Roger Federer has called on Olympics chiefs to end all uncertainty and make a final ruling on whether Tokyo 2020 can go ahead.

The Swiss great, a winner of 20 grand slam titles, had hoped to make a farewell Olympic Games appearance last year, only for the pandemic to mean the event was postponed for 12 months.

Both the Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee have not swayed from their stance that the Games will go ahead despite a strong swell of public support for a cancellation.

With Japan struggling to contain the COVID-19 virus, however, and Tokyo still in a formal state of emergency, there remain major doubts over whether it is realistic for thousands of international visitors to come to the country in July and August.

Federer has heard the confident voices, but he also is aware that many residents of Tokyo are against the Games happening this year.

"Honestly I don't know what to think. I'm a bit between the two," Federer told Swiss television station Leman Bleu.

"I would love to play in the Olympics, win a medal for Switzerland. It would make me especially proud. But if it doesn't happen because of the situation, I would be the first to understand.

"I think what the athletes need is a decision: is it going to happen or is it not going to happen?

"At the moment, we have the impression that it will happen. We know it's a fluid situation. And you can also decide as an athlete if you want to go. If you feel there's a lot of resistance, maybe it's better not to go. I don't know."

Federer, who is returning from a long knee injury lay-off, has played at four previous Olympics, winning doubles gold with Stan Wawrinka in Beijing in 2008 and silver in singles at London 2012, where Andy Murray denied him in the final at Wimbledon.

He is set to play his second comeback tournament next week at the Geneva Open, building up to a French Open appearance, with Wimbledon on the horizon.

He and wife Mirka and their family are likely to be spending several weeks apart as Federer co-operates, where required, with tournament bubbles, limiting the size of player entourages.

"It's going to test a little the situation at home," Federer said. "I've spoken about it a lot with Mirka. Now it's the comeback which is the priority."

The Turkish Grand Prix has been withdrawn from the Formula One calendar for June and replaced by a second race in Austria.

Istanbul was was added to the schedule two weeks ago as a replacement for the Canadian Grand Prix, which was called off due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

However, that June 13 event has now been dropped for the same reason, with Turkey added to the travel 'red list' for many countries.

The weekend of June 11-13 will now be left clear, while the French GP has been brought forward by a week to June 18-20.

There will then be consecutive weekends of action at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, with the Styrian GP followed by the Austrian GP.

A record 23 races therefore still remain scheduled for the 2021 season, which continues with the Monaco GP next week.

F1 president Stefano Domenicali said: "We were all looking forward to racing in Turkey but the travel restrictions in place have meant we are not able to be there in June.

"F1 has shown again that it is able to react quickly to developments and find solutions and we are delighted that we will have a double-header in Austria, meaning our season remains at 23 races.

"I want to thank the promoter and authorities in Turkey for all of their efforts in recent weeks and want to thank the promoters in France and Austria for their speed, flexibility and enthusiasm in accommodating this solution.

"We have had very good conversations with all the other promoters since the start of the year and continue to work closely with them during this period."

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton prevailed at the Spanish Grand Prix last time out and leads the drivers' standings after the first four rounds of the 2021 season.

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has been placed in isolation after being in contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus.

All tests conducted on Kroos up until this point have come back negative but he is now at home as per COVID-19 protocols.

Madrid are playing away against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday in their penultimate LaLiga game of the season.

They are locked in a thrilling title race with Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, as their city rivals lead the standings by two points with only two matches to go.

"Real Madrid reports that our player Toni Kroos is currently in isolation after being in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, although all tests carried out on the player have come back negative," read a statement from the club on Friday.

It will be hoped that Kroos' situation does not evolve as Federico Valverde's did last month.

Valverde initially had to isolate due to being a close contact before producing a positive test five days later which then ruled him out of a key Champions League match with Chelsea.

Kroos has been a key figure for Madrid this season, featuring in 28 of their league matches.

After a gruelling schedule, he was rested by Zinedine Zidane last time out against Granada ahead of the testing trip to San Mames.

