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Sports news feed: September 14-30, 2020

Serena Williams' bid for a 24th Grand Slam title suffered another blow when she was forced to withdraw from the French Open. Elsewhere, a German doctor has confessed to being involved in illegal doping practices.

Hello and welcome one and all to DW's rolling sports news feed with the latest headlines from around the world of sports. If you're looking for the latest Bundesliga transfer news click here.

For the previous Sports News Feed from last month,click here.

  • Serena Williams withdraws from French Open

  • German doctor confesses to illegal doping scheme

  • Japan announces Olympic COVID-19 measures

September 30

Williams withdraws from French Open

Serena Williams withdrew from the French Open on Wednesday ahead of her second round match with an Achilles injury, as the American's bid for a 24th Grand Slam title suffered another blow. "The Achilles didn't have enough time to heal after the US Open," said Williams. "I was struggling to walk and that is a tell-tale sign that I should try to recover." 

Schalke appoint Baum as head coach

Schalke have announced that Manuel Baum will fill their vacant head coach role. The 41-year-old former Augsburg boss is set to take his first training session later today with former fan favorite Naldo acting as his assistant coach. The Royal Blues currently sit bottom of the Bundesliga after losing their opening two games.

Read more: Why Schalke's chalice is still poisoned

Yelena Leuchanka arrested in Belarus

Yelena Leuchanka, professional basketballer and two time Olympian, has been detained at Minsk airport as she tried to leave the country to receive medical treatment and rehabilitation. Leuchanka has been sentenced to an initial 15-day prison sentence for violating an administrative code regarding the organization and holding of mass events. The Free Union of Athletes has called for a nationwide boycott of all sporting events in protest.

Read more: Athletes unite to oppose 'paranoid dictator' Lukashenko 

September 29

Masterful Nadal eases through

Claycourt master Rafael Nadal started his quest for a record-extending 13th French Open title in the usual way: a straightforward 6-4 6-4 6-2 first-round win against Belarusian Egor Gerasimov on Monday. The Spaniard, looking to equal Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slam men's singles titles.

Williams finds form

Sixth seed Serena Williams found her form to overcome fellow American Kristie Ahn 7-6 6-0 to begin her French Open campaign on Monday. Playing an opponent she beat in straight sets at the same stage at the US Open less than a month ago, Williams found herself struggling to win points in the first set on Court Philippe-Chatrier, but bageled her opponent in the second set to win comfortably.

German doctor confesses to illegal doping practices

A German sports doctor confessed to a Munich district court to conducting illegal doping practices since 2012.

The doctor, known only as Mark S. in accordance with German privacy laws, is accused of violating pharmaceutical and doping laws in nearly 150 cases. It is the biggest doping trial in Germany to date. In a written confession read out by his legal team, Mark S. said he mainly engaged in the practices with winter sports athletes and cyclists. Mark S. said he neither doped the athletes to make a personal profit nor endangered their health.

September 28

The Miami Heat turned up the temperature gauge in the fourth quarter to beat the Boston Celtics 125-113 on Sunday and book an NBA Finals showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Heat, NBA champions in 2006, 2012 and 2013, have reached the championship series for the sixth time in their history with a 4-2 series victory over the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals in the NBA's quarantine bubble in Orlando.

September 26

Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao will face former UFC champion Conor McGregor in the ring next year, with part of proceeds from the fight going to coronavirus victims in his native Philippines, his office said on Saturday.

Both fighters are "getting ready for this one epic last boxing fight," said Jayke Joson, special assistant to Pacquiao, who is also a Philippine senator.

Joson's statement followed a tweet by Irishman McGregor in which he said that he would be "boxing Pacquiao next in the Middle East".

September 25 

WMA boss slams presence of fans at UEFA Super Cup final 

Frank Montgomery, chairman of World Medical Association, has strongly criticized the presence of fans at Thursday's European Super Cup final in Budapest. 

"Football seems to be enjoying the privilege of fools. That is counterproductive and a wrong signal," Montgomery told the Passauer Neue Presse paper late on Thursday. 

"When citizens cannot spend their holidays abroad, but Bayern Munich's bosses and players can travel to a risk area, that's a devastating sign." 

Thursday's match was held in front of more than 15,000 spectators despite high number of COVID-19 in Budapest, which has been designated a high-risk area by the German health authorities.

Schalke player tests positive for COVID-19

Schalke have announced that one of their players have contracted coronavirus. The player, who has not been named, has been placed into quarantine with all other tests conducted by the Bundesliga club on playing and non-playing staff returning negative.

Just 1,000 spectators at Roland Garros 

Guy Forget, the director of the French Open has confirmed that this year's tournament at Roland Garros, which gets underway four months later than planned in Paris on Sunday, will be held before a maximum of 1,000 spectators. Forget, who had previously been hoping to allow a maximum of 5,000 fans to attend, said the move was in compliance with tougher restrictions imposed by the French government on Thursday to counter an upsurge in COVID-19 infections.  

