French Open director Guy Forget says he is working closely with tennis authorities to ensure the tournament at Roland Garros does not clash with the US Open.

The Parisian major was initially scheduled to start on Sunday but the coronavirus pandemic resulted in it being postponed until September 20 – a week after the final of the US Open.

Criticism of the decision was rife, and the calendar for the rest of the season remains up in the air with the ATP Tour and WTA Tour suspended until August at the earliest.

Forget said he is working towards a suitable resolution and expects an announcement on the US Open's plans in June.

"The official announcement has not been made yet. [The French Open] will probably be between the end of September and the beginning of October," Forget told French radio station Europe 1.

"We've been working closely with the ATP, the WTA and the ITF to make a global announcement on what the circuit will be like until the end of the year.

"There are so many question marks. New York City is more affected by the coronavirus than France. They also have a lot of organisational problems.

"They will make an announcement mid-June to say how it's going to be like for the US Open."

According to the John Hopkins University, New York City has seen 197,266 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 28,926 dying as a result. France has had 182,018 cases and 28,218 deaths.

Professional sports have been prohibited in France until September but Forget remains optimistic about the chances of staging a successful French Open.

"The signals are going in the right direction with the reopening of businesses," he said.

"We can imagine that this will also be the case for restaurants and bars in the coming weeks.

"Now we don't know what's going to happen in a month or two. We will adapt to what the government tells us.

"You have to be ambitions and optimistic. We hope that Roland Garros will take place, and in good conditions."

Novak Djokovic celebrates his birthday on Friday, with the world number one showing no signs of slowing down as he turns 33.

The world number one lifted his 17th grand slam title in January with a five-set win over Dominic Thiem.

Five-set sagas have been the domain of Djokovic throughout his career, with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Juan Martin del Potro all sharing the court with him for a series of grand slam thrillers that live long in the memory.

Here we look back at a selection of Djokovic's most epic encounters.

2011 US Open Semi-final v Federer ​– Win

Djokovic is renowned for his power to recover from even the most precarious of positions and Federer was on the receiving end of two such Houdini acts in successive years at Flushing Meadows.

Indeed, after saving two match points in a last-four encounter with the Swiss great in 2010, Djokovic repeated the trick en route to a 6-7 4-6 6-3 6-2 7-5 victory after three hours and 51 minutes.

"It's awkward having to explain this loss," Federer said afterwards. "Because I feel like I should be doing the other press conference."

Federer offered little praise for a stunning forehand winner that helped the Serbian save a match point, saying that at that moment Djokovic did not look like a player "who believes much anymore in winning".

He added: "To lose against someone like that, it's very disappointing, because you feel like he was mentally out of it already. Just gets the lucky shot at the end, and off you go."

2012 Australian Open semi-final v Murray – Win

There has arguably been no tournament where Djokovic demonstrated a greater proclivity for endurance than at Melbourne Park in 2012.

His semi-final with Murray, who was weeks into his partnership with coach Ivan Lendl, produced a bewitching prelude of what was to follow in the final.

Murray pushed Djokovic to the limit in a marathon lasting four hours and 50 minutes, fighting back from 5-2 down in the final set of a match in which the ultimate victor battled breathing problems.

Djokovic recovered from surrendering that lead, however, and clinched a 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 7-5 victory to set up a final with Rafael Nadal that somehow surpassed the semi-final as the pair etched their name into the record books.

2012 Australian Open final v Nadal ​– Win

With Djokovic needing to produce an exhausting effort to get beyond Murray and Nadal having taken part in his own classic semi-final with Federer, albeit with victory secured in four sets, both would have been forgiven for putting on a final below their usual standards.

They instead did the exact opposite and delivered a showpiece considered by some to be the greatest final ever.

An undulating attritional battle went for five hours and 53 minutes, making it the longest final in grand slam history and the longest Australian Open contest of all time.

Nadal was on his knees as if he had won the tournament when he took the fourth set on a tie-break and was a break up in a fittingly frenetic decider.

However, it was Djokovic who ultimately prevailed at 1:37am (local time) with a 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 triumph that clinched his fifth grand slam.

Djokovic said: "It was obvious on the court for everybody who has watched the match that both of us, physically, we took the last drop of energy that we had from our bodies, we made history tonight and unfortunately there couldn't be two winners."

2012 US Open final v Murray – Loss

Having been the thorn in Murray's side in Melbourne for successive years, also defeating him in the final of the 2011 Australian Open, Djokovic succumbed to the Scot at Flushing Meadows, but only after a Herculean comeback effort.

Murray took the first two sets, the opener won in the longest tie-break (24 minutes) of a men's championship match. Djokovic, though, appeared primed to become the first man since Gaston Gaudio in 2004 to win a slam final after losing the first two sets.

However, Murray was not be denied and dominated the decider to close out a 7-6 (12-10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 victory, the longest final in US Open history.

Gracious in defeat, Djokovic said of Murray's first slam title: "Definitely happy that he won it. Us four [Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray], we are taking this game to another level. It's really nice to be part of such a strong men's tennis era."

2013 French Open semi-final v Nadal ​– Loss

With Nadal back from a serious knee injury that cost him seven months of his career, the Spaniard returned to peak form at his favourite slam with another absorbing duel with Djokovic.

Lasting four hours and 37 minutes, it did not quite match the heights of their Australian Open opus, but there were enough twists and turns to satisfy those clamouring for another Djokovic-Nadal classic.

