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The Serbian superstar became a focus of the global vaccine debate over his failed attempt to enter Australia without being inoculated

The pandemic has blocked Novak Djokovic’s march to tennis history, so the 34-year-old may be pinning his hopes on a cure for COVID to get his hands on another glorious grand slam before time runs out.

The Serbian superstar, who became a focus of the global vaccine debate over his failed attempt to enter Australia without being inoculated, holds a majority stake in a Danish biotech firm aiming to develop a treatment to counter COVID-19, the company’s CEO told Reuters.

QuantBioRes boss Ivan Loncarevic, who described himself as an entrepreneur, said the tennis player’s acquisition of the 80% stake was made in June 2020 but declined to say how much it was. The company is developing a peptide, which inhibits the coronavirus from infecting the human cell, expects to launch clinical trials in Britain this summer, according to Loncarevic, who stressed the firm was working on a treatment, not a vaccine.

The CEO said the company had about a dozen researchers working in Denmark, Australia and Slovenia. According to the Danish company register, Djokovic and his wife Jelena own 40.8% and 39.2% of the company, respectively.

A spokesperson for Djokovic did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Djokovic has enjoyed phenomenal success – Forbes listed him in the world’s top-50 highest paid athletes for 2021. It calculated his on-court earnings at $4.5 million, dwarfed by the $30 million it said he earned off court.

Yet time may not be on the world number one’s side in his quest to be viewed as the greatest player is history, as he advances deeper into his 30s.

He had desperately hoped to play in Australian Open this month with his sights firmly set on netting a 21st grand slam title, which would move him above archrivals Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.

Frustrated Djokovic now risks being frozen outlaw of tennis, with rules on travellers who are unvaccinated tightening in the third year of the pandemic and some tournaments reconsidering exemptions.

The most immediate concern is the next grand slam – the French Open in May where Nadal has already amassed a staggering 13 titles – after the country’s sports ministry said on Monday there would be no exemption from a new vaccine pass law.

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FIFA is set to implement rules in which clubs will be limited to signing and sending six players on loan internationally from 2024 so that more focus can be given to developing talent, world football’s’s governing body said on Thursday.

The objective of the regulations, delayed by two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is to “develop young players, promote competitive balance and prevent hoarding”, FIFA said in a statement.

Clubs will be limited to eight international loan signings in and eight loaned out from next season, with the number dropping to seven the following year and then remaining at six from 2024-25 onwards.

However, homegrown players and those under the age of 21 will remain exempt from the rules, subject to approval at the FIFA Council’s next meeting.

The plans also include the introduction of a minimum duration of a loan deal, which would be between two transfer windows, while the maximum duration will be one year.

There will also be a limit of three players being loaned out per season between the same two clubs, while “sub-loaning” to a third club will be prohibited.

The regulations do not cover domestic loans but FIFA said national associations will have three years to bring their own rules in line with those at international level.

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Ralf Rangnick says he makes decisions "in the best interest of the team" after Cristiano Ronaldo reacted negatively to being substituted at Brentford

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick slammed his side’s shoddy first-half performance after a flattering 3-1 victory away to Brentford in the Premier League on Wednesday.

The German also had to deal with a Cristiano Ronaldo tantrum after substituting the Portuguese forward in the second half.

Lacklustre United were outplayed by Brentford in the first half and were indebted to keeper David De Gea but goals by Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford capped a much-improved second-half display.

It was a vital win for United and keeps them in the thick of the battle for a top-four finish, but Rangnick was not impressed by what he saw in the opening 45 minutes.

“You have to be honest, without David and his brilliant saves it would have been difficult,” Rangnick told reporters.

“We were sloppy in our passing, not strong enough in the tackles, losing the 50-50 challenges and didn’t win a single second ball. When we did counter-attack we were too nervous.

“Brentford were aggressive and brave and they were all the aspects we spoke about at halftime.”

Whatever Rangnick said at halftime it clearly worked as United were a different proposition after the break — even if the scoreline was scarcely credible.

Yet the win that lifted United to within two points of fourth-placed West Ham United with a game in hand, was overshadowed by Ronaldo’s reaction to being hauled off and replaced with defender Harry Maguire when the score was 2-0.

Ronaldo, who missed the last two games because of a niggling injury, took an age to walk off the pitch, scowling at United’s coaching staff and throwing his jacket down in anger, before continuing his debate from his seat.

“His reaction was ‘why me?’… I said to him I have to take a decision in the interests of the club because we had a situation at Villa where we were 2-0 up and drew 2-2 and I was angry at myself for not switching to a back five.

“I decided to switch to a back five with Harry Maguire. He was not happy, he is a goalscorer and wanted to stay on and score a goal himself. But it was important to be compact.

“I said to him I understand, but maybe in a couple of years when you are a head coach you will take the same decision.

“I didn’t expect him to hug me… but I have no issue with him whatsoever.”

