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COVID IN SPORT

Live Blog

  • 1 May 2020, 20:48
  • Updated: 1 May 2020, 20:48

THE Premier League is set to return on June 12 at neutral venues if it gets the government all clear,


And UFC 249 is set to go ahead on May 9 to bring us some live sport, while Conor McGregor has been keeping himself busy delivering food to sick children.


Follow all the latest coronavirus in sport updates below…

  • William Pugh 's avatarWilliam Pugh30 minutes ago1st May 2020

    ED ACHE

    Manchester United are “not happy” with playing games behind closed doors as chief executive Ed Woodward admits he is uncertain whether the season can restart.

    United chief executive Woodward revealed on a fans’ forum conference call that he is not a fan of games played in front of no crowd, but fears it may be the only option. He said: “No decisions have been made yet but we think it is possible that the initial games, particularly the ones related to finishing or trying to complete this season, will probably have to be played behind closed doors.

    “We’re not necessarily happy about that – clearly football requires our fans in the stadium for it to be complete – but public health must come first and… this is down to the Government.

    “It’s important to get back to playing football and complete this season once it’s safe to do so.”

  • William Pugh 's avatarWilliam Pugh2 hours ago1st May 2020

    “But it is now evident that any F1 race in Hungary can now only be held behind closed doors.

    “While this is not an ideal scenario, we do believe that staging the event behind closed doors – which our fans can still watch on television – is preferable to not having a race at all.

    “Furthermore, it will also ensure that a global audience of millions can still watch the race taking place in Hungary via F1’s vast international broadcast coverage.

    “As such, we are continuing our working with Formula One to try and find a way to make this possible.”

  • William Pugh 's avatarWilliam Pugh2 hours ago1st May 2020

    “The Hungaroring team has been regularly liaising with Formula One to explore all possible ways to stage it in front of fans.

    “However, in light of this decision this is unfortunately no longer possible.

    “The health and well-being of all our fantastic Formula One fans, staff and championship participants has been and remains our primary concern throughout this period.

    “And with that in mind, we have regrettably been left with no choice but to reach this conclusion.

    “We have continuously emphasised our willingness to work towards a safe solution that would allow us to welcome the entire Formula One family to the Hungaroring this August…

  • William Pugh 's avatarWilliam Pugh2 hours ago1st May 2020

    HUNGARY FOR MORE

    Formula One bosses want to host the Hungarian GP behind closed doors as part of their plans to get their season started.

    F1 chiefs have announced their intention for races in Austria before two GPs at Silverstone – which will also be behind closed doors.

    The Hungarian GP is now part of the new calendar – despite their government banning gatherings of more than 500 people until August 15.

    A statement from the Hungarian GP said: “The decision by the Hungarian government barring events with over 500 people from taking place in the country until August 15th has clearly had a direct impact…

  • William Pugh 's avatarWilliam Pugh3 hours ago1st May 2020

    “There are so many things to consider, not just the safety of the fighters but that of the NHS too, as we would need to take doctors away from working for the country with ill people suffering from COVID-19.

    “We cannot be putting extra strain on the NHS while all of this is going on. We all want boxing back as soon as possible but it is not that easy.

    “To create a behind-closed-doors and sterile environment, to restart the sport, comes with a huge amount of barriers.

    “But that is what we do, hopefully some restrictions are lifted next week and we can start to explore the possibilities.

    “I am confident we will see the first events back on these shores in July.”

  • William Pugh 's avatarWilliam Pugh3 hours ago1st May 2020

    WE’LL ED BACK SLOWLY

    British boxing will return on a small scale, behind-closed-doors basis in July as long as the Government gives the green light.

    The British Boxing Board of Control have blocked all bouts until June and insisted they will need around a month to prepare once the lockdown rules are relaxed or lifted.

    But Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn hopes to see a change in the protocol as early as next week, that will kickstart the return of the sport.