The British and Irish Lions have confirmed a revised schedule for this year's tour of South Africa.

All eight matches will be played in either Gauteng or Cape Town to reduce the risk of disruption potentially caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Warren Gatland's side start the trip with a fixture against the Lions in Johannesburg on July 3, rather than facing an SA Invitational team which would have been chosen from players across the country.

The tourists will play three games against provincial opposition in Gauteng before heading to Cape Town, where they will play another two warm-up games ahead of the first Test.

The Lions, who will be captained by Alun Wyn Jones, will then take on the Springboks twice at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg to complete the series.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has caused considerable disruption to the global sporting calendar, but after discussions with our partners at SA Rugby, we are very pleased to be able to give confirmation of the revised tour schedule," said Lions managing director Ben Calveley.

"While things will undoubtedly look different to a typical Lions tour, together with SA Rugby we are determined to deliver an uninterrupted Series for the players who will take the field, as well as the many millions of people watching at home.

"We would like to thank all Lions supporters for their patience and understanding as we continue to navigate our way through the impact of the pandemic, and also extend our enormous gratitude to our commercial partners for their incredible ongoing support."

 

British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa schedule:

July 3: Lions (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg)
July 7: Sharks (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg)
July 10: Bulls (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)
July 14: South Africa A (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town)
July 17: Stormers (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town)
July 21: South Africa (First Test, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town)
July 31: South Africa (Second Test, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg)
August 7: South Africa (Third Test, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg)

Inter vice-president Javier Zanetti said the Serie A champions have "serious financial problems" amid ongoing uncertainty over their ownership.

Atalanta's 1-1 draw with Sassuolo last week meant Inter were crowned champions of Italy for the first time since Jose Mourinho's treble-winning side in 2009-10, ending Juventus' run of nine consecutive Scudetti.

Despite leading Inter to glory, head coach Antonio Conte's future remains uncertain due to the Nerazzurri's financial situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic as owners Suning Holdings Group reportedly consider selling the team.

Reports of a possible sale first emerged in the middle of the season and rumours regarding the Chinese owners – who acquired a majority stake in 2016 – persist amid the COVID-19 crisis.

"It's true that the club could've been sold mid-season," former Inter star and captain Zanetti told La Nacion.

"We were going through serious financial problems, even if we weren't the only ones in such a difficult moment.

"I saw that as a club we can still improve. The coach has done something extraordinary over two years, now it's up to us to improve the internal mechanism and aspire to something more.

"The financial problems remain and it could take a couple of years to rediscover that balance. We need people back in the stadium to make the sponsors happy. Basically, a return to normality.

"We mustn't hide, it is a delicate moment, but we want this so we can take a bigger step forward. What we need is an over-reaching strategy that guarantees sustainability in the long-term."

Conte earned his fourth Serie A title this season – only five other coaches in league history have managed at least four.

The former Italy boss is only the second coach in Serie A history to win a Scudetto with both Inter and Juve, joining Giovanni Trapattoni.

"Conte has brought a work ethic and mentality first and foremost," Zanetti said. "He convinced even the youngest players that his project could really work. Since the day he arrived, not a day has gone by without him thinking how to improve this team. He convinced the club to follow him.

"There was some initial scepticism about his past at Juventus, but they learned to love him. He has been focused since the first day and accepted this challenge like a real Interista."

Eight of England's 11 players involved in the Indian Premier League have returned home following the indefinite suspension of the tournament.

The decision to call a halt to this year's competition was taken on Tuesday amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic in India.

After two cases were confirmed among the Kolkata Knight Riders, Monday's game against Royal Challengers Bangalore was postponed. A Sunrisers Hyderabad player then also tested positive ahead of their fixture with Mumbai Indians.

Focus is now on seeing participants leave the country safely, with fears players would need to self-isolate in India and also return a negative coronavirus test before attempting to get a flight.

However, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Sam Billings, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali and Jason Roy all boarded a flight that landed at Heathrow on Wednesday.