His opposite number Thomas Frank was understandably frustrated at the outcome, saying his team had “destroyed” Manchester United in the first half.

Rangnick had some sympathy, praising Brentford’s display and saying his players should learn from them.

“I want us to play like Brentford in the second half, I have great respect for what they have done here,” he said.

“You wouldn’t see that in Germany where a team not in the top five or eight would play that kind of football. We have to develop in that direction and if we do we can play the whole game like that, not just 45 minutes.”

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World number two Daniil Medvedev kept his calm amid a raucous crowd to put an end to the Nick Kyrgios show

Highlights of the fourth day of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Thursday, all times local (GMT +11):


Jannik Sinner proved to be too much to handle for Steve Johnson, beating the American 6-2 6-4 6-3 to set up a third-round tie against Taro Daniel.

“I started the match very well, and when I had to break in every set, I was quite relaxed,” Sinner said.


Former world number one Simona Halep put in a clinical performance to see off Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2 6-0 and progress to the third round.

“It’s been a little difficult to wait all day to play, but it was a good match before me (Kyrgios v Medvedev), so that motivated a little,” Halep said.


U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev held off a spirited Nick Kyrgios to stay on course for a second Grand Slam title with a 7-6(1) 6-4 4-6 6-2 win.

The world number two signed “Siuuu!” on the camera lens following the win after the crowd appeared to use the celebration chant associated with Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo during the match.


Unseeded Danka Kovinic ended U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu’s hopes of capturing a second major as she prevailed 6-4 4-6 6-3 to reach the third round.

Raducanu was leading 3-0 in the first set when she was forced to take a medical timeout to get treatment for blisters on her dominant right hand.


Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel ended Andy Murray’s challenge in emphatic fashion as he sealed a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win over the three-time major winner.

Murray, probably still reeling from the effects of his arduous five-set victory in the first round, fought back with an early break in the third set but was no match for Daniel.


Felix Auger Aliassime staved off a strong challenge from Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to win 7-6(4) 6-7(4) 7-6(5) 7-6(4) in four hours and 19 minutes and book his place in the third round. The Canadian ninth seed faces Dan Evans next.

Frenchman Benoit Paire also progressed after toppling 26th seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-4 6-7(4) 7-6(2).


Former semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas overcame a mid-match wobble to beat Sebastian Baez 7-6(1) 6-7(5) 6-3 6-4 and stay on course for his first Grand Slam title.

Earlier, Taylor Fritz beat Frances Tiafoe 6-4 6-3 7-6(5) in an all-American battle while Alex de Minaur and Roberto Bautista Agut also advanced with straight sets victories.


In-form 12th seed Elena Rybakina became the latest leading women’s player to exit the Australian Open after she retired injured while trailing 6-4 1-0 against China’s Zhang Shuai.


Daria Kasatkina eased past Magda Linette 6-2 6-3 to set up a third-round clash with seventh seed Iga Swiatek. Kasatkina has beaten the former French Open champion in three sets when they met for the first time in Eastbourne last year.


Second seed Aryna Sabalenka surrendered the opening set, like she did in her opener, before outclassing China’s Wang Xinyu 1-6 6-4 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena to reach the third round.

Local wild card Maddison Inglis followed up her victory over U.S. Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez with a 7-6(4) 2-6 6-2 win over American qualifier Hailey Baptiste.


Former U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur’s 20th and final Australian Open singles campaign ended in a 6-2 6-2 loss to 10th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Stosur is set to finish her singles career after the major but will play doubles in 2022.

“It’s a special moment for Sam and I want to give it to her. It was emotional for me today. I had goosebumps when everyone was clapping for Sam. She’s a wonderful human being and a great tennis player. Thanks, Sam,” Pavlyuchenkova said.

An emotional Stosur said that she always dreamed of winning a Grand Slam event, a feat she achieved at Flushing Meadows in 2011. “To do what I’ve done, dreaming as a little kid is phenomenal,” Stosur said. “I’ve done more than I ever thought possible.”

The cheers for Stosur turned to boos for Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley, under fire for his role in the Novak Djokovic saga, when he made his first public appearance at Melbourne Park this week to congratulate her.


Diego Schwartzman, seeded 13th, lost 7-6(6) 6-4 6-4 to world number 175 Christopher O’Connell, while Maxime Cressy outclassed Tomas Machac 6-1 3-6 6-1 7-6(5) to reach the third round of a major for the first time.


Last year’s quarter-finalist Andrey Rublev made short work of Ricardas Berankis with a 6-4 6-2 6-0 win over the unseeded Lithuanian to reach the third round for the fourth time. The Russian fifth seed next meets Marin Cilic who beat Norbert Gombos 6-2 6-3 3-6 7-6(6).


Third seed Garbine Muguruza, a runner-up at Melbourne Park two years ago, suffered a shock 6-3 6-3 defeat at the hands of French veteran Alize Cornet.

