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Federer: Tennis taking proactive approach to address fixing

JUSTIN BERGMAN, Associated Press br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — At last year's Australian Open, the players were caught by surprise when a report was published on the eve of the season-opening Grand Slam alleging widespread match-fixing in the sport. Every news conference felt like an ambush, a peppering of pointed questions about corruption. This year, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and other stars of the game seem better prepared. They've got their talking points ready — and they can even have a sense of humor about the subject. 'I thought we were going to finish on a good one,' Federer quipped when a match-fixing question was asked at the very end of his pre-tournament news conference on Saturday. Then he smiled. It most likely won't be the last he'll ever be asked, either. Last season's tournament began beneath a cloud of suspicion after a report by BBC and BuzzFeed alleged that tennis authorities had overlooked suspected cases of match-fixing involving some top players, none of whom were named. Federer, in response, called the situation 'super serious' and argued that anyone who engages in match-fixing should be identified publicly. In the past year, this is what tennis authorities have tried to do. Nine players and officials were sanctioned by the Tennis Integrity Unit in 2016 — the most in a single year since the body was created in 2008. In the first two weeks of this year, six more were added to the list. All of them were lower-ranked players who played primarily on the lower-tier Challenger and Futures tours, considered the most at-risk for match-fixing because of the smaller purses and lack of scrutiny compared with larger ATP and WTA events. Federer said this is where tennis officials need to be focusing their efforts. 'Clearly we have no space for that kind of behavior in our sport,' he said, adding that efforts to combat corruption have had positive spinoffs. 'The good thing is that it's really only zero-point-something percent of players that actually have done something over the course of so many matches and so many players. I think we've done actually OK.' To be exact, the TIU said that only 292 matches generated suspicious betting alerts out of more than 114,000 played last year, or about 0.2 percent. Betting alerts, on their own, are also not conclusive proof that a match has been fixed. Federer also applauded the TIU's decision to name an independent review panel to examine its operations and recommend changes. The report is due later this year. 'That's going to change the sport for the better,' he said. Djokovic also said the problem seems to be confined to the lower-tier tours, taking a subtle shot at the media for making 'a great deal about it' when a case arises. But he, too, stressed that progress has been made and he believes the sport is cleaner than it was 12 months ago. 'Ideally, we don't want to see any kind of match-fixing occurrences,' he said. 'But, unfortunately, they do occur from time to time. 'We haven't experienced too many. Generally looking I think ATP and all the authorities are doing a good job in kind of tracking down those kind of potential match-fixing matches.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJan 14th, 2017

Joe Judge, old-fashioned at 38, wants blue-collar Giants

By Tom Canavan, Associated Press EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Joe Judge has every intention of bringing old-fashioned blue-collar football back to the struggling New York Giants. Roughly three minutes after being introduced as the head coach of the Giants, the relative unknown 38-year-old disciple of two of football's coaching greats set out to answer the question of who is this young man taking over a franchise that has made the playoffs once since the 2011 season. “What I am about is an old-school physical mentality,” Judge said Thursday. “We are going to put a product on the field that this city and region are proud of because this team will represent this area. We will play fast. We will play downhill. We will be aggressive. We will punch you in the nose for 60 minutes and we will play every play with a relentless, competitive attitude.” The team did not release terms of Judge's contract, but it certainly was not close to the seven-year, $62 million deal the Carolina Panthers gave Matt Rhule on Tuesday. The former Giants assistant had been considered a front-runner for the Giants' job. Judge refused to answer a question about being the Giants' second choice, insisting his sole focus is taking advantage of the opportunity he has been given. He said his team will be fundamentally sound and prepared. He said he will take care of his players and asked them to give everything they have. If that sounds like things that Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Alabama coach Nick Saban would say, it's not surprising. Judge worked for both men, winning two national titles with Saban and the Crimson Tide and three with Belichick and the Pats. Judge said Saban taught him to address everyone on not only what they had to do, but how it should look, what they are going to do to get there and why it is important. Belichick made him understand the need to be flexible with his personnel and to make sure they were playing to their strengths. Judge talked for roughly 20 minutes in setting out his goals for a team that has won 12 games over the past three seasons, including nine under Pat Shurmur over the past two. Shurmur was fired a week ago Monday. They Giants needed eight days and five interviews to find a successor. Co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, who have lost credibility with their recent hires of Ben McAdoo and Shurmur, described Judge as detailed-orientated, passionate, disciplined, someone with a voracious appetite to learn, a great communicator, a student and a teacher. Judge plans to take his time assembling a staff, saying he wants teachers. He wants his players to have a team-first approach. Mara said he went into the interview with Judge on Monday not expecting that much since he did not know much about him. Halfway through the meeting, he felt strongly the Giants had their next coach. The Giants had an interview scheduled with Rhule on Tuesday. The team planned to keep the appointment but Rhule's agent telephoned to say his client had a deal with the Panthers. The Giants felt the length of the deal was too long and Mara said they were excited about Judge. “There are always risks when you hire a coach who has never been a head coach. I am just excited about what he brings to the table. He has a certain poise and presence.'' Tisch spoke with Judge on Tuesday, a day after his initial meeting with Mara, general manager Dave Gettleman and assistant general manager Kevin Abrams. “We got the right guy at the right time on the right time,” Tisch said. Judge refused to discuss his plans for either the offense or defense. He also didn't want to talk about his players until he studied them. “We will do whatever fits our personnel against a specific opponent, 3-4, 4-3, man, zone," Judge said. “We are going to look at the best path and that could change week by week. We want to build in versatility with our players and multiples on all sides of the ball.'' Gettleman said Judge is excellent evaluating college talent, someone who can get players functioning quickly in making the jump to the NFL. While the Giants have two budding stars in quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley, they need help at several positions, particularly linebacker, on the offensive line and a pass rushing lineman......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2020