They will have to quarantine in government-approved hotels for the next 10 days.

The remaining three England players who were on duty - Eoin Morgan, Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan - are expected to leave India within the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley has confirmed the contingent of Australian IPL players will be moved to the Maldives or Sri Lanka in the coming days.

The Australian government has blocked citizens returning home within 14 days of being in India, meaning they will first have to isolate elsewhere.

The Indian Premier League has been suspended indefinitely amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India and Indian Premier League Governing Council confirmed the news in a joint statement on Tuesday after reports of COVID cases in three teams.

Kolkata Knight Riders duo Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive, forcing Monday's game against Royal Challengers Bangalore to be rescheduled.

Reports also suggest Sunrisers Hyderabad wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha tested positive, leading to the whole team having to isolate, while there were two reported cases in the Chennai Super Kings team.

"The Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in an emergency meeting has unanimously decided to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect," a statement read.

"The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL. This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and well-being of all the stakeholders in mind.

"These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times.

"The BCCI will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021.

"The BCCI would like to thank all the healthcare workers, state associations, players, support staff, franchises, sponsors, partners and all the service providers who have tried their best to organise IPL 2021 even in these extremely difficult times."

India has seen a sharp rise in COVID numbers in the country in recent weeks, with the total number in excess of 20 million since the start of the global pandemic.

The Indian Premier League has confirmed two positive coronavirus cases in the Kolkata Knight Riders squad, forcing Monday's game against Royal Challengers Bangalore to be rescheduled.

Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier both tested positive for COVID-19 and are now isolating away from the squad.

The rest of the Knight Riders' group returned negative results, though a daily testing schedule has now been put in place to quickly identify any further cases that occur.

No new date for the round-robin game against the Royal Challengers has been announced.

India has seen a sharp rise in COVID numbers in the country in recent weeks, with the total number in excess of 19million since the start of the global pandemic.

However, this is the first time there have been confirmed cases within the IPL bubble. The Twenty20 tournament returned to India this year after the 2020 edition was staged in the United Arab Emirates.

"Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier were found to be positive in the third round of testing in the last four days. All other team members have tested negative for COVID -19," a statement on the IPL website read.

"Both the players have isolated themselves from the rest of the squad. The medical team is in continuous touch with the duo and are monitoring their health. Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight Riders have now moved towards a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases and treat them at the earliest.

"The medical team is also determining the close and casual contacts of the two positive cases during the 48 hours prior to collection of the sample that returned the positive test results.

"The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and the Kolkata Knight Riders prioritise the health and safety of everyone involved and all measures are being taken in that endeavour."

Kolkata sit seventh in the IPL table after two wins in seven games. They lost by seven wickets to Delhi Capitals in their most recent outing, which took place last Thursday at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Twickenham will host the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals, with up to 10,000 fans in attendance at each.

The iconic London venue was chosen to stage the two showpiece contests after coronavirus restrictions meant Marseille was ruled out of hosting duties.

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) and the Rugby Football Union released a joint statement confirming the news on Friday.

The Challenge Cup final will take place on 21 May, with the Champions Cup showdown the following day, and thousands of supporters will be welcomed to both.

"Fans are the lifeblood of European club tournaments and we are delighted to be able to welcome them back in a COVID-secure environment for this season's finals," said EPCR CEO Vincent Gaillard.

"Twickenham has a storied history with club rugby's greatest tournament, and it will be a fitting venue to see silverware contested next month."

The identity of the four finalists will be known after the coming weekend, with Toulouse facing Bordeaux Begles and La Rochelle meeting Leinster in the premier continental knockout tournament, while there is a possibility of an all-English final in the Challenge Cup as Leicester Tigers take on Ulster and Bath tackle Montpellier.

There will be no Canadian Grand Prix in Formula One in 2021, with the series instead heading to Turkey in June.