    Hearn said: “Initially everyone wanted to rush back but now we understand the timing has to be right…

  • William Pugh 's avatarWilliam Pugh3 hours ago1st May 2020

    STOCKY BALBOA

    Manchester United flop Alexis Sanchez shows he’s not letting the doubts about his future get him down with a Rocky Balboa-inspired training session during lockdown.

    The striker, said to be one of a number of players Ole Gunnar Sokskjaer is trying to offload, filmed himself doing sprints in his spacious back garden to music from the Rocky IV soundtrack.

  • William Pugh 's avatarWilliam Pugh4 hours ago1st May 2020

    IN THE RED

    Manchester United players are taking legal advice over missed pay rises that would cost them up to a combined £50million if coronavirus KOs the season.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad were due to be awarded 25 per cent pay hikes if they qualified for the Champions League.

    Should the season be cancelled and deemed void, players could be forced to go without as they currently sit in a qualification spot.

    Man Utd currently sit fifth in the Premier League – but would qualify thanks to neighbours City’s two-year European ban.

  • Jake Lambourne 's avatarJake Lambourne5 hours ago1st May 2020

    CARN’T DO THAT

    The Premier League will be treading an incredibly precarious path when restarting football during the coronavirus pandemic, former Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro has warned.

    Players and club officials are reported to have expressed concerns over the planned return to training later this month before games kick-off in the middle of June.

    And Dr Carneiro, who worked for West Ham and the England women’s team before a six-year spell at Stamford Bridge, believes any best-laid plans can crumble in a heartbeat.

    The 46-year-old told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It has to be a broad effort, this is greater than any individual, any single entity, any team or manager or player.

    “It only takes one case for this to blow up and to put a lot of individuals at risk as we have observed so something needs to change and potentially could change for the better for all of us.

    “It’s in all our interests to change this.”

  • Jake Lambourne 's avatarJake Lambourne6 hours ago1st May 2020

    PREMIER LEAGUE UPDATE

    Prem games will be staged behind closed doors at neutral stadiums across the country if the Government gives football the green light to return.

    The latest video conference meeting of the 20 “shareholder” clubs lasted some three and a half hours as they debated a range of issues.

    Clubs remain determined to finish the season is possible – as long as there is government approval.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has signalled the national lockdown will only be eased in stages and not before next Thursday.

    Clubs are hoping to begin some form of formal training from May 18, with a target for the return of games to resume the season on June 12.

    The clubs have agreed with police advice that the chosen venues should, if possible, be away from congested urban areas.

    West Ham’s London Stadium, Arsenal’s Emirates and the Etihad home of Manchester City look certain to be among the final venues chosen.

    But no club will be allowed to play in their own own home ground in a bid to equalise the unprecedented scenario.

  • Jake Lambourne 's avatarJake Lambourne6 hours ago1st May 2020

    SHOWDOWN

    Football League bosses bosses are reportedly hoping to stage the Championship promotion play-offs even if the regular season cannot be completed.

    Talks are ongoing over the viability of bringing second, third and fourth-tier clubs back for the final rounds of 2019/20 on both health and financial grounds.

    Staging games behind closed doors would slash clubs’ revenue streams due to a lack of gate revenue and the fact players would be owed appearance fees and other bonuses.

    Such a matter is less of an issue for the Premier League, where broadcast income holds a greater sway on the top-20’s coffers.

    And while Championship sides may also be able to plot a financially viable course to finish the season, it is far from guaranteed that they will be allowed to do so.

    In the event of the season being cancelled, the Guardian report on EFL bosses still hoping to hold the play-offs.

  • Jake Lambourne 's avatarJake Lambourne6 hours ago1st May 2020

    SERI-OUS

    All 20 teams in Italy’s Serie A have voted to finish the 2019/20 season in full.

    An emergency meeting was held today amid reports that Torino and Brescia wanted the campaign to be axed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    But it has now been revealed that every team in the league shares the belief that the season should be completed.

    The top flight has been suspended since March, but players are preparing to return to training on May 18.

    Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora has warned this does not necessarily mean the season will resume.

    He has also confirmed the league could axed unless an agreement is reached over the medical protocols that will be in place.