Nadal was unable to serve for the match in the fourth set and Djokovic led 4-2 in the fifth, but a decider stretching one hour and 20 minutes went the way of the King of Clay.

"Serving for the match at 6-5 in the fourth, I was serving against the wind, so I knew it was going to be a difficult game," Nadal said after his 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 9-7 win.

"I was ready for the fight. In Australia 2012 it was a similar match - today it was me [that won]. That's the great thing about sport."

2013 Wimbledon semi-final v Del Potro – Win

"It was one of the best matches I've been a part of."

Given his travails of 2012, Djokovic's words after his victory over the 2009 US Open champion served as remarkably high praise.

It was a match worthy of such an effusive tribute.

Having twisted his knee earlier in the tournament, Del Potro's contribution to a phenomenal last-four clash served as one of more impressive feats of the Argentinian's career.

Against another opponent, his unrelenting and thunderous groundstrokes would have prevailed, but it was Djokovic's court coverage that proved the difference after four hours and 43 minutes.

Following his 7-5 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 victory, Djokovic said of Del Potro: "[He showed] why he's a grand slam champion, why he's right at the top, because every time he's in a tough situation, he comes up with some unbelievable shots."

2015 French Open semi-final v Murray – Win

Two days were needed to separate Djokovic and Murray as the Parisian skies played their part in the semi-final.

A storm halted proceedings on the Friday with Djokovic 2-1 up heading into the fourth set.

Murray appeared to have benefited from the delay as he began Saturday by forcing a decider, but Djokovic was clinical in wrapping up the fifth in comfortable fashion.

He triumphed 6-3 6-3 5-7 5-7 6-1, though a first Roland Garros title would have to wait, however, with Djokovic stunningly defeated by Stan Wawrinka in the final 24 hours later.

2016 US Open final v Wawrinka ​– Loss

Wawrinka would again prove Djokovic's undoing in New York as an astonishing demonstration of shot-making saw the defending champion dethroned.

The Swiss' 18 hours on court ahead of the final were double that of Djokovic, but his toil paid dividends as he bounced back from dropping the first set on a tie-break.

It was a rare occasion where Djokovic ​– battling a blister on his big toe – was rendered powerless in the face of Wawrinka's 46 winners.

Wawrinka came through 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 7-5 6-3 after three hours and 55 minutes, with Djokovic saying: "Congratulations, Stan, to your team as well. This has been absolutely deserved today. You were the more courageous player in the decisive moment and he deserves his title."

2018 Wimbledon semi-final v Nadal - Win

Spread across two days having been made to wait six hours and 36 minutes for Kevin Anderson to outlast John Isner in the other semi-final, Djokovic and Nadal combined to deliver a spectacle eminently more memorable than the meeting of the two big servers.

Djokovic led by two sets to one when play suspended at 11:02 pm (local time), Wimbledon's curfew ending any hopes of a Friday finish.

The prospect of a swift Saturday was soon put to bed for Djokovic as Nadal claimed the fourth. However, Djokovic eventually came through a deciding set among the finest ever contested by the two greats to seal a 6-4 3-6 7-6 (13-11) 3-6 10-8 victory after five hours and 15 minutes.

It marked a first Wimbledon final since 2015 and the start of Djokovic's return to the top of the sport after struggles with injury saw him tumble out of the top 20 in 2018.

Djokovic said: "Speaking from this position right now it makes it even better for me, makes it even more special because I managed to overcome challenges and obstacles, get myself to the finals of a slam." 

2019 French Open semi-final v Thiem ​– Loss

Djokovic was bidding to become the first man to hold all four grand slams at the same time twice but fell foul of Thiem and the French weather.

The last-four meeting began on a Friday but was suspended three times due to wind and rain before organisers cancelled play for the day.

Thiem eventually edged an enthralling affair 2-6 6-3 5-7 7-5 5-7 in four hours and 13 minutes, but Djokovic was quick to direct his ire at tournament officials.

"It [was] one of the worst conditions I have ever been part of," said Djokovic.

"When you're playing in hurricane kind of conditions, it's hard to perform your best."

2019 Wimbledon final v Federer ​– Win

Few would argue Djokovic did not deserve to retain the Wimbledon title. Grinding down Federer remains one of the most arduous tasks in sport, but most would accept this was a final Djokovic was fortunate to win.

An awe-inspiring match, Federer's was a vintage performance, but it was underscored by missed opportunities that will stay with him long after his dazzling career comes to an end.

Federer had a pair of match points at 8-7 in a captivating fifth set. Both were squandered, and few players in the history of tennis have ever been as ruthless at compounding the missed chances of others as Djokovic. 

He duly exercised his flair for punishing profligacy by winning the first ever 12-all tie-break, clinching a fifth Wimbledon crown 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) after four hours and 57 minutes.

"If not the most exciting and thrilling finals of my career, in the top two or three and against one of the greatest players of all time," Djokovic said. "As Roger said, we both had our chances. It's quite unreal to be two match points down and come back."

Qualifying for this year's U.S. Open at Winged Foot has been cancelled, the United States Golf Association (USGA) has announced.

The major was originally scheduled for June but was pushed back to September because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Just four events remain on the USGA's 2020 calendar, but no qualification events will be held as it "was not seen as a viable option".

The field will instead be determined entirely by exemptions.

