Lazio head coach Maurizio Sarri is keen to avoid a return to Serie A matches being played behind closed doors, insisting it cannot only be football that is locked down amid rising COVID-19 cases in Italy.

Like much of Europe, Italy is now in the midst of another wave of coronavirus infections.

Games in some regions of Germany have been played behind closed doors since late last year, while Scotland has also introduced similar measures to limit social interaction.

So far, matches in Europe's other major leagues apart from the Bundesliga have been able to be played in front of crowds.

Italy's spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached unprecedented levels in the country, with 219,430 new cases confirmed on Friday, surpassing records set on both Wednesday and Thursday, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Italian prime minister Mario Draghi has reportedly expressed his concerns to Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina, with the government worried about a lack of adhering to safety and social distancing measures within stadiums.

According to widespread reports in Italy, Serie A chiefs will be meeting this weekend to discuss their options, with Corriere dello Sport reporting that the issue will then be discussed in Wednesday's meeting between the FIGC and the government.

Sarri, however, believes it would be unfair to play matches behind closed doors once again, suggesting that if the situation in the country is so serious, then the entire nation must be once again placed into lockdown, not just football.

"COVID affects everyone's life, not just sport. If this pandemic is dangerous there should be a total lockdown, otherwise it will be downgraded to a flu and people will stay at home with a fever," he told a news conference ahead of Sunday's meeting with Inter, who had their game against Bologna postponed at the last minute on Thursday due to a decision by local health authorities.

"I just hope that we don't end up with a closed stadium – it makes people who are as passionate as I am lose the desire to go on the pitch."

Sarri's side are eighth in Serie A following Thursday's 3-3 draw with his former club Empoli. 

Lazio's meeting with Inter represents the second time they have gone up against their ex-coach Simone Inzaghi this season, with Sarri's team having come out on top 3-1 in October.

Kevin Durant has reiterated that he will not try and force or persuade Kyrie Irving to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Irving had been left off the Brooklyn Nets' initial roster for the 2021-22 season, as he had elected against receiving a vaccine.

New York City's vaccine mandate means the seven-time All-Star cannot play home games unless he gets vaccinated.

Irving would have been available to play most road games, though the Nets elected not to include him at all.

That changed when, due to a depleted roster caused by a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, Irving was recalled, and the point guard returned with a 22-point display in Wednesday's win over the Indiana Pacers.

Yet Irving could not feature on Friday as the Nets went down 121-109 at home to the Milwaukee Bucks. 

Durant insisted the Nets must accept Irving's decision.

"I told him how important he is, how much I want him to play, play every game," Durant told reporters.

"But I'm not about to force somebody to get a vaccine, like that's not my thing. So he can play basketball? Nah, I'm not about to do that.

"We've had conversations about wanting him to be a part of the team and conversations about him being here full-time, but that's on his time. Whatever decision he want to make, he's going to make.

"It's on us to be professionals no matter what and do our jobs. All of us, from the owner down to the equipment manager, so whenever he ready, he'll be ready."

In Irving's absence, Durant and fellow star man James Harden delivered 29 and 16 points respectively for the Nets, but Milwaukee, inspired by Giannis Antetokounmpo's 31 points, had too much.

"I haven't even asked for an explanation," Durant continued. "It ain't my place I don't think. So I'm ready for whatever, that's been my whole mentality. 

"It's a weird situation, who knows? I don't understand most of this s***. COVID, all of this stuff has been crazy."

Harden added: "It felt good honestly to have him back [on Wednesday]. It felt good. It felt like an extra life that we had. 

"But we got to live with what we're dealt with, and that's home games we've got to figure ways and even road games.

"Just because Ky's on the road with us doesn't mean it's going to be easy for us as well. So we've got to mesh, we've got to find ways to win games."

Bucks talisman Antetokounmpo was asked whether his approach would be different.

"When it comes to basketball, I feel like I can talk to them," he replied. "I've got to let them make their decision. They're grown men and every situation is different.