Montreal had been set to host the event across June 11-13, but travel restrictions relating to the coronavirus pandemic have dictated a change in plans.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix is scheduled for the week prior and Canada currently imposes a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The COVID-19 crisis saw last season's Canadian Grand Prix cancelled, too, but F1 has agreed a two-year extension, meaning the race will return in 2022.

In the meantime, the Turkish Grand Prix has been restored to the calendar.

It was on the slate in 2020 and saw Lewis Hamilton's latest title triumph confirmed with victory in Istanbul in November.

Australia internationals Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa are returning home from the Indian Premier League, while Ravichandran Ashwin has announced he is taking a break from the tournament.

Fast bowler Richardson played once in the 2021 edition, taking 1-29 from three overs in Bangalore's 10-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals on April 22.

Leg-spinner Zampa, however, did not feature for the Royal Challengers, who confirmed the departure of the duo for personal reasons.

"Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson are returning to Australia for personal reasons and will be unavailable for the remainder of #IPL2021. Royal Challengers Bangalore management respects their decision and offers them complete support," a statement on Twitter read.

Andrew Tye had become the first Australian to depart the IPL bubble on Sunday, a decision made by the Rajasthan Royals fast bowler over concerns about flights home amid a rise in COVID-19 cases in India.

The country has been setting global records for daily figures, with over 17million confirmed cases in total during the pandemic.

"I just thought I should try and get on the front foot and get home before I got locked out of the country," Tye told radio station SEN while in Doha awaiting to complete his journey to Australia.

"There's definitely concerns. A lot of guys have been in touch once they've realised I was leaving. Some of the guys are very interested in what route I took home and how I approached it."

A three-day snap lockdown was placed on the Perth and Peel areas of Western Australia last week amid concerns over coronavirus spreading within communities.

Ashwin, meanwhile, is leaving the Delhi Capitals squad to focus on helping his family during the coronavirus crisis.

"I would be taking a break from this year's IPL from tomorrow," he tweeted on Sunday. "My family and extended family are putting up a fight against COVID-19 and I want to support them during these tough times. I expect to return to play if things go in the right direction. Thank you."

Ashwin has taken one wicket and posted an economy rate of 7.73 runs per over in his five outings for the Capitals, who defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday to make it four wins in five outings.

Tokyo, Osaka and two other prefectures are set to enter a state of emergency just three months before Japan's capital is due to host the rescheduled Olympic Games.

Restrictions will be imposed from April 25 through to May 11 in a bid to curb rising coronavirus infections in Japan.

Bars, restaurants and karaoke parlours serving alcohol will be asked to close, while sporting events are set to be held behind closed doors.

Additionally, department stores and cinemas will close, while people will be encouraged to work from home. Schools, however, will remain open.

Economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said: "We absolutely have to limit the movement of people, and we have to do it decisively.

"We need powerful, short and focused measures."

Kyoto and Hyogo are the other two areas to come under the new restrictions.

It marks the third time Japan will enter a state of emergency. The decision comes as the country's medical system struggles to contend with a rise in COVID-19 infections caused by new variants.

The Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee has not swayed from its stance that the Games – postponed last year as a result of the pandemic – will go ahead despite a strong swell of public support for a cancellation.

Last week, Toshihiro Nikai – the secretary general of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party – said cancellation remains a possibility, although Olympics Minister Tamayo Maruyama said that was not being considered.

International spectators have already been banned from attending the Games, which are due to begin on July 23, while a decision over domestic spectators going to events is reportedly set to be delayed.

Germany's Bundesliga teams will be forced to enter 'quarantine training camps' next month in a move designed to ensure the season ends before Euro 2020.

The drastic step was announced by the German football league (DFL) on Thursday and will begin on May 3 with an initial soft quarantine as players, coaches and team officials are ordered to only leave their homes to visit club training facilities or to take part in a matchday.

A harder quarantine will follow from May 12 as the same groups are ordered to stay in locked-down team camps away from their families when not involved in games, with that period ending after the final matches of the season take place on the weekend of May 22-23. It means teams must provide accommodation and living quarters for players and core team staff over that period.

