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Australian Open results: Venus Williams dumped out by 15-year-old Coco Gauff in repeat of Wimbledon upset

Venus Williams succumbed to teenage starlet Coco Gauff once again in the first round of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

The 15-year-old’s success in the first round at Wimbledon last summer thrust her into the realms of global superstardom.


Coco Gauff celebrates after her 7-6 (5) 6-3 victory over Venus Williams

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With Gauff now a top 100 player – and 39-year-old Venus having been a doubt for the tournament with a hip injury – it was far less of a surprise to see the teenager come through 7-6 (5) 6-3 under the roof on Margaret Court Arena.

The young American’s achievements should certainly not be taken for granted, though, and she showed maturity well beyond her years to battle through after nerves kicked in during the first set.

Gauff led 5-3 and had three sets points, while a 5-2 lead in the tie-break also disappeared, but a missed backhand volley from Venus at 5-6 helped her young opponent over the line in the opener.

There were no wobbles in the second, and Gauff said: “That was really difficult, she played really well. I was really nervous for today’s match. I was a bit shocked, I’m sure everybody was shocked, when they saw that draw but I’m really glad to get through it.”


Williams was unable to exact revenge on the teenager after her shock Wimbledon exit last summer

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Elsewhere, Serena Williams began her campaign in emphatic fashion with a 6-0 6-3 victory over 18-year-old Russian Anastasia Potapova.

The 38-year-old is making her latest bid to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam singles titles having lost in four finals since returning to the tour nearly two years ago after the birth of daughter Olympia.

Serena appears particularly determined to make this the one, and she said: “I think it’s factored a lot into my game, and now it’s just more or less about doing the best that Serena Williams can do.

“Margaret Court was a wonderful, great champion. And now how great is Serena Williams? That’s it. That’s kind of what I have been thinking about the last couple of weeks and months. It definitely helps me relax a lot.”


Source: TalkSport.com Tennis

Australian Open: The six British players you should look out for including Johanna Konta and Dan Evans, but no Andy Murray

Andy Murray isn’t taking part in this year’s Australian Open but there are still plenty of British players who have gained direct entry into the main singles draws.

Although it could be a blessing in disguise for Murray as this year’s championships are set to be a struggle for all involved.


Murray won’t take part in this year’s tournament as he nurses a groin strain

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Due to the ongoing wildfires the air quality is clearly not as good as it should be, and it badly affected players during qualifying this week, with one – Dalila Jakupovic – even pulling out of her qualifier as she was struggling to breathe properly.

However, the show must go on and below are six Brits you should look out for Down Under.

Dalila Jakupovic quits Australian Open qualifier after collapsing in coughing fit on court due to poor air from bushfire

Australia’s horrific bushfires have taken their toll on this year’s Australian Open with one player collapsing on court during a qualifying match.

Dalila Jakupovic went over when playing against Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegel and was helped off the court in Melbourne with breathing difficulties.

The Slovenian was in a good position to win the match but had to withdraw due to being unable to cope with the conditions any longer.


Jakupovic was a set up and heading into a tie break in the second when she pulled up

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The conditions left her in a very distressed state

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Officials immediately came to her aid

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A decision was taken for Jakupovic to withdraw from the match and thus forfeit her place in the tournament

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Jakupovic looked visibly distraught as she withdrew from the match

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The 28-year-old later said she was ‘sad and angry’ after recovering and admitted to feeling ‘scared’ as she struggled to breathe.

She said: “It was really bad. I never experienced something like this and I was really scared. I was scared that I would collapse.

“That’s why I went on the floor. Because I couldn’t walk any more. I’ve never had asthma before.

“I think it was not fair because it’s not healthy for us. I was surprised. I thought we would not be playing today.

“We don’t have much choice. If we don’t go on the court, maybe we get fined. It would maybe have been better to wait to see if tomorrow is better. They still have time, there is no rush.”

Tennis Australia insist its on-site experts had declared the playing environment at Melbourne Park safe enough.

Other players had issues including Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, who left the court during a match against Chinese player You Xiaodi after complaining of a sore chest.

Bouchard returned to play the final set following the medical timeout and went on to win 4-6 7-6 6-1.

