Ski ace Mikaela Shiffrin and tennis star Andrey Rublev have tested positive for Covid-19 within weeks of the Winter Olympics and the Australian Open respectively, as world sport has felt again the freezing wind of the coronavirus.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Shiffrin will miss this week’s World Cup races in Lienz, but with an overall lead of over 100 points she can probably afford it.
Rublev, however, is more embarrassed with the season’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open which begins in Melbourne on January 17.
“I have to recover and I will not go to Melbourne until I am sure it is safe for everyone,” Rublev tweeted on Monday.
World number five, along with former world number one Rafael Nadal, Wimbledon semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov and US Open champion Emma Raducanu, may well regret accepting the money to compete in the tournament. exhibition in Abu Dhabi earlier this month.
The quartet, as well as Wimbledon women’s quarterfinalist Ons Jabeur and Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, have all tested positive. Raducanu didn’t even play as she tested positive before the tournament, as did Nadal’s coach Carlos Moya.
Debate still rages on whether the English Premier League was correct in insisting that the show should continue into Christmas rather than stop.
Three Boxing Day matches have been canceled and two scheduled for Tuesday have already been postponed.
The situation has raised the thorns of Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, not least because his club’s call for the December 19 game with Wolves to be called off was rejected.
“It’s not fair,” Tuchel said after his team beat Aston Villa 3-1 on Sunday.
“We’ve all been in bed for 10 days and we play against teams that are preparing with postponed games, and who are preparing with a week for those games.
“They make us play all the time, even though we have Covid.
“We have new injuries and it won’t stop. The people at the green table, in the offices, are making these decisions.”
– ‘This cannot be the right way’ –
Unlike the English leagues, the Scottish Premiership clubs had leeway and brought their three-week winter break forward by one week.
The decision had a financial angle: the Scottish government had taken measures as early as Boxing Day that limited attendance to 500 spectators.
Shiffrin’s rivals won’t even have that number to look at in Lienz as the Austrian Ski Federation has found it necessary to ban spectators.
“We are aware of our responsibility,” said Roswitha Stadlober, President of the Austrian Ski Federation.
Not much has gone well for the England cricket team in Australia with their chances of recovering the Ashes all but vanished.
Things got worse when four tour members – two support staff and two family members – tested positive for the coronavirus hours before the start of the second day of the third test in Melbourne.
The team nervously awaits the results of the PCR tests.
“We have just stepped up security protocols around the dressing room, wearing masks and keeping the distance where possible,” said England rhythm thrower Jimmy Anderson.
Covid has already cost National Hockey League players the chance to go to the Winter Olympics. They agreed last week that the league couldn’t make up for the backlog of lost games.
The situation became so dire that the NHL allowed teams to use taxi teams – six-player reserve groups – to bolster their rosters.
Such teams were used last season in response to the impact of the pandemic on the league.
French rugby’s Top 14 bosses didn’t have to go that far, but the majority of their Sunday and Monday matches were called off.
This will put increasing pressure on the calendar as seven European matches involving French clubs were postponed from the previous weekend.
The only free weekends are those reserved for the Six Nations.
They, like other leagues, could echo Tuchel’s words by the end of the season.
“It’s like it is, but it can’t be the right way,” Tuchel said.