"As you can imagine, this was an incredibly difficult decision, as qualifying is a cornerstone of USGA championships," said USGA senior managing director of championships John Bodenhamer.

"We take great pride in the fact that many thousands typically enter to pursue their dream of qualifying for a USGA championship and we deeply regret that they will not have that opportunity this year. But this structure provides the best path forward for us to conduct these championships in 2020."

The tournament is due to take place between September 17-20, with exemption categories expected "in the coming weeks".

Novak Djokovic is "very confident" he will end his career with a record tally of grand slam titles.

Djokovic has 17 major triumphs to his name after retaining his Australian Open title in January, three fewer than Roger Federer's record haul.

Rafael Nadal is also above the Serb in the list for the most men's grand slam singles titles with 19, as the best players in the world wait to discover when they will be back in action after the season was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Djokovic, who turns 33 next Friday, has won five of the last seven grand slams and is the youngest of the 'big three'.

The world number one not only has his sights trained on winning more majors than his rivals, but also the record for most weeks at the top of the rankings.

Djokovic, officially the best player in the world for 282 weeks compared to Federer's record of 310, said in an interview on In Depth with Graham Bensinger: "I don't believe in limits. I think limits are only illusions of your ego or your mind."

He added: "I'm always very confident in myself. I believe I can win the most slams and break the record for longest number one. Those are definitely my clear goals."

That positive outlook is a far cry from when Djokovic declared he was ready to quit after a defeat to Benoit Paire at the Miami Open two years ago.

Djokovic's wife, Jelena, recalled: "He said to me that he's quitting and that's the truth. He lost in Miami. It was a terrible loss. And then he just, you know, gathered all of us and said, 'You know guys, I'm done.'

"And I was like, 'What?' And he goes like, 'Yeah.' He said, 'Edoardo [Artaldi, his agent], you can speak with my sponsors. I want to be clear with them. I don't know if I'm stopping for six months, a year or forever.'"

It is still too early to write off the whole 2020 tennis season despite the coronavirus pandemic, according to ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi. 

World number two Rafael Nadal recently said he would sign up to halting plans for any tournaments to be held this year in order to ensure the 2021 Australian Open can go ahead.

But Gaudenzi has not reached that point yet, saying it may be premature when playing without fans remains an option at a time the extent of future international travel restrictions is unclear.

"It would be unwise to call it quits now," he told reporters, per Sky Sports. "Nobody knows what will happen, we want to keep an optimistic overview.

"Obviously, there could be a subset of options, which is playing with closed gates or deciding how to deal with travel restrictions. 

"But we have not made these decisions so far because they are all hypothetical scenarios."

Wimbledon has been cancelled, but the US Open is still scheduled for August 31.

The French Open was previously postponed from May until September, with organisers last week saying it could be played without fans and subject to a further delay.

"We have set a deadline of May 15 for the tournaments in July, post Wimbledon and June 1 for the tournaments in August," explained Gaudenzi.

"So we are, in principle, dealing it on I would say six to eight weeks in advance in time for making a decision. Longer than that, it would be foolish to make decisions in my opinion.

"The [US Open] announcement might be a little bit later, we don't know. Once we get to the beginning of June, we will probably know more about the US summer."

Gaudenzi concedes travel restrictions, and how they may differ across nations, is among the toughest challenges to solve.

"You can have an estimate that it's going to be fairly difficult and unlikely that all these countries will align to one single policy relating to travel restrictions," he said.

"Australia today for example is probably in a completely different phase than the United Kingdom. You look at Sweden, they have taken a completely different approach. 

"So we could play a tournament in Sweden probably today. But can we travel 100 players to Sweden today? No. So that's the challenge."

A player relief fund of more than $6million has been created to support those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

World number one Novak Djokovic said last month he had spoken to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal about a relief fund that would see money distributed to lower-ranked players.

The ATP and WTA Tour seasons are suspended until at least July 13 due to COVID-19.

While Australian Open runner-up Dominic Thiem was opposed to the idea, the governing bodies of tennis came together to raise more than $6m, it was announced on Tuesday.

"The initiative has seen the ATP, WTA, the four grand slam tournaments – the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, The Championships, Wimbledon and the US Open – and the ITF, unite in a show of support to players who are facing unprecedented challenges due to the global impact of COVID-19. Professional tennis is currently suspended until July, 13 2020," a statement read.

"In addition to contributions of their own, the ATP and WTA will administer the financial distributions of the player relief programme, which sees respective contributions from the four grand slam tournaments and ITF split equally between men and women.

"The player relief programme will target a total of approximately 800 ATP/WTA singles and doubles players collectively, in need of financial support. Eligibility for the player relief programme will take into account a player's ranking as well as previous prize money earnings according to criteria agreed by all stakeholders.

"The move by the seven stakeholders provides the financial backbone of the programme, with opportunities for additional contributions to follow. Funds raised through initiatives such as auctions, player donations, virtual tennis games and more, will provide opportunity for further support of the programme moving forward and are welcomed.

"The creation of the player relief programme is a positive demonstration of the sport's ability to come together during this time of crisis. We will continue to collaborate and monitor the support required across tennis with the aim of ensuring the long-term health of the sport in the midst of this unprecedented challenge to our way of life, and our thoughts remain with all those affected at this time."

There have been more than 3.7 million cases of coronavirus worldwide, with the death toll exceeding 257,000.

Rory McIlroy was in flying form before the coronavirus pandemic brought the PGA and European Tours to a halt.