Practice sessions were temporarily suspended for the tournament early on Tuesday due to haze caused by the fires.

A statement from Australian Open organisers read: “Further decisions will be made based on onsite data, and in close consultation with our medical team, the Bureau of Meteorology and scientists from EPA Victoria.

“As always the health and safety of our players, our staff and our fans is our priority.”


The air quality hanging over Melbourne looks ominous

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British no.6 Liam Broady, who lost 6-3 6-0 to Belarus’ Ilya Ivashka, was another who struggled with the conditions.

Broady said: “I would like to think I am properly fit at the moment and after four games I was absolutely gassed.

“At 6-3, 3-0 down, when you are supposed to be relatively fresh, I was bent double and gasping for air. My fitness is one of the best parts of my game but I definitely didn’t feel great.

“This morning it was obviously pretty bad. I warmed up and then I was most surprised by how bad it still was when I was walking out to the court.

“I had been inside from 10 o’clock for three hours and, because they had decided to go ahead, I thought it would have cleared up a lot. You can hardly see the city buildings over there. It is pretty bad.”

Maria Sharapova and German Laura Siegmund also abandoned their matches in the second set while competing at nearby exhibition tournament in Kooyong due to conditions.


Australia legend Shane Warne opens up on bushfires as baggy green cap sells for $1m to help cause


The wildfires have been raging for months in both Victoria, where Melbourne is located, and the neighbouring state of New South Wales, leading to Victoria’s Environment Protection Authority warning air quality in the state would range from moderate to hazardous.

Tournament director Craig Tiley said last week he was hopeful the tournament would go ahead but vowed to closely monitor the air quality.

He said: “We have committed substantial extra resources to analysis, monitoring and logistics to ensure the health and safety of all players, staff and fans throughout the summer and have no other plans to move events (following the cancellation of an event in Australia’s capital Canberra).

“Assessing the likelihood of smoke-induced interruptions is a bit like how we treat heat and rain.

“We have experts who analyse all available live data as specific to our sites as possible and consult regularly with tournament officials and, in the case of heat and smoke, medical experts.

“We have access to real-time monitoring of air quality at all of our venues and are working closely with medical personnel and local experts onsite to ensure we have the best possible information available to make any decisions regarding whether play should be halted at any point.

“The health of players, fans and staff is a priority at all times and we will continue to make these decisions with that in mind.”

The Australian Open tournament proper is due to start on Monday January 20.


The tournament is due to go ahead as scheduled despite the bar air quality

AAP IMAGE


Source: TalkSport.com Tennis

Lewis Hamilton donates whopping £262k to help fight against bushfires in Australia

Lewis Hamilton has donated more than £260,000 to support fire and animal rescue services working in the Australian bushfire crisis.

The Formiula One champions is concerned about the fires’ devastating effect on wildlife and the continuing impact of climate change.


Hamilton has made a huge donation towards helping in Australia following the bushfires

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Huge parts of south-east Australia have been ravaged by fires with 27 people killed and more than 2,000 homes destroyed.

The 35-year-old Mercedes driver wrote on Instagram: “It saddens me deeply to know that over 1 billion animals in Australia died a painful death, no way out, not their fault.

“My love of animals is no secret and I can’t help but grieve for the defenceless animals thought to have died so far, pushing certain species closer to extinction.

“I’m lucky enough to visit Australia often and I know first-hand how beautiful the country is. Keep fighting Australia. I’ve spent some time speaking to people in Australia who are working at the heart of this and I’m filled with admiration for everything they are doing.

Stefanos Tsitsipas injures his OWN FATHER during furious racket smash at ATP Cup

Stefanos Tsitsipas incurred the wrath of his mother after losing his temper during his ATP Cup encounter with Nick Kyrgios and injuring his own DAD on court.

The world no.6 smashed his racket in anger twice after losing the first set to the Australian, and in one wild swing caught his own father Apostolos – who is also Team Greece’s captain in Brisbane.

Apostolos seemed frightened by his son’s sudden turn of anger, and was unable to get the out of the way of his tantrum with his right arm bruised by one of the racket swings.

Tsitsipas’ mother, sitting behind the pair, looked incensed with her son and soon lectured him on his unprofessional behaviour.