"I cannot pressure somebody to do something that he doesn't feel comfortable doing. I can tell you why I did it. Why I felt comfortable doing it. To protect my family, to protect my mom and stuff, stay safe, and you just hope he understands that. But if he doesn't want to do it, I can't keep pressuring him."

Novak Djokovic will be "p***ed off" and more determined than ever to win the Australian Open if he is freed from detention on Monday, according to Nick Kyrgios.

The nine-time champion at Melbourne Park had his visa revoked when he arrived in Australia this week, with Border Force officials determining he had "failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements".

He secured an injunction to avoid immediate deportation on Thursday and is spending the weekend at the Park Hotel, also home to refugees and asylum seekers, before his case is heard in court on Monday.

His lawyers have filed a detailed response and called for Djokovic to be liberated, also revealing the 34-year-old Serbian tested positive for COVID-19 on December 16 and has made a full recovery.

Djokovic has a startling 82-8 win-loss career record at the Australian Open and has earned $21,775,855 (US dollars) for his endeavours at the first grand slam of the tennis season.

Should he be cleared to play this time, and successfully defend his title, it would make him the outright leader for men's grand slam titles with 21, nudging him ahead of Rafael Nadal, who is also set to compete, and Roger Federer, who is absent.

Kyrgios has been a fierce critic of Djokovic in the past, but the Australian firebrand this week said the handling of the Belgrade superstar's case had been "really bad" and those taking satisfaction from his situation should "do better".

Having aired those views on social media, Kyrgios expanded on his thoughts in a news conference on Saturday, saying: "For the sport, we need him here.

"I'm feeling for him now, it's not really humane what’s going on. If he's allowed to play the Australian Open, I don't want any bar of him. I reckon he's going to be p***ed off.

"He's going to be very determined to play well and stick it to everyone. And I don't want any bar of that Novak."

 

Kyrgios claimed media coverage of his comments about Djokovic has "divided us", stating his past remarks have been "blown out of proportion".

In January 2021, Kyrgios described Djokovic as "a tool" after reports he was seeking privileged quarantine restrictions ahead of last year's Australian Open.

Speaking to the No Challenges Remain podcast in 2019, Kyrgios said of Djokovic: "I just feel like he has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked. He just wants to be like Roger [Federer]."

There has been obvious animosity in the past, but this time around Kyrgios is siding with Djokovic. He wants there to be a greater respect shown by Australia towards the world number one.

"I feel he's helped us as well. Like during the bushfires, he was supportive, he was helping us out," Kyrgios said.

"I feel like I could use this as a publicity stunt. I could just agree with the general person and say, 'Yeah, this isn't good', and use it. But I don't think that's right."

Novak Djokovic tested positive for COVID-19 in December and was later given the go-ahead by Australia's Department of Home Affairs to travel to Melbourne, his lawyers said on Saturday.

The men's tennis world number one is being detained at the Park Hotel in Melbourne ahead of a court hearing on Monday that should determine whether he is allowed to stay in Australia.

The Australian Open begins on January 17 and Djokovic's legal team are battling for him to be freed in order to prepare for and participate in the tournament.

Australian Border Force officials cancelled his visa application on Thursday, stating Djokovic had "failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia".

Djokovic had been granted a medical exemption by organisers of the first grand slam of the year, but his fate now hangs in the balance.

His lawyers filed a detailed submission to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia on Saturday, in which it was stated that Djokovic was granted a temporary activity visa on November 18.

 

This did not contain any conditions regarding his vaccination status, lawyers for Djokovic said, adding that the Serbian then tested positive for coronavirus, after a PCR check, on December 16. This was confirmed by the Institute of Public Health of Serbia, the 34-year-old's lawyers said.

Subsequently, having recovered from COVID-19, Djokovic was informed he was eligible to play the first grand slam of 2022 by Tennis Australia officials.

According to details filed by his lawyers, Djokovic received confirmation on December 30 from Tennis Australia's chief medical officer that he had been awarded a medical exemption to compete, on the basis he had recently recovered from the virus.

