Real’s Mariano tests positive as COVID-19 nixes events, games

Real Madrid forward Mariano has tested positive for the coronavirus, the club said yesterday.

The announcement came as the team returned to practice ahead of its UEFA Champions League match against Manchester City on August 7. Real lost at home 1-2 in the first leg of the last-16 series.

Real said Mariano was in “perfect health condition” and was following health protocols. He was confined at his home.

The club did not say how long Mariano, 26, would be sidelined, but he was not expected to make the trip to England to play City.

The Dominican Republic player appeared in only a few matches with Real this season. His last was on July 2.

The entire Real squad was tested for COVID-19 on Monday. The players had been on a break of almost 10 days after winning the Spanish league.

Spain has seen a spike in coronavirus cases recently, raising concerns from local authorities after the pandemic appeared to be under control.

Real said players “returned to work under strict health safety guidelines.”

In the United States, four additional Miami Marlins players have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases within the Major League Baseball club to 17 over the last five days, according to multiple reports yesterday.

The Marlins, who opened their season last Friday with a three-game series in Philadelphia, previously had 11 players and two coaches test positive.

The Athletic website quoted a source as saying the Marlins are still in Philadelphia and that one of the previous team members to test positive had a subsequent test come back negative.

Miami, whose home game for yesterday had already been postponed, is currently scheduled to open a two-game series at the Baltimore Orioles starting today.

Earlier, a source said that yesterday’s game between the Philadelphia Phillies and visiting New York Yankees had been postponed as some members of the home team await COVID-19 test results.

Elsewhere, the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo has been cancelled for 2020 due to safety fears amid the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers of the annual women’s tournament said yesterday.

Last week, the men’s ATP Tour and the women’s WTA were forced to cancel all of their remaining tournaments in China for this year in the wake of the country’s ban on international sporting events due to the pandemic.

The Pan Pacific Open is part of WTA’s Asian swing and has been held every year since its 1984 start. It was originally scheduled to be held in September but was postponed to November.

Following the cancellation, the Korea Open in Seoul is the only event left in Asia on WTA’s provisional calendar for 2020.

The professional tennis season is scheduled to restart after a five-month hiatus with WTA’s Palermo Ladies Open in the Sicilian capital on Monday.

Also, the Australian Open golf tournament has been postponed indefinitely, although organizers remain hopeful it can be held in early 2021.

The tournament was scheduled for Kingston Heath Golf Club in Melbourne, which is back in lockdown because of a large increase in COVID-19 deaths and infections in the last month. The 105th edition of the tournament was set to be played in November.

Golf Australia operations manager Simon Brookhouse yesterday said he was hopeful that the national championship will still be played later in the Australian summer, likely in January, February or March of next year.

Australian Matt Jones is the defending champion.

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