The 21-year-old was subsequently handed a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.


Tsitsipas lost his temper on the court

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He ended up striking his father on the arm…

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And then got a telling off from his mother

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A second code violation, and therefore a point penalty, followed in the third game of the second set when he swiped the ball in anger after failing to convert two break points.

Tsitsipas was lucky to avoid disqualification after the embarrassing episode, and looks poised to receive a heavy fine.

Greece were already eliminated before their encounter with Australia, having lost their opening matches to Canada and Germany.

Tsitsipas will next be in action at the Australian Open, the tournament in which last year he famously knocked out Roger Federer.


Source: TalkSport.com Tennis

Nick Kyrgios fights back the tears as he talks about Australia bushfires following win at ATP Cup match

Nick Kyrgios held back the tears as he discussed the Australia bushfires that has devastated the nation.

Kyrgios’ hometown of Canberra is one of the biggest affected areas with the city having the worst air quality in the world due to the smoke.


Kyrgios showed a different side of him as he fought back the tears talking about the bushfires

Getty Images – Getty

Around 5 million hectares of land has been ravaged by fires, which is larger than the size of the Netherlands.

At least 19 people have died and thousands have been forced to evacuate with over 1,500 homes falling victim to the blazes.

Kyrgios pledged to donate $200, which equates to roughly £106, for each ace he hits throughout the summer to aid those affected by the bushfires.

The world No.30, who earned just short of £1million in prize money last year, hit 597 aces in 2019.

And after his 6-4 7-6 win over Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, in which he hit 20 aces, Kyrgios struggled to contain his emotions.

When asked by the reporter after the ATP Cup win regarding the praise he received, Kyrgios said: “I don’t really care about the praise too much.

“We’ve got the ability and the platform to do something.

“My home town is Canberra and we’ve got the most toxic air in the world at the moment, that’s pretty sad.”

“It’s tough. Sorry. It’s all going to all the families, firefighters, animals, everyone who is losing homes, losing families… it’s a real thing. It’s bigger than tennis.”

Sport in 2020: From Champions League fixtures to Wilder vs Fury 2, Euro 2020, Olympics and Conor McGregor’s next fight, here is what is coming up

Another year over, a new one just begun and talkSPORT cannot wait to gorge on a feast of sporting highlights.

January begins with a barnstorming Merseyside derby and February ends with Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury’s mega fight.


Heavyweight rivals Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury meet for their rematch – the first of two fights – in 2020

In between then, we have Conor McGregor returning to the octagon, the Carabao Cup semi-final and a bumper few months of cricket.


Boxing Schedule

All major upcoming bouts and results for 2020 here


January

3-7: Cricket Second Test, Cape Town: South Africa vs England
4-6: FA Cup third round
5: Women’s FA Cup third round
7-8: Carabao Cup semi-final first legs – Man United vs Man City, Leicester City vs Aston Villa
16-20: Cricket Third Test, Port Elizabeth: South Africa vs England

19: UFC 246. Conor McGregor vs Donald Cerrone
20 – 2 February: Tennis. Australian Open
23-26: Golf Dubai Desert Classic
24-27: FA Cup fourth round
24-28: Cricket Fourth Test, Johannesburg: South Africa vs England

26: UFC Fight Night. Blaydes vs Dos Santos
26: Women’s FA Cup fourth round
26: WWE Royal Rumble
28-29: Carabao Cup, semi-final second legs
30: Rugby League Super League season begins