Since missing the cut at his home Open Championship at Royal Portrush, McIlroy recorded an astonishing 12 top-10 finishes in 14 starts, including victories at the Tour Championship and HSBC Champions.

That form saw McIlroy once again ascend to the summit of the world rankings and the four-time major winner will have been as frustrated as anyone to see the season suspended due to the global health crisis.

McIlroy turned 31 on Monday and now seems as good a time as any to reflect on his career achievements, and some goals to work towards in the future.

RECORD-BREAKING MAJOR WINS

Major season started in heart-breaking fashion for McIlroy in 2011 as an infamous final-round meltdown at the Masters saw him squander a four-shot lead to finish in a tie for 15th. In a show of his strength of character, McIlroy bounced back in remarkable fashion two months later to win a first major at the U.S. Open at Congressional. His eight-shot triumph was the biggest margin of victory in the tournament's history, while his 16 under was a record for strokes under par (a feat then matched by Brooks Koepka in 2017). A little over a year later, McIlroy was setting more benchmarks at the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. An eight-shot victory bested Jack Nicklaus' previous mark of seven.

DOUBLING UP IN GLORIOUS 2014

The following six majors proved frustrating for McIlroy. However, a first Claret Jug arrived in style with a wire-to-wire victory at the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool – a two-shot triumph a little skewed by so many of the chasing pack making the most of placid Sunday conditions. A month later, McIlroy showed impressed nerve as a partisan crowd roared on the charges of Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler to win a second PGA Championship by one shot at Valhalla. In doing so, McIlroy became the first player since Tiger Woods in 2008 to win three straight starts on the PGA Tour.

PRIZES GALORE ON PGA AND EUROPEAN TOUR

McIlroy has enjoyed plenty of success besides majors, of course. He has 27 professional career victories to his name, including at the Players Championship, three World Golf Championships events and five in FedEx Cup playoff tournaments. He has won the European Tour's prestigious Race to Dubai three times (2012, 2014 and 2015) and also become FedEx Cup champion on the PGA Tour twice (2016 and 2019). Also, on three occasions McIlroy has been named PGA Tour Player of the Year (2012, 2014 and 2019), and European Tour Golfer of the Year (2012, 2014 and 2015).

And here are some objectives for McIlroy to focus on…

FINALLY WIN THE MASTERS

While McIlroy's agonising 80 on that fateful Sunday at the 2011 Masters was tough to watch at the time, it seemed a mere blip in what would be a successful quest to win a green jacket. And yet, eight subsequent visits to Augusta National have failed to yield a win (albeit there were five top-10 finishes between 2014 and 2018). McIlroy has made no secret of his desire to win the Masters and a player with his outrageous talent must surely get one eventually, right? It is the missing piece in a career Grand Slam and winning the Masters will remain McIlroy's main goal.

AVENGE PORTRUSH DISAPPOINTMENT

The 148th Open was a particularly important one for McIlroy, given it was hosted at Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland, for the first time in 68 years. All eyes were on the local hero who started as pre-tournament favourite, but a nightmare opening round (including a quadruple-bogey eight on the first hole, a double-bogey five on the 16th, and a triple-bogey seven on the 18th) saw him sign for an eight-over 79. A second-day fightback saw him recover to two over, yet he still missed the cut by a solitary stroke. An emotional McIlroy admitted "it is going to hurt for a little bit", but – even saving for the postponement of the 2020 Open due to the coronavirus pandemic – McIlroy will have plenty of opportunities to win more Claret Jugs, plus the success of the 2019 tournament at Portrush means he will likely have another shot at glory on home soil in the future.

WIN OLYMPICS GOLD

McIlroy was pretty brutal about golf's return to the Olympics four years ago in Brazil. Speaking prior to the 2016 Open, McIlroy - who like several of his contemporaries opted not to play in Rio due to the threat of the Zika virus - said he would watch "the stuff that matters" at the Games. McIlroy later said he was "glad to be proven somewhat wrong" about the success of golf at the Olympics and a year ago declared his intention to represent Ireland at Tokyo 2020. Of course, the coronavirus has also pushed those Games back to 2021, but going for gold is surely a renewed aim for McIlroy.

Boris Becker does not believe the US Open should go ahead as scheduled due to the coronavirus crisis.

Over 23,000 people have died in the state of New York after contracting COVID-19, but US Open organisers are still planning for the grand slam to start at the end of August.

Wimbledon was cancelled as a result of the pandemic, while the French Open has been put back until September - although there remain doubts over whether the Paris major will go ahead. 

Six-time major champion Becker thinks it would be unwise for what is usually the final grand slam of the year at Flushing Meadows to be held in four months' time.

He told Laureus.com: "New York was pretty much the worst city hit by the virus a couple of weeks ago. I don't think it would be wise to have a tournament there."

Becker has also thrown his weight behind calls for a merger between governing bodies the ATP and WTA.

He added: "I think we are having a moment in crisis in tennis. Apart from, let's say, from the top 10, the top 50 and maybe the top 75 men and women, the rest of the professional players need their weekly pay check, they need their prize money.

"The fact is they can't play, they can't even go to a club and give lessons because of social distancing.

"We have to ask ourselves whether tennis is good enough to give jobs for a thousand people. Until the crisis started, the quick answer was yes, but I'm sure a lot of smaller tournaments that couldn't take place are struggling to come back financially, they've lost a lot of money by not hosting. So it's also a question of time.

