Update on the latest sports


Despite COVID-19 issues, Australian Open expected to start on time

UNDATED (AP) — The Australian Open tournament director expects the year’s first tennis major to start as scheduled next week despite 160 players being among the 507 people forced back into isolation after a hotel quarantine worker tested positive for COVID-19.

Craig Tiley told reporters, “We will be starting on Monday and we have no intention of changing times.”

Melbourne Park was almost empty as Tiley spoke to media Thursday. All matches in all six warmup events were postponed after the state government announced the latest coronavirus case.

Tiley says all 160 players will undergo testing and the tune-up tournaments will resume Friday.

The Australian Open is scheduled to begin Monday.

In other virus-related sports news:

— The National Hockey League now has four teams paused for virus-related reasons after the Minnesota Wild were shut down through at least Tuesday. The Wild now have six players on the league’s COVID-19 list and had their next four games postponed. The Vegas Golden Knights, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres were already paused because of the virus. A total of 22 NHL games have been postponed so far, affecting 16 of 24 U.S.-based teams. The Wild and Colorado Avalanche had been set to finish a four-game, home-and-home series tonight in Denver.

— The NCAA is moving Division I women’s championship events in volleyball, ice hockey and bowling to single sites. The changes to the format are in response to directives to have as few preliminary-round sites as possible. All 48 teams in the volleyball tournament will play at the CHI Health Center Arena and Convention Center in Omaha, Nebraska, beginning April 13. Semifinal matches will be April 22 and the championship match April 24. The 16-team National Collegiate Bowling Championship will be held at AMF Pro Bowl Lanes in Kansas City, Missouri, from April 7-10. The eight-team hockey tournament will be held at the Erie (Pennsylvania) Insurance Arena beginning March 15. The semifinals will be March 19 and the final March 21. The NCAA also announced that Division III winter championships have been canceled because of low participation numbers among member schools.


Chiefs under pressure to ditch the tomahawk chop celebration

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Pressure is mounting for the Super Bowl-bound Kansas City Chiefs to end the popular tradition of fans breaking into a “war chant” while making a chopping hand motion designed to mimic the Native American tomahawk.

A coalition of Native American groups has put up billboards in Kansas City to protest the Tomahawk Chop and Chiefs’ name. It’s also planning a protest outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, site of Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Chiefs made some changes in the fall, barring headdresses and war paint and making a subtle change to the chop. But those changes aren’t nearly enough for the St. Petersburg-based Florida Indigenous Rights and Environmental Equality, which plans to protest near the stadium Sunday ahead of the kickoff, singing and holding signs.

Group co-founder Alicia Norris described the chop as “extremely disrespectful,” saying it “conjures up images of Native Americans, indigenous people as savages.”