Riyadh Will be a Stop for Global Champions Arabians Tour 2024

A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Riyadh Will be a Stop for Global Champions Arabians Tour 2024

A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)

Riyadh is set to host one of the legs of the Global Champions Arabians Tour (GCAT) in 2024, joining a series of events held across various countries throughout the season. Previously, Doha hosted the event, and upcoming stops on the tour include Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Cannes in France, Valkenswaard in the Netherlands, Rome, and Paris, SPA reported.

The Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation (SAEF) will be the host in the capital, Riyadh.
Prince Abdullah bin Fahd bin Abdullah, President of the Saudi Equestrian Federation, expressed gratitude to the leadership for their substantial support of equestrianism in the Kingdom.

He emphasized how the leadership's unwavering support has positioned Saudi Arabia as a global hub for equestrian sports. Prince Abdullah highlighted that the Kingdom's well-organized and diverse events align with a clear vision, aiming to establish the country as the world's premier destination. He conveyed his appreciation to Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, the Minister of Sport, for his continuous support and close involvement in the sector.



Australia to Hold 2025 F1 Season Opener Instead of Bahrain Due to Ramadan

 Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix race at the Suzuka circuit in Suzuka, Mie prefecture on April 7, 2024. (AFP)
Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix race at the Suzuka circuit in Suzuka, Mie prefecture on April 7, 2024. (AFP)
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Australia to Hold 2025 F1 Season Opener Instead of Bahrain Due to Ramadan

 Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix race at the Suzuka circuit in Suzuka, Mie prefecture on April 7, 2024. (AFP)
Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix race at the Suzuka circuit in Suzuka, Mie prefecture on April 7, 2024. (AFP)

The 2025 Australian Grand Prix will be the Formula One season-opener for the first time in six years instead of Bahrain after the sport's governing body (FIA) released next year's calendar on Friday.

The 24-race season will commence on March 16 in Melbourne and end on Dec. 7 in Abu Dhabi as Formula One celebrates the 75th anniversary of its world championship.

The Bahrain Grand Prix has been the opening race of the season since 2021 while the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix has been the second race on the calendar since 2022.

Formula One did not race at Melbourne's Albert Park Circuit in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but will now host the opening race instead of the Middle Eastern kingdom due to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan falling in March next year.

The first European race will take place in Imola in May as part of a triple header which also includes Monaco and Spain in back-to-back weekends.

"We're grateful to the FIA, our promoters, host city partners, and all the related ASNs for their commitment and support in delivering this schedule and securing what promises to be another fantastic year for Formula 1," Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1, said in a statement.

"I would also like to pay tribute to our F1 teams and drivers, the heroes of our sport, and our fans around the world for continuing to follow Formula 1 with such incredible enthusiasm."

The testing schedule and the sprint calendar are set to be announced at a later date.

The current season has sprints at six Grands Prix -- China, Miami, Austria, United States (Austin), Brazil and Qatar.


Athletics’ Olympic Prize Money Plan Unfair to Other Sports, Redgrave Says

 This photograph taken on April 10, 2024, shows a detail of the headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics Organizing Committee (Cojo), in the Saint-Denis suburb of Paris. (AFP)
This photograph taken on April 10, 2024, shows a detail of the headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics Organizing Committee (Cojo), in the Saint-Denis suburb of Paris. (AFP)
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Athletics’ Olympic Prize Money Plan Unfair to Other Sports, Redgrave Says

 This photograph taken on April 10, 2024, shows a detail of the headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics Organizing Committee (Cojo), in the Saint-Denis suburb of Paris. (AFP)
This photograph taken on April 10, 2024, shows a detail of the headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics Organizing Committee (Cojo), in the Saint-Denis suburb of Paris. (AFP)

World Athletics' (WA) decision to give prize money to Olympic gold medalists is unfair to other sports that cannot afford to do the same, Britain's five-times Olympic rowing champion Steve Redgrave said.