Federer says a star s legacy isn t at risk with late decline

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Roger Federer arrives for his interview at the precise appointed time, steering his white sedan into a parking spot in an industrial area dotted by art galleries about 15 minutes from his luxury apartment in this home-away-from-home. After obliging a selfie request from someone on the street, Federer makes his way up to a second-story loft area and sits. He crosses his legs, kneads his right calf and winces. “Just started training. I'm surprised I could walk the stairs as good as I have,” Federer says with a laugh. “My calves are, like, killing me. Just getting back into it. The shock on the body is, I don't want to say 'immense,' every time, but I've been on vacation for two weeks. The shock just hits you hard.” Ah, the ravages of age. Federer, who won the first of his men's-record 20 Grand Slam titles when he was 21 and now is 38, explains to The Associated Press that he must “go back to the drawing board” after “just missing out on The Big One,” a reference to his fifth-set tiebreaker loss to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final in July. So all of just two days into Federer's preparation for next season -- he flies to Melbourne on Jan. 9, a week before the Australian Open draw -- he is taking a 48-hour break, sitting out his two-a-day fitness sessions and not lifting a racket. No one this old has won a Grand Slam title in the professional era. As a younger man, Federer says, he didn't allow himself such a respite, working six or eight days in a row to get going. But now? The “waves,” he calls them, making an undulating motion with his famous right arm -- time on, then time off -- offer his body a chance to recover. They also let him “go through the wall” on the day before a rest period, because “otherwise, you maybe would hold back just ever so slightly, because you just don't know how you're going to feel the next day.” Federer recognizes that continuing to play tennis at a high level long past the age when many greats of the past were done (his idol, Pete Sampras, competed for the final time at 31) means he repeatedly faces questions -- from fans, from the media, from those around him -- about how long he will continue on tour. And while he can't provide a definitive answer -- because, quite simply, he says he doesn't have one -- Federer is willing to discuss this aspect of the subject: He does not consider it important to walk away at the top of his game and the top of his sport. When he's told about a newspaper opinion piece from way back in 2013 -- 2013! -- that posited he should quit then to avoid ruining his legacy, Federer just smiles and waves his hand. He knows, of course, that he's managed to reach another seven Grand Slam finals since the start of 2014, winning three. But he also says the notion that an older athlete could harm his or her status by hanging around too long is nonsense, no matter what the decline looks like. “I don't think the exit needs to be that perfect, that you have to win something huge ... and you go, 'OK. I did it all.' It can be completed a different way, as long as you enjoy it and that's what matters to you," Federer says. “People, I don't think, anyway, remember what were the last matches of a John McEnroe, what were the last matches of a Stefan Edberg. Nobody knows. They remember that they won Wimbledon, that they won this and that, they were world No. 1. I don't think the end, per se, is that important.” That doesn't mean, of course, that he isn't as competitive as ever or doesn't want to win a 21st major championship -- above all, No. 9 at Wimbledon, after it slipped away despite two match points in 2019 -- or his first Olympic singles gold at the Tokyo Games next year. Or win any tournaments, for that matter, which would push him closer to Jimmy Connors' professional era record of 109 trophies (Federer has 103). He's still good enough, after all, to be ranked No. 3 — having spent a record 310 weeks at No. 1, he is currently behind No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Djokovic — and to go 53-10 with four titles this season. If it seems as though the rest of the world is insisting it needs to know when and how retirement will arrive, Federer says it's not something on which he expends a lot of energy. Not anymore, anyway. “I mean, I don't think about it much, to be honest,” Federer says. “It's a bit different (now) that I know I'm at the back end of my career. But I feel like I've been toward 'the back end of my career' for a long, long time.” So much so that when he got sick while on a skiing trip in January 2008 with what eventually was diagnosed as mononucleosis, he vowed to stay off the slopes, a decision he stuck to, although not without some regret. His children -- twin daughters, 10, and twin sons, 5 -- all ski, and he and his wife, Mirka, have a home in a resort in his native Switzerland. Yet Federer sticks to his role as “the chief 'getting the kids ski-ready' operator guy.” “I was like, 'OK, you know what? That's a sign. I'm going to stop skiing, because I don't want to get hurt at the back end of my career. Maybe I have another four good years left in me. This was (12) years ago now. So it shows you how long ago I've been thinking: 'Maybe I have another four years. Maybe I have another three years. Maybe I have another two years.' ... I've been on this sort of train for long enough for me not to actually think about it a whole lot,” he says. “But sure, sometimes with family planning, discussions with my wife, we talk a little bit sometimes. But never like, 'What if?' Or, 'What are we going to do?' Because I always think, like, we have time for that and then we'll figure it out when that moment comes." Even his agent, Tony Godsick, who has represented Federer since 2005, raises the topic. “It would help make my job easier,” Godsick says in a telephone interview. “I don't want to know for my own personal travel. Or I don't want to know to have the scoop before anyone else. I want to know so I can plan. ... I mean, he won't go on a retirement tour, but I'd like to have some advance notice, maybe throw some more cameras around when he's out playing, so we can capture some more footage.” Godsick pauses, then spaces out the next five words for emphasis: “But. He. Really. Doesn't. Know.” “I really do think he has the flexibility to actually not decide ... until he feels like it's the time. And that will come when Mirka says, 'I can't do it anymore,' and 'I can't be on the road with the kids,' and 'The kids are not enjoying it.' Or his body might say, ‘Hey, Rog, stop pushing me so hard,'” Godsick says. “Maybe it's a time when he realizes on the practice court he doesn't either have the motivation or the ability to get better. And at that point, then maybe he says, 'I certainly have squeezed all the juice out of this lemon in terms of innovating and getting better.' And I don't think that time is there yet. Which is good news.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2019