“Today, I stepped on the court thinking I’d have fun. That’s the best way I play. There was a lack of fun sometimes in my 16-year career. But right now I want to enjoy it,” Cornet said.

“I don’t know how many years I have left. Today was a perfect gift.”

Joining Muguruza in making an early exit was sixth seed Anett Kontaveit, who lost 6-2 6-4 to 19-year-old Clara Tauson – the girls’ singles champion at Melbourne Park in 2019.


Former French Open champion Iga Swiatek booked her place in the third round, the seventh seed advancing with a 6-2 6-2 win over Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson.

Britain’s Dan Evans, the number 24 seed, moved through to the next round after his opponent, Arthur Rinderknech, pulled out with a wrist injury.


Play at Melbourne Park got underway on all courts as scheduled on day four of the year’s first Grand Slam.

A warm day is expected for the second round matches with the temperature already at 21 Celsius (71 Fahrenheit) with a high of 29C forecast.

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The 19-year-old British sensation was hampered by a blistered racket hand from early in the first set

US Open champion Emma Raducanu was bundled out of the Australian Open in the second round as she was beaten 6-4 4-6 6-3 by Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic on Thursday.

The 19-year-old British sensation was hampered by a blistered racket hand from early in the first set of a tense contest on Margaret Court Arena but showed great fighting spirit to stay in contention.

With her usually powerful forehand reduced to a slice, Raducanu let slip a 3-0 lead to lose the first set.

But she played on her 98th-ranked opponent’s nerves to break at 4-4 in the second and take the match into a decider.

Kovinic showed great composure to forge ahead in the deciding set, resist a Raducanu fightback, and then move 5-3 ahead as the British youngster finally looked a little weary.

A stunning backhand winner sealed victory for the 27-year-old Kovinic as she moved into the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time.
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Tottenham were losing after 94 minutes, 52 seconds - the latest time a team has been behind before winning a Premier League match

Steven Bergwijn scored twice in stoppage time as Tottenham Hotspur pulled off a remarkable 3-2 victory at Leicester City in the Premier League on Wednesday.

Zambian Patson Daka put Leicester ahead, against the run of play, in the 24th minute with a sliding left-footed finish at the back post after Sergio Reguilon had failed to clear.

The visitors got their eventual reward when they drew level in the 38th minute with a clinical finish from Harry Kane, who beat the offside trap, skipped inside Caglar Soyuncu and drilled a low shot in off the far post.

It was a tighter affair after the break but Leicester got in front in the 76th minute when substitute Harvey Barnes found James Maddison whose low shot struck the outstretched leg of Japhet Tanganga and flew in via the post.

That looked to be enough until substitute Bergwijn levelled in stoppage time and then astonishingly grabbed the winner after being sent through by an excellent Kane pass.

Man United ride luck to seal important win at Brentford

Manchester United rode their luck before burying luckless Brentford with a second-half goal blitz to claim a 3-1 away victory on Wednesday and boost their challenge for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

A United win did not look likely as Brentford dominated the first half but the visitors were clinical after the break with goals by Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford securing a flattering victory.

Brentford should have been comfortably ahead by halftime but spurned numerous chances with Mathias Jensen twice denied by the outstretched leg of United keeper David De Gea

They were made to pay for their profligacy when Elanga nodded United in front in the 55th minute.

Greenwood tapped in from a counter-attack seven minutes later and substitute Rashford rifled in his side’s third in the 77th minute to leave Brentford stunned.

Ivan Toney pulled a goal back from close range with five minutes remaining but it was scant consolation for the hosts who slumped to a third successive defeat.

Cristiano Ronaldo returned to United’s starting line-up after recovering from injury but was subdued and reacted angrily after being substituted in the second half.

United remained in seventh spot but moved level on 35 points with sixth-placed Arsenal and are only two behind West Ham United who occupy fourth.

Brentford are 14th, 10 points above the bottom three.

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Former Brazil striker Robinho

Italy’s Supreme Court confirmed the conviction of former AC Milan and Brazil striker Robinho to nine years in prison for his involvement in a gang rape of an Albanian woman in 2013, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

The ruling cannot be challenged and is definitive.

In 2017 a Milan court found Robinho and five other Brazilians guilty of assaulting the woman after plying her with alcohol in a discotheque. The conviction was confirmed by an appeals court in 2020.

Robinho, whose full name is Robson de Souza, lives in Brazil. His Italian lawyer Franco Moretti confirmed Wednesday’s verdict, telling Reuters it was “deeply unfair”.

Robinho, 37, played for top European clubs Real Madrid, Manchester City and AC Milan, and signed a contract in 2020 to return to his very first club in Brazil, Santos.

However, the deal almost immediately fell apart after sponsors reportedly threatened to cut ties with the club for signing a player convicted of rape.