Athletics became the first sport to offer prize money to Olympic champions when WA President Sebastian Coe announced on Wednesday that gold medalists in Paris this year will each earn $50,000.

The announcement was met with a positive reaction from the world's leading athletes, with the $2.4 million prize pot to be split among the 48 gold medalists in Paris.

A total of $540 million was allocated to the 28 sports at the Tokyo Games with World Athletics receiving the most at $40 million.

Redgrave, who won five successive Olympic gold medals between 1984 and 2000, said the prize money plan would turn the Olympics into a "two-tier" system.

"If you win an Olympic gold medal in any athletics event, you are able to earn substantial financial gains from those results," the 62-year-old told the Daily Mail in an interview published on Thursday.

"It smacks a bit hard for the sports that can't afford to do this. Rowing is in that situation. We struggle bringing sponsorship and finance into it. This separates the elite sports to the others like rowing, canoeing and most combat sports.

"They just don't have the same funding that there is in World Athletics. I would prefer that the money they're putting in to be helping more of the grassroots of their own sports - or helping other Olympic sports to be able to be at the same level on the same footprint."


Liverpool Lost the Plot in Atalanta Defeat, Says Klopp

 Soccer Football - Europa League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Liverpool v Atalanta - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - April 11, 2024 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp looks dejected after the match. (Reuters)
Soccer Football - Europa League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Liverpool v Atalanta - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - April 11, 2024 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp looks dejected after the match. (Reuters)
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Liverpool Lost the Plot in Atalanta Defeat, Says Klopp

 Soccer Football - Europa League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Liverpool v Atalanta - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - April 11, 2024 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp looks dejected after the match. (Reuters)
Soccer Football - Europa League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Liverpool v Atalanta - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - April 11, 2024 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp looks dejected after the match. (Reuters)

Liverpool lacked tactical discipline against Atalanta on Thursday and fully deserved their 3-0 defeat in the Europa League quarter-final first leg match, manager Juergen Klopp said.

Gianluca Scamacca struck either side of halftime before Mario Pasalic capped an impressive win for the Italians at Anfield as Liverpool slumped to their joint-heaviest home defeat in European competition.

"It just was a really bad game, oh my God. We started well, really well, and then didn't continue. I think even before they scored, we just lost the plot a little bit, we were everywhere and nowhere," Klopp told reporters.

"(The) midfield was spread like that, right midfielder left side, left midfielder, striker. I didn't recognize that, that was really strange. In football terms that's tactical discipline.

"We played a bad game, we deserved to lose and we must feel that now."

Liverpool will seek to overturn the deficit in the second leg in Italy next week, but before that they host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday.

With the Merseyside club involved in a tight title race with Arsenal and Manchester City, Klopp said the players had to move on from Thursday's defeat quickly.

"The boys have exactly this night to feel bad about it and then we have to build up again for the Crystal Palace game, that's how it is," he added.

"This was a low point for us performance-wise tonight, I would say, for a long time."


Fencing World Championship to Kick Off Today in Riyadh

Spectators will be able to attend for free at the Arena Hall - SPA
Spectators will be able to attend for free at the Arena Hall - SPA
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Fencing World Championship to Kick Off Today in Riyadh

Spectators will be able to attend for free at the Arena Hall - SPA
Spectators will be able to attend for free at the Arena Hall - SPA

The 2024 Junior and Cadet Fencing World Championship for men and women is set to begin today at King Saud University's Arena Hall in Riyadh.

The event will run until April 20, featuring over 1,700 fencers from over 100 countries worldwide.
The International Fencing Federation (FIE) supervised an international training camp for 21 fencers from 21 countries, according to SPA.

The camp was held in preparation for the championship and was organized in cooperation with the championship committee. The camp concluded today.