"We've taken note of the government's decision. We're ready, all the players are here, but it's true it's a tough blow for the tournament," Forget told France Info. 

FIFA suspends TTFA 

FIFA has suspended the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) as a member of football's global governing body. In a statement, FIFA cited "grave violations" of its rules. FIFA installed a caretaker management at the Caribbean country's association in March, after a financial fact-finding mission had found inadequate management, massive debt and a risk of insolvency. 

TTFA challenged the move in a court in Trinidad and Tobago. In its statement, FIFA insisted that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was the only tribunal that could resolve such disputes. It said it had suspended the TTFA because it had refused to withdraw its case at the local court. 

September 24

Whitmarsh joins the Hamilton Commission 

Former McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has been appointed to the Hamilton Commission set up by Formula 1 drivers' champion Lewis Hamilton in June with the aim of getting more Black people involved in British motorsport. 

Whitmarsh is among 14 board members announced in a joint statement by Hamilton and Britain's Royal Academy of Engineering on Thursday. 

Whitmarsh was Hamilton's team boss at McLaren from 2009 until the British driver left to join Mercedes at the end of 2012. 

"In F1, our teams are much bigger than the athletes that front them, but representation is insufficient across every skill set – from the garage to the engineers in the factories and design departments," Hamilton said. 

"Change isn't coming quickly enough, and we need to know why," added Formula 1's only Black driver. 

Dismay at charges in Breonna Taylor killing

US sports figures reacted with dismay to the charges filed Wednesday in connection with the police shooting death of Breonna Taylor in March. Taylor, a black woman, was shot dead after three plainclothes policemen turned up at her door in the middle of the night to execute a search warrant. 

"I'm devastated, hurt, sad, mad!" Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James wrote on Twitter. "We want Justice for Breonna yet justice was met for her neighbors apartment walls and not her beautiful life." 

"It's just so demoralizing. It's so discouraging," said Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr after a team practice.   

Megan Rapinoe, who earned FIFA's 2019 Women's Ballon d'Or after starring for the World Cup-winning United States was among the many others to express her dismay. 

"This is devastating and unfortunately not surprising. Black and brown folin this country deserve so much more," she said. 

September 23

Japan to require Olympians to produce negative COVID-19 tests 

Athletes competing in next summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo will be required to show negative tests for COVID-19 before entering Japan. The Reuters news agency cited draft plan drawn up by the organizers, which said Japanese athletes and other participants living in Japan would face the same requirements. The good news is that foreign athletes and other participants will not have to undergo a two-week quarantine period upon arrival. 

The 2020 Olympics had been scheduled to take place this past summer but were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Two released in Tour de France doping investigation 

Two people questioned in a Tour de France doping probe involving the team of former runner-up Nairo Quintana have been released without charge. Marseille prosecutor Dominique Laurens said in a statement that police released the pair, a doctor and a physiotherapist, on Tuesday night. However, the probe remains open, with more police work to be done before any decision on whether to proceed further will be taken. 

Colombian rider Quintana, who was runner-up in 2013 and 2015 but finished 17th this year, has denied any wrongdoing.  He said in a statement on Tuesday that police who searched his hotel room after a Tour stage in the Alps found only "perfectly legal'' vitamin supplements and denied ever having been involved in doping.  

Andreescu gives up on 2020 season 

Last year's US Open champion, Bianca Andreescu has called time on a 2020 season in which she hasn't played a single match due to knee problems. The women's world No. 7 said in message on Twitter that she would not seek a return to action in the autumn and "focus on my health and training" in preparation for the 2021 campaign which includes the Tokyo Olympics. The Canadian won the 2019 US Open title against Serena Williams for her first Grand Slam trophy.  

September 22

Germany win again

Germany's women put three past Montenegro in their European Championship qualifier to maintain their control of Group I.

Now five points clear of second-placed Ireland, Germany's goals in Montenegro came courtesy of Laura Freigang, Melanie Leupolz and Sydney Lohmann.

Germany have won all nine of their games the World Cup in June 2019, when they lost to Sweden. However, Guilia Gwinn's knee injury was confirmed as an ACL tear on Monday, which will keep the Bayern Munich starlet out for several months.

UK halts return of fans

While Bundesliga fans rejoiced at a partial return to stadiums in Germany on the weekend, football fans in the United Kingdom will have to wait at least a few more weeks.

Tentative plans to reopen live sports to the public from October 1 have now been shelved, as the nation moves to a Covid-19 Alert Level 4.

"We have to acknowledge the spread of the virus is now affecting our ability to reopen large sporting events," prime minister Boris Johnson said.

Johnson said the restrictions would likely remain in place for the next six months.

Draisaitl wins two more individual trophies

Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl made history on Monday night by becoming the first German player to win the Hart Memorial Trophy as
the most valuable player of the NHL's 2019-20 regular season after leading the league in scoring with 110 points in 71 games. In another first for a Germany, Draisaitl also won the Ted Lindsay Award for most outstanding player as voted by peers. The Cologne native was also named to the First All-Star Team. 

