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Djokovic is serving up a million to help Serbia virus fight


Helping hand: Novak Djokovic and his wife are donating €1m

Helping hand: Novak Djokovic and his wife are donating €1m

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Helping hand: Novak Djokovic and his wife are donating €1m

Novak Djokovic and his wife Jelena have announced they will donate €1m to buy ventilators and other medical equipment to fight the coronavirus in Serbia.

The tennis World No.1 sought advice from people around the world on how best to direct help where it is needed before making the donation, which is approximately £890,000.

He said: "Unfortunately, the number of those infected is increasing.

"Jelena, I, my foundation, have decided to gather as much relevant information as possible this week to determine how best to donate our resources - knowledge, time, money - how it will affect the largest number of people across Serbia."

The Diamond League, meanwhile, has announced the postponement of its meetings scheduled for May due to the escalating crisis.

The meets in Stockholm, Naples, Rome and Rabat have joined the opening events in Qatar and China, which were already cancelled.

The Diamond League said it remained hopeful of announcing a rearranged schedule for the 2020 season in due course.

It said in a statement: "The meeting organisers, the Wanda Diamond League and World Athletics remain committed to delivering a structured extensive season in 2020.

"The aim is to ensure that athletes can compete at the highest possible level this year, and that fans will be able to see their favourite stars in action, whenever the global health situation allows."

Former Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone has warned the sport's owners that promoters will demand financial support to reschedule their races.

F1 bosses have been left with little option than to tear up this year's schedule with eight of the opening 22 races called off following the coronavirus pandemic.

Liberty Media is in talks with race chiefs over a fresh calendar which could see a number of rounds moved in order to accommodate as many of them as possible. The schedule could even extend into next year.

Chase Carey, the American who succeeded Ecclestone in 2017, hopes to fire up the season this summer with as many as 18 races salvaged.

But Ecclestone said: "Even if the people now in charge want to put these races on, they have to keep the promoters happy to do it.

"If you were the promoter and I was still in charge, I would say we want to stage your race in November.

"Normally you would never have a race in November so the promoter will turn round and say, 'How the hell am I going to make it work? Financially it is just not possible. The weather isn't good at that time so people will not come to the circuit. It is not going to be easy'.

"That means Liberty has to be prepared to say whatever happens they will bankroll the race. If it doesn't go ahead because things get worse they will cover all of the expenses laid out, and, if it does go ahead, they will make up whatever losses the promoter might have incurred for moving their slot.

"But I think it will be difficult for Liberty to jump up and say they are going to do that. It depends how much money they want to put behind it."

The Evian Championship, one of five Majors in women's golf, will move into the week vacated by the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Originally scheduled for July 23-26, the Evian Championship will move to August 6-9, the LPGA Tour, Ladies' European Tour and tournament officials announced yesterday.

The women's Olympic competition in Tokyo had been due to take place from August 5-8.

"We greatly appreciate the willingness of Franck Riboud, Jacques Bungert and the team at the Evian Championship to move dates and align with our European swing," LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said.

"This adjustment makes for easier travel for players and assists us as we look to reschedule previously postponed events during a crowded summer and fall timeframe.

"Like all our corporate partners, the team at the Evian Championship has always taken great steps to elevate the stage for our athletes. This 2020 schedule shift is yet another example of them supporting our players and our Tours during a very difficult time around the world."

The new date for the Evian Championship means it will take place the week before the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club.

The ANA Inspiration, which was intended to be the year's first Major from April 2-5 at Mission Hills Country Club in California, will now take place at the same venue from September 10-13.

The Cambia Portland Classic in Oregon, which had been due to take place on those dates, has meanwhile moved to the following week.

Belfast Telegraph