The Davis Cup and Fed Cup have both been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was confirmed on Friday.

Due to be hosted in Madrid, the Davis Cup Finals were supposed to have taken place from November 23-29, but following a three-month review it was deemed too challenging to stage this year.

Organisers Kosmos Tennis and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) pointed to the fact more than 90 athletes would have been expected to be involved, while the international event attracts thousands of fans, officials, staff and other stakeholders from across the globe, with many countries at differing stages of the pandemic.

With the competition now set to begin on November 22, 2021, it was confirmed the 18 teams that have already qualified for the men's global team tournament will have their places secured, while the draw for the finals remains the same.

Kosmos president and Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said: "It's a huge disappointment for all of us that the Davis Cup Finals will not be held in 2020.

"We don't know how the situation will develop in each qualified nation, or if restrictions in Spain will remain sufficiently eased, as such it is impossible to predict the situation in November and guarantee the safety of those travelling to Madrid.

"This postponement has no long-term bearing on our collective ambitions for the Davis Cup. The ITF and Kosmos Tennis look forward to delivering an outstanding competition in 2021, when it is safe and feasible to do so."

The women's equivalent, the Fed Cup, has also unsurprisingly hit a similar stumbling block and will now take place from April 13-18.

Budapest remains its location and, much like the Davis Cup, the teams that have already qualified will retain their places. The Fed Cup Play-offs will go ahead at the start of February.

Neither postponement has come as a surprise, particularly following the chaos caused by the Adria Tour event earlier this month.

Organised by world number one Novak Djokovic and played across locations in Serbia and Croatia, the event did not adhere to social distancing procedures and attracted large crowds. Legs in Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina were ultimately postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.

Several of the marquee players ended up testing positive for the virus, including Djokovic himself, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki, and the event was met with widespread criticism.

The world's leading sporting competitions have been halted amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With almost 160,000 confirmed cases of the virus and close to 6,000 deaths, athletes across the globe are waiting to learn when they will return to work.

We take a look at the provisional return dates set out so far.
 

BASKETBALL

The NBA came to a sudden stop when a Utah Jazz player - later revealed to be Rudy Gobert - tested positive on Wednesday, and league commissioner Adam Silver warned the hiatus would "be most likely at least 30 days".

CRICKET

International cricket has been pushed back, but there are no firm dates as things stand for rescheduled matches. England's two-match Test tour of Sri Lanka was called off midway through a warm-up match, while the ODI series between India and South Africa was postponed after the first of three matches was washed out. Australia won an opening ODI against New Zealand behind closed doors, but the remaining two 50-over matches were delayed, along with a three-match Twenty20 series. There is at least a provisional date for the Indian Premier League to belatedly start: April 15, pushed back from March 29.

FOOTBALL

European football is at a standstill, with the Champions League among the elite-level competitions suspended. UEFA is set to meet to discuss the future of that tournament and Euro 2020 this week, while FIFA has advised postponements of upcoming international fixtures, for which clubs are no longer required to release their players. The Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A are all paused at least until April 3 although the Bundesliga has only called off one matchweek as things stand, while Ligue 1 is off "until further notice".

GOLF

The PGA Tour initially announced a three-week suspension, with The Players Championship stopped after its opening round. The Masters - won in 2019 by Tiger Woods - was therefore set to mark the Tour's return on April 9, but organisers soon announced the first major of the year would also be postponed. The RBC Heritage on April 16 is the next scheduled tournament. Organisers are planning "regular status updates in the coming weeks" amid "a very fluid situation that requires constant review, communication, and transparency".

MOTORSPORT

The Formula One season is still to start after races in Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam and China were postponed or cancelled. The Dutch Grand Prix on May 3 remains on at this stage, however, while managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn has suggested the calendar could be reshuffled, with races held in August. NASCAR has postponed events in Atlanta and Miami this and next weekend, and all IndyCar Series races through April have been cancelled.

RUGBY

Rugby league has largely been able to continue both in England and in Australia, but the same is not true of rugby union. Six Nations matches were among the first to fall by the wayside amid the crisis in Italy, with the Azzurri seeing matches against both Ireland and England postponed until later in the year. France versus Ireland was off, too, while Scotland's trip to Wales belatedly followed suit. Club action has ground to a halt, with Super Rugby finally paused this weekend and no return imminent.

