Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara scored the 100th century of his illustrious career while playing for English county Surrey in a one-day match on Tuesday.Sangakkara hit a run-a-ball 121 against Yorkshire in the One-Day Cup at Headingley.The 39-year-old left-handed batsman now has 39 centuries in one-day cricket to go with his 61 centuries in first-class cricket, 38 of which have come in Test matches.Sangakkara retired from international cricket in 2015. He scored five straight centuries for Surrey in England’s county championship this year.
Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo denied on Tuesday ever hiding any income from the taxman or committing any tax fraud in Spain, after prosecutors filed a lawsuit accusing him of defrauding tax authorities of 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million).The prosecutor’s office said the Real Madrid forward had knowingly used a business structure created in 2010 to allegedly hide his image rights income in Spain between 2011 and 2014.This involved a “voluntary” failure to comply with his tax obligations in Spain, the statement from the office’s economic crimes section said. The four counts of tax fraud were based on a report from Spain’s tax agency, it said in a statement.Ronaldo denied the accusations through his representatives late on Tuesday.”There is no tax evasion scheme. There has never been any hiding nor any intention to hide anything,” Gestifute, the agency representing the player, said in a statement.Gestifute said it would publish documents to show the Portuguese player had not created such a structure and had instead used firms he had owned since his time at Manchester United that both British and Spanish tax authorities had been aware of.The agency also said the case could relate to different interpretations between the British and Spanish tax systems over where to declare some revenues but would in any case not constitute fraud.Ronaldo, who led Real Madrid to their 12th European Cup earlier this month, is the latest in a long line of soccer players in Spain – among them Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Neymar – to be caught up in cases over tax or transfers.advertisementBetween 2005 and 2010, foreign players in Spain were protected under the so-called “Beckham law” allowing them to curb their taxes. But as the financial crisis bit deeper, that exemption was lifted, paving the way for the cases.The prosecutor’s office alleges that Ronaldo had defrauded the tax authorities of 1.4 million euros in 2011, 1.7 million euros in 2012, 3.2 million euros in 2013 and 8.5 million euros in 2014.IMAGE RIGHTSThe prosecutor said that after Ronaldo signed a contract to join Real Madrid in December 2008 he ceded his image rights to a company called Tollin Associates Ltd, domiciled in the British Virgin Islands and in which he was the only stakeholder.Tollin Associates then ceded his image rights to a company in Ireland called Multisports&Image Management Ltd which was responsible for managing them. Tollin Associates itself had no business activity, the statement said.”Ceding image rights to (Tollin Associates) was completely unnecessary and its only purpose was to create a screen to conceal the totality of his image rights income from the Spanish tax authorities,” the statement said.The prosecutor’s office filed the lawsuit against Ronaldo on Tuesday to a court in the Madrid district of Pozuelo de Alarcon.Ronaldo finished the soccer season scoring two goals in a 4-1 victory over Juventus in the Champions League final to become the tournament’s top scorer with a total of 12 goals.In May, Spain’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Messi and stood by a Catalan regional court’s 21-month prison sentence for defrauding authorities of 4.1 million euros on image rights. He is unlikely to go to prison as under Spanish law sentences under two years can be served under probation.Spain’s High Court last month cleared Neymar of fraud but he still faces a corruption trial in Spain in connection with the value of his 2013 transfer from Santos to Barcelona. He has denied wrongdoing.