The new rules will apply to all 18 clubs in the Bundesliga and also those that make up the 2. Bundesliga, with the DFL declaring it had told clubs in March that this step was under consideration.

Hertha Berlin players were ordered to isolate last week in a move that has seen three of their Bundesliga games postponed, while the second division of the league has also been hit by call-offs due to COVID-19 cases, complicating the task of finishing the season on time.

Any further cases in the closing weeks of the campaign could cause fixture backlogs that may prove insurmountable before the Euros. Relegation play-offs follow the Bundesliga regular season, and Euro 2020 begins on June 11.

The DFL said in a statement: "Two steps are planned: firstly, the group of persons included in the regular PCR testing programme, comprising the professional team, coaching team and team officials, must stay solely in their home environment or on the training premises/in the stadium ['quasi quarantine'] from Monday, 3 May.

"This is intended to reduce contact and further minimise the infection risk and was successfully implemented in the final phase of last season after the resumption of match operations.

"In the next step, from Wednesday, 12 May, the corresponding group of persons at all 36 clubs will enter a 'quarantine training camp', having undergone a PCR test with a negative result no more than 24 hours beforehand. The 'quarantine training camp' is compulsory until the end of the final match of the respective club on matchday 34 [22/23 May]. Consequently, the last two matchdays of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 according to the fixture list fall within this specific period.

"The purpose of the 'quarantine training camps' is to provide extra safeguards for the staging of matches, particularly in view of the time pressure caused by UEFA EURO, which follows the regular season.

"It is the clubs' responsibility to ensure that players, coaches and training staff come into contact with no one but each other during the stated period."

Bayern Munich, who said they welcomed the quarantine plan, look set to wrap up the Bundesliga title before their players are forced to collectively isolate. Victory over Mainz on Saturday would guarantee a ninth successive championship for the Bavarians.

Hertha Berlin have requested three matches be postponed due to being forced into 14-day quarantine as a result of COVID-19 cases within the Bundesliga club.

Hertha have asked to delay scheduled fixtures against Mainz (April 18), Frieburg (April 21) and Schalke (April 24) after left-back Marvin Plattenhardt tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday. 

Head coach Pal Dardai, assistant coach Admir Hamzagic and striker Dodi Lukebakio had positive tests earlier in the day, prompting the German club to implement the two-week quarantine. 

Hertha initially had planned to play their matches during that period but the additional positive test to Plattenhardt prompted the plea to push them back.

"Due to the cases that have occurred, we are now forced to a 14-day quarantine at home," said sporting director Arne Friedrich, who took charge of training on Thursday with Dardai out.

"From a health point of view, this is absolutely the right step. because we now have to play six Bundesliga games by the end of the season on May 22, 2021 in the fight to stay relegated in May. 

"During the quarantine at home, the team will keep fit with virtual training units under the guidance of the coaching team. 

"We accept the situation despite the difficult circumstances and will throw everything in our power for a successful season finale into the balance."

There was no immediate response from the German Football League (DFL), which had announced new dates for several 2.Bundesliga matches that had been postponed due to coronavirus cases. 

Hertha sit just outside the relegation play-off place on goal difference ahead of fellow strugglers Arminia Bielefeld, while the capital club are three points clear of the automatic relegation positions with six games remaining.

 

The Chicago Bulls' fading playoff hopes have taken another blow as All-Star Zach LaVine is set to miss some time. 

LaVine is in the NBA's health and safety protocol amid the coronavirus pandemic, the team confirmed on Thursday.

He will miss at least Friday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies. 

The Bulls had been scheduled to practice on Thursday, but it was called off because of health and safety protocols, a team spokesperson told reporters. 

Entering Thursday's action, the Bulls (22-32) were in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, holding a one-game lead over the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards for the final spot in the play-in tournament.   

LaVine is averaging a career-best 27.5 points per game. He scored 30 points and added seven assists in a loss to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

Chicago have dropped four games in a row and 12 of their last 16.

 

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