  • Jake Lambourne 's avatarJake Lambourne7 hours ago1st May 2020

    SON OF A GUN

    Jason Roy says it is “hugely disappointing” that cricket cannot cash in on the excitement generated by last year’s World Cup triumph.

    Surrey batsman Roy would have been one of the stars of the new Hundred competition – but the launch has been postponed until 2021.

    He said: “This was going to be a huge competition. The ECB had put in a lot of money but it’s only right that it’s delayed until next year. You want the best players coming over and, at the moment, they can’t.

    “You saw the response to Sky re-showing the World Cup final on TV a couple of weeks ago. Everyone was watching and we were getting great feedback again. So it’s hugely disappointing but there are bigger things at stake.”

    Roy, a top-tier £125,000 pick by Oval Invincibles, joined several team-mates on a video call to watch the dramatic conclusion – including his throw to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler that secured a run out from the last ball of the super over.

    Roy added: “It was amazing to relive it with a few of the boys. The nerves were running again! I was like, ‘Don’t mess this up, don’t mess this up.’”

  • Jake Lambourne 's avatarJake Lambourne8 hours ago1st May 2020

    LALIGA UPDATE

    Hopes of an early resumption of Spain’s La Liga appear to have been ended as the head of the country’s sports body said it is “impossible” to give a return date.

    Irene Lozano, secretary of state for sport and President of Spain’s Higher Sports Council, said: “What has been decided is that, starting on May 4, players can resume what we have called basic, individual training.

    “That is establishing a series of health precautions that we have details and worked with football to draft. This decision shows the government’s sensitivity to athletes.

    “We have specified that medical examinations and tests will have to be carried out before training and the club doctors will be responsible for those. But in terms of playing matches, we have to see how training can be evolved.

    “There will be different phases and at this time it is impossible to set a date on the return of the competition. We have to see how everything evolves, including the numbers of the pandemic.”

    Lozano added: “Spanish clubs are relatively healthy financially compared to other countries and that means football has to contribute to the rescue of other sports.

    “But until we have a vaccine it is not feasible that there can be games with crowds.”

  • Jake Lambourne 's avatarJake Lambourne8 hours ago1st May 2020
  • Jake Lambourne 's avatarJake Lambourne9 hours ago1st May 2020

    TOP MARCS

    Marcus Rashford has led the way during the coronavirus pandemic by helping a charity supply two million meals a week for vulnerable children.

    Supermarkets such as Asda, Tesco and Co-Op have thrown their weight behind FareShareUK after the Manchester United forward advocated the project.

    Having relied on free school meals as a child, the England star took it upon himself to raise awareness of those in need during the country’s lockdown.

    And Rashford has announced that two million meals are now being delivered every week – with his personal donation being doubled.

    Charities such as FareShare, which distributes food to 11,000 different organisations across the UK, are even more vital with schools shut and they thanked the 22-year-old for his contribution.

    They wrote: “We are blown away by your generosity Marcus Rashford.

    “Your support is the reason we can keep helping people in need. We can’t thank you enough.”

  • Jake Lambourne 's avatarJake Lambourne9 hours ago1st May 2020

    RACE MASKS

    Premier League clubs are scrambling to buy face masks as stars return to training ahead of the proposed June 8 season-restart.

    Top-flight stars have been ordered to cover their faces when they get back to work, with Arsenal and Tottenham already in training.

    It is all part of the rules laid out in “Project Restart” with clubs determined to finish the season rather than cancel it, like France, Belgium and Holland.

    And with all clubs keen to get a head-start on the competition, they’ve raced to purchase face masks for their players and staff.

    Altitude Mask founder – and football agent – Saif Rubie told Sky Sports News: “In the last three days we have been inundated with requests, mainly from the Bundesliga and the Premier League.

    “Our product has been sent out to six or seven Premier League clubs in the last couple of days.”

  • Jake Lambourne 's avatarJake Lambourne10 hours ago1st May 2020

    KEPA AN EYE OUT

    Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga claimed it is “absurd” to talk about dates to resume the Premier League season and revealed health risk needs to “zero” before football returns.