LeBron James keeping Father Time at bay in LA

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com The bearded man in a robe who walks with a slight hunch and carries an hourglass always lurks in the shadows, almost out of view. Nobody is paying him much mind or cares what he has to say -- at least not initially. He’s not on anyone’s radar until he appears and applies a gentle tap on the shoulder (or a violent shove in the back) of the unsuspecting. And that’s when they realize they’ve been paid a visit by someone whom Charles Barkley always says is undefeated. Yes, it is “Father Time,” the mythical creation of the ancient Greeks whose clock is more pronounced than any made in Switzerland. He is, by every metric, always on time, although that seems to vary, depending on his mood. He is gracious and respectful in some cases, unforgiving in others. Ultimately, he and only he decides when your time in sports is up. And so, it’s a matter of when, not if, he’ll throw LeBron James in reverse. But where other stars became role players or transformed into shells of their former selves, LeBron is playing at a high level. He turns 35 later this month and because he’s delivering Kia MVP-quality results here in his 17th NBA season, he is winning against time, and therefore, he is … cheating time. He’s almost at 57,000 minutes played in the regular season and playoffs combined, which ranks fourth behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant. He should pass Kobe for No. 3 in career scoring (33,643 points) by the All-Star break. The all-time scoring mark and a high ranking on the all-time assists list are in sight, too. Ask him why and how he’s doing it and LeBron is playfully coy and quick to say “fine wine.” He’ll also often credit the extra motivation he acquired last summer, when he watched the playoffs from his sofa, not far removed from a groin injury and a dreadful first season with the Lakers. Those things caused him grief and fueled his desire to reclaim his place. "I put in the work and I trust everything that I’ve done, especially this offseason," James said. "I’ve come in with a great mindset, with a healthy mindset and a healthy body." Considering his middle age, LeBron is putting together a masterful season (25.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg) while excelling as a volume 3-point shooter. His 10.8 apg leads the NBA and his effort defensively -- which was laughable last season -- is laudable now. Nobody at 35 has assembled such numbers in league history. “He’s LeBron James,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “Until he isn’t.” What’s age got to do with it? Well, nothing right now. LeBron is still capable of unleashing a facial dunk, as he did with a smirk against the Kings’ Nemanja Bjelica, who perhaps wisely never bothered to challenge it. He also covers all the court rather than, as some aging players are wont to do, play between the free throw lines. It’s true that soon enough he will wear longer shorts than anyone in the game -- not from faulty tailoring, but from constant pulling and tugging. And while the ball is in play, he will someday hear squeaking on the court and suddenly notice that sound is coming from his joints. “Nobody knows when it’ll happen to him because he’s still playing in the air,” said Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins. “And even when that goes, his basketball IQ will allow him to stay great on the ground. I mean, who gets triple doubles at his age? Only he knows when his time is up.” When that day arrives -- and assuming he doesn’t first quit while he’s ahead -- how big of a decline will it be for LeBron (and, by extension, for us) to witness? Will he fall prey to nagging injuries, get torched nightly by previously inferior players, or quit playing defense? Here’s how “Father Time” diminished six greats who came before LeBron: 1. Michael Jordan: When he retired for the second time, after his last season with the Bulls, Jordan was still very much a physical marvel and the reigning MVP and Finals MVP (he won five MVPs and six Finals MVPs). He was certifiably great for 13 of his 15 seasons and could’ve been longer if not for three years of college ball, an injury-shortened 1985-86 season and 1.5 missed seasons due to baseball. His body only began to betray him when he un-retired in 2001 to play for the Wizards. At 38, Jordan rarely dunked, wasn’t as sharp defensively and knee issues limited him to 60 games in 2001-02. 2. Jerry West: “The Logo” never had a down year in his 14-year career. He was First-Team All-Defense in 1972-73 as a 34-year-old and was solid in his final season (20.3 ppg, 6.6 apg, 2.6 spg). But he wasn’t at his peak of the late 1960s and opted to quit over pride (and money, when Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke refused to renegotiate his contract). 3. Bill Russell: His career ended mainly because he ran out of psychological fuel. Russell lost his passion to play at 35, even after winning championship No. 11 in his final season (1968-69). That season, he played 46.1 mpg in the playoffs, averaging 10.8 ppg, 20.5 rpg and 5.4 apg. While those numbers are perhaps skewed by the way the game was played back then, they’re still remarkable. 