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How the Ultimate Tennis Showdown, created by Serena Williams’ coach, plans to revolutionise the sport

Tennis fans have been blessed in the 21st century with three of the greatest stars in the men’s game in Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic all playing at the same time.

Meanwhile, the women’s game has been dominated by 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams over the past two decades.


Before we know it, the likes of Djokovic and Federer will be off the court

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However, all four are well into their 30s – Djokovic is the youngest at 33 years old – so it won’t be too long before we see these greats leave the court.

So, what happens next?

Well here lies the problem the sport is facing. Yes, there are players such as Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas who have come through but their profiles are not as high as the likes of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Williams.

Patrick Mouratoglou, who coaches Williams, has revealed the average age of a tennis fan is 61 and the sport is having trouble bringing in younger supporters.

He exclusively told talkSPORT.com: “Tennis is an amazing sport, it’s extremely addictive, and once you’re a fan, you’re a fan for life. But right now it’s failing to be attractive to the younger generation.

“I think the situation has been boring for the future of our sport for quite a long time.”

But Mouratoglou has an idea that will hopefully help attract that much-needed young fanbase – the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS), which starts on Saturday at his Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in between Nice and Cannes.

The UTS is the first global competitive live broadcast tennis showdown league without spectators and features ten players, including Thiem and last year’s ATP World Finals champion Tsitsipas.

UTS participants

1. Dominic Thiem (AUT) – ATP ranking: No.3

2. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) – ATP ranking: No.6

3. Matteo Berrettini (ITA) – ATP ranking: No.8

4. David Goffin (BEL) – ATP ranking: No.10

5. Benoit Paire (FRA) – ATP ranking: No.22

6. Richard Gasquet (FRA) – ATP ranking: No.50

7. Feliciano Lopez (ESP) – ATP ranking: No. 56

8. Lucas POUILLE (FRA) – ATP ranking: No.58

9. Alexei Popyrin (AUS) ATP ranking: No. 103

10. Dustin Brown (GER) ATP ranking: No. 239

The matches will be broadcast via a live streaming platform, with subscribers paying about £9 a month.

Matches are very much against the traditional tennis format as they will last for a maximum of one hour and will be divided into four quarters of ten minutes each, all played in the style of a tie-break, with players taking it in turns to serve two points in a row.

If scores are level at the end of a quarter a deciding point will be played. And if the score is 2-2 after four quarters the match will go to sudden death, with the serve changing after each point and the winner will be the first to get two points in a row. Meanwhile, there will be a time limit of just 15 seconds between points.

There will be more interaction between player and coach during matches as a 30-second coaching time out during each quarter is allowed, which they can communicate with the players via headsets. All communications between players and coaches will have to be in English and will also be heard by viewers. At changeovers the players will answer questions from interviewers.

Players will have the chance to use two ‘UTS cards’ in each quarter. The benefits of the cards include having three serves on one point, making your opponent take only one serve on a point and winning two points if you hit a clean winner.

Mouratoglou is hoping to see the personality of the players shine through at this tournament and beyond.

He added: “I think there’s a big gap between the quality of the game and the quality of the show. The idea is to create a platform where the show can take place. It can’t just be two players hitting balls.”

Mouratoglou referenced John McEnroe vs Bjorn Borg as the perfect rivalry due to their contrasting fire and ice mannerisms and suggested he wants to see more of that in tennis today.

He added: “I’m expecting two things. We need to have a good show and we need to have authenticity. I want players who are playing a role and I want diversity. I want people who are showmen, I want people who throw themselves around the court, and people who stay very calm.

“When you have diversity it’s better and you can connect with the players that you like, you know who they are, you can identify with them and then you can engage with the matches.

“This is one thing I regret about tennis. We have a lot of people who seem like they’re the same personality, but they’re not actually. But they behave the same in matches. Tennis has become standardised on court and off court.”


Mouratoglou is Williams’ coach and has his own tennis academy but UTS may be his biggest project in the sport yet

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Failure to do this and tennis will be in ‘big trouble’, believes Mouratoglou.

He hopes that the success of the UTS will allow him to sit down with bodies such as the ATP going forward.

But even if these plans don’t work right away, Mouratoglou had the perfect analogy to explain why those in charge of the sport should not be resistant to change.

He said: “It’s funny because sometimes players are scared of making changes to their game because they’re afraid to lose something rather than trying to learn and get better. They just stick to what they know and they’re scared to make a change.