The 24-year-old Draisaitl joins former NBA star Dirk Nowitzki as the only German players to earn MVP honors in one of the four major North American professional sports leagues.

The Hart and Lindsay complete a hat trick of individual awards for Draisaitl, who had also won the Art Ross trophy as leading scorer after scoring 43 goals and 67 assists during the coronavirus-shortened campaign. 

September 21 

Gündogan tests postive for COVID-19 

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gündogan has tested positive for COVID-19, the Premier League club said on Monday. This makes him the third City player to test positive in recent weeks, after both Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte did so earlier this month. 

"Ilkay is now observing a 10-day period of self-isolation in accordance with Premier League and UK Government protocol on quarantine," the club said in a statement. 

Gündogan is likely to miss three matches while he self-isolates, including their Premier League season opener against Wolverhampton Wanderers this Monday evening. 

DeChambeau wins US Open 

Bryson DeChambeau has won the 120th US Open for his first major championship at six under par through 72 holes. DeChambeau clinched the win with a three-under-par fourth roundThis made him the first player to shoot under par on Sunday and the only player to score under par through four rounds.  

The 27-year-old, who was visibly bulked up compared to last year, powered through the tournament with consistently long and aggressive drives and a strong putting game.  He shot two birdies, a bogey and an eagle in the final round. This was DeChambeau's sixth PGA Tour win. 

September 18

Fed Cup renamed Billie Jean Cup

The Fed Cup has been renamed the Billie Jean King Cup with immediate effect, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced Thursday. The 76-year-old King was part of the US team that won the inaugural tournament, and she lifted the trophy another nine times, seven times as player, once as player-captain and twice as captain.  

"From playing the first Fed Cup as a member of the victorious US team in 1963, founding the WTA and becoming its first President, to being the first female athlete awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, Billie Jean King has never stopped breaking new ground," ITF President David Haggerty said in a statement. 

"It is an honor to have the women's world cup of tennis carry my name and a responsibility I will not take lightly," King said. "Our job is to share this vision with future generations of young girls, because if you can see it, you can be it." 

September 17

No fans for Bundesliga season opener

Friday's opening match of the Bundesliga season between defending champions Bayern Munich and Schalke will take place behind closed doors after all. Bayern had planned to host 7,500 spectators or about 10 percent of the Allianz Arena's capacity of just over 75,000. However on Thursday, the city of Munich announced that the match would have to be held behind closed doors due to a growing number of coronavirus infections in the region.

Earlier in the week, officials from Germany's 16 states had agreed to allow up to 20 percent of stadium seats to be filled for football and other sports. However, local authorities have the final saying on each individual match.

September 16

Egan Bernal drops out of the Tour de France

Ineos Grenadiers cycling team announced on Twitter that defending champion Egan Bernal has withdrawn from this year's Tour de France.

The Colombian rider's title defense was all but extinguished during Sunday's mountain stage when he slipped eight minutes of the pace. He then suffered back pains during Tuesday's stage, and he said compensating for the injury had also caused discomfort in his knee.

Last year, Bernal became the youngest rider to win the Tour de France in 110 years.

Ineos had staked this year's race on the 23-year-old. The team, whose riders have won seven of the last eight Tour de France races, assigned former champion Chris Froome to next month's Spanish Vuelta, while Geriant Thomas is targeting the Giro d'Italia.

September 14

Latest FIFA corruption trial begins in Switzerland

High-ranking football functionaries Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the chairman of French champions PSG and head of Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports, and Jerome Valcke, the former FIFA general secretary, have gone on trial in Bellinzona, Switzerland, on corruption charges.

The pair are accused of inappropriate behavior regarding the distribution of World Cup broadcasting rights, charges with both deny. The Swiss federal criminal court is expected to announce its findings in October.

Neymar accuses opponent of racial slur

Brazilian star Neymar has accused defender Alvaro Gonzalez of calling him a monkey during PSG's 1-0 loss to Marseille on Sunday. The incident sparked a scuffle between players of both teams during the match.

Read more: PSG star Neymar accuses rival of racist 'monkey' slur

Thiem beats Zverev to win US Open

Dominic Thiem completed a historic comeback to win his first Grand Slam title. After dropping the first two sets against Alexander Zverev, the Austrian battled back to win the next three to win 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6). He is the first male tennis player since 1949 to overcome a two-sets-to-love deficit in the US Open final.

Read more: US Open final: Dominic Thiem beats Alexander Zverev in five-set thriller

Bundesliga sides win big in the German Cup

It was easy going for most Bundesliga teams in the first round of the German Cup. Mainz, Gladbach, Cologne, Augsburg and Leverkusen all scored at least five goals in their opening round ties. The only top-flight side to be eliminated over the weekend was Hertha Berlin, who lost 5-4 to second-tier Eintracht Braunschweig. Hoffenheim came close to joining them, but finally vanquished fourth-division side Chemnitz in a penalty shootout.

Read more: German Cup digest: Hertha Berlin and St. Pauli crash out as some fans return