Three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker has shockingly been declared bankrupt by a court in London upon failing to pay a handsome amount of debt, which is due since 2015.The German star’s lawyers pleaded with a Bankruptcy Court registrar on Wednesday to let Becker have a “last chance” of paying off the debt.But the registrar ruled that there was no substantial evidence that Becker would be able to pay the long-standing debt and refused to adjourn the case.However, Becker is not the first superstar to have gone broke. Here’s a look at some other famous sportspersons who faced bankruptcy.Mike TysonMike Tyson was an undisputed boxing champion. He was the youngest ever to win the WBC, WBA and IBF Heavyweight Titles along with being the first man to win 12 of his first 19 fights in the first round by KnockOut.Photo Credit: Reuters But his fortunes soon turned around with his then-wife accusing him of domestic violence, the death of his trainer who was a father figure to him, a nasty divorce, federal rape charge for which he spent 3 years in prison, possession of drugs and a DIU arrest.Everything went downhill for Tyson after retirement because of his extravagant lifestyle and uncontrolled expenditure.He filed for bankruptcy in the US in 2009. He is in a much better state now actively involved in the professional boxing arena in the US.David JamesDavid James declared himself bankrupt in 2014, just four years after playing as England’s number 1 goalkeeper in the 2010 World Cup.advertisementPhoto Credit: Reuters The former Liverpool and Manchester City player reportedly went broke after having a costly divorce with his wife Tanya in 2005, which led to immense debts.James played as a player-manager in the first season of the Indian Super League in 2014 with Kerala Blasters FC.Diego MaradonaDiego Maradona is as famous for the ‘Hand of God’ goal and for the World Cup glory he brought to Argentina as he is for his wayward ways of life.Photo Credit: Reuters The Italian authorities in 2009 declared that Maradona owed 37 million euros in unpaid taxes, penalties, charges and interest, out which he paid just 42,000 euros, two luxury watches and a set of earrings.He is famously known for his involvement with drugs. Despite all that he was once the national coach of Argentina and lost his job in 2010 due to the team’s poor World Cup performance.John Arne RiiseThe famous Liverpool star declared bankruptcy in 2007 for unpaid debts.Photo Credit: Reuters Riise was involved in a dispute with his financial advisors and former agent over the expenditure and investment of his fortunes. The court then found his link with a 4 million dollar fraud investigation in Norway.Riise has represented Delhi Dynamos FC in the Indian Super League during the season 2015-16 and joined Chennaiyin FC in 2016, where he made 10 appearances.Chris CairnsNew Zealand’s Chris Cairns was once one of the best all-rounders in the world, as Shane Warne described him.Photo Credit: Reuters But fellow New Zealander Brendon McCullum provided evidence to the International Cricket Council (ICC) on him being involved in spot-fixing and he was banned and put under investigation.Though he denied the accusations but it all went downhill for him from there.Reports had emerged in 2014 that he was driving trucks and cleaning bus shelters to make ends meet.Lawrence TaylorLawrence Taylor is one the most celebrated NFL (National Football League) player. The famous incident where his tackle broke the leg of Joe Thiesmann even inspired the movie ‘Blind Side’.Photo Credit: Reuters Taylor lived a controversial life where he was known for being involved with random women, openly using cocaine and drinking late in the night. Police even jailed him thrice for posession of cocaine. Moreover, he was also caught for filing a false tax return.Taylor finally declared himself bankrupt in 1998.George BestGeorge Best was one of football’s earliest worldwide heroes and had a glittering career.Once the curtains were drawn on his stunning 21-year career, he fell deeply into alcohol, “women and fast cars.”Photo Credit: Reuters The alcohol took its toll upon him resulting in need for liver replacement.Add to that, Best served 3 months in prison for drunk driving and assaulting a police officer but did the same thing again and earned another prison sentence.
Top seed Angelique Kerber lived dangerously for more than two hours before finally subduing the tenacious challenge of American outsider Shelby Rogers 4-6 7-6(2) 6-4 to reach the Wimbledon fourth round on Saturday.The German, who was runner-up to Serena Williams last year, has struggled for form in recent months and at times was blasted off court by Rogers’ heavy hitting from the baseline.However, the world number one kept faith with her error-filled game plan to seal victory when Rogers, ranked 70th in the world, belted a service return long.She will face 2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals.
Former world number ones and Grand Slam champions Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick are among five players set to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame this Saturday.Besides Clijsters and Roddick, four-time Paralympic wheelchair tennis medalist Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch of Dutch, tennis historian and journalist Steve Flink and late tennis instructor Vic Braden complete the full list.34-year-old Clijsters, who clinched US Open title in 2005, 2009 and 2010 before winning Australian Open singles’ crown in 2011, spent 19 weeks at the top of the rankings.Ecstatic with the idea of being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Clijsters, who had captured 41 WTA titles before retiring in 2012, insisted that she feels honoured to feature with some great players she had admired growing up. Reuters Photo”I feel very honoured. It’s a huge honour to be amongst a list of so many great tennis players who I admired when I was growing up and some great players who I played with in my tennis career as well,” Sport24 quoted Belgium’s Clijsters as saying.Roddick, on the other hand, had spent almost 13 weeks atop the rankings, winning his only Grand Slam singles title at the 2003 US Open and losing four other Slam finals to Swiss maestro Roger Federer.He took retirement from the sport following the 2012 US Open after clinching 32 career ATP titles and holding an ATP career record of 612-213.”It’s really special. I love this sport and I love being part of it. I’m moved to know that my presence in the sport will be forever part of tennis history and I am just incredibly honored to be inducted,” he said.advertisementKalkman-van den Bosch, who was diagnosed with cancer at age 14 and left paralyzed below the waist, clinched Paralympic gold in table tennis. She then switched to wheelchair tennis and went on to grab three more titles in the same to become the first woman to win Paralympic gold medals in two different individual sports.While Flink was a long-time radio correspondent and statistician for television coverage, Braden was a pioneer in uniting scientific research into tennis training while he also worked with prodigy talent as well as other instructors.