“The champions do the exact opposite. They’re always trying to improve and aren’t scared of change. Tennis should act like a champion and not be scared.

“When you change something in your game, sometimes it’s not going to work immediately and you start to make unforced errors and you have to go through that to get better. Tennis has to do that too so it can make the necessary evolution and appeal to the younger generation.”


Source: TalkSport.com Tennis

Michael Schumacher: Formula 1 legend set for stem cell surgery in bid to ‘regenerate his nervous system’

Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher is due to undergo a stem cell operation which could help regenerate his nervous system.

According to reports, the Ferrari icon – a seven-time F1 world champion – will be treated by noted medical pioneer Dr Philippe Menasche, who has worked on the technique of grafting stem cells onto a damaged heart.


Schumacher has been kept out the public eye since suffering horrific injuries in 2013

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The ‘part experimental’ surgery is to deal with the atrophying of Schumacher’s muscles, caused by him being bed-ridden for so long.

Schumacher, 51, suffered a serious head injury in December 2013 when he fell and hit his head while skiing off-piste in the Alps.

He was in a coma for six months and has remained out of the public eye for the almost seven years since his accident.

Schumacher reportedly began various stem cell operations last year.

“Our sources say that Michael Schumacher is receiving stem cell perfusions that … produce a systemic anti-inflammatory effect,” read a report in Le Parisien.

F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says he is ‘completely overcome with rage’ following the death of George Floyd in America

Lewis Hamilton is ‘completely overcome with rage’ following the death of George Floyd in America.

The six-time Formula One world champion has urged people to speak up on behalf of the Black Lives Matter movement in a passionate post on social media.


The British racing star has been left deeply affected by the shocking events in America

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Floyd, an unarmed black man, died on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes. Mr Floyd’s death has sparked furious protests across the US and condemnation around the world.

Hamilton is the only black driver in Formula One and was critical of the sport’s reaction to Mr Floyd’s death on social media over the weekend.

In his latest Instagam post on Tuesday, shared to his 16.3million followers, Hamilton wrote. “This past week has been so dark. I have failed to keep hold of my emotions. I have felt so much anger, sadness and disbelief in what my eyes have seen.

“I am completely overcome with rage at the sight of such blatant disregard for the lives of our people. The injustice that we are seeing our brothers and sisters face all over the world time and time again is disgusting, and MUST stop.

Formula 1 confirm first eight races for 2020 season starting in July with two British Grands Prix scheduled after opening with Austria double-header

The 2020 Formula 1 season will get under way next month as the first eight races were announced today.

The first two rounds of racing will be held in Austria in July on consecutive weekends at the start of the month.


Formula 1 has been hit hard by coronavirus, with the 2020 season to be like no other in history

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The Hungary Grand Prix will be held on July 19th before two races will take place in Great Britain.

The first will be from July 31 to August 2 with the second the following week of August 7 to August 9.

Races will then head to Spain, Belgium and Italy with further events set to be announced in the coming weeks.

Racing was due to start in Australia in March but the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to all Grands Prix for the foreseeable future, like most sporting events around the globe.

Plans are now in place to hold the first eight in Europe with all races expected to be staged behind closed doors with a minimum number of team personnel at the circuits.

A statement said: “Formula 1 has been working closely with all partners, authorities, the FIA and the ten teams to create a revised calendar that will allow a return to racing in a way that is safe for the communities we visit and the entire Formula 1 community.

“Due to the ongoing fluidity of the COVID-19 situation internationally, we will be finalising the details of the wider calendar and hope to publish that in the coming weeks with an expectation of having a total of 15-18 races before we complete our season in December.

“We currently expect the opening races to be closed events, but hope fans will be able to join our events again when it is safe to do so.

“The health and safety of all involved will continue to be priority number one, with Formula 1 and the FIA having a robust and detailed plan to ensure our races maintain the highest level of safety with strict procedures in place.”

There had been question marks over Silverstone’s place on the calendar due to concerns over a quarantine programme due to be introduced by the UK Government, impacting travellers arriving into the UK from June 8.


Lewis Hamilton won last year’s Formula One championship

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However, elite sports events are set to be exempt from the quarantine period, enabling racing to go ahead at the Northamptonshire circuit.

Formula One chairman Chase Carey said: “We are pleased to be able to set out our opening eight-race calendar today and look forward to publishing our full calendar in the coming weeks.

“I want to thank every promoter and partner for their support and ongoing commitment to Formula 1.