"Mr Djokovic had also received, on 01 January 2022, a document from the Department of Home Affairs in regard to his Australian Travel Declaration," his lawyers said.

This document, according to his representatives, stated that Djokovic was informed "[his] responses indicate[d] that [he met] the requirements for a quarantine-free arrival into Australia where permitted by the jurisdiction of your arrival".

If cleared to leave his hotel and compete in the Australian Open, Djokovic will be seeking a 10th title at Melbourne Park and a 21st grand slam. He currently shares the men's record of 20 major titles with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Novak Djokovic thanked the supporters campaigning for him to be allowed to play at the Australian Open as he spoke out for the first time since being detained in Melbourne.

The ATP world number one will spend the weekend in a hotel that also houses refugees and asylum seekers, some of whom have been waiting years for the chance of freedom.

A court hearing on Monday should determine Djokovic's fate after Border Force officials cancelled his visa application, stating the 34-year-old had "failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia".

Djokovic seemed all set to play after he was granted a medical exemption by organisers of the first grand slam of the year, but his fate now hangs in the balance. An injunction secured by his legal team has allowed him to remain in the country for now, albeit in detention.

The Serbian superstar wrote on Instagram: "Thank you to people around the world for your continuous support. I can feel it and it is greatly appreciated."

That came after a message from Djokovic to mark Orthodox Christmas on Friday, as he wrote: "Peace of God. Christ was born. Merry Christmas. May God's love strengthen and fulfil you."

The Australian Open begins on January 17 and this is just about the worst possible preparation for the 20-time major winner, even if he is given permission to remain in Australia at Monday's hearing.

There was an outcry from many Melburnians when Djokovic announced on Tuesday that he was on his way to the tournament with an exemption pass.

A small number have since protested that Djokovic should be liberated, while he has found some support on social media and extensive backing from his homeland, with Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic accusing Australian authorities of "harassment of the best tennis player in the world", pledging to "fight for Novak Djokovic, for justice and truth".

Djokovic is a record nine-time champion at Melbourne Park, but there is said to be a strong feeling locally that he should have to show proof of being vaccinated against COVID-19, given the efforts residents have gone to and the stringent restrictions imposed on them during the pandemic to date.

Australian Open officials have claimed "rigorous" checks were put in place to assess the veracity of any claim for an exemption.

One theory that has been widely suggested is Djokovic, who has spoken out about vaccine matters in the past, may have been awarded the exemption on the basis he had a positive test for COVID-19 in the past six months. He has not publicly confirmed he has recently had the virus.

However, reports from Australia have stated federal government officials instructed Tennis Australia in recent months that experiencing a recent case of coronavirus was not an adequate explanation for a player not being fully vaccinated.

Djokovic's wife, Jelena, issued a statement in support of her husband, posting on Instagram: "We wish we are all together today, but my consolation is that at least we are healthy. And we will grow from this experience.

"Thank you dear people, all around the world for using your voice to send love to my husband. I am taking a deep breath to calm down and find gratitude (and understanding) in this moment for all that is happening.

"The only law that we should all respect across every single border is love and respect for another human being. Love and forgiveness is never a mistake but a powerful force."

Australian authorities, all the way up to prime minister Scott Morrison, have contended their border laws are there for a good reason, with Monday promising to be a seismic day in the capital of Victoria.

Novak Djokovic has been warned by Boris Becker that his "stubbornness" could prevent him being remembered as the greatest tennis player that ever lived.

World number one Djokovic, who has not declared his COVID-19 vaccination status, seemed set to play in this month's Australian Open after he was granted a medical exemption by tournament organisers.

That was required for any player who has not been fully vaccinated. One theory that has been widely suggested is that Djokovic may have been entitled to an exemption after a positive test for COVID-19 in the past six months, although he has not confirmed he has recently had the virus.

However, Djokovic is now set to spend the weekend in a Melbourne detention hotel in which refugees and asylum seekers are also being kept, after Australian Border Force's decision to cancel his visa application.

