Spectators will not be required to wear masks or show proof of their vaccination status to attend matches at the U.S. Open when the tennis tournament returns at full capacity next week, one year after all fans were banned from the event because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The goal is not to prevent all cases of COVID. The goal, really, is to be certain that we don’t have an outbreak of COVID that’s going to be unusual or that we would regret,” Dr. Brian Hainline, a U.S. Tennis Association first vice president and member of its medical advisory group, said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “We’re still relying on the goodwill of people. The unvaccinated – although it’s not going to be enforced – they really should be wearing masks. I expect many vaccinated individuals are going to be wearing masks, as well.”

The year’s last Grand Slam tournament starts Monday in New York.

Fueled by the highly contagious delta variant of the virus, new reported cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. have topped 150,000 a day, the highest level since late January.

Hainline and other USTA officials said the tournament’s protocols are based on what has been laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York City Department of Public Health.


“This is not a USTA decision or a U.S. Open decision. This is a decision made with New York City,” said Hainline.


WNBA: Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 27 points, Brittney Griner added 26 – including her third dunk of the season – and the Phoenix Mercury extended their winning streak to five games with a 106-79 victory in New York against the Liberty.

Griner also had nine rebounds and six assists before getting helped off the court with 1:38 remaining because of a left ankle injury.


SPAIN: Real Madrid is pursuing a blockbuster deal for forward Kylian Mbappé, although Paris Saint-Germain is seemingly holding out for a better offer. PSG sporting director Leonardo said the French club has rejected an offer of about $188 million from Madrid but added that it is willing to negotiate.


Leonardo told French broadcaster RMC Sport and other media outlets that the initial Madrid offer is below what PSG expected. He said the club won’t hold Mbappé back if his desire is to leave, but any deal will only be made on the club’s terms.

“Kylian Mbappé wants to leave, that seems clear to me,” Leonardo said. “If Real Madrid makes an offer, that seems clear. I am giving a position which, I think, is clear for everyone. We can’t, in the last week of the transfer window, change our plans. If he wants to leave, we aren’t going to keep him, but it’s under our conditions.”

It was the first time PSG said Mbappé wants to leave. The club had been saying he was not for sale and that it wants to extend his contract, but the current deal ends this season and the club may end up getting nothing for him if it doesn’t accept an offer now.

WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: Demanding that all players be released for World Cup qualifiers, FIFA President Gianni Infantino asked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to lift quarantine requirements for footballers to allow them to travel next week to play for their countries.

The Premier League defied FIFA when it announced on Tuesday that almost 60 players from 19 clubs would not be released next week to fly off to qualifiers in 26 countries on Britain’s red list – including all South American nations.

FRANCE: Nice’s home match with Bordeaux will be played without supporters on Saturday, following fan violence in the team’s previous league game against Marseille.


The French League said in a statement late Wednesday that no fans will be allowed to attend the league game, which starts at 5 p.m.

The punishment comes after last Sunday’s heated encounter, which was abandoned with 15 minutes left after home fans threw projectiles and invaded the field.

Marseille midfielder Dimitri Payet was hit by a bottle and fell to the ground. He got back up and threw it at home fans, prompting a significant number of Nice supporters to rush the field. Blows were exchanged between players and staff members as security officials and riot police struggled to regain control.

The game was suspended for nearly 90 minutes, with Marseille then refusing to come back out to finish the game. Nice was leading 1-0.

The LFP said it will debate further sanctions at another hearing on Sept. 8, with regards to “the behavior of Nice fans and the pitch invasion” as well as the behavior of players on the field and the outcome of the match itself.

“Before these decisions are taken the result of the match does not count,” the LFP said.


CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Sheriff became the first team from Moldova to ever advance to the Champions League group stage, easily advancing with a 0-0 draw at Dinamo Zagreb after winning 3-0 in the home leg of their playoff last week.

Sheriff had to get through all four qualifying rounds to reach the group-stage draw.

Salzburg returned to the group stage with a 4-2 aggregate score against Brøndby, adding a 2-1 win in Denmark to its victory by the same score in Austria last week. United States midfielder Brenden Aaronson’s 10th-minute goal for Salzburg followed his 90th-minute winner in the first leg.


SPANISH VUELTA: Primoz Roglic prevailed on the steep final climb to earn his second stage victory in this year’s race, cutting into the overall lead of Odd Christian Eiking.

Roglic went past Enric Mas in the final meters of the 83-mile stage into Valdepenas de Jaen, Spain.

It was the seventh career stage win at the Vuelta for Roglic, the two-time defending champion. He relinquished the leader’s red jersey after crashing near the end of the 10th stage on Tuesday and is now third, less than two minutes behind Eiking, with the three-week race just past the halfway point.

Guillaume Martin stayed second overall, less than a minute behind Eiking.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.