4. Wilt Chamberlain: A man of astonishing stats, Chamberlain averaged a league-leading 18.6 rpg and shot 72.7% overall in his final season (1972-73). Knee issues had long forced Wilt into being a statue in the paint and a third option on offense. After that final NBA season, he jumped from the Lakers to the ABA for money. San Diego offered him $600,000 to be a player-coach, but his Lakers contract prevented him from playing. Wilt coached instead, doing so with disinterest, often not showing up for games or practice. He quit basketball completely after that season. 5. Kobe Bryant: Those roundtrip flights to Germany to get oil for his knees managed to delay the obvious for a few years, but a torn Achilles in 2013 at 35 was the killer. Kobe, much like Jordan and LeBron, was elite into his 30s. And he’ll always have that 60-point send-off. 6. Karl Malone: He won his final MVP at 35 and was built for durability, never suffering a serious injury. He averaged 20.6 ppg in his final season with Utah (2002-03) as he approached 40. By then, he had morphed into a jump shooter and lost his instincts for offensive rebounding. He bowed out as a ring-chasing role player with the Lakers in ‘03-04. Larry Bird was ruined by debilitating back issues at 32. Abdul-Jabbar often only jogged downcourt his last six seasons. Tim Duncan became a secondary option in his last four seasons while Dirk Nowitzki averaged more than 20 ppg once over his final five seasons. Vince Carter is 42 and proudly still playing, but clearly is 10 years beyond his prime. Allen Iverson was the last to know his quickness was gone. “For me, it was Year 12 when it hit me,” said Lakers great James Worthy, who had knee issues. “My patented move was taking off from somewhere inside the free throw line. I found myself halfway there once and I started to descend before I got close to the rim. I had to do a George Gervin flip instead of a dunk. “It’s different now, with this generation of players. I was eating Burger King before games and working out on Nautilus machines. I went to college with Lawrence Taylor and I remember him telling me, ‘I don’t wanna get hit anymore.’ And he’s a reckless guy. LeBron will wake up one day and he won’t have that drive. He’ll be tired and while physically he’s in such great shape, something will go away, either a move or speed.” LeBron seems determined to be the outlier. He spends, by various estimations, more than $1 million on his body for round the clock therapy and a personal trainer. Last summer, he refused to allow the shooting schedule for the movie “Space Jam 2” to interfere with his schedule, rising at 3:30 a.m. to train before heading to the set. He has more than once fantasized about staying in the league long enough to possibly play against or alongside his son, Bronny (now a high school freshman). “LeBron is not only a great player but a physical marvel,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “Probably the best athlete to ever walk this planet. I’ve never seen anybody in my lifetime in any sport whom I would consider a better athlete. It’s one of his best attributes and the one that goes the least noticed. You just take it for granted that he’s out there every night and still doing his things.” LeBron exchanged playful tweets with Tom Brady last month, with LeBron saying the two are “one in the same.” Brady is a tame comparison to LeBron. Brady doesn’t run 94 feet and back for nine months (playoffs included) and when tired can simply hand off to the running back. Same for NFL legend Joe Montana, who made the Pro Bowl at 37. MLB legend Nolan Ryan threw once every four or five days. Maybe tennis star Roger Federer, who won Wimbledon at 36 and still reaches finals at 38, comes closest. “It wouldn’t shock me if LeBron played until he was 40,” West said. “He’s such a great athlete and knows enough about his body that he’ll probably leave before he declines.” After watching Robert Parish waste away on the Bulls’ bench, Jordan said he’d never allow himself to stay in the game that long. His pride and unwillingness to be seen as hanging on meant he’d walk away first. LeBron doesn’t think of the twilight and given how he’s playing now, that doesn’t appear to be in the future, anyway. “I was with the Nuggets late in my career and the funny thing is I was leading the league in assists,” said Mark Jackson, fourth on the all-time assists list. “There was a loose ball, a deflection, and it’s right here, and I can go get it. I made the move to go get it, and before I could get anywhere near it, a kid out of nowhere, and in a blur, snatched it. Gets the ball, by the time I get to the spot where the ball is, he’d already dunked it. Young kid by the name of Allen Iverson. I knew it would never be the same.” Jackson says LeBron is so multi-gifted that he can endure decline in one area and still flourish in another. “He also has the knowledge, pace and understanding that he’ll still be able to be effective even when he slows down,” Jackson said. “I don’t think it’ll be drastic. He can average a triple-double for the next five years.” LeBron is taking great satisfaction in fighting age while tweaking skeptics, both real and imagined, who wondered if decline was imminent. He cites that “Washed King” nickname -- did somebody actually call him that? -- as motivation. “It’s the personal pressure I put on myself,” LeBron said. Eventually, like everyone, he’ll take the L from “Father Time.” Until then, LeBron is making us wonder if that mythical man exists. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 5th, 2019