By Philem Dipak Singh London, Aug 5 (PTI) Contrary to her tough exterior while dealing with matters relating to a sensitive gender case, Indian sprinter Dutee Chand is living under a “constant fear” that a ban could be around the corner. She fears that she could be banned under a controversial policy of the the international athletics federation and her career could end abruptly. Under the Hyperandrogenism policy of the International Association of Athletics Federations, female athletes with high levels of naturally producing testosterone are not allowed to compete on the ground that they have an unfair advantage over their peers. Dutee was banned by the Athletics Federation of India in 2014 under this policy but she challenged this at the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne, Switzerland. In July 2015, the CAS overturned the AFI ban and suspended the IAAFs hyperandrogenism policy for two years. The worlds top sports tribunal said that the policy will be declared null and void if the IAAF does not produce within two years conclusive evidence that female athletes with high levels of naturally producing testosterone have an unfair advantage over their peers. Dutee was allowed to compete both at the national and international events during those two years. But her future again came under a cloud after the IAAF decided last month to submit fresh evidence at the CAS in support of its policy of barring female athletes who produced natural testosterone (male hormones) above permissible range from taking part in competitions. The CAS, on July 27, suspended the controversial policy of the IAAF for another two months till September and Dutee was allowed to participate in the ongoing World Championships. She did not get an automatic berth as she could not touch the qualifying standard of 11.2 secs but got a late quota entry as the targeted number of 56 in the womens 100m dash was not reached. “There is tremendous pressure on me because of the case going on in CAS. I am not being able to focus on my training because of that case,” Dutee told PTI after she crashed out of the 100m dash in the first round. “I was thinking if this case come back, whether I will be able to run again or not. I was thinking that I can be banned or something like that can happen. I was always under the constant fear that I can be banned and then how I will I run. Despite training so hard throughout the year, what is the use if I am banned.” The 21-year-old Odisha girl finished sixth in heat number five of the womens 100m first round, clocking a below-par 12.07secs. Her performance was well below her seasons best of 11.30 seconds though the track was a bit damp as the Olympic Stadium was lashed by rain during the womens 100m first round and the temperature also dropped below 20 degree Celsius. She finished 38th overall among 47 who competed in the event. “But I have got the chance to run at such a big event and in front of such a big crowd. The whole of India is watching on television and supporting me. I feel happy about representing the country.” Asked further about her mental state while facing this gender issue, she said, “There was to be a hearing on July 24 at the CAS. I was really broken during the Asian Championships (July 6-9) in Bhubaneswar because of this case.” South African womens 800m runner Caster Semenya was the other prominent athlete who has faced intense scrutiny under this policy of the IAAF. Asked if she had ever spoken to Semenya, Dutee said, “I had a chat with her at Rio Olympics and she told me to remain strong. She told me to keep running.” She said, “Let us not get worried about what has happened and what others think of us. This (their having more naturally producing testosterone) is given by God and we should accept that fact.” PTI PDS AH AHadvertisement
Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova has accepted a wildcard invitation to make her seventh appearance at the China Open in October.Sharapova won the China event in 2014 and also made the final in 2012.The Russian tennis star, who missed Wimbledon and the entire grasscourt season with a thigh injury, also had to withdraw from the Stanford Classic due to soreness in her left arm.The former World No.1 was also scheduled to play at the Rogers Cup in Toronto this week but withdrew because of the same injury.”Hello, my SharaFamily in China. I’m very happy to announce that I will return to Beijing and play the China Open this October,” the wtatennis website quoted the 30-year-old as saying in a statement.”This is especially exciting as it will be my first tournament in Asia this year!” she added.Meanwhile, Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams, Zhang Shuai and Peng Shuai will also take part in the Beijing event, which runs from September 24 to October 8.