“While we currently expect the season to commence without fans at our races we hope that over the coming months the situation will allow us to welcome them back once it is safe to do, but we know the return of Formula 1 will be a welcome boost to sports fans around the world.”

Formula 1 2020 confirmed races

  • Austria – July 3-5
  • Austria – July 10-12
  • Hungary – July 17-19
  • Great Britain – July 31-August 2
  • Great Britain – August 7-9
  • Spain – August 14-16
  • Belgium – August 28-30
  • Italy – September 4-6


Source: TalkSport.com Motorsport

George Floyd death: Lewis Hamilton blasts fellow Formula 1 stars for ‘staying silent in the midst of injustice’

Lewis Hamilton, the six-time Formula 1 world champion, has blasted his fellow employees for refusing to speak out following the death of George Floyd in the United States.

Mr Floyd died last month, aged 46, while being pinned to the ground by a police officer, who placed his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes.

The police officer, Derek Chauvin, has since been charged with murder and widespread riots have flared across the US in response to Mr Floyd’s death.


Protests have spread throughout America in the wake of Mr Floyd’s death while in police custody

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Sports stars have similarly shown their support for the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, with Jadon Sancho, the England forward, showing off a T-shirt with the slogan ‘Justice for George Floyd’ after he scored the first goal of what proved to be a hat-trick in Borussia Dortmund’s 6-1 defeat of Paderborn.

F1 star Hamilton also spoke out on Mr Floyd’s death and the ongoing protests in the US, while he also had criticism of those in the paddock who have not made their voices heard ‘in the midst of injustice’.

“I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice,” wrote Hamilton on Instagram. “Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white-dominated sport.

“I’m one of the only people of colour there yet I stand alone. I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can’t stand alongside us. Just know I know who you are, and I see you.”

He added: “I do not stand with those looting and burning buildings but those who are protesting peacefully,” Hamilton wrote.


Hamilton shared the following message on Instagram, hitting out at his fellow F1 employees

Instagram – @lewishamilton


He also spoke out about the ongoing protests which began in the wake of Mr Floyd’s death

Instagram – @lewishamilton

“There can be no peace until our so called leaders make change. This is not just America, this is the UK, this is Spain, this is Italy and all over.”

“The way minorities are treated has to change, [and] how you educate those in your country of equality, racism, classism and that we are all the same. We are not born with racism and hate in our hearts, it is taught by those we look up to.”

The aforementioned Sancho, who was booked for removing his Dortmund shirt to reveal the slogan on his T-shirt, was part of the England squad that was subjected to sickening racist abuse in last year’s Euro 2020 qualifiers in Montenegro and Bulgaria.

He similarly posted on Instagram: “Solid performance from the team!!

“Delighted to get my first career hat trick, a bittersweet moment personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that we must address and help make a change.


Sancho showed off his ‘Justice for George Floyd’ message after scoring for Borussia Dortmund

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“We shouldn’t fear speaking out for what’s right, we have to come together as one & fight for justice. We are stronger together! #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd”

His Dortmund team-mate Achraf Hakimi also revealed a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ message by lifting up his top after scoring.

“Together we will defeat racism! Justice,” the Morocco international, who is on loan from Real Madrid, said on his Twitter account.



Source: TalkSport.com Motorsport

Nick Kyrgios says he sleeps with fans ‘weekly’ and reveals he became infatuated by a ‘hot girl’ in crowd during match against Roger Federer

Love him or hate him, Nick Kyrgios is the undoubtedly the most box office player in tennis at the moment.

Whether it’s his hot-headedness on the tennis court or bashing reporters in the pressers, the Aussie never shies too far away from the headlines.


Kyrgios will be the first to admit he has no filter

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And this was the case again on Saturday morning after he revealed he gets romantically involved with fans on a ‘weekly’ basis.

Speaking to fans during a Q&A while streaming hit video-game Fornite, Kyrgios explained he regularly forms sexual relationships with fans.

He said: “In all seriousness if I’m not seeing someone it’s like a weekly thing.”

The Australian also reminisced about a time he became infatuated by a ‘really hot chick in the crowd’ during a match with Roger Federer.

“I was slicing up Fed and was like ‘damn,’ I wanted to take her out for a drink,” he added.

Continuing to discuss his romantic life, Kyrgios added that he’s particularly enamored with Eastern European women.

In another confession about his romantic life, the 25-year-old revealed that Eastern European women tickle his fancy.