Harry Kane Draws on Spurs 2019 Example as Pointer for Bayern

Harry Kane celebrates his goal at Arsenal. The striker has no regrets over his move to Bayern – ‘I’m really enjoying it,’ he said. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters
Harry Kane celebrates his goal at Arsenal. The striker has no regrets over his move to Bayern – ‘I’m really enjoying it,’ he said. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters
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Harry Kane Draws on Spurs 2019 Example as Pointer for Bayern

Harry Kane celebrates his goal at Arsenal. The striker has no regrets over his move to Bayern – ‘I’m really enjoying it,’ he said. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters
Harry Kane celebrates his goal at Arsenal. The striker has no regrets over his move to Bayern – ‘I’m really enjoying it,’ he said. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

Harry Kane emerged from the Emirates with the look of a man who had enjoyed himself. “I think they have a soft respect for me, the Arsenal fans,” he laughed, a glimmer of mischief crossing the striker’s face as he remembered the cacophony that had accompanied his every move upon returning to enemy territory. The jeers were never louder than when he stepped up to the penalty spot, blocking out the noise to roll calmly past David Raya and give Bayern Munich the upper hand.

Bayern felt they had just about departed with it, even though Leandro Trossard’s equaliser set up a titanic rematch in Munich next Wednesday. Kane’s demeanour could be explained by the fact Bayern, a soft touch domestically of late, had shown a resilience that has deserted their Bundesliga campaign. It had clearly encouraged him, suggesting that well-documented dream of a Wembley final for the England captain may not quite be a thing of fantasy after all.

“This was a chance to show some togetherness and sometimes that’s defending as a team,” he said. “We worked, we blocked, we tackled, caught them on the transition. We have to find that team ethic where we grind out games because we haven’t done it enough this year.”

Bayern had hardly survived the Alamo but they showed the smarts needed to douse the fire of an Arsenal side that, after Bukayo Saka’s opener, looked capable of blowing them away. They stayed in the game, punished mistakes with an old-fashioned ruthlessness and thought they could have pulled clear before Trossard ensured the final score was a fair reflection. The DNA of champions still lies in there somewhere; Kane, though, was keen to draw upon a different history lesson from his Tottenham days.

He brought up the 2018-19 season, when Spurs staggered to fourth place with seven defeats in their final 12 Premier League games but blew any negativity away in Europe. Their performances, culminating in that barely believable semi-final at Ajax, brought a first Champions League final. Kane was a frustrated onlooker against the Dutch side, as well as for the quarter-final second leg against Manchester City, through injury, but Tottenham heaved themselves through the adversity.

“That campaign is similar because we weren’t having a great time in the league if I’m totally honest,” he said. “But we found some passion and togetherness in the Champions League and we managed to get to the final. That experience gives me hope that we can find that again. We know we can perform in the big games, perform in the big quarter-final at home next week and try to get back to the final.”

Even if Bayern enter this competition with a heavier weight of expectation, the comparison is valid in showing Champions League football can throw parochial toils out of the window. Bayern will have selection problems of their own when Arsenal visit: Alphonso Davies picked up a suspension for a daft early foul on Saka while, perhaps even more damagingly, Serge Gnabry looks certain to miss out after picking up a thigh injury after the break. For all the satisfaction of leaving north London with a draw, Bayern will have to do it the hard way, but Kane took heart from that fact that, with away fans banned, they still managed to dodge the brickbats on Tuesday.

“It was strange to have no one there for us but I thought we dealt with it well,” he said. “I think you’ll see [our fans] even more excited next week having not been to this game and maybe even louder than they usually are. Hopefully we can use that energy to our advantage and really try to put the pressure on.”

In reality the pressure will run both ways. Arsenal will have defending to do but Bayern need to salvage their season and show the empire has not fallen just yet. Kane, who could barely be doing anything more on the goalscoring front, will also know every leap or stumble in a Bayern shirt casts a different reflection on his decision to move last summer.