TENNIS

After Indian Wells and then the Miami Open were cancelled, the ATP Tour announced its suspension up to and including the week of April 20. The WTA Tour preferred to call off individual events, but the schedule is now clear for five weeks. It was still to make a decision on the European clay-court season. The Fed Cup finals and play-offs - set for mid-April - have been pushed back, meanwhile, with the ITF vowing to address any impact the postponement may have on players' eligibility for Tokyo 2020.

OTHERS

Despite chaos surrounding various sports across the globe, Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe says the country is still planning for the Olympic Games in Tokyo to go ahead as scheduled in July. The London Marathon and the Boston Marathon will both still go ahead this year, but with revised dates of October 4 and September 14, respectively. The Giro d'Italia will be postponed and a new date for the race will not be announced until at least April 3 when a decree in Italy banning sport ends. The NBA is not the only American competition to be disrupted, meanwhile, with the 2020 MLB season moved back "at least two weeks" from March 26, and the NHL campaign paused indefinitely.

The Fed Cup finals and play-offs have been postponed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) amid fears over the spread of coronavirus.

Multiple sporting events have been either suspended or cancelled in recent weeks as the virus continues to spread around the globe.

In Italy, all sporting events until April 3 have been postponed, while football matches across Europe are to continue to be held behind closed doors.

Earlier this week, the Indian Wells tournament – due to take place in California – was cancelled due to fears over the virus, which on Wednesday was declared as a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

The ITF has now taken the decision to postpone the Fed Cup finals, which were due to be held in Hungary between April 14 and 19 at the Laszlo Papp Sport Arena in Budapest, while the play-offs – set to take place on April 17 and 18 in eight different locations – have also been put on hold.

"After careful consideration and close discussion with the ITF Board, the Local Organising Committee and in light of [Wednesday's announcement by the Hungarian government regarding indoor events, it is with regret that the ITF has announced the postponement of the Fed Cup Finals," a statement on the Fed Cup's official website read.

"The ITF is committed to delivering the Fed Cup Finals in 2020 and is in consultation with key stakeholders, including the Hungarian Government, the Hungarian Tennis Association (HTA) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to find a suitable alternative date for the tournament."

The Fed Cup is an Olympic Qualification event and the ITF has pledged to work alongside the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to address any impact the postponement may have on athletes' eligibility for Tokyo 2020.

"We are extremely disappointed to have to make this decision, but we will not risk the safety and welfare of players, captains, event staff or spectators," said ITF president David Haggerty.

"This decision has not been made lightly; the threat posed by the COVID-19 is a serious one and calls for us to act responsibly as a federation and as human beings. This situation goes beyond sport."

Serena Williams suffered the first singles loss of her Fed Cup career, but the United States overcame Latvia to book their spot in the Finals on Saturday.

Trailing 2-0 in Washington, Latvia's fightback started with Jelena Ostapenko's win over Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin.

Williams' unbeaten record in singles was then ended by Anastasija Sevastova, who recorded a shock 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 7-6 (7-4) victory over the 23-time grand slam champion.

But USA moved into April's Fed Cup Finals thanks to Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the duo winning the doubles over Ostapenko and Sevastova 6-4 6-0.

Belarus needed a thrilling doubles rubber to overcome the Netherlands 3-2.

Aryna Sabalenka and Aliaksandra Sasnovich edged Kiki Bertens and Demi Schuurs 4-6 6-3 7-6 (10-8).

Russia survived a test against Romania to prevail 3-2, Switzerland claimed a 3-1 success over Canada and Slovakia beat Great Britain 3-1.

Germany swept Brazil aside 4-0, Spain were too strong for Japan 3-1 and Elise Mertens led Belgium past Kazakhstan 3-1.

Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and Serena Williams gave the United States a 2-0 lead over Latvia in their Fed Cup qualifier on Friday.

Kenin blitzed Anastasija Sevastova 6-2 6-2 to get the USA up and running in Everett, while Williams battled past 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-3).

Barely a week after breaking through for her first grand slam title in Melbourne, Kenin was in the American state of Washington to represent her country.