Italy could launch extradition proceedings now that Robinho has received a definitive verdict. However, Brazil has a long-standing tradition of not extraditing its own citizens.
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Recruitment has been a consistent issue during Farhad Moshiri’s near-six-year ownership, with more than half-a-billion pounds spent

Former Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall has likened the club’s transfer business to buying Fiat Pandas instead of Rolls-Royces.

Recruitment has been a consistent issue during Farhad Moshiri’s near-six-year ownership, with more than half-a-billion pounds spent to leave the club arguably in a worse position than when he took over.

Everton have experimented with two directors of football in Steve Walsh and Marcel Brands and both are considered to have failed, while they are looking for their seventh permanent manager under Moshiri after Rafael Benitez was sacked on Sunday.

And club great Southall has attacked the policy which he believes has primarily brought in sub-standard players.

“If I had the money, I’d rather buy a Rolls-Royce than a Fiat Panda but we’re buying Fiat Pandas,” he told the Liverpool Echo.

“That’s no disrespect to them because the lads who are coming in are trying but at the end of the day you’ve got to buy quality.

“We need to make sure we don’t get people sneaking through the door that can’t run, can’t jump or if it’s a windy day you can’t play him because he falls over.

“I think Marcel Brands was horrendous. I honestly believe he did a disservice to Everton, I don’t think he was any good. Some of the players that he brought in, if you slammed a door they fell over, they were that weak.”

Southall believes the club is coasting towards the opening of their new Bramley-Moore Dock stadium in 2024.

“Do we just want to make do and mend until we go to the new ground or actually move there with a chance of winning things?” he added.

“The owner has got to value the club at more than that. They’ve got to value Everton as much as the fans…their ambition doesn’t seem to be matched by anyone else at the club.

“The benchmark has to be when recruiting ‘Is this player going to win us the league?’. If it’s ‘no’ then don’t sign him. You can’t go short-term any more. What’s the point in signing some nugget who is not going to win you the league?”

The transfer window may still be open but due to the upheaval behind the scenes the club does not currently have a manager, director of football, head of recruitment or a chief of scouting – all dispensed with in the last six weeks.

Assistant manager Duncan Ferguson, part of the coaching staff since 2014, is the only senior member of staff to survive the cull which saw Benitez’s four-man backroom team dismissed on Monday and has been placed in caretaker charge.

The club are in the process of finalising a shortlist for the job on a permanent basis with Belgium coach and former Toffees boss Roberto Martinez, Derby’s ex-Everton striker Wayne Rooney, former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and the Portuguese coach Vitor Pereira, who was previously in contention before the club appointed Benitez’s predecessor Carlo Ancelotti, among the contenders.

Press Association
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Nick Kyrgios will have home advantage against US Open champion Daniil Medvedev

US Open champion Daniil Medvedev will face the mercurial Nick Kyrgios in a tricky second-round clash at the Australian Open on Thursday as the Russian looks to make the most of world number one Novak Djokovic’s absence and collect a second major title.

Medvedev secured a routine win against Henri Laaksonen in his opener but would expect a tougher examination against Aussie Kyrgios, who dazzled the John Cain Arena with some outrageous shot-making in the straight-sets victory over Liam Broady.

“I mean, obviously either way it’s going to be a hell of an experience for me. You know, he’s probably the best player in the world at the moment. So I’m pretty excited… that’s why I play the game,” said Kyrgios, who has won both their previous meetings.

Emma Raducanu, who won her maiden Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows last year, will be hoping to build on her impressive win over Sloane Stephens when she takes on the unseeded Danka Kovinic, while fellow Briton Andy Murray will fight it out against Taro Daniel.

Two more former major winners are in action on Thursday, with third seed Garbine Muguruza drawn against Alize Cornet and Iga Swiatek facing Rebecca Peterson, while world number two Aryna Sabalenka will look to better a wobbly first-round performance when she meets Wang Xinyu.

Margaret Court Arena will play host to two of the most promising youngsters in the men’s game, as fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas continues his quest for a first major title against Sebastian Baez and 11th seed Jannik Sinner faces Steve Johnson.

Order of play on the main showcourts on the fourth day of the Australian Open on Thursday (play begins at 0000 GMT, prefix number denotes seeding):


Alize Cornet (France) v 3-Garbine Muguruza (Spain)

Wang Xinyu (China) v 2-Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus)


Kamil Majchrzak (Poland) v 32-Alex de Minaur (Australia)


Nick Kyrgios (Australia) v 2-Daniil Medvedev (Russia)

14-Simona Halep (Romania) v Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil)


6-Anett Kontaveit (Estonia) v Clara Tauson (Denmark)

Hailey Baptiste (United States) v Maddison Inglis (Australia)

Sebastian Baez (Argentina) v 4-Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece)


Danka Kovinic (Montenegro) v 17-Emma Raducanu (Britain)

Steve Johnson (United States) v 11-Jannik Sinner (Italy)


7-Iga Swiatek (Poland) v Rebecca Peterson (Sweden)


Frances Tiafoe (United States) v 20-Taylor Fritz (United States)

Zhang Shuai (China) v 12-Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan)


Andy Murray (Britain) v Taro Daniel (Japan)

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Nigeria are the only side to have won their three opening group games at the Africa Cup of Nations

Nigeria beat Guinea-Bissau 2-0 in Garoua to become the only side at the Africa Cup of Nations to win all three group games.