Donald Cerrone will fight Conor McGregor in Las Vegas on 18 January

February

1-2: Six Nations begins. Wales vs Italy, Ireland vs Scotland, France vs England
2: Super Bowl
4: Cricket First ODI, Cape Town: South Africa vs England
7: Cricket Second ODI, Durban: South Africa vs England
8-9: Six Nations. Ireland vs Wales, Scotland vs England, France vs Italy
9: UFC 247. Jones vs Reyes
9: Cricket Third ODI, Johannesburg: South Africa vs England
12: Cricket First T20i, East London: South Africa vs England
14: Cricket Second T20i, Durban: South Africa vs England
16: Cricket Third T20i, Centurion: South Africa vs England
16: Women’s FA Cup fifth round
16: UFC Fight Night. Anderson vs Blachowicz
18-19: Champions League last 16: Borussia Dortmund vs PSG, Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool, Atalanta vs Valencia, Tottenham vs Leipzig
22-23: Italy vs Scotland, Wales vs France, England vs Ireland
22: Boxing. Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury 2 for WBC heavyweight title
20: Europa League last 32: Copenhagen vs Celtic, Wolves vs Espanyol, Rangers vs Braga, Bruges vs Man United, Olympiakos vs Arsenal
23: UFC Fight Night. Felder vs Hooker
25-26: Champions League last 16: Chelsea vs Bayern, Napoli vs Barcelona, Real Madrid vs Man City, Lyon vs Juventus
27: Europa League last 32 second legs
28: Europa League last 16 draw


Getty – Contributor

There are some huge European games to look forward to in February[/caption]

March

1: Carabao Cup final
1: UFC Fight Night. Benavidez vs Figueiredo
3-6: FA Cup fifth round
7-8: Six Nations. Ireland vs Italy, England vs Wales, Scotland vs France
8: UFC 248
10-13: Cheltenham Festival
10-11: Football Champions League last 16 second legs: Valencia v Atalanta, Leipzig v Spurs, Liverpool v Atletico Madrid, PSG v Borussia Dortmund
12: Football Europa League last 16, first legs
14: Six Nations. Wales vs Scotland, France vs Ireland, Italy vs England
15: Formula One Australian GP


Lewis Hamilton will be looking to make more history when the F1 season begins

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15: Women’s FA Cup quarter-finals
17-18: Champions League, last 16 second legs. Man City v Real Madrid, Juventus v Lyons, Bayern Munich v Chelsea, Barcelona v Napoli
19: Football Europa League, round of 16 second legs
19-23: Cricket First Test, Galle: Sri Lanka v England
20: Football Champions League and Europa League quarter-final and semi-final draws
20-23: FA Cup quarter-finals
22: Formula One: Bahrain GP
24-25: Women’s Champions League quarter-final, first legs, Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona, Lyon vs Bayern Munich, Glasgow City vs Wolfsburg, Arsenal vs PSG
26: European Championship qualifying play-off semi-finals: Bosnia-Herzegovina vs Northern Ireland; Scotland vs Israel; Slovakia vs Republic of Ireland
27: Football friendlies: England vs Italy, Wales vs Austria
27-31: Cricket second Test, Colombo: Sri Lanka vs England
31: European Championship qualifying play-off finals
31: Football friendly: England vs Denmark

April

1: Women’s Champions League quarter-final, second legs: Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid, Wolfsburg vs Glasgow City, PSG vs Arsenal, Bayern Munich vs Lyon
4: The Grand National
5. WWE Wrestemania
5: Formula One. Vietnamese Grand Prix
7-8: Champions League, quarter-final first legs
9: Europa League, quarter-final first legs
9-12: Golf. The Masters
12-15: Cricket. County Championship first round fixtures
14-15: Champions League quarter-final second legs
16: Europa League quarter-final second legs
18: Snooker. World Championship
19: Formula One. Chinese Grand Prix
25-26: Women’s Champions League semi-final first legs
26: London Marathon
28-29: Champions League semi-final first legs
30: Europa League semi-final first legs


Jurgen Klopp lifts the Champions League as Liverpool manager in 2019

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May

2: Racing. 2000 Guineas
2-3: Women’s Champions League, semi-final second legs
3: Formula 1. Dutch Grand Prix
3: Racing. 1000 Guineas
5-6: Champions League semi-final second legs
7: Europa League semi-final second legs
9: Women’s FA Cup final
9: Giro d’Italia begins
10: Formula 1. Spanish Grand Prix
16: League Two play-off final
17: Final day of the Premier League season
23: FA Cup final
24: League One play-off final
24: Women’s Champions League final
24: Formula 1: Monaco Grand Prix
24: Tennis. French Open begins
25: Championship play-off final
27: Europa League final
28: Cricket. T20 Blast begins
30: Champions League final

Andy Murray forced to pull out of 2020 Australian Open and put Grand Slam comeback plans on hold

Andy Murray says he is “gutted” to miss the 2020 Australian Open after a fresh injury setback.