The world number seven and 21-year-old surged past Sevastova before 23-time major winner Williams eventually saw off Ostapenko in the second rubber to improve her win-loss record at the Fed Cup to 14-0.

"It's been a long journey. It wasn't easy," Kenin said. "But I was super happy to come here and play with the team."

It was a tough day for former world number one and two-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka, who was reduced to tears after losing to unheralded Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Osaka, whose title defence at Melbourne Park was sensationally ended by teenager Coco Gauff in the third round, was swept aside 6-0 6-3 against Sorribes Tormo.

Japan trail Spain 2-0 in the tie after Carla Suarez Navarro accounted for Misaki Doi 6-3 6-4.

Switzerland, led by Belinda Bencic, Germany and Slovakia also boast 2-0 leads against Canada, Brazil and Great Britain respectively.

The other ties – Netherlands against Belarus, Romania versus Russia and Belgium against Kazakhstan – are deadlocked at 1-1.

Naomi Osaka suffered a torrid 6-0 6-3 defeat to world number 78 Sara Sorribes Tormo as Spain took charge of their Fed Cup qualifying tie against Japan.

Last month saw Osaka surrender her Australian Open crown when she lost to American teenager Coco Gauff in round three, and Friday's loss was a further blow in the early stages of 2020.

The 10th-ranked Japanese star lost 12 of the first 13 points on her serve on the La Manga clay and dropped the opening set in just 27 minutes.

She broke Sorribes Tormo's serve to establish a 2-0 lead in the second set but soon surrendered that advantage and was broken to love on her way to a sorry loss.

Spain captain Anabel Medina Garrigues said, according to the Fed Cup website: "We knew that Sara had the tools to make it very uncomfortable for Naomi. She stuck to the game plan perfectly."

Osaka let her emotions show by the final game and served a double fault on match point.

Spain went 2-0 ahead in the tie when Carla Suarez Navarro beat Misaki Doi 6-3 6-4 in the second rubber.

Suarez Navarro is set to face Osaka on Saturday's reverse singles, when Spain will need one more victory to book a place in the 12-team finals, to be played in Budapest in April.

US Open champion Bianca Andreescu will make a late decision on whether to make her injury comeback when Canada face Switzerland in the Fed Cup qualifiers.

Andreescu has not played since injuring her knee in her match against Karolina Pliskova at the WTA Finals at the end of October.

She pulled out of the Auckland Classic and then the Australian Open as her start to 2020 was delayed by her recovery, having also struggled with a host of other injury issues last year.

Andreescu is in Biel with her Canada team-mates for the Switzerland tie, which will be played over February 7 and 8.

World number five Belinda Bencic, who Andreescu beat in the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows, is one of her possible opponents this week.

"She has been training and she is improving every day – we are taking it day by day," said Canada captain Heidi El Tabakh.

"We know that, for this tie, time is against her, but she's been making a lot of improvements.

"She still has a couple of days left. As of right now, we haven't made any decisions yet about the team, but we will when the time comes."

Andreescu told Tennis Canada: "I think there's still a chance. We haven't made any decisions yet but I'm hoping I can play."

Switzerland are preparing as if Andreescu will play in the tie, which is one of eight contests which will decide the teams to join Australia, France, Czech Republic and Hungary for the inaugural Fed Cup Finals in Budapest in April.

"I have to assume Bianca Andreescu is going to walk out there and compete because why else would she be here?" said Switzerland captain Heinz Guenthardt.

"Nobody knows how well she'll compete - probably even she doesn't know that.

"It's a different thing to practice and then walk out there and play a Fed Cup tie. 

"It doesn't sound like a very thought out answer, but in the case of this week particularly we're just going to try to focus on ourselves.

"We have a good group. Belinda is obviously our number one and then we have four players who can on their given day represent Switzerland."

The qualifying round contains some impressive line-ups, with Serena Williams, Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and teen star Coco Gauff among the United States team playing Latvia, while Naomi Osaka leads Japan against Spain.

Coco Gauff and Serena Williams will team up next week when generations join forces as the United States begin their Fed Cup campaign.

Fifteen-year-old Gauff and Williams, 38, were named in a formidable-looking five-player squad for the qualifying tie against Latvia, which will be played in the city of Everett, near Seattle.