"Roger Federer started the ball rolling with his splendid idea of joining forces and I think Nadal agrees. Not every top guy agrees, that's fine, but I think Federer, [Rafael] Nadal and [Novak] Djokovic have a strong following. For Federer to suggest that, speaks for his intelligence and also that he truly cares about the game.

"Just think of the equal prize money we have in the majors. You know men and women earn the same which I don't think is happening in every sport. We are always progressive about going with the times, with equal rights, certainly on the tennis court.

"So a joint organisation would be the next step. It's a big step. He suggested maybe having joint tournaments. We already have a few. In the US in Miami, you have men and women participating around the same time.

"The other ones, talking about the Masters series, are not there yet, but obviously would, in my opinion, be a step in the right direction. Once we get out of the tunnel, the new normal will be different. We still lie in a position to control the future if we get together and work together."

Andre Agassi reached plenty of milestones in his illustrious tennis career and the eight-time grand slam champion had another to celebrate on Wednesday.

The legendary American has turned 50, which is hard to believe as it does not seem long since he was gracing the courts as one of the great crowd pleasers.

Agassi won 60 ATP Tour titles during a 21-year professional career, making a whopping $31,152,975 in prize money.

The flamboyant former world number won all four majors before retiring at the 2006 US Open.

We reflect on the former world number one's grand slam triumphs and wish him many happy returns.

 

Wimbledon, 1992

It was the unlikely setting of Centre Court where the Las Vegas native's major breakthrough came.

Agassi's early successes were on hard and clay courts, but he came from behind to beat Goran Ivanisevic in five sets to be crowned Wimbledon champion at the age of 22.

US Open, 1994

Agassi's first grand slam title on home soil came at the expense of Michael Stich.

Still sporting long flowing locks that he later revealed to be a wig, Agassi became the first unseeded champion since Fred Stolle back in 1966 with a straight-sets victory over the German.

Australian Open, 1995

He started the 1995 season on a high note, moving just one title away from completing a career Grand Slam at Melbourne Park.

Minus his hairpiece, Agassi added another piece to the jigsaw by seeing off old foe Pete Sampras 4–6 6–1 7–6 (8–6) 6–4 to win the Australian Open.

French Open, 1999

Injury and personal issues led to a fall from grace for the sporting icon, who plummeted to 141st in the rankings.

You cannot keep a good man down, though, and he became only the fifth of eight men to complete a clean sweep of majors by coming from two sets down to beat Andriy Medvedev in the final at Roland Garros 21 years ago.

US Open, 1999

A second US Open title followed in the final major of 1999, a golden year for Agassi in which he started dating Steffi Graf - whom he married two years later.

Compatriot Todd Martin was the latest player to suffer at the hands of Agassi, who was taken the distance again before sealing a 6–4, 6–7 (5–7) 6–7 (2–7) 6–3 6–2 win.

Australian Open, 2000

Agassi got his hands on the Australian Open trophy for a second time five years after his first triumph in the opening major of the season.

The top seed dethroned defending champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov in four sets in the championship match. Agassi would have held all four grand slam titles at the same time if he had not lost to Sampras in the 1999 Wimbledon final.

Australian Open, 2001

He was also the master in Melbourne 12 months later, proving to be a cut above Arnaud Clement.

Frenchman Clement was unable to live with a relentless Agassi, who was in seventh heaven after easing to a 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory.

Australian Open, 2003

Agassi withdrew from the 2002 Australian Open due to a wrist injury, but he was back to regain the title a year later.

He lost just five games in a one-sided final versus Rainer Schuttler, winning what proved to be his final grand slam title at the age of 32. 

Jan-Lennard Struff backed Novak Djokovic's idea to start a fund to support lower-ranked players amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Djokovic revealed earlier this month he had spoken to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal about a relief fund that would see up to $4.5million distributed to lower-ranked players with the ATP Tour suspended until at least July 13.

Struff, the world number 34, backed the plan and said it was important that ATP Player Council president Djokovic had led the way.

"You have to look at [it] from two sides. Of course, I have no income, but I have managed to play well in the last few years and have been able to put some money aside. I think it's a good idea," the German told Stats Perform.

"I think it's very important that the initiative comes from Novak Djokovic. It shows that he wants to take care of other players as well. I think that's very important because it's very important for tennis in general.

"I would like to support this, of course. Many players will have problems because they have no income in this area.

"But I would go one step further and say that from the 100 or 150 rankings onwards, players will have problems and, of course, need this support."

Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II, while the French Open has been pushed back to begin in September.

But Struff, who reached the fourth round at Roland Garros last year, questioned whether the French Open – and even US Open – would go ahead.

"I have very big doubts whether the French Open and the US Open can take place. I don't know how long the travel restrictions will last. I just find it very difficult," said Struff, who turned 30 on Saturday.

"It also has to be fair that every player from every nation is allowed to fly to every country and I just don't think that's guaranteed. There will be tournaments on a national level. Internationally, I find it very difficult.

"Wimbledon has, of course, cancelled the tournament early. This is the only tournament that has insurance for this.

"Other tournaments want to be played later in the year and keep their tournament, which is completely understandable, but I doubt that these will take place."

There have been more than 2.8 million confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, with the death toll exceeding 197,000.

Rafa Cabrera Bello is hanging on to hopes of making another Ryder Cup appearance this year.