    The Blues have already ordered their foreign-based stars home back in London by Sunday as top-flight clubs start drawing up plans to resume training.

    Kepa told Marca: “It is a new situation and not an easy one. But whenever you talk about health, the rest is in the background.

    “And you have to go back when the risk is zero. Then, we will need to do a preseason, but when the risk is controlled.

    “It is difficult to talk about dates, the players cannot control that. In Germany it is seen that the teams are already training together; in France, it has been suspended … We are waiting, and it will be decided with the health of everyone in mind.

    “If the Premier returns soon, it will be a good sign that the pandemic is being controlled.

    “I am in favour of maximum security. It is absurd to talk about dates to play. Everything, in time and when the authorities say.”

  • Jake Lambourne 's avatarJake Lambourne10 hours ago1st May 2020

    DOOR FIRMLY SHUT

    The Premier League faces an ENTIRE season being played behind closed doors and huge financial losses unless a vaccine for coronavirus is created.

    Sporting authorities are considering playing all football in England’s top-four leagues in front of empty stadiums until May 2021.

    Senior officials hope to reopen grounds in December, but everything on depends on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision over mass gatherings.

    Should Johnson take a tough approach to events such as football matches, music festivals and concerts, it is unlikely they can go ahead without a vaccine available.

    The secretary general of Fifpro – the international footballers’ union – Jonas Baer-Hoffman, said: “In terms of fans being back inside stadiums that might likely not be possible until people are vaccinated.

    “So it may well be that we play a full season without spectators.”

  • jamie.dickenson@thesun.co.uk 's avatarjamie.dickenson@thesun.co.uk10 hours ago1st May 2020

    YOUR CHOICE

    Footballers will be able to refuse to play if the season resumes amid coronavirus fears.

    That’s according to an anonymous Premier League club owner, who claims “no one will be forced to play” as chiefs aim to resume action on June 8.

    A games schedule has been sent to all 20 teams ahead of a crunch meeting on Friday.

    But one Premier League club owner admits players who do not want to feature can’t be forced to lace up their boots.

    They told Sky Sports: “It will ultimately be the player’s decision. If a player doesn’t want to play, it will be their call.”

  • jamie.dickenson@thesun.co.uk 's avatarjamie.dickenson@thesun.co.uk10 hours ago1st May 2020

    AGUER-NO

    Sergio Aguero says Premier League stars are ‘scared’ about being forced back into action.

    Top-flight chiefs today discuss how they can get matches back on next month amid the coronavirus lockdown.

    Aguero, who posted a video of his training at home, said: “The majority of players are scared because they have family, they have children, they have babies.

    “When we go back, I imagine we will be very tense, we will be very careful and the moment someone feels ill, you will think, ‘What’s gone on there?’

    “It does scare me but I have just been here with my girlfriend, I haven’t had contact with other people.”

  • jamie.dickenson@thesun.co.uk 's avatarjamie.dickenson@thesun.co.uk10 hours ago1st May 2020

    CHELTENHAM FEARS

    Cheltenham Festival could have helped to “accelerate the spread” of coronavirus around the UK, according to a former government chief scientific adviser.

    Around 250,000 people attended the four-day meet in March, which ended just 10 days before lockdown measures began in the UK.

    Sir David King, the government’s chief scientific adviser from 2000 to 2007, said: “When we talk about a pandemic, as I found with the foot-and-mouth disease, it’s when animals from different parts of the country are crowded together that you get the virus spreading most quickly.

    “In exactly the same way, when you have a horseracing event, [people] don’t stay anything like two metres apart.

    “It just seemed to me that this was the best possible way to accelerate the spread of the virus.”

  • jamie.dickenson@thesun.co.uk 's avatarjamie.dickenson@thesun.co.uk10 hours ago1st May 2020

    GOOD MORNING SPORTS FANS

    Yesterday was a busy day as Anthony Joshua showed his class by sending necessities to Nigeria and paying tribute to NHS heroes fighting coronavirus.