After making eight changes to the side that beat Sudan to seal their last-16 place, Nigeria took time to warm up.

Umar Sadiq opened the scoring shortly after the break following a cross from striker partner Kelechi Iheanacho.

Captain William Troost-Ekong sealed the win after tapping into an empty net after fine work by Moses Simon.
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A fan in Juventus' empty stand

The Italian government has approved a new sports protocol outlining clearer guidelines on when a match should be postponed for COVID-19 related reasons.

Sport, health and government bodies have agreed that fixtures must be fulfilled unless 35% or more of the players in a squad have tested positive to the virus.

Positive-testing players must self-isolate, while their close contacts do not have to but, must be continually tested for five days, wear an FFP2 mask off the pitch and record a negative test result four hours before a match.

Italy has struggled with soaring COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, reaching a high of more than 228,000 daily cases on Jan. 18.

Stadium capacities were reduced to a maximum 5,000 for the final two rounds of Serie A fixtures in January, in a bid to stop the spread.

The hope is that new measures around postponements should stop further fixture confusion after a chaotic start to the year.

Four games in Serie A were farcically abandoned on Jan. 7 when only one team showed up for each of them, due to conflicting instructions from sport and health authorities.

The league body stuck to the original protocol by refusing to postpone games where teams had at least 13 players, including a goalkeeper, available.

But four teams – Bologna, Torino, Salernitana and Udinese – were forbidden from travelling by their local health authorities (ASL) due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

That meant their respective opponents Inter Milan, Atalanta, Venezia and Fiorentina turned up at the stadium, named a team and waited until half time for the match to be officially abandoned.

With Serie A and the ASLs finally on the same page, the hope is that the situation is not repeated.

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A view of the Melbourne skyline

Local government officials in Melbourne are looking at the feasibility of the city and surrounding region hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games, local media reported on Wednesday.

The 2022 edition of the multi-sport gathering for mostly former British colonies takes place in the English city of Birmingham in July and August, but the 2026 Games remain without a host.

Melbourne’s Age newspaper quoted on Wednesday an unnamed senior official in the Victoria state government as saying that the city was looking at stepping into the breach.

“We’ve had discussions with the CGF (Commonwealth Games Federation) and we are doing some preliminary studies to see if it works,” the official told the newspaper.

“We’ve got a short timeframe and we need to have the facilities up to speed. But it would have a regional focus.”

Australia, by far the most successful of the competing nations and territories, has staged five of the previous 21 editions of the Games with Gold Coast hosting in 2018.

Melbourne hosted the 2006 Games and has many of the facilities already in place to welcome 5,000 athletes at reasonably short notice.

“The CGF remains in positive dialogue with a number of Commonwealth Games Associations that are interested in hosting future editions of the Commonwealth Games,” said a CGF spokesperson.

“We are working hard to secure a host for the 2026 Games in advance of Birmingham 2022 and are confident this timeline will be achieved.”

Birmingham was initially interested in staging the 2026 Games but stepped in to take on the 2022 edition when the South African city of Durban was stripped of hosting rights because of funding issues.

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Rafa Nadal continued his quest for a 21st Grand Slam title with a 6-2 6-3 6-4 victory over German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann REUTERS/Loren Elliott


Seventh seed Matteo Berrettini overcame a minor hiccup in the second set to move into the third round with a 6-1 4-6 6-4 6-1 win over American Stefan Kozlov.


Rafa Nadal continued his quest for a 21st Grand Slam title with a 6-2 6-3 6-4 victory over German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann, finishing with a blistering forehand. Up next for the sixth seed is Karen Khachanov or Benjamin Bonzi.


Elina Svitolina, who married fellow professional Gael Monfils last year, said she was lucky to have found a partner who understands the demands of elite-level tennis.

“It’s important to have someone who understands what I’m going through … This sometimes can get complicated. The mental part is very important,” Svitolina said.

“For me to have Gael next to me at the same big events, it’s lucky in our situation that we’re both at the top of our sport so we’re travelling pretty much the same tournaments.”


Former U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys staved off a late comeback attempt by Jaqueline Cristian to beat the Romanian 6-2 7-5. The Adelaide champion has won now seven straight matches and meets Alison Van Uytvanck or Wang Qiang next.