LG has launched its high-end flagship phone, the V30+, in India at a fairly aggressive price of Rs 44,990. Successor to the V20, the V30+, comes with a premium design and premium hardware specs. Broadly, however, the LG V30+ focuses on three aspects: audio, video and photography. The V30+, as a result, is a phone that comes with a big bezel-less display, a Hi-Fi Quad DAC, and dual rear cameras. But there’s even more to it than what meets the eye.The V30+, if you look at it closely, leaves no hardware spec unchecked and has the potential to stand toe to toe with the best in-class like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the Apple iPhone X, the Google Pixel 2 and others. Here’s a closer look at LG’s new V30+.Specifications:Processor: The LG V30+ is powered by a 2.45GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor clubbed with Adreno 540 GPU.RAM: It comes with 4GB of RAM.Internal storage: The LG V30+ comes with 128GB of internal storage which is expandable by up to 2TB via a micro-SD card.Screen: The V30+ comes with what LG calls as a Full Vision display. The phone boasts of an edge-to-edge screen and an unusual 18:9 (2:1) aspect ratio instead of a regular 16:9. It comes with a 6-inch QHD+ P-OLED display with a 2880×1440 pixel resolution. The phone, in addition, also supports always-on functionality.Rear camera: the LG V30+ comes with a dual camera system on the rear, consisting of one 16-megapixel standard angle (f/1.6 aperture) and one 13-megapixel 120 degrees wide angle (f/1.9 aperture) lens.advertisementFront camera: On the front, the V30+ sports a 5-megapixel camera with a “wide” 90-degree field of view and f/2.2 aperture.Software: The LG V30+ runs Android 7.1.2 Nougat-based UX 6.0 out-of-the-box.Battery: The V30+ is backed by a 3,300mAh battery and supports both fast and wireless charging.Special features:– The V30+ is a souped up version of the V30 which differs from the latter in only internal storage while rest of the specifications remain the same. It’s still successor to last year’s audio-centric phone, the V20, and comes with an unusual 18:9 Full Vision display – instead of a regular 16:9. This means that the V30+ is not just an audio-centric phone, it is video-centric as well.– The USP of the V30+, according to LG, is its big bezel-less display. The phone comes with ridiculously slim bezels allowing the display to take up over 80 per cent of its front side: a concept also seen in Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 and Apple’s iPhone X. LG has so far stayed clear of using an OLED panel (not strictly though as the forgettable G Flex 2 did house one) but all this changes with the V30+. The V30+ is LG’s first true flagship phone, in a long time, to come with a curved OLED — called Full Vision by the company — display which is also HDR 10-ready. The V30+ is also compatible with Google’s Daydream virtual reality platform.– The 6-inch P-OLED display of the LG V30+ also supports HDR 10.Also Read: LG V30+ with 6-inch FullVision display, 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC & dual cameras launched at Rs 44,990– LG is touting the V30+’ rear camera system as the world’s first camera system to ship with an aperture of f/1.6 which should technically entail in outstanding low light photography. In addition, the dual camera system on-board the V30+ uses crystal clear glass lens instead of plastic and that should also aid in better photos, according to LG.– The V30+ dual camera system has been built not only to take outstanding still photos, it has also been designed to shoot pro-level videos. The V30+, to begin with, can shoot 4K videos at 30fps in log format. The V30+, in addition, comes with as many as 15 different color grading presets to add a cinematic look to videos, and a specialized mode called Point Zoom that allows zooming into any selected area within the frame while recording.– Unlike its predecessor, the V30+ dumps LG’s trademark secondary ticker screen for a floating bar feature that can be customized to fit up to five apps for easy access. There’s an always-on display feature and a 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC for immersive audio. The V30+ also supports Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) technology for high-resolution audio streaming.– The LG V30+ is launching with Android 7.1.2 Nougat but it’s in line to get Android Oreo in the days to come although there’s still no definite time-line.– On the outside, the V30+ comes with a ‘minimalist’ design consisting of Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on camera) and metal, and a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. Additionally, the V30+ is also dust and water resistant — IP68-certified — as also MIL-STD-810G certified so it can technically survive harsh environment. The V30+, in addition to a fingerprint scanner, also includes facial and voice recognition technology for added security.advertisementPrice and availabilityThe LG V30+ has been launched in India at a price of Rs 44,990 and will be available for buying in as many as four colours from December 18 exclusively from Amazon India. Pre-booking is now live on the e-retail website. LG will be offering one-time screen replacement, and a wireless charger and in-app content (worth Rs 6,400) for free with the V30+, the company has announced.