A court hearing on Monday should provide a resolution to the saga, with Djokovic's legal team set to battle for his right to enter the country and play in the season's first grand slam, at which he would be bidding to win a record 21st men's singles major title. The Australian Open gets under way on January 17.

Becker coached Djokovic for three seasons, from 2014 to 2016, and told the Daily Mail the 34-year-old Serbian is "making a big mistake in not getting vaccinated".

The German said the decision "is one that threatens what remains of his career and his chance to cement himself as the greatest player of all time".

Becker, a six-time grand slam winner, said: "The same incredible determination which I saw win so many close matches can be a vulnerability with his stubbornness.

"It is not just about Australia. The fact is that we are living in a different world and he is going to find it very hard to live the life of a professional tennis player travelling around without the vaccination.

"Maybe one day we will get back to a more normal situation, but at 34 he does not have much time left to pursue his goals."

There have been protests on the streets of Melbourne and Belgrade, with arrests made by police in the Victorian capital, while Djokovic found some support from within the tennis fraternity on Friday, as American John Isner backed his case.

Isner wrote on Twitter: "What Novak is going through right now is not right. There’s no justification for the treatment he’s receiving. He followed the rules, was allowed to enter Australia, and now he’s being detained against his own will. This is such a shame. #IStandWithNovak".

Nick Kyrgios, who has had his run-ins with Djokovic in the past, labelled Australia's handling of the situation "really bad", while former world number one Andy Roddick also appears to be in Djokovic's corner.

Yet Australia's home affairs minister Karen Andrews rejected any idea that Djokovic was being "held captive".

Andrews told the ABC: "Can I say, firstly, that Mr Djokovic is not being held captive in Australia. He is free to leave at any time that he chooses to do so and Border Force will actually facilitate that.

"Yes, there was a visa issued – that is actually not the issue. It is the second part of that process, which is the specific entry requirements to be able to cross Australia's border and to enter Australia lawfully."

She said Djokovic was not the only tennis case that was under investigation by Australian authorities. A player and an official are reported to be under scrutiny.

"I'm aware of investigations in relation to two individuals by the Australian Border Force," Andrews said. "They're going through their processes of investigation.

"And at some time, they will brief me, but all I can absolutely assure you and the rest of Australia of is that the Australian Border Force will take absolutely the appropriate action."

The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) has issued an update on Novak Djokovic, expressing their view that he should be allowed to compete at the Australian Open with an approved medical exemption.

World number one Djokovic, who has not declared his COVID-19 vaccination status, seemed set to play in the year's opening major, which he has won nine times previously, after he confirmed he had received a medical exemption to compete.

Protocols in Australia require proof that players have been vaccinated or have a medical exemption to compete at Melbourne Park.

Tournament director Craig Tiley insisted that the 20-time major champion had not been given a "special favour" to play in the tournament, though the decision faced immediate and widespread backlash and on Wednesday, Djokovic's visa application was cancelled.

However, the Serbian's legal team filed for a judicial review, with the case to be heard by Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly on Monday at 10am local time in Melbourne.

Djokovic is now hauled up in a Melbourne hotel, and cannot be deported until the hearing has taken place unless he leaves the country of his own volition.

Protestors have also appeared outside of the hotel where Djokovic has been transferred, while Nick Kyrgios has expressed his displeasure at the way the situation has been handled.

The matter has also drawn criticism from Serbia's president Aleksandar Vucic, who labelled Australia's treatment of the nation's superstar as "harassment."

On Friday, the PTPA - which was founded by Djokovic and Canadian player Vasek Pospisil in 2020 - issued an update on the situation.

The PTPA has been diligently monitoring the detainment of professional tennis player Novak Djokovic by the Australian Government.

"The PTPA has been in close contact with Mr Djokovic, his family and legal counsel, government officials and Australian Open leadership," a statement read.