    Rugby League landed a £16m Government bail-out package after coronavirus threatened the sport.

    And colonel Tom Moore was handed an honorary 100th England cap to mark his 100th birthday by cricket legend Michael Vaughan on live TV.

    In football, plans emerged for the Premier League to return on June 8 as clubs were sent a timetable to finish the season amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    Players will be given two Covid-19 tests-per-week along with daily temperature readings when the season restarts.

    Chelsea also ‘told all their foreign players to come back to the UK by Sunday ahead of training’ for the resumed season.

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp reveals he’s jealous at seeing Bundesliga players already back in training

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JURGEN KLOPP has revealed his despair at watching fellow Germans going back to work.

Liverpool are just two wins from clinching the Premier League – but boss Klopp still has no idea if his side will be crowned champions.


⚠️ Read our coronavirus in sport live blog for the latest news & updates


 Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has revealed he is jealous at Bundesliga players already back in training

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has revealed he is jealous at Bundesliga players already back in training

The Bundesliga is set to resume behind closed doors later this month, but LaLiga’s hopes of returning soon took a blow yesterday.

Former Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp said: “I get envious when I see and hear how players are training in Germany.

“I look at the time when they began again, and how long ago since when they were allowed to train – in groups of two at the very least.

“It is only human for me  to think: ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we could now do the same?’

“England is a couple of weeks behind Germany. We are still in a real lockdown.

“That is why we are sitting at home despite the sensational weather – which is not normal for England!”

Bundesliga are set for a decision on Wednesday over a possible date to finish the season, which needs to be completed by June 30 because of deals with sponsors and broadcasters.

Players are already back in training and last week the German league body DFL said the clubs would be ready to return on  May 9 — but May 16 or 23 are more realistic.

Spain’s hopes of an early resumption of LaLiga appear to have been ended as the head of the country’s sports body said it is “impossible” to give a return date.

La Liga bosses have already been forced to back away from initial plans for a return to action at some point this month.

And while players have been given the green light to return to some form of training from Monday, that does not mean a restart is in sight.

Irene Lozano, secretary of state for sport and President of Spain’s Higher Sports Council, said: “On May 4, players can resume what we have called basic, individual training.

“We have specified that medical examinations and tests will have to be carried out before training and the club doctors will be responsible for those.

“But in terms of playing matches, we have to see how training can be evolved.

“There will be different phases and at this time it is impossible to set a date on the return of the competition.”

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Mike Tyson shows off unbelievable speed aged 53 as heavyweight legend gears up for sensational boxing return

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MIKE TYSON proved he hasn’t lost his unbelievable speed and power as the heavyweight legend gears up for a sensational boxing return.

The iconic puncher, now 53, revealed he will make a comeback – 15 years after retiring – to compete in exhibition bouts for charity.

 Mike Tyson proved he hasn't lost his unbelievable speed and power aged 53

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Mike Tyson proved he hasn’t lost his unbelievable speed and power aged 53

 The heavyweight legend is gearing up for a sensational boxing return

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The heavyweight legend is gearing up for a sensational boxing return

Proving he has still got it, Tyson uploaded a video on his Instagram showing off his trademark speed and power.

Tyson soon established himself as the most fearsome fighter in the world after thrashing Trevor Berbick in 1986 to become the youngest heavyweight champion of all time, aged 20.

But his destructive run came to an end in 1990 as James ‘Buster’ Douglas scored a famous upset, knocking out Iron Mike in Tokyo, Japan.

Tyson went on to spend three years in prison after being convicted of rape in 1992, before returning to the ring in 1995.

He won the WBC and WBA titles in 1996 but in the same year lost to Evander Holyfield and infamously bit his ear off in their rematch a year later.

The knockout artist, who also lost to Lennox Lewis, retired in 2005 after losing to Kevin McBride and left the sport with a record of 50–6.

He remains one of the most celebrated heavyweights of all time.

Speaking on an Instagram Live with American rapper T.I., Tyson said: “I’ve been hitting the mitts for the last week.