Gauff is in line to become the second-youngest player to represent the US in the Fed Cup, if she sees action in the two-day tie.

Only Jennifer Capriati has played at a younger age, with the future grand slam winner and world number one being just 14 years and four months old in 1990 when she played against Poland.

Joining Gauff and Williams will be Sofia Kenin, who has reached the semi-finals of the ongoing Australian Open, plus world number 19 Alison Riske and doubles specialist Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

World number nine Williams saw her hopes of landing a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles title in Melbourne dashed by a shock third-round defeat to China's Wang Qiang.

It was a result that prompted Williams to indicate she would work harder than ever to push for the record.

The veteran has never lost a Fed Cup singles match, being the holder of a 13-0 record, putting her two wins short of matching Martina Navratilova's career 15-0 mark.

Gauff went one round further than Williams in Australia before losing to compatriot Kenin, with the teenager having claimed the scalps of Venus Williams and defending champion Naomi Osaka on her run.

The US Fed Cup team is captained by former top-10 player Kathy Rinaldi, with the Latvia tie to be played on February 7-8.

Latvia have world number 33 Anastasija Sevastova and former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in their ranks.

A new Fed Cup format sees the winners of the eight February ties go on to compete at the 12-team Finals, which takes place in Budapest from April 14-19, with Australia, France, Hungary and Czech Republic already assured of their places.

Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia made up for their painful 2016 Fed Cup final defeat as the pair overcame Ashleigh Barty and Samantha Stosur to secure France's third title.

Barty was flawless as she drew Australia level on day one with a 6-0 6-0 triumph over Garcia, but the world number one failed to recapture her form on Saturday as the hosts went down 3-2.

WTA Finals champion Barty started well in Perth and looked to be on the verge of another dominant win when she went a set up against Mladenovic in her singles rubber, yet it was the world number 40 who proved the star of day two.

After a sensational 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-1) comeback victory over Barty, Mladenovic starred alongside Garcia as France clinched the trophy with a 6-4 6-3 doubles win, three years on from the same pairing suffering defeat to the Czech Republic in a decider.

"There are lots of emotions, to share this with Caro," Mladenovic said after a superb, instinctive volley from Garcia had proved too much for Barty's partner Samantha Stosur to handle on France's third match point.

"Three years ago we failed on the last step of the tie and we just wanted to take revenge for ourselves. It's indescribable how we feel right now."

Ajla Tomljanovic had stepped up for Australia by overcoming Pauline Parmentier 6-4 7-5 in Saturday's second singles contest to set up the grandstand finish, before Barty and Stosur made a fine start in the decider with an immediate break.

However, Mladenovic and Garcia rallied to draw level at 2-2 and a second break handed them the opening set.

Successive concessions of serve from the Australians put France into a commanding position in the second set, with Barty and Stosur subsequently failing to take advantage of three break points in the next game.

France were in no mood to let victory slip out of their grasp and – after Australia clawed back two match points to hold serve – Garcia's reactions got the better of Stosur, sparking jubilant celebrations from Julien Benneteau's team.

"I'm the proudest man on the planet right now," France's captain said. "It's a dream for me. I'm going to have a lot of beers!"

World number one Ashleigh Barty crushed Caroline Garcia 6-0 6-0 to square the Fed Cup final at 1-1 at the end of play on Saturday.

Australia trailed France following the opening rubber but were back level just 56 minutes after Barty took to the court in Perth.

The WTA Finals champion sent down eight aces and hit 15 winners to set up a blockbuster showdown with Kristina Mladenovic, who earlier breezed past Ajla Tomljanovic.

Mladenovic broke serve in the opening game and never looked back in a convincing 6-1 6-1 victory, but will have a tougher time getting past an in-form Barty on Sunday.

"I couldn't have asked for a more perfect match," the Australian said after seeing off Garcia.

"I think that's probably the best tennis match I've ever played in my life and what a place to do it, this is incredible. I'm so happy to be back here in Perth. I started my year here, so it's a hell of a way to finish it off too."

Barty is due to partner veteran Sam Stosur in the doubles, with Mladenovic and Garcia to team up for France.

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