Eighth seed Paula Badosa said playing on Rod Laver Arena following a breakthrough 2021 in which she tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Australian Open felt special.

“I’m really proud of myself… one year ago I was locked in a room,” Badosa said after beating Martina Trevisan. “Being here and playing centre court, because of me, not because I’m playing a seeded player, because now I’m the seeded player, I’m happy.”


Top seed Ash Barty used her powerful forehand and delicate slices to devastating effect in a 6-1 6-1 win over Grand Slam debutant Lucia Bronzetti in 52 minutes.

Earlier, 15th seed Elina Svitolina advanced when Harmony Tan retired from their match with a knee issue and left the court in a wheelchair. Tan was down 6-3 5-7 5-1 when she got injured.

Camila Giorgi reached the third round at Melbourne for the fourth time with a 6-2 7-6(2) win over Tereza Martincova.


Twice former Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and Spanish eighth seed Paula Badosa were the first players into the third round at Melbourne Park.

Azarenka, the 2012 and 2013 champion, sealed a 6-1 6-2 victory over Swiss Jil Teichmann with a backhand winner, while Badosa firmed as a dark horse for the title with an equally dominant 6-0 6-3 win over Martina Trevisan on Rod Laver Arena.


Play at Melbourne Park got underway on all courts as scheduled on day three of the year’s first Grand Slam.

A warm day is expected for the second round matches with the temperature already at 23 degrees Celsius (73 degrees Fahrenheit) with a high of 28 forecast.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas said he considered himself one of the best on hard courts

World number four Stefanos Tsitsipas put on a clinical show against familiar opponent Mikael Ymer of Sweden during a 6-2 6-4 6-3 victory in the opening round of his Australian Open campaign on Tuesday.

Tsitsipas said he considered himself one of the best on hard courts with nine-time Australian Open winner and world number one Novak Djokovic deported from the country over his COVID-19 vaccination status and no longer in the mix.

“I have a great net game, and most of the players don’t have the ability to come to the net the way I do and to cover the court and win a lot of points with volleys,” the Greek told reporters.

“They simply don’t have it. It’s something that is in my advantage, and I have been working my entire lifetime to perfect that. Perhaps other things they might have better than me, but in this department, I think I’m in favour.”

Tsitsipas came into his first-round match with a 2-0 head-to-head Tour lead against the 86th-ranked Ymer, riding high on confidence having dropped just six games in their previous meeting in the third round at Melbourne Park last year.

Tsitsipas broke his fellow 23-year-old, someone he has grown up playing on the junior circuit, seven times and hit 30 winners to seal the contest in two hours and 10 minutes in the final match of the second day at Rod Laver Arena.

The Greek was, however, not happy with the 38 unforced errors he committed in the match.

“There were a lot of rallies, a lot of ball exchanges, he gave me a hard time, he was going after every single ball and stayed in the match for as long as he could,” Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview.

“I will be trying to decrease the amount of unforced errors, I think I had a few more than I usually have. I’ll be trying to keep the consistency and trying to attack a bit more, be a bit more daring in certain moments.”

The French Open finalist also showed no signs of discomfort from a right elbow issue that forced him to miss a number of matches at the end of last season and also did not allow him to play at full tilt at the start of 2022.

Ymer showed glimpses of his talent and had his chances but could only convert two of his 11 breakpoint opportunities. The frustration ultimately got to the Swede as he kept punching his towel-clad head repeatedly during a changeover.

The Greek will next meet Argentina’s 21-year-old Sebastian Baez, ranked 88th, for a place in the third round.

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Britain's Emma Raducanu showed quality to beat American Sloane Stephens in three sets

Britain’s teenage sensation Emma Raducanu cleared a dangerous first-round hurdle at the Australian Open, seeing off experienced American Sloane Stephens 6-0 2-6 6-1 in a topsy-turvy contest on Tuesday.

Raducanu, who rocketed to fame in September with a fairytale run to the U.S. Open title as a qualifier without dropping a set in what was only her fourth senior tournament, raced through the opening set in 17 minutes, leaking only four points.

But former world number three and 2017 U.S. Open champion Stephens finally found her rhythm and range to take charge of the second set from 2-2, reeling off four games as errors began creeping in to 17th seed Raducanu’s game.

It looked ominous at that point for the 19-year-old Raducanu whose build-up to her Australian Open debut had hardly been ideal, having had COVID-19 and suffering a heavy defeat in her opening match in Sydney.

But she showed the same coolness under pressure that swept her to the title in New York, settling down and finding another gear to dominate the decider with some precision baseline hitting as the Stephens game unravelled again.

Stephens avoided another rout as she held serve at 0-5 but there was not to be another twist on a sparsely-populated Margaret Court as Raducanu closed out the win on serve despite a sixth double-fault on her first match point.

It was an encouraging start for Raducanu despite the second-set wobble and she will be heavily fancied to get past 99th ranked Danka Kovinic of Montenegro in the second round.