“Of course it’s not the season I wanted with the way the league’s gone and the way we got knocked out of the cup early in the season,” he said. “Now we have hopes in the Champions League, which would be an amazing achievement. I try to perform for my team, I’m always confident to score goals. I’ve been doing that this year and I’ve been looking at areas I can improve. I still think there are areas where I can get better.”

Did a one-night reunion with 60,000 old foes leave him pining for the league he had left behind? “No, I’m really enjoying my experience in Germany,” he replied. “It was a step that I needed in my career for a fresh stimulus, a fresh challenge and new surroundings, new stadiums, new teams and I’m really happy I made the move.

“Of course I know how big the Premier league is, I played there for so many years before [but] my future is at Bayern Munich. I have a four year contract, I’m really enjoying it, hopefully I will be able to make something special happen this season.”

Kane boarded the team bus knowing that, for the moment at least, Bayern’s chances of rising through the turmoil remain alive.

-The Guardian Sport


Al-Hilal Beats Al-Ittihad 4-1 in Final of the Saudi Super Cup

Neymar (C) of Al-Hilal poses with the trophy on the podium after winning the Saudi Super Cup final between Al-Ittihad and Al-Hilal in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 11 April 2024. (EPA)
Neymar (C) of Al-Hilal poses with the trophy on the podium after winning the Saudi Super Cup final between Al-Ittihad and Al-Hilal in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 11 April 2024. (EPA)
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Al-Hilal Beats Al-Ittihad 4-1 in Final of the Saudi Super Cup

Neymar (C) of Al-Hilal poses with the trophy on the podium after winning the Saudi Super Cup final between Al-Ittihad and Al-Hilal in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 11 April 2024. (EPA)
Neymar (C) of Al-Hilal poses with the trophy on the podium after winning the Saudi Super Cup final between Al-Ittihad and Al-Hilal in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 11 April 2024. (EPA)

Al-Hilal beat Al-Ittihad 4-1 in the final of the Saudi Super Cup on Thursday to stay on course for an unprecedented four football titles this year.

The Super Cup trophy, lifted in Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, is the first of the season for the Riyadh side but is unlikely to be the last as the team is also 12 points clear of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr at the top of the Saudi Pro League with just seven games remaining.

Al-Hilal, also in the semifinals of the Asian Champions League and the Saudi King’s Cup, has extended its world record winning streak for top-tier teams to 34 consecutive games in all competitions.

Three days after defeating Al-Nassr in the semifinal, during which Ronaldo was sent off for elbowing Ali Al-Bulaihi, two goals from Brazilian winger Malcom did the damage for Al-Hilal. Salem Al-Dawsari and Nasser Al-Dawsari sealed the win with late goals.

“It was a difficult game and I am very happy to score two goals,” Malcom told Saudi television. “We are also happy to collect our first title of the season but we are chasing more trophies.”

Ittihad striker Karim Benzema, signed from Real Madrid last summer, was unable to find the net while colleague Abderrazak Hamdallah made up for missing a penalty by getting on the scoresheet.

In 2023, the Super Cup was expanded from a single game between the league champions and King’s Cup winners to include the runners-up from both competitions. It was also moved to Abu Dhabi.

Al-Hilal returns to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday to take on Al-Ain in the first leg of the Asian Champions League semifinals as it seeks a record fifth continental title.


Djokovic Takes Revenge over Musetti at Monte Carlo Masters

Serbia's Novak Djokovic plays a backhand return to Italy's Lorenzo Musetti during their Monte Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament round of 16 tennis match on the Rainier III court at the Monte Carlo Country Club on April 11, 2024. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)
Serbia's Novak Djokovic plays a backhand return to Italy's Lorenzo Musetti during their Monte Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament round of 16 tennis match on the Rainier III court at the Monte Carlo Country Club on April 11, 2024. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)
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Djokovic Takes Revenge over Musetti at Monte Carlo Masters

