Murray in doubt for Australian Open after positive COVID-19 test

By Sports Desk January 14, 2021

Andy Murray's participation at the Australian Open is in doubt following a positive COVID-19 test.

Three-time grand slam champion Murray remains in good health but is isolating at home.

The 33-year-old Briton is still hopeful of being able to travel to Australia later than planned and taking part in the first grand slam of the year.

Murray received a wildcard for the Australian Open, where he has been a runner-up on five occasions.

It is set to be the Briton's first participation at Melbourne Park since announcing after a first-round loss in 2019 that his career was in the balance due to a persistent hip injury.

The Australian Open is scheduled to get under way on February 8.

Rafael Nadal will be without his coach Carlos Moya due to the pandemic, while Dominic Thiem's coach Nicolas Massu tested positive before travelling to Australia.

It is still hoped that Massu can make the trip following a negative result.

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  • Wimbledon: Djokovic made to work by Kwon for place in round two Wimbledon: Djokovic made to work by Kwon for place in round two

    Novak Djokovic was made to work by Kwon Soon-woo for his place in the second round of Wimbledon as the reigning champion advanced with victory in four sets on Monday.

    In the first match of this year's tournament on Centre Court, which had its roof closed due to rain, Djokovic was pegged back at 1-1 but ultimately prevailed 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4.

    The six-time champion has now won each of his past 22 matches at the All England Club and will face either Thanasi Kokkinakis or Kamil Majchrzak in the next round.

    Djokovic had yet to play on grass in 2022 prior to his opening clash with Kwon and he was far from his fluent best in the first two sets in particular.

    Kwon earned the first break of the match in the third game with a glorious forehand, though Djokovic hit back with two breaks of his own to edge the opening set.

    The world number 81 earned the only break of serve in the fourth game of the second set, with Djokovic squandering three break points of his own in the following game.

    However, the Serbian showed good signs of recovery – and some impressive shots around the court – by holding throughout the third set and breaking Kwon in the eighth game.

    Kwon failed to take advantage of two break points in the second game of the final set and it was plain sailing from that point on for Djokovic.

    He completed the job in just under two-and-a-half hours and is the first male player in the Open Era with 80 or more main draw wins in all four grand slam tournaments.

    Data slam: Djokovic winning streak continues

    Djokovic may have slipped down to third in the ATP rankings after a disrupted campaign, and he was not at his best against Kwon, but he remains the man to beat at Wimbledon.

    He is without defeat at SW19 since retiring in his quarter-final with Tomas Berdych in the 2017 quarter-finals, with Monday's victory his 80th in 90 matches in the tournament.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Djokovic – 30/29
    Kwon – 31/26

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Djokovic – 15/2
    Kwon – 7/5

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Djokovic – 4/8
    Kwon – 2/6

  • Wimbledon: All England Club chairman bemoans ranking points decision with 'no viable alternative' to Russia ban Wimbledon: All England Club chairman bemoans ranking points decision with 'no viable alternative' to Russia ban

    The ATP and WTA decision to strip Wimbledon of rankings points due to the banning of Russian and Belarusian players was "very disappointing", given there was "no viable alternative".

    That was the message from the All England Club's chairman Ian Hewitt in an interview with ESPN ahead of the third major of the year starting on Monday.

    Numerous sporting and financial sanctions have been imposed on Russia for their ongoing invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, with Saint Petersburg stripped of the right to host the Champions League final and Russia removed from Qatar World Cup qualifying.

    The All England Club followed suit by confirming Russian and Belarusian athletes would not be permitted to play at this year's championships, but the WTA and ATP responded by stripping the major of its ranking points.

    Wimbledon's organisers stuck with their decision, questioning the punishment from those governing bodies, and Hewitt says the ban was justified for reasons outside the sport.

    "One was a route to consider having personal declarations from players and, frankly, we did not think that was the right approach for a tournament of our kind," Hewitt said.

    "We were not willing to put in jeopardy any safety of players, and we think that that route would have involved implications for players' safety or safety of their families, which really left no other viable alternative.

    "But also, it was very important to us that Wimbledon, given the profile that we have, should not be used in any way by the propaganda machine which we know the Russian government employs in relation to its own people and how their position in the world is presented, and that would be.

    "We just would not countenance Wimbledon success or participation in Wimbledon being misused in that way.

    "So as a result of the combination of reasons, we were left with no viable alternative other than to decline entries; we hugely regret the impact on the individual players affected. 

    "But we also hugely regret the impact on so many innocent people, which the tragic situation in Ukraine has caused."

    The punishment of Russian and Belarusian stars meant world number one Daniil Medvedev will not feature at the grass-court major, and neither will Andrey Rublev, ranked eighth in the world.

    Women's world number six Aryna Sabalenka was another to miss out, alongside 13th-ranked Daria Kasatkina and 20th-ranked Victoria Azarenka, but Hewitt stands by the call.

    "In relation to the decision of the ATP and WTA to remove ranking points, yes, we are very disappointed with that, we believe it is a disproportionate approach and, frankly, we believe it is more damaging to the interests of a large majority of players, and we regret that decision of the ATP and WTA," he added.

    "We respect that opinions do differ, but we would have hoped that there would have been a different way of tackling that in the interests of the players. 

    "But as regards our decision, we certainly stand by our decision, and I'd say now our primary focus is to get on with the championships and prove that we are really a championship that is the pinnacle of the sport."

  • Wimbledon: Murray could be future tennis commissioner, says doubles legend Shriver Wimbledon: Murray could be future tennis commissioner, says doubles legend Shriver

    Andy Murray's respect within both the women's and men's professional game could make him an ideal future tennis commissioner, believes Pam Shriver, as Wimbledon gets underway.

    The three-time grand slam winner has battled back through injury to reach his best form in arguably half-a-decade and will take to SW19 once more this week.

    Murray is nevertheless approaching the final stages of his career, and Shriver – a veteran in women's doubles – thinks that he could turn to the administrative side of the sport once done.

    The 35-year-old has often been a strong advocate for equality within the sport, earning the respect of several leading players and figures across the game.

    "He could be a future commissioner of tennis," Shriver told Stats Perform. "He has that kind of respect, I think. If he wanted to be a leader when he's finished, he could be a very influential [one].

    "I think Andy Murray will be known for his upstanding core values of equality. I know he's well respected in every female locker room on the planet.

    "I think the influence of his mom being his coach and such an influential figure in his life [has shaped him]. He's just very popular, I think, in both [the] men's and women's locker rooms."

    Murray returns to Wimbledon as he looks to maintain the strong form he showed earlier in June at the Stuttgart Open, facing Australian James Duckworth in the first round on Monday.

    At the time of his first triumph on Centre Court in 2013, the Briton was considered part of a 'Big Four' in men's tennis, only for his subsequent struggles with injury to see him slip away from his rivals.

    But Shriver believes he has achieved what he set out to do and can be proud of a still exemplary career, adding: [He] wanted to end the 77-year drought at Wimbledon [and he did].

    "I'd say along with [Stan] Wawrinka, [he's one of] the two guys that managed to break through more than once during the era of the big three."

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