"Mr Djokovic has verified his well-being to us. He has also requested that we allow him to personally share the facts of his detainment in his own words, and in his own time.

"With the utmost respect for all personal views on vaccinations, vaccinated athletes and unvaccinated athletes (with an approved medical exemption) should both be afforded the freedom to compete. We will continue to support and advocate for our members, and all players, in a manner that is acceptable to them."

The statement concluded with: "We will continue to monitor his health, safety and well-being. We look forward to his time back on the court."

Nick Kyrgios has labelled the reaction to and handling of Novak Djokovic's predicament as "really bad".

Djokovic faces deportation from Australia after having had his visa application cancelled.

The world number one has not revealed his vaccination status against COVID-19, but was set to compete at the Australian Open under a medical exemption.

That decision called uproar in Australia, which has been under strict lockdown restrictions for much of the pandemic.

However, Djokovic was denied entry into Australia upon his arrival at Melbourne airport, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying the 20-time grand slam champion would be on "the next plane home" if he failed to produce a sufficient reason for his medical exemption.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley insisted that the 20-time major champion had not been given a "special favour" to play in the tournament, though the decision faced immediate and widespread backlash.

Djokovic is currently hauled up in a hotel after an interim injunction hearing was pushed back to Monday at 10am local time, with Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly ruling that the Serbian could not be deported until at least 4pm on Monday, local time.

Several of Djokovic's fellow players, including Rafael Nadal, have criticised the 34-year-old's stance and the decision to initially allow him to compete.

Yet Kyrgios, who has never seen eye to eye with Djokovic, has not joined those critics, and instead hit out at how Australia, and the media, have handled the situation.

"Look I definitely believe in taking action, I got vaccinated because of others and for my mum's health, but how we are handling Novak’s situation is bad, really bad," Kyrgios tweeted on Friday.

"Like these memes, headlines, this is one of our great champions but at the end of the day, he is human. Do better."

Kyrgios said in November that he believed the Australian Open should be cancelled if it was mandated that competitors would have to be vaccinated.

 "I don't think the Aus Open should go ahead, just for the people in Melbourne – you’ve got to send a message," Kyrgios said on his 'No Boundaries' podcast at the time.

Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed that Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler have tested positive for COVID-19.

The pair are the latest in a spate of recent positive cases at the Ligue 1 club, with Layvin Kurzawa, Danilo Pereira, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Sergio Rico also self-isolating.

Lionel Messi was ruled out of Monday's 4-0 win over Vannes in the Coupe de France after testing positive, though he has since given a negative test and is clear to resume training.

But Mauricio Pochettino will now almost certainly be without Di Maria and Draxler for Sunday's Ligue 1 clash with Lyon as PSG aim to consolidate their 13-point lead at the top.

A statement posted by the Parisians on their official Twitter account on Thursday read: "Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler tested positive this morning for Covid-19. 

"They have been placed in solitary confinement and are subject to the appropriate health protocol."

Di Maria has featured 16 times for PSG in all competitions this season and has been directly involved in seven goals, a tally bettered only by Messi (10) and Kylian Mbappe (30) among his team-mates.

Draxler, who had only just returned from an injury lay-off, has two goals and two assists from 14 appearances.

Julian Nagelsmann does not regret giving Bayern Munich's players freedom to enjoy their vacation during the Bundesliga's mid-season break.

German top-flight leaders Bayern are set to face Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday, but currently have nine players who have returned positive COVID-19 test results.

Manuel Neuer, Lucas Hernandez, Dayot Upamecano, Tanguy Nianzou, Omar Richards, Corentin Tolisso, Kingsley Coman, Leroy Sane and Alphonso Davies have all tested positive for the virus.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Bouna Sarr are with Cameroon and Senegal respectively for the Africa Cup of Nations. Niklas Sule is nursing a back problem, while Leon Goretzka and Josip Stanisic are injured.

Gladbach's sporting director Max Eberl confirmed on Wednesday that Bayern had asked for the game to be postponed. Bundesliga rules allow a team to request a postponement if they have fewer than 16 players, including a goalkeeper, available.