Peru beat New Zealand 2-0 on Wednesday night to win a two-leg playoff and earn the 32nd and last spot in the World Cup field in Russia.Peru won at home after tying 0-0 on Saturday in New Zealand. They last reached the World Cup in 1982.Striker Jefferson Farfan opened the scoring Wednesday in the 27th minute from the edge of the box.Defender Christian Ramos made it 2-0 in the 64th minute after a mistake from New Zealand’s defense.AP PhotoPeruvian players dedicated the win to striker Paolo Guerrero, who was suspended on doping suspicions.New Zealand failed in a bid to reach its third World Cup.Peru’s qualification put the South American team in the World Cup draw with Spain, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay and Croatia.A tearful Farfan said after the match that his team had “to endure a lot of nonsense until we got here.” Peru finished fifth in South American World Cup qualifying.AP PhotoFarfan and his teammates walked around the pitch holding the shirt of striker Paolo Guerrero, who has been suspended by FIFA on doping suspicions.Peruvian President Pedro Paulo Kuczynski promised earlier this week that Thursday will be a national holiday if thecal team qualified for the World Cup.
LONDON — FIFA Vice President Prince Ali bin al-Hussein says the United States was among the national associations to nominate him to stand against Sepp Blatter for the top job in world football.The Jordanian also disclosed he was endorsed by his home federation, Belarus, Malta, England and Georgia.At his campaign launch in London, the Prince said: “There is a bit of a culture of intimidation within FIFA but, having said that, this is a candidacy for the whole world.”But his inability to gain widespread backing beyond his homeland in the Asian Football Confederation highlights the tough task unseating Blatter, who is running for a fifth, four-year term in May.Michael van Praag of the Netherlands and Portugal great Luis Figo are also vying for the Presidency.(ROB HARRIS, AP Sports Writer) TweetPinShare0 Shares
NEW YORK — The Washington Capitals showed the urgency of a team that hasn’t secured a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs.The New York Rangers haven’t looked the same since they clinched their place in the postseason.Alex Ovechkin scored twice and Jason Chimera added two goals in the third period to rally the Capitals to a 5-2 victory March 29 over the suddenly slumping Rangers.Washington won for the fifth time in seven games to strengthen its hold on the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with seven games remaining.“That’s a great thing for our team,” said Braden Holtby, who made 23 saves in his career-best 37th win. “We’ve been a confident group right from the start. We’re seeing it now. We can get through anything.”On the flip side, the Rangers lost for the third time in four games, including back-to-back defeats after becoming the first NHL team to qualify for the postseason on March 26.By the third period against Washington, they appeared to be worn out.“It didn’t seem like we had a lot of gas in the tank,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “It seemed to affect our execution on the ice.”New York still has a comfortable hold on first place in the Metropolitan Division, but they have dropped from the top spot in the overall standings and in the East.“There is still a lot to play for,” Vigneault said. “We are playing for home-ice advantage. We haven’t secured that. You also want to go into the playoffs playing the right way.”Ovechkin had a goal in each of the first two periods, and Chimera broke a 2-2 tie 4:41 into the third with his first in 21 games. He made it 4-2 with 12:20 remaining, and Marcus Johansson added an empty-netter with 2:23 left.Washington rebounded from a March 28 home loss to Nashville and beat the Rangers for the first time in three games this season. The teams will finish the season against each other.“When we play our game, we play simple and they make mistakes,” Ovechkin said. “Mentally it’s important for us.”Ovechkin had gone three games without a goal, but he has scored two in a game four times in his past 12. Skating on a line without Nicklas Backstrom didn’t seem to bother him. Backstrom assisted on 30 of Ovechkin’s first 47 goals, and then his power-play tally Sunday.“It’s like a married couple,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “Sometimes an odd weekend road trip is a good thing.”Kevin Hayes and Derick Brassard scored first-period goals for the Rangers. Cam Talbot was back in goal, one day after Henrik Lundqvist returned from a neck injury at Boston, and stopped 26 shots.The Rangers allowed at least four goals in each of their past three losses after going 10 straight without giving up more than two.