In today’s sports news: what you need to know

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Latest – Serena Williams has been included in the entry list for the US Open alongside fellow former champion Novak Djokovic, who is unable to compete due to his refusal to vaccinate against COVID-19.

Serena Williams
Photo: ©Icon Sportswire (A division of XML Team Solutions) All rights reserved

Williams, who returned to competition last month after a year’s absence, was named to the entry list for the Grand Slam in New York later in the month after being named in the draw for Tune-Up events in Toronto and Cincinnati.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner fell in the first round at Wimbledon and last appeared at the US Open in 2020 when the six-time winner reached the semifinals.

Eligible players automatically enter the main draw, but that doesn’t help Djokovic, who retained his Wimbledon crown last month and is one of Rafa Nadal’s record 22 Grand Slam titles.

Djokovic will not be able to compete in the final Grand Slam of the year due to current rules that require travelers wishing to enter the United States to be fully vaccinated and provide proof before boarding flights.

Nearly 12,000 people have signed an online petition urging the USTA to work with the country’s government to allow Djokovic to attend the US Open despite his refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Djokovic has said he is willing to miss Grand Slam tournaments instead of taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

-Reuters

Pakistan reaches Run Chase

Abdullah Shafique hit 160 points in a fourth-inning masterclass to help Pakistan stage a stunning comeback and record a four-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the opening Test in Galle.

The Tourists began an intriguing final day which saw them take 120 runs with seven wickets in hand to take a 1-0 lead in the two Test series.

Pakistan went on to equal its second-highest successful chase of 342, which rode Shafique’s career-best knockout, which included seven fours and a six.

Pakistan also overtook Sri Lanka in the Test World Cup rankings, with only South Africa (71.43%) and Australia (70%) above them.

The teams remain in Galle for the second test, which begins on Sunday.

-Reuters

IPL buys South African league

Indian Premier League team owners have bought all six franchises of the new domestic T20 league in South Africa, underscoring IPL’s growing global footprint.

Dubai International Stadium prepares for IPL game.

Photo: PHOTO SPORTS

Reliance Industries Limited, which owns IPL’s most successful team Mumbai Indians, bought the league’s Newlands franchise which is due to start in January next year.

The owners of IPL heavyweight Chennai Super Kings bought the Johannesburg franchise while JSW Sports, which owns Delhi Capitals, bagged Pretoria.

The owners of IPL’s Lucknow Super Giants, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals successfully bid for the Durban, Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) and Paarl franchises respectively.

Three IPL franchise owners – from Kolkata, Rajasthan and Punjab – also own teams in the Caribbean Premier League.

The Kolkata franchise is also involved in franchise-based Major League Cricket in the United States.

IPL’s media rights for the next five years were sold for a staggering $10 billion last month.

-Reuters

No change on tour

Tadej Pogacar clinched victory on stage 17 of the Tour de France but it was Jonas Vingegaard who took a step closer to the title as he landed on the defending champion’s bike and retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey.

Pogacar’s late acceleration at the top of the final climb, a 7.8% 8K effort, earned him his third win of this year’s Tour and gave him a 10 second time bonus.

However, Vingegaard gained six seconds with his second place, meaning he still leads the Slovenian by a comfortable two minutes and 18 seconds ahead of Thursday’s final mountain stage, a grueling Pyrenees tour to Hautacam.

4 stages remain.

-Reuters

Stenson joins LIV

Henrik Stenson has been removed as European Ryder Cup captain with immediate effect.

Henrik Stenson at the Open Championship.

Henrik Stenson at the Open Championship.
Photo: PHOTO SPORTS

The 46-year-old Swede has signed up for the controversial new Saudi-backed breakaway LIV Golf Series.

And after discussions with Ryder Cup Europe officials, the decision was made to replace him as captain.

Meanwhile, LIV Golf has announced 45 players for its next 48-man tournament – three more top players will be named in the coming days.

It comes after reports that Stenson and former Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama will join the controversial series.

The third event in the series, the LIV Golf Invitational Bedminster, will be held July 29-31 at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey.

After winning Sunday’s The Open, Cameron Smith hasn’t ruled out joining LIV Golf.

-BBC

Home nations to combine into sevens

England, Scotland and Wales will field joint British men’s and women’s teams from the 2022-23 World Rugby Sevens Series to boost their Olympic prospects, their respective governing bodies have said.

Rugby Sevens made its Olympic debut in Rio 2016 and returned in Tokyo last year, with the British men’s team winning silver in the inaugural edition, while the women’s team finished fourth on both occasions.

The bodies added that the move has been ratified and mandated by World Rugby.

The 2022-23 men’s series begins with a round of play on November 4-6 in Hong Kong, while the women’s series begins in Dubai in December.

-Reuters

Olympia payments are being investigated

Tokyo prosecutors are investigating payments made by clothing retailer AOKI Holdings, an Olympic sponsor company, to a company run by a former board member of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.

The Yomiuri newspaper said the investigation is looking into whether payments of more than half a million dollars between 2017 and 2021 to a company run by Haruyuki Takahashi violate a law prohibiting public officials from accepting money related to their positions.

The board members of the organizing committee were considered quasi-officials.

However, Takahashi was quoted by Nikkei Business Daily as saying his company received fees for providing sports-related advice to AOKI. As a board member, he is not involved in matters affecting anyone’s financial interests, including the sale of officially licensed products, he told the newspaper.

The Tokyo District Attorney’s Office said it would not comment on an individual case.

-Reuters

Footballers to Love Island

Football clubs are used to having their preparations for the season disrupted when players change teams in the transfer market, but English club Halifax Town have to cope with an unusual exit – their striker leaves to join the cast of the dating reality series show “Love Island”.

Jamie Allen, who plays internationally for Montserrat, is traveling to Spain to join the cast of the British show for the final days of the latest series.

Allen, who recently signed a contract extension with the National League (fifth tier) club, was announced today as one of four new ‘bombshells’ to join the show.

However, his club seemed less impressed.

“The matter will be reviewed upon his return,” the Yorkshire club said in a statement on Twitter.

-Reuters

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