'The flag is right there': Fans torch horrible blunder in tennis story about 'China'

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Tennis fans and commentators have torched ESPN over a shocking blunder in a story about China forfeiting an upcoming Davis Cup tie.

China announced the decision on Tuesday because their men's tennis team cannot travel to Romania next month.

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The International Tennis Federation cited “increased restrictions in response to the current coronavirus outbreak” for the decision.

In their reporting of the story, ESPN accidentally used a photo of the Japanese Davis Cup team - including big name stars Yoshihito Nishioka and Taro Daniel.

ESPN used a photo of the Japanese team rather than the Chinese. Image: ESPN/Twitter

Rather inexplicably the photo showed the players wearing their Japanese tracksuits, featuring the Japanese flag right there on the front.

Needless to say the horrible blunder sparked uproar, with tennis writers Ben Rothenberg and Ricky Dimon among those to criticise the error.

China forced to forfeit clash

China were to play in Piatra Neamt, Romania, on March 6-7 in a World Group I playoff.

The ITF said Romania will advance to a World Group I tie in September and China will drop into World Group II.

The death toll in mainland China due to the virus named COVID-19 had risen to almost 1900 on Tuesday, with more than 72,000 confirmed cases.

The outbreak has caused numerous sports events in China to be cancelled, postponed, or moved, and has affected the ability of Chinese teams to travel for competition.

with Associated Press