The Spaniard achieved an unbeaten debut four years ago, taking one and a half points in tandem with compatriot Sergio Garcia before scoring a singles win over Jimmy Walker.

Victory went to the United States by a thumping 17-11 margin at Hazeltine, but it gave Cabrera Bello a taste for the competition that he hoped to enjoy again.

He sat 17th on the European points table before the 2020 season ground to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, needing a strong run to press a claim for selection.

This year's Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits is inevitably in some doubt due to uncertainty over when sport can resume, but golf's elite cannot allow their focus to completely slide.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Cabrera Bello said: "My goals at the beginning of the season when this wasn't planned was to qualify for the Ryder [Cup], for the Olympics, keep progressing in the world rankings, win tournaments, and those goals haven't changed."

He stressed priorities were changing and health was paramount, with the aim of returning "to normality or to the new normality as soon as possible".

"If I qualify for the Ryder Cup, I will of course play it," Cabrera Bello said. "And the U.S. Open, as a major, it is my intention to play it as well. I am at the disposal of the captain of the Ryder Cup. If he thinks I am the best complement for the team I will be there with the best possible spirit."

European skipper Padraig Harrington is sure to be monitoring the likes of 35-year-old Cabrera Bello, who is ranked 46th in the world and tied for fourth at the 2017 Open Championship.

A three-time winner on the European Tour, Cabrera Bello is a reluctant Florida resident at present.

His regular home is in Dubai, but Cabrera Bello elected to stay in the United States at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak due to concerns he would not be allowed to re-enter the country for the Masters.

The Augusta event was soon postponed, however, and is set to be played in November.

"If I had known that this stoppage was going to be so long, we wouldn't have considered remaining here," Cabrera Bello said.

"But at that stage the information was limited and the suggested suspension was going to last only three weeks and the Masters was still going to be announced.

"There already started being flight restrictions to Europe, so it worried us to go to Europe and not being able to come back or go to Dubai, where I live with my family, and not being able to return for the Masters because we had to pass a quarantine.

"So we decided to remain here and then the Masters was postponed.

"By then, Europe was in a delicate situation with an imminent quarantine and Dubai was not allowing entrance, not even to the residents, so we decided to stay here and we are in this process now."

At least he has a welcome distraction, after he and wife Sofia became parents last August to a daughter, Alva.

"I am doing maintenance work at the moment so my [golf] swing doesn't get rusty," he said.

"The rest of the routine is to stay at home, spend time together, enjoy our baby who is eight months old now. It is marvellous, playing with her every day and seeing her grow. It is the best thing in the world. Inside this difficult situation, to be able to spend time with my daughter makes it way more manageable."

US Open organisers plan to make a decision in June about staging this year's tournament - but it is "highly unlikely" to go ahead behind closed doors.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused both the ATP and WTA seasons to be halted, while the remaining grand slams scheduled for 2020 have also been affected by the health crisis.

While the French Open was switched to a date later in the calendar - the clay-court event will now begin on September 20 - Wimbledon has been cancelled.

The main draw at Flushing Meadows is due to start on August 31 and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) are still hopeful play will be possible, though much will depend on how the situation develops in the coming weeks.

"Time is on our side at this point as the last grand slam," USTA chief of operations Mike Dowse said on a conference call, according to the New York Post.

"Obviously our ambition is to run the tournament. Having said that, it won't be the driving factor. The driving factor is the health and well-being of our players, fans and staff.

"We've set a time frame about June to make that decision."

On the possibility of no fans being present, Dowse said: "Playing without spectators – we're not taking anything off the table – but it's highly unlikely.

"It's not really in the spirit of the celebration of tennis. We really don't see that as an option.

"Unless the medical experts come back with a foolproof way of doing a safe tournament without fans, we may look at it at that point."

Rafael Nadal and Bianca Andreescu are the reigning US Open singles champions.

The PGA Tour has announced plans for tournaments to resume behind closed doors in the second week of June.

A number of events have either been put on hold or called off entirely since mid-March in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the Tour hopes to resume the season in two months' time with the Charles Schwab Challenge at the Colonial Country Club in Texas.

The first four events will be staged without spectators, falling in line with COVID-19 safety protocols that will continue to be monitored.

"The health and safety of all associated with the PGA Tour and our global community continues to be our number-one priority, and our hope is to play a role - responsibly - in the world's return to enjoying the things we love," said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. 

"Today's announcement is another positive step for our fans and players as we look toward the future, but as we've stressed on several occasions, we will resume competition only when - working closely with our tournaments, partners and communities - it is considered safe to do so under the guidance of the leading public health authorities."

The Memorial, originally scheduled for the middle of June, will now be staged between July 16-19, a weekend made free by the cancellation of the Open.

The WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational has been pushed back to the final week of July, just before the US PGA Championship is down to take place.

As outlined last week, the aim is for the rearranged 2020 Masters to be held in November.

Meanwhile, the Tour also confirmed that the fields for the Charles Schwab Challenge, RBC Heritage and the Memorial Tournament have been increased to 144 players.

Monday marks the 34th anniversary of Jack Nicklaus' 18th and final major championship victory.

A stunning Masters triumph on April 13, 1986 saw the Golden Bear, who was 46 at the time, add a sixth success at Augusta to his five US PGA Championship titles, four U.S. Open wins and three Open Championship crowns.

