Reuters Sports News Summary

Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.

Exclusive: Hopman Cup set to return in 2021 - ITF President

The mixed-gender Hopman Cup team event is set to return in 2021 after losing its traditional New Year slot on the tennis calendar, International Tennis Federation (ITF) President David Haggerty said on Wednesday. This year's 31st edition of the tournament, unique in that it is the only top-level mixed team event, saw Roger Federer lead Switzerland to the title in Perth against Germany in what fans and players feared would be a golden swansong.

NBA Shanghai game still scheduled amid Hong Kong free speech backlash

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is pressing ahead with a exhibition game Thursday evening in Shanghai, despite backlash against the league from China after a Houston Rockets executive's tweet supporting Hong Kong protests. The NBA on Thursday published a post on Chinese social networking platform Weibo promoting the match between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets, accompanied by a short clip featuring star players LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. local time (1130 GMT).

NHL roundup: Flyers' Hart blanks Devils

Carter Hart picked up his first career shutout, and Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny backed him up with a goal and an assist apiece as the host Philadelphia Flyers flew past the New Jersey Devils 4-0 on Wednesday night. Provorov now has 100 career points, two games into his fourth season. Hart made 25 saves as he got the shutout in his 32nd career start.

Gymnastics: Russia's men clinch maiden team title at worlds

Russia's men clinched their first-ever team title at the gymnastics world championships on Wednesday, edging China in a tight contest in the finals in Stuttgart. The Russians never missed a beat as they posted a score of 261.726 across six apparatus - just 0.997 more than last year's winners China.

NFL upholds Raiders LB Burfict's suspension

NFL appeals officer Derrick Brooks upheld Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict's season-ending suspension on Wednesday. Burfict will miss the remainder of the 2019 season -- including any playoff games if the Raiders reach the postseason -- as a result of repeated violations of unnecessary roughness rules.

Inaugural World Beach Games looking for place in the sun

The inaugural World Beach Games starting on Saturday in Qatar want to squeeze into an already crowded international sports calendar with what organizers hope is the right mix of sun, sea and a low budget. With more than 1,200 athletes from 97 countries competing in 14 disciplines, including 3X3 basketball, bouldering, beach tennis, beach handball, beach wrestling and wakeboarding, the five-day event is by no means a small affair.

Rugby: England vs. France, New Zealand vs. Italy canceled due to typhoon

Rugby World Cup organisers were forced to call off matches for the first time in the tournament's 32-year history on Thursday - eliminating Italy as a result - saying the risk from Typhoon Hagibis made hosting them an impossibility on safety grounds. Italy's game against New Zealand in Toyota and England's match against France in Yokohama on Saturday have both been cancelled, while Sunday's key game between hosts Japan and Scotland is in doubt, with a decision to be made on the day.

NFL notebook: Burfict's suspension upheld on appeal

NFL appeals officer Derrick Brooks upheld Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict's season-ending suspension on Wednesday. Burfict will miss the remainder of the 2019 season -- including any playoff games if the Raiders reach the postseason -- as a result of repeated violations of unnecessary roughness rules. His appeal was heard Tuesday, nine days after he was ejected for lowering his helmet to initiate contact on Colts tight end Jack Doyle.

Collins says she has rheumatoid arthritis

American Danielle Collins on Wednesday said she has begun treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, an immune disorder that can cause debilitating swelling and pain in the joints. The Florida native enjoyed a breakout season in 2019, reaching a career-high ranking of 23rd in the world and reaching the Australian Open semi-finals in January.

Trump criticizes Kerr, Popovich for China reactions

President Donald Trump strode into the NBA's China morass on Wednesday, denouncing the reaction of Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to the controversy. The NBA is dealing with harsh reaction from its Chinese business partners to a since-deleted tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey related to protests in Hong Kong. The league subsequently apologized for the backlash to Morey's tweet but backed his ability to take a stand on the issue without speaking for the team.