The 32-year-old was hoping to make his Grand Slam return down under at the start of next year but he has been forced to withdraw due to a pelvis problem.

Andy Murray pulls out of planned comeback event to leave Wimbledon participation hopes in doubt
Murray’s Grand Slam return has been delayed once again

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It was initially thought the issue was minor and would not affect his participation in either the season-opening ATP Cup or the Australian Open.

But alarm bells rang when Murray cancelled his training block in Miami and on Saturday his management company announced the Scot would not be travelling to Australia.

“I’ve worked so hard to get myself into a situation where I can play at the top level and I’m gutted I’m not going to be able to play in Australia in January,” Murray said.

“After the AO this year, when I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to play again, I was excited about coming back to Australia and giving my best, and that makes this even more disappointing for me.

“Unfortunately I’ve had a setback recently and as a precaution, need to work through that before I get back on court competing.”

“I know how excited Andy was about coming back to compete in Australia in January, and how disappointed he is not to make it for 2020,” Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said.

“Andy’s last match at the Australian Open was a five-set rollercoaster that none of us who witnessed it will ever forget. His determination and iron will was on display for all to see, and it’s that fighting spirit that has driven him to come back from a potentially career-ending injury to achieve the results he has this year.

“Although we will miss him in January, we wish him all the very best for his recovery and look forward to seeing him back on court very soon.”


Murray has played just three Grand Slam singles matches since Wimbledon 2017

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Floyd Mayweather, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi among Forbes’ top ten highest-paid athletes of the decade

Forbes have released a mega rich list detailing the top ten highest-paid athletes of the decade from 2010-2019.

The ranking totals up all earnings from the world’s biggest sports stars over the past ten years and it’s no surprise to see who comes out on top.


Floyd Mayweather aptly nicknamed himself ‘money’

Boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather heads the list, owing to his mega fights with Manny Pacquiao (also included in the top ten) and Conor McGregor in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

Football legends Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi feature not too far behind Mayweather.

There are also stars from the worlds of golf, tennis, basketball and Formula 1 further down the ranking.

Take a look through the top ten below.

Ferrari confirm Lewis Hamilton talks amid doubt over Mercedes future with only one year remaining on deal

Ferrari have confirmed they have held talks with Lewis Hamilton over joining them when his Mercedes contract expires at the end of next year.

Hamilton is nearing the end of his £40million-a-year deal and his future has been one of F1’s key talking points over the past few weeks.


Lewis Hamilton has dominated F1 for years

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The Brit, who won a sixth Formula One Championship last month, has been linked to Ferrari in recent months, with Scuderia team principle Mattia Binotto dubbing him ‘an outstanding driver’.

And Ferrari’s chief executive, Louis Camilleri, said at the Italian team’s end of year debrief: “It has been made public that Lewis has had conversations with our chairman [John Elkann].

“We clearly are very flattered that Lewis in particular, and other drivers, want to come and join us. Every driver on the grid would like to drive a Ferrari.

“We have a long-term agreement with one driver [Charles Leclerc] and with the other driver [Sebastian Vettel] the agreement expires at the end of 2020.

“It would be premature to decide anything now for the future. We will look at our options and see what is the best fit for our team.”


Sebastian Vettel would likely leave Ferrari if Lewis Hamilton joined

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Ferrari’s campaign was blighted by a series of errors by their drivers and strategical mistakes.

Leclerc’s breakthrough season has also forced Ferrari to drop Vettel as their number one.

The four-time world champion, who is paid £36million-a-year, would likely be moved on if the Italians signed Hamilton.

“Clearly Charles’ performance has had an impact.” added Camilleri. “That’s inevitable when you’re the world champion and this young kid comes along and has a phenomenal season.

“Charles has a lot of talent. He has surprised even ourselves as to what he has been capable of.

“Their collision last month in Brazil was a nightmare. However, the air has been cleared. And sometimes you need a crisis to put the goalposts in the appropriate place.

“Going forwards it gives Mattia a much better way of managing them because they realised how much they screwed up.”