Tiger Woods - last year's memorable Masters champion - has since closed to within three of Nicklaus' benchmark, but the latter remains golf's most prolific major champion.

We take a look at how Nicklaus amassed a tally that has still yet to be surpassed.

 

1962 U.S. Open

Nicklaus finished second in the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills as an amateur. When he played the tournament as a professional for the first time two years later, after nine major appearances outside the paid ranks, the then-22-year-old secured glory.

Arnold Palmer – an established superstar in the prime of his career – had edged out the youngster at Cherry Hills, but Nicklaus held his nerve at Oakmont to prevail in an 18-hole play-off after the pair had finished regulation play level on one under.

Palmer was the big crowd favourite in the play-off, but Nicklaus stormed into an early lead before seeing off a trademark charge from his rival to become the youngest U.S. Open winner since Bobby Jones in 1923.

1963 Masters

Having seen off Palmer to earn his maiden major, Nicklaus shaded another all-time great on his way to the first of six Masters triumphs.

A month shy of his 51st birthday, Sam Snead moved into the final-day lead with back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15, but two late bogeys followed for the veteran and Nicklaus – who had surged into contention with a second-round 66 after opening with a 74 - took advantage.

Gains at the 13th and 16th lifted Nicklaus to a winning score of two under, two clear of Snead and Julius Boros and one ahead of Tony Lema, who birdied the last to claim sole second.

1963 US PGA Championship

Still only 23, Nicklaus prevailed in stifling heat at Dallas Athletic Club to grab his second major of 1963 and become only the third player to win the Masters and US PGA in the same year.

Three behind Bruce Crampton with 18 holes to play, the Ohio native defied temperatures of over 100 degrees Celsius on the final day to shoot 68 and win by two from Dave Ragan.

1965 Masters

Nicklaus' first three major successes all came via narrow margins, but that certainly was not the case at Augusta in 1965 as he recorded a record-breaking triumph.

Tied for the lead at halfway with Palmer and Gary Player, Nicklaus surged clear with a course-record-equalling 64 and ultimately finished an astonishing nine strokes clear at 17 under, having totally overpowered the course.

His 72-hole total of 271 and winning margin both stood as records until 1997, when Tiger Woods claimed a 12-shot victory with a score of 270.

1966 Masters

Twelve months later, Nicklaus became the first man to successfully retain the Masters, a feat since accomplished by Nick Faldo and Woods. However, his success came in a week of personal heartbreak.

Shortly before beginning his opening round, Nicklaus learned that close childhood friend Bob Barton had been among four people killed in a plane crash en route to Augusta.

"This tragedy has made me much more determined in what I hope to do this week," said the Golden Bear, who duly beat Tommy Jacobs and Gay Brewer in an 18-hole Monday play-off after the trio had all finished on 288.

1966 Open Championship

Only five men have completed a career Grand Slam of modern-day major wins. Nicklaus was only 26 when he became the fourth, following in the footsteps of Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan and Player.

A one-shot victory at Muirfield – at the expense of Doug Sanders and Dave Thomas – enabled Nicklaus to lift the Claret Jug for the first time. He did so despite shooting 75 in round three, with a two-under aggregate ultimately enough to earn glory on a course that featured plenty of punishing rough.

1967 U.S. Open

Another record fell to Nicklaus at Baltusrol in 1967, where his winning score of 275 represented a new U.S. Open best.

Amateur Marty Fleckman was the shock 54-hole leader but he faced daunting task on the final day with Nicklaus, Palmer and Billy Casper only one shot back.

The rank outsider slumped out of contention with a closing 80 and Casper (72) also faded as Nicklaus again got the better of Palmer, shooting 65 to his playing partner's 69 for a four-shot victory.

1970 Open Championship

Nicklaus' second Open win – after a barren spell spanning three years - is remembered more for the painful experience of runner-up Sanders.

Second to Nicklaus in the same event four years earlier, Sanders needed only to par the relatively simple 18th at St Andrews to claim his first major.

However, he famously backed away from a three-footer for the win, having seemingly been distracted by something on the line of his putt, and then saw his ball slip agonisingly past the hole.

The Open's first 18-hole play-off followed and Sanders was given renewed hope when he cut Nicklaus' lead from four to one with a solitary hole to play before playing the last superbly. The American provided a clinical finish, though, draining an eight-foot birdie putt before throwing his putter into the air in jubilation.

1971 US PGA Championship

Victory in the 1971 US PGA ensured Nicklaus became the first player to win each major twice.

He went wire-to-wire at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida, finishing two clear of Casper at seven under despite a one-over 73 in the final round.

1972 Masters

The following April, Nicklaus again led after every round of a major as he triumphed in the Masters for the fourth time.

He failed to break par in each of the final two rounds, but scores of 73 and 74 were more than enough for a three-shot success at two under, with no other player ending the week in red figures.

1972 U.S. Open

Legendary sportswriter and author Dan Jenkins provided the most fitting description of Nicklaus' final-round performance at Pebble Beach, which saw him defy brutal conditions to make it two wins from as many major championships in 1972.

After Nicklaus had prevailed by three strokes with a two-over aggregate, Jenkins wrote in Sports Illustrated: "On the last day, Sunday, when a ripping wind produced the ultimate horrors, only Nicklaus could summon the patience and the game to cope with the place. It seemed he had saved his best golf for the final round, when the course and the elements almost eliminated golfing skills in more normal men. And while that closing 74 of his for the funny old total of 290 will not look so dazzling in the record books one day, it should be stated here and now that under the circumstances it was as brilliant as any man ever shot."