Erratic Federer loses to Dimitrov in US Open quarterfinals

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Betrayed by his forehand, and maybe his body, too, Roger Federer is out of the U.S. Open. Federer gave away a lead against a guy he'd never lost to and was beaten 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 by 78th-ranked Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals before a stunned crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday night. "He started slowing down a little bit," Dimitrov said. "For sure, in the end, he was not 100% of himself." Chasing a 21st Grand Slam title, and sixth at Flushing Meadows, the 38-year-old Federer took a rare-for-him medical timeout after the fourth set, leaving the court with a trainer. It was not immediately clear what might have been wrong with Federer, although he did appear to be flexing his back after some points. When play resumed after a break of nearly 10 minutes, Federer's form never picked up. He kept contributing to Dimitrov's cause, missing shots this way and that, long or wide or into the net. The stats were staggering and showed exactly how off Federer was on this evening: 61 unforced errors, 33 on the forehand side. Compare that to his 40 total winners. Federer had been 7-0 against Dimitrov, taking 16 of their previous 18 sets. And Federer could have become the oldest man to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Jimmy Connors was 39 in 1991 at the U.S. Open. He could have claimed a berth in his record 56th career major semifinal. Instead, it is Dimitrov who will participate in a Slam final four for the third time, facing No. 5 seed Daniil Medvedev on Friday. Medvedev has drawn plenty of attention at Flushing Meadows for the way he sarcastically thanked booing crowds, trolling them by suggesting their venom was why he kept winning. Now maybe folks will pay more attention to the 23-year-old Russian's unusual brand of shape-shifting tennis, which carried him past three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (6), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 on Tuesday despite 12 double-faults and a body that's just short of breaking down. Dimitrov has struggled for much of 2019, failing to even get to a quarterfinal anywhere since Week 1 of the season. And it's been nearly 1½ years since Dimitrov reached a semifinal at any tour-level event, let alone a major. His Grand Slam results have been trending in the wrong direction, too: from a loss in the fourth round at the Australian Open to the third round at the French Open to the first round at Wimbledon. So his ranking, as high as No. 3 a couple of years ago, is nowhere near that now. His coaches, Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek, aren't anywhere near Flushing Meadows, either. They opted to stay away from the tournament. Asked why, Dimitrov hemmed and hawed. It's certainly working so far......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 4th, 2019

Federer comes so close to 9th Wimbledon title before losing

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Roger Federer won more points than Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final. Federer was the first of the pair to come within a point of taking the championship Sunday, too. Had two such chances in the fifth set, even. Indeed, Federer dominated the historic match in nearly every statistical way. More than twice as many aces. More than twice as many breaks of serve. Nearly twice as many total winners. And yet, in the only category that matters, the final score, Federer barely came up on the short end, losing 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 13-12 (3) to defending champion Djokovic. By ceding all three sets that went to a tiebreaker, including — for the first time at Wimbledon — the fifth, Federer was denied a ninth title at the All England Club and 21st Grand Slam trophy overall, which both would have extended men's records he already holds. "For now it hurts, and it should, like every loss does here at Wimbledon," said Federer, who is now 8-4 in finals at the grass-court major, with three of those losses against Djokovic, including in 2014 and 2015. As for how he will go about bouncing back from this sort of a heartbreaking defeat, Federer replied: "I think it's a mindset. I'm very strong at being able to move on, because I don't want to be depressed about actually an amazing tennis match." That is was. They played for nearly five hours, making it the longest final at Wimbledon, where they've been holding this tournament since the 1870s. It surpassed the old mark established by the 2008 final, which Federer also lost in a fifth set, that one against Rafael Nadal. One key difference with this one: The All England Club changed its rules to adopt deciding-set tiebreakers for the first time at 12-all. "I'm the loser both times," Federer said, "so that's the only similarity I see." He wound up with 218 points to Djokovic's 204. Federer also led in aces, 25-10; service breaks, 7-3; total winners, 94-54. Did a lot of damage at the net, too, winning 13 of 15 serve-and-volley points and 51 of 65 when he moved forward at all. "Most of the match, I was on the back foot, actually. I was defending. He was dictating the play," Djokovic said. "I just tried to fight and find a way when it mattered the most, which is what happened." After Federer went up a break at 8-7 in the last set, he served for the victory. He held two championship points at 40-15 and didn't convert either one. The match would go on for another 45 minutes and Federer would never get that close to winning again. "Definitely tough," Federer said, "to have those chances." On top of everything else, Federer also was stopped from becoming, less than a month away from his 38th birthday, the oldest man to win a major championship in the professional era. "I hope I give some other people a chance to believe that, at 37, it's not over yet," Federer said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 15th, 2019