Serbia's Novak Djokovic plays a backhand return to Italy's Lorenzo Musetti during their Monte Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament round of 16 tennis match on the Rainier III court at the Monte Carlo Country Club on April 11, 2024. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)
Serbia's Novak Djokovic plays a backhand return to Italy's Lorenzo Musetti during their Monte Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament round of 16 tennis match on the Rainier III court at the Monte Carlo Country Club on April 11, 2024. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)

Novak Djokovic looked sluggish at times and hit several unforced errors but raised his game on important points to advance to the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday.
The top-ranked Serb, a two-time Monte Carlo champion, gained revenge over Lorenzo Musetti, who beat him last year at the Country Club in the third round. Djokovic converted five of six break points and progressed with a confidence-boosting 7-5, 6-3 win.
“The challenge today was really tough. I lost against him last year at the same stage of the tournament, so I’m glad I really found some solidity,” said Djokovic, who is playing in his first tournament since parting ways with former coach Goran Ivanisevic.
Djokovic has not played much this year and is 10-3 with his best result a semifinal run at the Australian Open. He is using the Monte Carlo clay-court tournament to fine-tune his preparations for the French Open next month.
Djokovic dropped his serve immediately and struggled to adapt to Musetti's variety of shots, The Associated Press reported. The Italian produced some great drop shots, was solid from the baseline and his one-handed backhands put Djokovic on the back foot.
A turning point came in the eighth game when Djokovic broke after Musetti blew a 40-0 lead. The Serb broke again in the 12th game after Musetti hit a double-fault to drop the set.
Both players struggled to hold their serves in the second set but Djokovic came out on top in the decisive points.
Djokovic won the title in Monte Carlo in 2013 and 2015. He has not advanced past the quarterfinals since his last victory at the Country Club nine years ago.
His next opponent will be Alex de Minaur, who beat Alexei Popyrin 6-3, 6-4.


Medvedev Loses to Khachanov in Straight Sets at Monte Carlo Masters

Russia's Daniil Medvedev (C) and Russia's Karen Khachanov (R) leave the court at the end of their Monte Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament round of 16 tennis match on the Rainier III court at the Monte Carlo Country Club on April 11, 2024. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)
Russia's Daniil Medvedev (C) and Russia's Karen Khachanov (R) leave the court at the end of their Monte Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament round of 16 tennis match on the Rainier III court at the Monte Carlo Country Club on April 11, 2024. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)
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Medvedev Loses to Khachanov in Straight Sets at Monte Carlo Masters

Russia's Daniil Medvedev (C) and Russia's Karen Khachanov (R) leave the court at the end of their Monte Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament round of 16 tennis match on the Rainier III court at the Monte Carlo Country Club on April 11, 2024. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)
Russia's Daniil Medvedev (C) and Russia's Karen Khachanov (R) leave the court at the end of their Monte Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament round of 16 tennis match on the Rainier III court at the Monte Carlo Country Club on April 11, 2024. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)

Karen Khachanov advanced to the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters with a 6-3, 7-5 win over fellow Russian Daniil Medvedev on Thursday.
It was only his second win against the fourth-ranked Medvedev.
“I lost a couple of tight matches to him on hard courts,” Khachanov said. “On clay, I have not got a title yet but I have good results. Roland Garros two-time quarterfinals. Always winning matches but not winning the tournament. In a way I think overall my results on clay are better than his, maybe, and mentally he said many times he does not like to play on it.”
Medvedev won his first clay-court tournament last year in Rome but still does not feel completely at ease on the surface. After his title in Italy, he lost in the first round to a qualifier at the French Open last season.
Khachanov will next play either two-time Monte Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas or Alexander Zverev for a spot in the semifinals.
Khachanov hit 11 winners and limited his mistakes to just three unforced errors in the second set to produce his first win over a top 5 player this season.
“First thing is to be consistent. I think lately my results have been better and better,” The Associated Press quoted Khachanov as saying. “Then to think how to beat the top guys and be at the top. These are the things that we have to keep in mind and keep working on. The win today gives extra confidence in my pocket to continue this tournament and to step into the clay swing.”
Medvedev lost his temper near the end of the second set and was handed a point penalty after yelling at the chair umpire at the changeover. Khachanov started his final service game with a 15-0 advantage and concluded with a service winner.


