, which will be played without fans in attendance.

However, the possibility of featuring in a grand slam behind closed doors does not appeal to the two-time Wimbledon champion.

"I have my age and of course I would like to play another grand slam, but if it's like this, I'd rather cancel them," Kvitova, 30, said at a news conference.

"Playing a grand slam is the greatest thing there is and playing without fans who are our engine doesn't look nice to me and the grand slam doesn't deserve it."

The event Kvitova is taking part in this week features eight men and eight women, who will not shake hands before or after their matches, while ball boys will not be allowed to hand towels to the players.

"We are here to reintroduce tennis not only to the Czech Republic, but also to the world," Kvitova added.

"The hardest thing will be to find the rhythm, we haven't played a match for a very long time.

"I hope nobody expects us to play fantastic tennis, because it may happen or it may not."

The world number 12 opens her tournament against doubles specialist Barbora Krejcikova on Tuesday.

French Open director Guy Forget says he is working closely with tennis authorities to ensure the tournament at Roland Garros does not clash with the US Open.

The Parisian major was initially scheduled to start on Sunday but the coronavirus pandemic resulted in it being postponed until September 20 – a week after the final of the US Open.

Criticism of the decision was rife, and the calendar for the rest of the season remains up in the air with the ATP Tour and WTA Tour suspended until August at the earliest.

Forget said he is working towards a suitable resolution and expects an announcement on the US Open's plans in June.

"The official announcement has not been made yet. [The French Open] will probably be between the end of September and the beginning of October," Forget told French radio station Europe 1.

"We've been working closely with the ATP, the WTA and the ITF to make a global announcement on what the circuit will be like until the end of the year.

"There are so many question marks. New York City is more affected by the coronavirus than France. They also have a lot of organisational problems.

"They will make an announcement mid-June to say how it's going to be like for the US Open."

According to the John Hopkins University, New York City has seen 197,266 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 28,926 dying as a result. France has had 182,018 cases and 28,218 deaths.

Professional sports have been prohibited in France until September but Forget remains optimistic about the chances of staging a successful French Open.

"The signals are going in the right direction with the reopening of businesses," he said.

"We can imagine that this will also be the case for restaurants and bars in the coming weeks.

"Now we don't know what's going to happen in a month or two. We will adapt to what the government tells us.

"You have to be ambitions and optimistic. We hope that Roland Garros will take place, and in good conditions."

Naomi Osaka has surpassed Serena Williams as the world's highest-earning female athlete.

The two-time grand slam winner accumulated a total $37.4million combined from prize money and endorsements over the past year, according to Forbes.

Osaka, who won her first major title at the 2018 US Open where she defeated Williams, earned $1.4m more than the American great, who was top of the female rankings for the past four years.

Her accumulated earnings are the biggest total over a 12-month period for a female athlete, beating the previous tally of $29.7m Maria Sharapova achieved in 2015.

Osaka ranks 29th in the overall list, with Williams 33rd marking the first time since 2016 two women have made the 100 highest-paid athletes.

"To those outside the tennis world, Osaka is a relatively fresh face with a great back story," David Carter, a sports business professor at USC's Marshall School of Business, told Forbes. 

"Combine that with being youthful and bicultural, two attributes that help her resonate with younger, global audiences, and the result is the emergence of a global sports marketing icon."

After making her major breakthrough at Flushing Meadows, Osaka went on to win the next slam at the 2019 Australian Open but a dip in form has seen her slip from world number one to 10th in the WTA rankings.

Osaka has major sponsorship deals with the likes of Nike, Nissan Motors, Shiseido and Yonex.

Serena Williams is the greatest women's player of all time, says Boris Becker, who believes she can still equal Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam singles titles.

Williams has won 23 slams in an incredible career, but the 38-year-old's quest to catch and potentially overtake Court has been dealt a blow by the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The spread of COVID-19 has led this year's Wimbledon - where Williams has won seven singles titles - to be cancelled. The French Open has been pushed back to September but both Roland Garros and the US Open remain in doubt.

Williams' recent record in finals also throws her hopes of equalling Court into question. She has lost each of her last four grand slam finals since returning to the tour following the birth of her daughter.

However, Becker is confident Serena can still win slams, telling Laureus.com: "Can Serena equal Margaret Court? She is past 30 and she's become a proud mother.

"I'm sure she would love to play the US Open this year. They call her the greatest of all time on the women's circuit, and she certainly deserves the title.

"Me, being German, I still think of Steffi Graf as our queen, but Serena is certainly, certainly the greatest. Margaret Court is the most successful. Having said that, back in the day they played three of the four majors on grass, so it was easier if you're comfortable on grass to win more.

"I'm sure Serena wants to reach 24, I think that's the reason she's playing. You know, she's a role model for all the mothers out there who are professionally involved in sport. As long as she wants to play, I think she can win. So as long as Serena is good enough to reach a final, she's good enough to win.

"Having said that, the young generation won't sleep. You know once you are in a final you're not playing the name, you're playing the title. That was Bianca Andreescu at the US Open final or Simone Halep in Wimbledon last year. They didn't play the name."

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