Super old Federer to face ex-contemporary s son at French

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Roger Federer, 37, joked to a stadium filled with screaming kids that he's "so super old." Stan Wawrinka, 34, pulled a crying boy out of a crush of autograph-seekers in the stands. Rafael Nadal, about to turn 33, offered this advice to youngsters at his match who might be pondering a tennis career: "The main thing is, don't think about winning Roland Garros." Schools in France are closed on Wednesdays, bringing out a, um, louder brand of fan to the French Open, and that trio of past champions of the clay-court major seemed to appreciate the adulation from the little ones who attended their straight-set victories. Fitting, too, perhaps, that Federer advanced to a third-round meeting against 20-year-old Casper Ruud, someone so much his junior that the guy's father was in the field when Federer made his debut in Paris in 1999. "I know probably more about his dad," Federer said, "than about him." Federer, the tournament's 2009 champion who hadn't been in the field in four years, will be playing his third opponent in a row who is 25 or younger, after beating 144th-ranked Oscar Otte 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in the second round. Now the 20-time major champion takes on Ruud, a Norwegian ranked 63rd. He is coached by his father, Christian, who told Casper he once practiced with Federer, although they never played. "Ever since I can remember, I've been watching Roger on TV," said Ruud, who knocked off 29th-seeded Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 7-5, 6-3. Then came this admission from Ruud: "To be honest, I've been a little bit more of a Rafa fan and Rafa guy." Better hope no one tells Roger. Still, even if he always has preferred Nadal, Ruud described what comes next this way: "I'm playing one of the greatest champions ever of this sport on Friday, so I'm just super excited for it. I can play loose and free." Wawrinka, the winner in 2015 and the runner-up two years later, also had no trouble against a much younger foe Wednesday, eliminating 22-year-old Cristian Garin 6-1, 6-4, 6-0. Afterward, Wawrinka came to the rescue of one of his tiniest fans, lifting him away from danger and offering a towel as a keepsake. "I took him out of that mess a little bit," Wawrinka said. "He was in pain and sad." Owner of three Grand Slam titles in all, Wawrinka will bring his signature backhand into what shapes up as a more competitive matchup against two-time major semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov, who eliminated 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic 6-7 (3), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 over nearly 4½ hours. Nadal's form hadn't been up to his usual standards during much of the clay season: This was the first time since 2004 that he entered May without a title for the year. But he looked good while taking the title at the Italian Open this month, including a victory over Novak Djokovic in the final, and he's been close to untouchable so far as he seeks a record-extending 12th trophy in Paris. His latest tour de force was a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over 114th-ranked Yannick Maden, a qualifier from Germany. OK, so Nadal hasn't really faced much of a test yet. Still, he is displaying the court-covering, ball-walloping style he has perfected, which could come in handy when he plays 2016 French Open quarterfinalist David Goffin in the third round. "I don't like the word 'easy,' because when you win, it always looks easier," Nadal said. "I can say (I had) a comfortable victory. I have been in control most all the time. And that's the only thing that really matters." While plenty of the sport's big names still dot the men's bracket, the women's field keeps seeing top players depart. On Wednesday, No. 4 seed Kiki Bertens, a 2016 semifinalist and considered a contender for her first major title, quit during the first set of her match against Viktoria Kuzmova because she was sick. Tears filled Bertens' eyes as she described waking up at 3 a.m., feeling ill. "Vomiting. Diarrhea. All night long, all day long. I felt a little bit better before the match. I had some sleep, and I just wanted to give it a try," she said. "But then as soon as I start warming up right before the match, it started again. There was not any energy left." Bianca Andreescu, an 18-year-old Canadian who was seeded 22nd, pulled out before her match against 20-year-old American Sonia Kenin, citing an injured right shoulder that sidelined her from March until this week. Kenin will face the winner of Thursday's match between Serena Williams and Japanese qualifier Kurumi Nara. Bertens and Andreescu join two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who withdrew before her first match because of an arm injury, and former No. 1s Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki, who both lost in the first round......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2019

Venus focused on tennis, not age, in record 73rd Grand Slam

JUSTIN BERGMAN, Associated Press br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — One could never accuse Venus Williams of being sensitive about her age. Not the way she keeps making self-deprecating jokes about it at the Australian Open. Case in point: Asked about the Australian great Margaret Court after her third-round win over China's Duan Yingying at Margaret Court Arena on Friday, Williams said she had a letter from the 24-time major winner hung on the wall in her room as a memento. 'It's a congratulations for me being the oldest person in the draw or something like that,' she dead-panned. The 36-year-old Williams fields more than her fair share of questions about her advanced age in the sport, how often she considers retirement, what keeps her motivated after more than two decades on the court. Indeed, she is appearing in her 73rd Grand Slam singles draw — a record for the Open era. And she is the oldest woman in the draw at Melbourne Park, though it should be noted that male players her age, such as Ivo Karlovic and Roger Federer, aren't continuously peppered with the same questions. But rather than show her annoyance, Williams smiles and patiently responds each time, sometimes with a joke. And she's made clear with her play this week that she's still a serious contender — she's reached the fourth round at the Australian Open for the 10th time in her career, and without dropping a set. Against Duan, a player who admitted she'd never seen the seven-time Grand Slam winner play, the 13th-seeded Williams only lost one game. 'Just like every player here, I have put in a ton of work,' Williams said earlier in the week. 'I'm not coming all the way to Australia for kicks and giggles. I'm here as a competitor.' Williams made clear Friday she doesn't want to get dragged into controversies, either. She declined to comment on a remark by a TV commentator during her second-round match when he described her as moving in and charging with what sounded like a 'gorilla' or 'guerrilla' effect. The commentator, Doug Adler, who maintains he said 'guerrilla' — as in, her choice of tactics — but apologized for his poor word choice, was dropped from ESPN's coverage for the rest of the tournament. 'All I can say is it's been a wonderful, wonderful career for me full of positives. That's what I focus on,' said Williams, who hasn't shied away from addressing issues ranging from racism to gender pay equity throughout her career. 'I pay attention and address situations that are noteworthy,' she added, when pressed on the subject. 'That's been my past record, clearly.' What Williams wants to talk about is her tennis. Especially as she continues to win at Melbourne Park, where she's reached the final just once in her career. Her next opponent is another player many years her junior, 26-year-old Mona Barthel, a No. 181-ranked qualifier from Germany. 'It's never enough,' Williams said. 'I've been in the fourth round before. I've tasted it before and it's always a great feeling because it means, hey, I have an opportunity for the quarterfinals. That's what I'm going to go for.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Match-fixing back in spotlight on eve of first Grand Slam