Jack's hopes of winning all four majors in the calendar year were duly dashed in The Open at Muirfield, where he was the runner-up to Lee Trevino.

1973 US PGA Championship

History was made at Canterbury Golf Club in Beachwood, Ohio as Nicklaus - playing in his home state - surpassed Walter Hagen's record of 11 professional major victories with his 12th title.

A second successive 68 on Saturday lifted him to the top of the leaderboard and he finished four clear of Crampton, who had also been a runner-up to Nicklaus in the 1972 Masters and U.S. Open.

As the game's dominant player chalked up yet another victory, another golfing great, Snead, produced a remarkable performance at the age of 61, shooting even-par 71s in every round to tie for ninth. Incredibly, he had finished fourth the previous year and would go on to share third in 1974. 

1975 Masters

Nicklaus was five ahead after 36 holes at Augusta in 1975, but entered the final round trailing Tom Weiskopf by one after shooting 73 on Saturday.

A thrilling finale ensued on Sunday, with Nicklaus just about holding off Weiskopf and a charging Johnny Miller to secure his fifth green jacket. A closing 68 was just enough to seal victory on 12 under, with Weiskopf and Miller, who shot 66, both missing makeable putts on the 18th to force a play-off.

1975 US PGA Championship

Poor old Crampton had to settle for a fourth second-placed finish in a major behind Nicklaus as the latter claimed another US PGA crown in Ohio.

At Firestone Country Club in Akron, Nicklaus opened up a four-shot lead through the third round and a closing 71 kept him two clear of Crampton at four under. Weiskopf, one under for 72 holes, was the only other player to break par.

1978 Open Championship

Nicklaus' consistency in The Open was truly astonishing. From 1966 to 1980, he reeled off 15 top-six finishes in a row at golf's oldest major, with six of his seven runner-up placings achieved during this period.

His final victory came at the same place as his previous triumph, St Andrews, as he completed a third career Grand Slam.

A year on from the magical 'Duel in the Sun', where he was edged out by Tom Watson at Turnberry following a captivating battle, Nicklaus entered the final round of the 1978 Open one adrift of the defending champion.

However, Watson swiftly slumped out of contention and Nicklaus was able to taste victory once more, a 69 taking him to seven under and a two-shot triumph.

1980 U.S. Open

Nicklaus was viewed by some as a spent force by the time the 1980 U.S. Open rolled round, having gone almost two years without a PGA Tour win - comfortably the longest barren streak of his career at that point.

Aged 40, he showed there was still plenty left in the tank at Baltusrol.

Both Nicklaus and Weiskopf began the tournament with record-equalling rounds of 63. Weiskopf soon fell away, but Nicklaus prevailed with a tournament scoring record of 272.

The rejuvenated champion had been joined at the top of the leaderboard by Japan's Isao Aoki in round three, but he was not to be denied a 16th major crown.

1980 PGA Championship

Two months later, Nicklaus extended his record with a 17th title and fifth US PGA win. What is more, he did so in dominant fashion.

No other player could break par at Oak Hill, but Nicklaus was on another level as he carded scores of 70, 69, 66 and 69 to end the week seven clear at six under.

His margin of victory remained a record at the PGA until Rory McIlroy triumphed by eight shots in 2012.

1986 Masters

The most famous and unlikely triumph of the set came 34 years ago when Nicklaus thrilled Augusta with a sensational Sunday charge.

Four behind overnight leader Greg Norman heading into the final round, the 46-year-old surged to victory in barely believable style, playing the final 10 holes in seven under to shoot 65.

Nicklaus' memorable birdie at the last triggered an unforgettable putter-raising celebration and ensured he finished one ahead of Norman and Tom Kite at nine under. Seve Ballesteros, who had looked a clear favourite little more than an hour earlier, was a shot further back in fourth.

Petra Martic would relish the chance to play two grand slams in September but fears the coronavirus may have ended the 2020 season.

The WTA and ATP Tours have been suspended until July 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Wimbledon called off for the first time since 1945.

French Open organisers announced that the clay-court major would be put back to September 20, just a week after the US Open is scheduled to finish.

Martic, currently in lockdown in Miami, says featuring in two grand slams in quick succession would be far from ideal, but the world number 15 would embrace that challenge as an alternative could be no more tennis this year.

The Croatian told Stats Perform: "That's going to be a very unusual situation [playing the French Open so soon after Flushing Meadows] but like we all know, the schedule is not going to be perfect as there are too many tournaments.

"Everything will be cramped up, we will be flying a lot, changing surfaces and time zones. Things are definitely not going to be ideal, but grand slams are what we play for and if we get a chance to play two this year that would be great.

"Everybody fears the season could be over, they are trying their best to put potential schedules together but we have to see if anything can happen.

"If the situation in the world gets better and we are able to play, I would definitely love to play two [majors]."

Martic, who has trained every day since arriving in Florida, accepts she cannot make any plans in such an unprecedented situation.

The 29-year-old added: "My favourite part of the year is being in Europe, playing on clay is always fun and I really enjoy it but this all came so suddenly, it's a weird situation.

"When you stop it's usually because something hurts, so this waiting is not fun, but it is what it is.

"I can do everything I need to be doing, it's just you don't know how to plan things and how hard to work out, it's hard to plan anything right now."

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