Premier League to Use Semi-automated Offside Technology from Next Season

Fans cheer ahead the Champions League quarterfinal soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at the Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Fans cheer ahead the Champions League quarterfinal soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at the Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
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Premier League to Use Semi-automated Offside Technology from Next Season

Fans cheer ahead the Champions League quarterfinal soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at the Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Fans cheer ahead the Champions League quarterfinal soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at the Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

The Premier League will use semi-automated offside technology from next season.

Clubs reached a unanimous decision Thursday on the introduction of the AI-based technology at a Premier League meeting, with the new system set to launched during the first half of the season, The Associated Press reported.

“The technology will provide quicker and consistent placement of the virtual offside line, based on optical player tracking,” the league said, “and will produce high-quality broadcast graphics to ensure an enhanced in-stadium and broadcast experience for supporters.”

Semi-automated offside technology was used at a World Cup for the first time in Qatar in 2022. It has also been rolled out in the Champions League.


Osaka Returns to BJK Cup Duty with Hopeful Eye on Olympics

Olympic return? Naomi Osaka lights the cauldron at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games in 2021. Jewel SAMAD / AFP/File
Olympic return? Naomi Osaka lights the cauldron at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games in 2021. Jewel SAMAD / AFP/File
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Osaka Returns to BJK Cup Duty with Hopeful Eye on Olympics

Olympic return? Naomi Osaka lights the cauldron at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games in 2021. Jewel SAMAD / AFP/File
Olympic return? Naomi Osaka lights the cauldron at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games in 2021. Jewel SAMAD / AFP/File

Naomi Osaka returns to the BJK Cup for the first time in four years on Friday, optimistically hoping to force her way into the Olympic Games.
The former world number one and four-time major winner has been named in the Japan squad to face Kazakhstan in Tokyo.
It will be the 26-year-old's first appearance in the team competition since February 2020 which means that she hasn't fulfilled the obligation of making it to two ties in one Olympic cycle.
If she is to secure a spot in the Japan team for the Paris Olympics "she'll need to go through the appeals process," a spokesman for the International Tennis Federation (ITF) told AFP.
However, the ITF also reserves a place in each singles draw at the Games to a Grand Slam title winner.
Osaka was absent from the tour from September 2022 until January this year after giving birth to her first child.
At the Australian Open, she was ranked a lowly 831 but a quarter-final run in Qatar followed by back-to-back third round spots at Indian Wells and Miami have lifted her to just inside the top 200 and number four in Japan.
The singles event at the Olympics is limited to 64 players with a maximum of four from each nation.
Osaka has already experienced the Olympics, lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony of the Covid-delayed Tokyo Games in 2021 where she went on to make the third round.
That appearance came just months after she withdrew from the French Open at Roland Garros -- the venue for this summer's Olympics tennis event -- citing mental health issues.
Japan's tie with Kazakhstan on Friday and Saturday will be staged at Tokyo's Ariake Coliseum, the venue for the 2021 Olympic tournament.
"She said that she wants to play, so I'm really happy," local media quoted Japan captain Ai Sugiyama as saying when the team for this weekend was announced.
Eight BJK Cup qualifying ties take place this week with the winners advancing to the 12-team finals in November where they will join hosts Spain, defending champions Canada, 2023 runners-up Italy and wild-card Czech Republic.
World number one Iga Swiatek leads Poland in their tie against Switzerland at Biel.
Swiatek returns to the squad for the first time since the 2022 qualifiers, when she led Poland to a 4-0 victory against Romania.
Eighteen-time champions United States host Belgium in Orlando with their challenge spearheaded by world number five Jessica Pegula.
Ukraine are playing their home tie against Romania in Florida as they attempt to reach the finals for the first time.