“That’s been tough, my body is really jacked up and really sore from hitting the mitts.

“I’ve been working out, I’ve been trying to get in the ring, I think I’m going to box some exhibitions and get in shape.

“I want to go to the gym and get in shape to be able to box three or four-round exhibitions for some charities and stuff.

“Some charity exhibitions, make some money, help some homeless and drug-affected motherf****** like me.

“I do two hours on cardio, I do the bike and the treadmill for an hour, then I do some light weights, 300, 250 reps.

“Then I start my day with the boxing thing, I go in there and hit the mits, 30 minutes, 25 minutes, start getting in better condition.

“I’m start to put those combinations together. I’m in pain, I feel like three guys kicked the s*** out of me.”

The reformed Baddest Man on the Planet has been using lockdown time to get in shape, as he wants to lace up the gloves once again.

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He added: “I’ve been working out, I’ve been trying to get in the ring, I think I’m going to box some exhibitions and get in shape.

“I want to go to the gym and get in shape to be able to box three or four-round exhibitions for some charities and stuff.”

Tyson boxed Corey Sanders in a 2006 exhibition as part of his 2006 World Tour, which was organised to help relieve some of his well-documented money troubles.

 Tyson is still the youngest heavyweight champion of all time

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Tyson is still the youngest heavyweight champion of all timeCredit: AFP – Getty

 The reformed Baddest Man on the Planet has been using lockdown time to get in shape

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The reformed Baddest Man on the Planet has been using lockdown time to get in shape

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Andy Murray reveals he has often met sexist players on tennis circuit who do not want to share prize money with women

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ANDY MURRAY has revealed he has often met sexist male tennis players who reject the notion of equal prize money.

Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal last month called for the ATP and WTA – the men’s and women’s Tours – to merge for the benefit of the sport.

 Andy Murray alongside Wimbledon partner Serena Williams

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Andy Murray alongside Wimbledon partner Serena Williams

Though players from the two sexes earn the same dosh at Grand Slams and selected events, there is a discrepancy throughout the majority of tennis tournaments.

Former world No.1 Murray feels there will be plenty of obstruction to combining the two Tours and giving everybody the same cash.

In a joint interview with Billie Jean King for CNN World Sport, Muzza said: “I have had sometimes conversations in the past where there has been prize money increases in the sport.

“Let’s say the first-round loser’s cheque has gone for the men from $8,000 to $10,000.

“And the women’s went from $6,000 to $10,000. I spoke to some of the male players who were unhappy that the prize money was equal.

“I said: ‘Well, would you rather there was no increase at all?’

“And they said to me: ‘Yeah.’ That is some of the mentality you are working with in these discussions.

“Someone would rather make less money so they are not on an equal footing with some of the female players. So there will be some challenges.

“When you have a lot of the male tennis players started to discuss it. That’s very promising.

“It’s really important in these negotiations that when it comes to key decision makers all of them are men.

 Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal called for the ATP and WTA to merge for the benefit of the sport

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Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal called for the ATP and WTA to merge for the benefit of the sportCredit: Reuters

“And when these discussions happen it’s important not to see this merger through a man’s eyes.

“To bring more women into the decision-making positions so everybody’s voice gets heard and everybody gets protected. If that happens, we have a huge potential as a sport.

“It’s already a special sport. It could be even better.”

Murray used to be coached by 2006 Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo – he was one of the first top players to get a female coach.

The Scot, who was influenced by his mum Judy growing up, was surprised by the sexist comments.

The 32-year-old father-of-two-girls said: “When I came on to the Tour, I never saw any female coaches. I didn’t think about it until I spoke with Australian Darren Cahill, the coach of Simona Halep.

“I was coached by mum when I was young.

“When I did employ a female coach, I realised this isn’t how it normally is.

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“Every time I lost a match, my coach was blamed for it. I never had that with any of my previous coaches.

“Amelie was a former world No.1, a Grand Slam champion, a fantastic player, extremely qualified to coach.

“That’s when I realised this was a problem and you start to see it more and more. That is when I talked to my mum about it.”

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