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Man City’s 12th consecutive league win took them 11 points clear at the top of the table

Despite further disruption with postponed fixtures, the Premier League once again delivered a weekend of excitement and intrigue.

With stories at the top and bottom of the table, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the key talking points from the latest round of fixtures.

De Bruyne strikes as City do the dozen

Chelsea’s trip to Manchester City saw the sides who entered the weekend first and second in the table meet at the Etihad Stadium.

Kevin De Bruyne’s second-half effort was enough to seal a 1-0 victory, City’s 12th consecutive league win, which ultimately takes them 11 points clear at the summit.

Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Brentford took them into second place with a game in hand over Pep Guardiola’s men but it would take something miraculous to prevent City retaining their title.

Sticky end for Rafa and Toffees

Rafael Benitez was sacked on Sunday evening as his short tenure as Everton boss ended with a ninth defeat in their last 12 league outings.

The final straw came after a 2-1 loss at Norwich, who had gone into the game on a six-game losing streak where they had failed to score.

Now though, Dean Smith’s side are just a point away from clawing their way out of the relegation zone with Everton in search of fifth permanent manager in three and a half years.

Gerrard has his Phil

Having lost 1-0 at Old Trafford in the FA Cup third round five days earlier, Aston Villa came from two down to draw with Manchester United at Villa Park on Saturday evening.

With Bruno Fernandes scoring twice following Villa errors, United looked on course to close in on the top four as interim manager Ralf Rangnick was once again without Cristiano Ronaldo.

The hosts, however, would rally as Steven Gerrard shuffled his pack, introducing former Liverpool team-mate Philippe Coutinho, who marked his debut with a sliding equaliser after the impressive Jacob Ramsey had pulled one back.

Harrison hits Hammers with hat-trick

With Arsenal’s appeal for their north London derby clash at Tottenham to be postponed proving successful, West Ham had the chance to open up a gap over their capital rivals.

Leeds were the visitors to the London Stadium and Marcelo Bielsa’s men would run out winners in a five-goal thriller as Jack Harrison scored the first hat-trick of his professional career.

The visitors themselves were down to the bare bones but survived two equalisers to claim back to back league wins for the first time this season and ease their relegation concerns.

Hornets hit back against Newcastle

Newcastle remain inside the relegation zone as Eddie Howe once again saw his side surrender the lead as Watford left St James’ with a 1-1 draw.

The Magpies, who handed a debut to striker Chris Wood, had led through Allan Saint-Maximin but have now lost 21 points from winning positions this season after Joao Pedro levelled with just two minutes remaining.

Now only Burnley sit below Newcastle in the table and the Clarets have three games in hand over Newcastle, who have plenty to do to survive this season.

Press Association
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US Open champion Emma Raducanu during practice in the lead-up to the tournament

Britain’s Emma Raducanu claimed a Grand Slam trophy even before she played a major champion but the 19-year-old could face a daunting task on her Australian Open debut when she meets former U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens on Tuesday.

Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam in the Open era when she defeated Leylah Fernandez in New York last September but the teenager has struggled to replicate the same form since, with early losses at Indian Wells and Linz.

She also contracted COVID-19 late last year and pulled out of the Australian Open warm-up tournament in Melbourne, before an early defeat nL1N2TR0PS by Elena Rybakina in Sydney but Raducanu said she was not bogged down by disappointing results.

“I think it’s going to be a tough match for sure. I’m going to go out there and enjoy the match because just playing in this Grand Slam, I had to work so hard to be here. Yeah, I’ll just go out there and enjoy,” Raducanu said ahead of Tuesday’s contest.

Three former French Open champions are also in action on the main showcourts at Melbourne Park, as Spaniard Garbine Muguruza takes on Clara Burel, Poland’s Iga Swiatek plays Harriet Dart and Romanian Simona Halep faces Magdalena Frech.

Among the men, Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev takes on Swiss Henri Laaksonen on Rod Laver Arena, while fourth-seeded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas plays Swede Mikael Ymer. Russia’s Andrey Rublev is also in action against Italian Gianluca Mager.

Order of play on the main showcourts on the second day of the Australian Open on Tuesday (play begins at 0000 GMT, prefix number denotes seeding):


Clara Burel (France) v 3-Garbine Muguruza (Spain)

7-Iga Swiatek (Poland) v Harriet Dart (Britain)

Henri Laaksonen (Switzerland) v 2-Daniil Medvedev (Russia)

Not before 0800 GMT

Storm Sanders (Australia) v 2-Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus)

Mikael Ymer (Sweden) v 4-Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece)


Daria Saville (Australia) v Rebecca Peterson (Sweden)

5-Andrey Rublev (Russia) v Gianluca Mager (Italy)

14-Simona Halep (Romania) v Magdalena Frech (Poland)

