BELGRADE, Serbia — Novak Djokovic’s charity tennis exhibition series, combined with an overall softening of coronavirus restrictions in Serbia and Croatia, has been followed by an increase in the number of positive cases among professional athletes.

Two tennis players ranked among the top 40 in the world and five players at Serbia’s biggest soccer club have tested positive for the virus after being involved in sporting events where fans packed into the stands and social distancing was not enforced.

Djokovic, the top-ranked player in the world who previously said he was against taking a vaccine for the virus even if

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — A noose was found in the garage stall of Black driver Bubba Wallace at the NASCAR race in Alabama on Sunday, less than two weeks after he successfully pushed the auto racing series to ban the Confederate flag at its tracks and facilities.

NASCAR announced the discovery late Sunday and said it had launched an immediate investigation. It said it will do everything possible to find who was responsible and “eliminate them from the sport.”

“We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” the series said in a

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Hall of Famer Brett Favre commended Colin Kaepernick for his sacrifice in protesting police brutality and racial inequality and compared his efforts to that of Pat Tillman in an interview with TMZ released Sunday.

The three-time MVP and Green Bay Packers great praised the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback for sparking a wave of demonstrations across the NFL in 2016 after kneeling during the national anthem.

“It’s not easy for a guy his age — Black or white, Hispanic, whatever — to stop something that you’ve always dreamed of doing, and put it on hold, maybe forever, for something that

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LIVERPOOL, England — There was no victory for Liverpool on the longest day of the year, which could mean an even longer wait to clinch the Premier League title.

When you’ve been waiting 30 years — and then had the coronation delayed by three months because of a pandemic — patience can be expected.

The quietest of the 236 Merseyside derbies, with fans denied access to Goodison Park, produced no goals as Everton held Liverpool to a 0-0 draw on Sunday.

“Everton was obviously here to make our lives difficult,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. “And they did.”

Liverpool is

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Grigor Dimitrov said Sunday he has tested positive for COVID-19, leading to the cancellation of an exhibition event in Croatia where top-ranked Novak Djokovic was scheduled to play.

Dimitrov, ranked No. 19 and a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist, is the highest-profile current player to say he has the virus and his announcement on his Instagram page comes at the end of a week when the U.S. Open said it would go forward.

The professional tennis tours have been suspended since March and are planning to resume in August.

Dimitrov said he was making his condition public because he wanted to

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