The men’s hockey world championship, scheduled for May in Switzerland, has been canceled, effectively ending the Winter Olympic sports season.
“This is a harsh reality to face for the international ice hockey family, but one that we must accept,” IIHF President René Faselsaid in a press release. “The coronavirus is a global problem and requires major efforts by government bodies to combat its spread. The IIHF must do all it can to support this fight. We have to set sport aside for now and support both the government bodies and the ice hockey family.”
Men’s hockey worlds traditionally mark the final major competition of the winter sports season. World championships scheduled for March or April in figure skating, women’s hockey, short track speed skating and curling were previously canceled.
The last winter sports world championships to take place this season were in bobsled, skeleton and long-track speed skating the last weekend of February.
USA Hockey had already named 1988 and 1994 Olympian Peter Laviolette as head coach, though it had not named a roster.
Last year, a U.S. team captained by Patrick Kane lost in the quarterfinals, extending the program’s drought. The last gold at a standalone worlds came in 1933. The Americans lost in the quarterfinals in 2017 and earned bronze in 2018, sandwiching an Olympic quarterfinal exit in PyeongChang without NHL players.
Finland won the world title for the first time since 2011. It became the first nation to win a world title without a player who finished that season on an NHL roster since at least 1993, not counting the 1995 and 2005 lockout years. The NHL didn’t participate in the Olympics until 1998.
No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland is favored to claim a third French Open title, a year after beating American Coco Gauff in the final. She bids to join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win the French Open three or more times since 2000.
Two Americans are ranked in the top six in the world — No. 3 Jessica Pegula and Gauff.
The last American to win a major singles title was Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought matches the longest in history (since 1877) for American men and women combined.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).
No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.