He said: “Eastern Europeans just have my heart on the get-go. [Around] tall Eastern Europeans I’m just like, ‘take half my earnings.’”

Despite being one of the most talented players in the world, Kyrgios’ attitude often lets him down and he has yet to win a major championship.



Source: TalkSport.com Tennis

When will tennis return? Wimbledon has been cancelled as ATP Tour hope to restart in August

The world of tennis has been put on hold as the sport continues to be gripped by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 calendar has been halted with no action since the beginning of March.

Novak Djokovic and Sofia Kenin claimed glory at the year’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, in January but the other Majors are in doubt.

The world tours are on hiatus and there are many questions to be asked.


The 2020 Wimbledon tournament has been cancelled

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When will F1 return? Lewis Hamilton set to begin title defence in Austria amid major doubts over British Grand Prix

The new Formula One season is yet to get under way as the sport battles the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton won his sixth F1 Championship last season, claiming glory in 11 races to romp to the title.

But the defence of his crown has been put on hold as the world of racing tries to deal with the virus.

The 2020 campaign was supposed to start on March 15 with the Australian Grand Prix but that had to be cancelled and no action has taken place since.

There are plenty of questions surrounding the sport and when it will finally get going.


Lewis Hamilton is yet to begin the defence of his Formula One title

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Formula 1: Carlos Sainz to replace Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari as Daniel Ricciardo agrees McLaren move

Ferrari have announced that Carlos Sainz will race for them from 2021 as the replacement for Sebastian Vettel, who will leave the Italian team at the end of the season.

Sainz, 25, will join from McClaren to replace Vettel, who announced earlier this week he will depart Ferrari when his deal expires.


Sainz will race alongside Charles Leclerc from next season following his final year with McLaren and Lando Norris

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The Spaniard, who finished sixth in the 2019 drivers’ championship – one place behind Vettel – said: “I am very happy that I will be driving for Scuderia Ferrari in 2021 and I’m excited about my future with the team.

“I still have an important year ahead with McLaren Racing and I’m really looking forward to going racing again with them this season.”

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto added: “I’m pleased to announce that Carlos will join Scuderia Ferrari as from the 2021 championship.

“With five seasons already behind him, Carlos has proved to be very talented and has shown that he has the technical ability and the right attributes to make him an ideal fit with our family.

“We’ve embarked on a new cycle with the aim of getting back to the top in Formula 1.

“It will be a long journey, not without its difficulties, especially given the current financial and regulatory situation, which is undergoing a sudden change and will require this challenge to be tackled in a different way to the recent past.

Formula 1: Sebastian Vettel to leave Ferrari at end of season after contract talks break down

Sebastian Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the 2020 Formula 1 season, it has been confirmed.

Vettel, the four-time world champion, had been in contract talks with Ferrari over the past few weeks, but discussions have broken down and the decision has been made from both parties to separate at the end of the year.


Vettel won four world championships driving for Red Bull but he’s failed to replicate that success since joining Ferrari

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“Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow and Sebastian Vettel have jointly decided not to extend the current contract covering Sebastian’s services as a driver with the team, beyond its current expiry date of the end of the 2020 Formula 1 season,” read a Ferrari statement on Tuesday morning.

The 32-year-old German joined Ferrari in 2015 having won four consecutive world championships between 2010 and 2013 with Red Bull.

However, he’s failed to win the title while with the Prancing Horse, finishing second on two occasions and third once.

In 2019 Vettel ended the season in fifth, behind teammate Charles Leclerc, after a tough year for the German as he was usurped by the young Monegasque with a number of flashpoints between the pair throughout the campaign – including a collision in Brazil.


Leclerc and Vettel’s relationship fractured throughout a tough 2019 season for Ferrari

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Mattia Binotto, the Ferrari team principal, said: “This is a decision taken jointly by ourselves and Sebastian, one which both parties feel is for the best. It was not an easy decision to reach, given Sebastian’s worth as a driver and as a person. There was no specific reason that led to this decision, apart from the common and amicable belief that the time had come to go our separate ways in order to reach our respective objectives.

“Sebastian is already part of the Scuderia’s history, with his 14 Grands Prix wins making him the third most successful driver for the team, while he is also the one who has scored the most points with us. In our five years together, he has finished in the top three of the Drivers’ Championship three times, making a significant contribution to the team’s constant presence in the top three of the Constructors’ classification.