But Nagelsmann, who contracted the virus in 2021, does not believe he should have limited the movements of his players during the recent hiatus in an attempt to curtail the possibility of an outbreak.

"I have a clear opinion about this topic. I'm not a teacher, I'm a coach," Nagelsmann told a news conference.

"Our players are all adults. My players are responsible for their own lives. We have the same rules and recommendations that we've had the last two years.

"You want to remain healthy. There's no option to suggest to a player that he can't go on holiday, if the law doesn't prevent that. There's psychological recovery. If you look at Upamecano, he flew to Senegal to see his family. If I don't let him do that then I can't let another player go 10 miles down the road to see his family.

"Every employee was allowed to go on holiday. You can't tell a player not to go, to stay home. With Omar Richards, once we found out that England was a high-risk area we got him back from England. 

"I don't know why we have more infected players than others. It's unfortunate, but the players have the same rules that have worked very well. There are other clubs that don't do PCR tests, they do fast tests that aren't as sensitive. So there's a couple of elements, we have to make the best of the situation.

"I was very happy with the players, the U23s and U19s players that joined us. I am not the type of coach to complain. We can discuss if these rules make sense. I went out for a meal and was infected. I rarely go out. I went out once and got coronavirus. It happens, I don't know exactly why."

Asked if the game would be going ahead at all, Nagelsmann said: "I can't answer that with 100 per cent accuracy. My job, and the job of the players, is to prepare as if it is going to take place.

"That's what we're operating on, that's what we're expecting. We've prepared all week for this game to take place. 

"It's a challenging situation, but as a coach it's an interesting challenge, you have to adapt, change your tactics to turn your problem into a strength."

One player who will return is Joshua Kimmich, who has not played since November after contracting coronavirus.

Kimmich's recovery was hampered by a lung issue but Nagelsmann confirmed the midfielder is fit to feature.

"Joshua is making a very good impression. He's very happy, his physical condition is outstanding," he said.

"If everyone was here he'd probably play, now it's clear he's going to play anyway because he has to. He deserves to play, we're all happy that he's back and he will play tomorrow."

Kimmich had initially declined the vaccine while he waited for more research on possible side effects, though confirmed in December that he had changed his mind and would take up the option.

Asked if Kimmich had received the vaccine, Nagelsmann said: "I can't say, I don't want to, that's a private matter. It's Joshua's responsibility to talk about that."

Manchester City assistant Rodolfo Borrell is concerned about the escalating number of coronavirus cases within the club, but is hopeful Friday's FA Cup third-round tie with Swindon Town will go ahead as planned.

The Premier League leaders confirmed on Thursday that manager Pep Guardiola and assistant Juanma Lillo are among those to have tested positive for COVID-19.

Twenty-one members of City's first-team bubble – seven players and 14 backroom staff – are isolating and will miss the trip to fourth-tier Swindon.

That match is still scheduled to go ahead as planned, though that may yet change depending on how the coronavirus situation develops ahead of the game.

Following the fixture with Swindon, City are scheduled to face second-placed Chelsea in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium on January 15.

Borrell will take charge of City on Friday and says it is a case of taking it one game at a time.

"At the moment we have seven players unavailable and up to 14 staff, so it's quite a big outbreak," he said at a pre-match news conference on Thursday.

"Pep is fine. He has the virus but he hasn't got a lot of symptoms. We are permanently in touch. We communicate by calls and technology.

"We will play with the ones we have available. We don't have much more, but our aim is to keep playing as much as we can trying to respect all competitions.

"At this moment we can fill the team. I don't know what will happen in the following days but right now it's an easy line-up to decide.

"We will play with what we've got. We have some first-team players and some others that will come from our second team."

Asked if he is confident the Swindon game will definitely go ahead, Borrell replied: "We have prepared mentally for the game. We have to prepare for the game to happen. 

"This is what we have done until now and we'll keep going this way. If then tomorrow for whatever reason it's not possible because of more news, this is out of our reach to know.