Not before 0800 GMT

Lorenzo Musetti (Italy) v 32-Alex de Minaur (Australia)

Sloane Stephens (United States) v 17-Emma Raducanu (Britain)


20-Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) v Sorana Cirstea (Romania)

6-Anett Kontaveit (Estonia) v Katerina Siniakova (Czech Republic)

Not before 0400 GMT

21-Nikoloz Basilashvili (Georgia) v Andy Murray (Britain)

Not before 0800 GMT

Liam Broady (Britain) v Nick Kyrgios (Australia)

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A man takes a selfie with Novak Djokovic as he arrives at Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade, Serbia

World men’s tennis No. 1 Novak Djokovic returned home reluctantly on Monday after being kicked out of the Australian Open due to his unvaccinated COVID-19 status which could now cloud his participation in future tournaments.

The Serb has won nine major titles in Australia and is level with Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slams each.

But instead of beginning his quest for a record 21st major title at Melbourne Park, he took planes to Dubai then Belgrade after being twice detained in a hotel with asylum-seekers then unceremoniously booted out by Australian immigration.

“100% the Australian Open has lost its value. Whoever wins it now, doesn’t really count. Because Djokovic is the number one,” said Alek Drakoo, a member of the local Serbian community, who had planned to watch him play in Melbourne.

The government’s decision was in tune with Australian public opinion because of Djokovic’s stance on inoculation, but authorities have been criticised for not resolving the issue before he arrived.

“I am uncomfortable that the focus of the past weeks has been on me and I hope that we can all now focus on the game and the tournament I love,” Djokovic, 34, said in a statement, expressing disappointment but respect for a court decision against him.


Under Australian law, he cannot be granted another visa for three years unless the immigration minister accepts there are compelling or compassionate reasons.

But Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hinted there may be a way to allow him in next year. “There is the opportunity for (a person) to return in the right circumstances, and that will be considered at the time,” he told 2GB radio.

France said Djokovic would be barred from playing the French Open in May and June as things stand now because of a new vaccine pass law.

“This will apply to everyone who is a spectator or a professional sportsperson,” the ministry said in a statement, adding, however, that the pandemic situation could change by then. “We’ll see, but clearly there’s no exemption.”

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Former England international Steven Caulker is representing his grandfather's country, Sierra leone, in the Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Cameroon.

Sierra Leone is back in the competition after an absence that lasted for 26 years.

The team aims to go beyond the group stages.

Defender Steven Caulker embraced the opportunity to participate.

"Sierra Leone kindly offered me the opportunity to come and play in this tournament I represent Sierra Leone, where my granddad was from. I never gave up when times are difficult, and I believe Sierra Leone is very much the same. So I think it's a good fit and so far, so good. I love being here, love being a part of it" said the defender.

In his professional career in England, Steven Caulker played for teams like Tottenham, QPR and Cardiff. As an international Caulker also played for a number of Turkish teams including Fenerbahce.

He would like to see more recognition for AFCON but, in his view, racism remains a challenge.

"What it is is a form of racism, the way I look is that clubs want their best players available all the time. If you look at the heroes in the World Cup, generally speaking, they're outside of club competition so the club seems to be a little bit more relaxed about it when we've AFCON because it's in January and it's a busy time in Europe, I feel clubs obviously want to keep holding of their players. But I would certainly say there has been a bit of disrespect shown", claims Caulker.

Outside football, the international player is also involved in a number of charity projects including building schools in Sierra Leone. For the defender, the most important thing is to leave a legacy and inspire future generations.

"For me,it's the most important part for me what legacy can I leave, building schools in Sierra Leone, helping charity projects around the world. For me is actually one of the most selfish things I can do because I feel great when doing it. It's great to see the reaction of the children when I'm presenting them with football. It's what makes me happy and I hope to continue to build many more in the future".

Steven Caulker is currently on loan to Turkish side Gaziantep.
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The atmosphere in Sierra Leone on Sunday was such a lively one, everyone was excited and jubilating after the 2-2 draw against the Elephants of the Ivory Coast.

Thousands of Sierra Leoneans flocked the streets of Freetown on Sunday evening to celebrate this rare occasion.

Sierra Leone scored a dramatic injury-time equaliser to grab a 2-2 draw against Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations in Douala.

The Elephants had been coasting but an astonishing mistake from Badra Sangare allowed Alhadji Kamara to tap in.

Keeper Sangare fumbled a back-header and could only watch helplessly as Kamara secured a second successive draw for the Leone Stars in Group E.

It means they have every hope of going through to the last 16.

Sierra Leone have two points from two games, while the Ivorians top the group with four points to their name.

However, the Elephants still have work to do when they face defending champions Algeria on Thursday (16:00 GMT).

Both sides played their part in an enthralling match, which saw Ivory Coast miss an early penalty but then lead twice before Sierra Leone hit back in dramatic fashion.