JUSTIN BERGMAN, Associated Press   For Rafael Nadal and the other stars of tennis, there's a familiar ring to the questions being raised as the first ball is about to be struck at the Australian Open. Recent match-fixing sanctions and a new case are bringing fresh scrutiny to the integrity of the sport a year after corruption allegations cast a pall over the first Grand Slam of the year. '(It's) obviously negative, always in the first month of the season starts to happen,' Nadal said at the season-opening Brisbane International. 'You get tired about this kind of stuff, but the most important thing is fight against these kinds of things.' The headlines started appearing early in the new year. On Jan. 5, police in Australia charged an 18-year-old player with a match-fixing offense at a lower-tier tournament last October in Traralgon, near Melbourne. Days later, another Australian player, Nick Lindahl, now retired but once ranked in the top 200, was handed a seven-year ban and $35,000 fine from the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) for offering to throw a match at a minor tournament in the city of Toowoomba in 2013. Lindahl had already been fined after a criminal trial. Two other Australian players received lesser punishments in connection with the incident. While Traralgon and Toowoomba are far removed from the glittering lights of Melbourne Park, the timing of the developments was troubling nonetheless. Last season began similarly beneath a cloud of suspicion after a report by BBC and Buzzfeed alleged that tennis authorities had suppressed evidence of match-fixing and failed to investigate possible cases of corruption. The reports went over old ground, but the timing and the headlines overshadowed the tournament. 'I haven't heard anything (about match-fixing) since last year's Australian Open,' German player Mischa Zverev told The Associated Press last week in Brisbane. 'I think it was funny timing. ... Like the day before the Oscars, they're going to bring something up to make somebody not win it, or win it.' Since then, tennis leaders have gone into overdrive to restore confidence in the sport. An independent panel was created to review the TIU, the internal body tasked with combating corruption, and authorities promised to implement all of its recommendations when it is completed this spring. The TIU also took separate steps to strengthen its monitoring and investigation efforts, develop new anti-corruption education programs for players, and improve the transparency of its operations. In an email statement to The AP, the agency said nine players and officials were sanctioned last year for match-fixing — the most for a single year since the unit was established in 2008. Several were banned for life, including a young South African player and four officials from Turkey and Uzbekistan. The unit also expanded its outreach efforts with betting operators and regulators, leading to increased reporting of suspicious wagers. In 2016, the TIU received 292 betting alerts — an 18 percent increase over the previous year. The vast majority of those came from the Challenger and Futures circuits on the men's tour, considered the most at-risk for match-fixing given the lower likelihood of detection and the smaller earnings of the players. However, the TIU said three alerts were generated at Grand Slam events, as well. The agency was quick to note, though, that an alert isn't necessarily proof of match-fixing. Of the more than 114,000 matches played last year on the professional tours, only 0.2 percent triggered a suspicious betting alert. 'Tennis was one of the first major sports to recognize the potential threat of betting-related corruption and do something about it,' the TIU said. 'It will be for the independent review panel to take a view on the conduct and effectiveness of the unit and to put forward recommendations to improve the current structure and approach.' Whatever the investigators recommend, the fact remains the TIU faces an uphill battle. Technology has shifted the gambling landscape in such a way, it's increasingly difficult for monitors to keep up. In tennis, wagers aren't just placed on who wins or loses; bets can be placed during matches in real time on everything from total points won in a game to whether a set goes to a tiebreak. 'We're talking individual player activities here,' said Hans Westerbeek, dean of the College of Sport and Exercise Science at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia. 'It's much easier to get into a situation where you approach individual players to do things that can be, if done well, quite well hidden from it being suspicious.' He likens it to the ongoing battle against performance-enhancing drugs. 'You're always struggling to keep up with the innovations that a better-resourced front of gambling operators, legal or illegal, will have available to advance their technology.' Ryan Rodenberg, an associate professor of forensic sports law analytics at Florida State University, says this is one reason a more sophisticated approach is critically needed. He recommends an internal monitoring system that analyzes each match for suspicious activity in real time, rather than relying solely on betting alerts. 'A robust betting data-monitoring operation would have both in-house capabilities and a number of collaborative information sharing agreements with third parties such as sportsbooks, private monitoring firms or academics,' he said. 'Anything less is sub-optimal.' With a limited budget of just $3.23 million for 2017, however, there is only so much the TIU can do. As such, preventative measures such as education have become a priority. More than 25,000 players and officials have completed the TIU's online anti-corruption training program, and a new version will be launched that players will be required to complete every two years. 'Educating players who are up-and-coming and those who support those players is a very good, positive and necessary thing to do,' Westerbeek says. 'Because the root of the problem is ... people not really (understanding) they're engaging in criminal activity.' ___ AP Sports Writer John Pye contributed to this report. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

Federer is the world’s highest-paid athlete

Roger Federer is the world’s highest-paid athlete for 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic knocked soccer’s Lionel Messi off top spot, according to the annual Forbes list released on Friday. The Swiss tennis great, owner of a men’s record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, earned $106.3 million in the last 12 months, including $100 million via […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated News20 hr. 40 min. ago

Federer tops Forbes list with $106M earnings

Roger Federer has landed the top spot on the annual Forbes list of the highest-paid athletes for the first time this year with $106.3 million in pre-tax earnings. The Swiss ace is the first tennis player to take the No. 1 rank since the list debuted in 1990. Federer’s haul includes $6.3 million in prize […] The post Federer tops Forbes list with $106M earnings appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated News20 hr. 53 min. ago

Federer is the best, but Djokovic tougher for Nadal

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Roger Federer is the best tennis player of the current generation but reigning world No. 1 Novak Djokovic remains the most difficult opponent in Rafa Nadal’s career, the Spaniard’s uncle and former coach Toni Nadal has said. The “GOAT” (Greatest of all Time) debate in men’s tennis has divided opinion for a […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsMay 19th, 2020