"But right now, yes, we are prepared to play the game and we are mentally ready for it."

Borrell did not disclose which players have tested positive for coronavirus, but the outbreak is serious enough for City to have to turn to their youth squad.

City have won 13 of their last 14 matches in all competitions ahead of their first meeting with Swindon in any competition since a 2-0 FA Cup third-round win in January 2002. 

The Citizens have come out on top in 10 of their last 11 meetings with Swindon, with these matches taking place between 1988 and that most recent game 20 years ago.

Though City have progressed from their last seven FA Cup ties against sides from the fourth tier or lower, last losing against Blackpool in January 1984, Borrell is taking nothing for granted this weekend.

"You know better than me that lesser teams beat big opponents [in this competition]," he added.

"It creates a great atmosphere, everyone wants to make their village, town or city proud. There is a difference in terms of quality of players, this is obvious, but in these games everything gets very close.

"The FA Cup is very special. This is one of the titles we are most proud of achieving in the last six years. It's important to do well and get into the next stage. It will be very close, like any other tie in this competition."

Pep Guardiola has tested positive for coronavirus and will miss Manchester City's FA Cup tie against Swindon Town, the Premier League champions have confirmed.

Guardiola and his assistant Juanma Lillo recorded positive test results on Tuesday, and both are now isolating.

City now have 21 members of their squad – seven players and 14 backroom staff – in isolation.

Fourth-tier Swindon host City in the FA Cup third round on Friday, and assistant coach Rodolfo Borrell will take charge of the Premier League leaders.

Guardiola joins three fellow Premier League managers who have had to isolate in the last week.

Arsenal manager and Guardiola's former assistant Mikel Arteta had to watch on from home as the Gunners lost 2-1 to City on New Year's Day.

Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, was absent for Liverpool's draw with Chelsea on Sunday while on Thursday, Burnley confirmed Sean Dyche was isolating after testing positive.

Inter's Serie A clash at Bologna on Thursday was called off at the eleventh hour due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the home club's squad.

Bologna had requested that their game against the leaders be postponed, along with Sunday's meeting with Cagliari, after "a number" of positive tests in the camp were returned.

Although there was no immediate confirmation from league authorities, Inter confirmed less than an hour before the game was due to start at Renato Dall'Ara that it would not go ahead.

Bologna had revealed on Wednesday that their entire squad had been ordered by the local health authority to quarantine for at least five days.

The Inter players warmed up on the pitch, but there were no Rossoblu opponents for what should have been their first game after the winter break. It remains to be seen whether league chiefs order it to go ahead on a new date or award the points to Inter.

Nerazzurri CEO Giuseppe Marotta said there should be no repeat of the decision to call off the game so late, and he wants it to be made mandatory for players to be vaccinated.

Marotta said in Bologna : "First of all, we reaffirm the primary objective of all: to safeguard the health of the players, the fans, all those who revolve around this sport.

"Bologna were ready to take the field and had to accept the decision of the ASL [local health authority]. There is no guideline for sport: we need a protocol that limits the competence of the ASL, otherwise these situations will be repeated.

"The issue of the protocol was addressed in the Lega Council, which will be announced with an official communication. We are faced with a scenario of great confusion and difficult to interpret.

"There are matches postponed and others that will be played: this is because every ASL decides autonomously. So here are cases like that of Bologna-Inter, which will not be played, or that of Spezia-Hellas, which will be played despite the 11 positives in the Venetian team.

"We need a guideline, a discussion with the government. The autonomy of the ASL in the decisions, taken to safeguard public health, causes differences, from case to case.

"I certainly hope for the introduction of full vaccination obligation for all players. If all players had the third dose, the spread of the virus and damage to health would be severely limited.

"The fourth wave caught us off guard, some leagues postponed the matches, others did not. The situation is difficult to assess.

"The postponement of these rounds would have ensured a more fluid management, but then the calendar would have been very compressed: it would have been really difficult to find days of recovery."

