Tennis

Virus forces Japan Davis Cup tie behind closed doors

AFP-JIJI

Japan’s home Davis Cup tie against Ecuador next week will be played behind closed doors, organizers said Wednesday, the latest sporting event in the country to be affected by COVID-19 fears, five months before the Tokyo Olympics.

The Davis Cup decision comes a day after the J. League postponed all matches until March 15.

“The International Tennis Federation made the decision to play the tie behind closed doors in consultation with the Japan Tennis Association, following advice from Japan Sports Agency and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare,” a statement said.

Japan No. 1 Kei Nishikori is due to play for the first time since last year’s U.S. Open at the tie in Miki, Hyogo Prefecture, on March 6-7 having recovered from injury, but spectators will instead be barred and have their tickets refunded.

The winners will secure a place in November’s Davis Cup finals in Madrid.

The spread of the novel coronavirus has led to the postponement of sporting events in Japan, raising fears that the outbreak could affect the Olympics due to begin on July 24, but Tokyo 2020 organizers said Tuesday that preparations were “continuing as planned.*

The Japan Sumo Association board said it will hold an emergency session on Sunday to discuss anti-virus steps, including whether it’s safe to hold the sold-out tournament in Osaka.

Sumo stars have already been taking precautions at fan events, refraining from shaking hands and wearing surgical masks with a ceremonial visit to a local shrine cancelled.

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