NCAA ManComm recommends extension for senior student-athletes

The NCAA Management Committee will propose to the Policy Board the extension of playing eligibility for senior student-athletes. Taking into consideration the unexpected cancellation of Season 95 because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the possible delay of Season 96 opening to 2021, the committee is looking to make some adjustments for affected senior athletes. The ManComm is recommending to raise the age limit for seniors in Season 96 and allowing those affected by the scrapping of Season 95 to take a second course to be eligible to play for another year.    “We are also proposing that we adjust our eligibility for the athletes whose tournaments were postponed or yung hindi natapos. Ni-rerequest namin sa Policy Board to give them another year of eligibility,” said Season 95 ManComm head Peter Cayco of Arellano University. Cayco cleared that the proposal is only for those seniors whose sporting events were cut short or cancelled entirely. Affected second semester sports because of the cancellation were volleyball, football, beach volleyball, athletics, lawn and soft tennis and cheerleading. Completed events for Season 95 were first sem sporting events basketball, chess, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo and demo sport 3x3 basketball. “Ang adjustments nu’ng sa academics papayagan lang natin ‘yan doon sa mga atleta na ‘yung di natapos ang tournament o ‘di talagang nagawa ang tournament,” said Cayco. Under the current NCAA rule, student-athletes who have finished their studies are not allowed to take graduate course or a second degree to extend their playing year. “Sa academics, di natin pinapayagan sa NCAA ang second course. Let’s say naka-graduate siya, for this season alone, ang rekomendasyon namin is payagan nating mag-enroll ng second course para lang makalaro,” said Cayco. With the ManComm pushing the opening of Season 96, which will be hosted by Letran, to May or June next year, Cayco said that they are looking to raise the age limit for seniors to 26. “Ang papasok naman sa kanila ay yung age factor,” he said. “Let’s say last playing year mo na because of age ngayong taon na ito eh naurong. Ang suggestion namin ay bigyan natin ng one more playing year.” “Gawin nating 26 sila just for the next season,” Cayco added. “Di siya precedent, gagawin lang natin kasi di naman kasalanan ni atleta na aa-cancel ang season nila.” This proposal, according to Cayco, will just be an adjustment for Season 96. But when the situation ‘normalizes’, they will revert back to the league’s old rules.       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 12th, 2020

Grand Slam tally should decide ‘GOAT’ debate –  Lendl

Eight-time Grand Slam winner Ivan Lendl said whoever ends up winning the most majors among the ‘Big Three’ of Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic should be considered the greatest male tennis player of the Open era. The “GOAT” (greatest of all time) debate in men’s tennis has divided opinions for a decade and […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsMay 9th, 2020

Here’s why Djokovic almost quit 10 years ago

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has revealed how he considered quitting tennis in 2010 as he struggled against great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The 32-year-old was ranked third in the world and had lifted his first Grand Slam at the 2008 Australian Open. But he was plunged into the depths of despair in […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsMay 2nd, 2020

‘Homebody’ Osaka adjusting well to ‘new normal’

  TOKYO (Reuters) ‒ Following a whirlwind few years, Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka can be forgiven for taking time to reset and relax as the sporting world goes on an indefinite pause due to the coronavirus crisis. Osaka, a two-time Grand Slam winner who also became the first Japanese player to reach world No. […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsApr 30th, 2020

Players back Federer over tennis merger

Paris, France—WTA founder Billie Jean King and Rafael Nadal led a wave of support on Thursday for Roger Federer’s suggestion that “now is the time” to merge the men’s and women’s governing bodies, while tennis is at a standstill because of the coronavirus pandemic......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsApr 24th, 2020

Players back Federer over WTA-ATP merger idea as Kyrgios hits out

WTA founder Billie Jean King and Rafael Nadal led a wave of support on Thursday for Roger Federer’s suggestion that “now is the time” to merge the men’s and women’s governing bodies, while tennis is at a standstill because of the coronavirus pandemic. Federer, winner of a record 20 men’s Grand Slam crowns, said a merger […] The post Players back Federer over WTA-ATP merger idea as Kyrgios hits out appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 23rd, 2020

Nadal frustrated by tennis lockdown

Madrid--Rafael Nadal on Monday expressed his frustration that tennis players remain unable to practise due to the coronavirus pandemic, while Roger Federer revealed he was happy with his recovery from knee surgery......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsApr 21st, 2020

Why wait for a pandemic? – Djokovic plan for low-ranked players queried

BRISBANE, Australia – Australia's John Millman has questioned a multi-million dollar plan floated by Novak Djokovic to help struggling tennis players during the coronavirus shutdown, asking why it had not been done before. Novak Djokovic said on Saturday that the "Big Three" – himself, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal – are organizing ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 20th, 2020

Djokovic, Federer and Nadal to raise funds to help lower-ranked tennis players

Novak Djokovic says he spoke with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal about working with the ATP to set up a fund to help lower-ranked tennis players financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic. During an IG live session he held with three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka on Saturday, Djokovic described what he called “a long conversation” with Federer and Nadal about “how we can contribute and how we can help lower-ranked guys who obviously are struggling the most.” Djokovic talked about trying to amass somewhere around $3 million to $4.5 million to distribute, perhaps to players ranked from around 200th or 250th to around 700th. He said the ATP and “most likely” the Grand Slam tournaments would be involved. Djokovic also said there would be a system devised to determine which players were most in need of the cash. The men’s and women’s professional circuits have been shut down for more than a month because of the COVID-19 outbreak and are suspended at least until mid-July......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 19th, 2020