Novak Djokovic will remain in Australia until at least Monday, when a hearing on his appeal against deportation will take place.

World number one Djokovic, who has not declared his COVID-19 vaccination status, seemed set to play in this month's Australian Open after he was granted a medical exemption.

Protocols in Australia require proof that competitors and staff have been jabbed or have a medical exemption to compete at Melbourne Park.

Tournament director Craig Tiley insisted that the 20-time major champion had not been given a "special favour" to play in the tournament, though the decision faced immediate and widespread backlash.

On Wednesday, Djokovic faced deportation after Australian Border Force's decision to cancel his visa application, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison declaring "rules are rules."

However, the Serbian's legal team have filed for a judicial review, with the case to be heard by Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly on Monday at 10am local time in Melbourne.

Due to a delay in receiving the application for a review of the visa decision and the temporary ban on Djokovic's deportation, it has been agreed that the 34-year-old should remain in Australia until at least Monday. 

Djokovic can leave Australia of his own volition. 

Protestors have also appeared outside of the hotel where Djokovic has been transferred, supporting the nine-time Australian Open winner.

The matter has also drawn criticism from Serbia's president Aleksandar Vucic, who labelled Australia's treatment of the nation's superstar as "harassment." 

Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, suggested Djokovic had made life difficult for himself by refusing to reveal his vaccination status.

"The only thing that I can say is I believe in what the people who know about medicine says, and if the people say that we need to get vaccinated, we need to get the vaccine," Nadal said.

"I went through COVID. I have been vaccinated twice. If you do this, you don't have any problem to play here. The world in my opinion has been suffering enough to not follow the rules.

"I think if he wanted, he would be playing here in Australia without a problem. He made his own decisions, and everybody is free to take their own decisions, but then there are some consequences."

The Australian Open starts on January 17.

Rafael Nadal declared it was imperative to "follow the rules" on COVID-19 vaccinations after rival Novak Djokovic was told he faces being deported from Australia.

World number one Djokovic was left fighting for the right to compete at the Australian Open, a tournament he has won nine times, after authorities cancelled his visa.

A medical exemption was expected to allow Djokovic to enter the country, regardless of his vaccination status, which he has yet to formally disclose.

However, the Australian Border Force declared the Serbian had been ordered to fly out of the country on Thursday, sparking a challenge to that decision by Djokovic's legal team.

Reports in Australia said an interim injunction had been granted, meaning Djokovic will remain in immigration detention until a court hearing on Monday.

According to Nadal, who had COVID-19 recently but has been cleared to compete at Melbourne Park, Djokovic would have made his life a lot easier by going down the vaccination route.

"It's normal that the people here in Australia get very frustrated with the case because they have been going through a lot of very hard lockdowns, and a lot of people were not able to come back home," Nadal said.

"The only thing that I can say is I believe in what the people who know about medicine says, and if the people say that we need to get vaccinated, we need to get the vaccine.

"I went through COVID. I have been vaccinated twice. If you do this, you don't have any problem to play here. The world in my opinion has been suffering enough to not follow the rules.

"I think if he wanted, he would be playing here in Australia without a problem. He made his own decisions, and everybody is free to take their own decisions, but then there are some consequences."

Djokovic was initially detained at an airport after arriving in Australia, while his status remained in limbo. His coach, Goran Ivanisevic, said it had been "not the most usual trip Down Under".

Spanish superstar Nadal has 20 grand slam titles, the same number that Djokovic and Roger Federer have brought up across their careers. They are locked in a race to finish with the most majors, and Federer, at 40, is battling back from injury and unlikely to compete at a slam before the US Open.

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted on Thursday: "Mr Djokovic's visa has been cancelled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders.

"No one is above these rules. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant."

Nadal has some sympathy for Djokovic, but it appears to be limited.

"Of course, I don't like the situation that is happening," Nadal said. "In some way I feel sorry for him. But at the same time, he knew the conditions since a lot of months ago, so he makes his own decision."

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