“Maybe it was that their will to win was a little higher in the third than ours,” Talbot said. “Something clicked for them in the third period that didn’t click for us.”Chimera, who has seven goals but hadn’t netted any since Feb. 6, jammed a puck under Talbot. His second was also scored in close. Ovechkin had gotten the Capitals even at 2 with 8:43 left in the second at the tail end of a power play with his 49th goal.After being frustrated by Holtby throughout the first, the Rangers grabbed a 2-1 lead with goals by Hayes and Brassard 1:01 apart in the final two minutes of the first.Hayes was the beneficiary of a turnover by Capitals defenseman John Carlson, who flubbed the puck in the high slot. Hayes slid in the puck with 1:50 remaining for the 15th goal of his rookie season. Mats Zuccarello then made a quick, short pass inside the left circle to Brassard, who ripped in a drive with 49 seconds left.Ovechkin had given the Capitals a 1-0 lead 4:32 in when he went around Jesper Fast at the left-wing boards, cut into the middle past defenseman Dan Girardi, and fired a slap shot by Talbot.Holtby had kept the Rangers at bay with several stellar saves, including a lunging stop with his stick against Hayes. He was also helped by the goal posts.“Some days they hate you, some days they don’t,” Holtby said.(IRA PODELL, AP Hockey Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
Greek basketball power Olympiacos went down meekly to Spanish giant Barcelona, 73-57 in the best-of-five opener in their Euroleague quarter-final series.Barcelona went on a 17-2 run to take an early 22-8 lead and the game was over before it started, the second poor showing for a Greek team in the tourney after Panathinakos was whipped by CSKA Moscow.Barcelona dominated every phase of the game over the listless Greek team with the Spanish club nailing 10-of-21 three-pointers compared to 6-for-22 for their rivals. Barcelona controlled the boards with 44 rebounds to Olympiakos’ 14.No one on the Greek team scored 10 points or more in an ignominious start for Olympiacos, usually a strong contender.Mario Hezonja, set to be a top 10 pick in the NBA draft, scored five points on 2-of-6 shooting in 17 minutes, adding three rebounds, two blocks and an assist.TweetPinShare0 Shares
NEW YORK — Fresh off its World Cup championship, the U.S. women’s soccer team got a hero’s welcome on Friday with a ticker-tape parade in lower Manhattan mobbed by young girls and other flag-waving fans, followed by a City Hall ceremony where each player was given a key to the city.“All of this for us started when we were little and we had a dream,” star forward Abby Wambach told a crowd of 3,500 at City Hall Plaza. “In my opinion, all the women up on this stage believed in that dream, kept believing in that dream. ”Head coach Jill Ellis called the celebration “mind-blowing.” And midfielder Carli Lloyd, named the World Cup’s most valuable player after scoring three goals in the final, told the crowd, “Well I’m a Jersey girl … but New York City, you guys are awesome.”Parade-goers — many wearing red, white and blue — started gathering at 3:30 a.m. along the Canyon of Heroes, a stretch of Broadway where the nation’s largest city has honored its legends. When the parade got underway at 11 a.m., the crowd was as much as 10 deep along the route. Chants of “USA! USA!” were distinctly high-pitched.It was the first-ever ticker-tape parade in New York for a women’s sports team — a fact not lost on the crowd. A 4th floor window on a building near the route was decorated with a homemade sign that reads “Girl Power” with four American flags.“I’m glad to see girls getting a parade,” said 9-year-old Christinah Delesine, who wore a blue soccer shirt. “There should be more.”Robert Sanfiz, who brought his three children — Julia, 8, Chris, 7 and Tommy, 2 — had a similar take.“It’s great for her to see women finally be represented,” Sanfiz said. “It’s great for her self-esteem.”Ireland Giaquinto, 13, held a sign reading, “Thank you for letting me dream.”All 23 players from the team — none of whom are from New York City, though four hail from nearby New Jersey — were riding on four of 12 floats. One of the floats was carrying the World Cup trophy, along Lloyd and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was on a separate float.The players could be seen taking selfies and shooting photos of the crowd. As the paradestarted, goalkeeper Hope Solo tweeted: “We couldn’t be more excited be here!” with a photo of herself and five teammates.The southern end of Broadway is the traditional spot for New York City for the paradeswhere workers in tall officer buildings once tossed ticker tape — strips of paper with stock price information — onto celebrants below. The tape has been replaced by shredded paper.The New York Yankees have gotten parades when they’ve won the World Series, and the New York Giants have been celebrated when they’ve won the Super Bowl, most recently in 2012. Among the famous people honored: Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Albert Einstein.Even though the women’s soccer team is a national team instead of local, the push to honor the players with a parade had been fervent. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer had written to de Blasio, saying it was a good opportunity to showcase female athletes.“When they brought back that trophy, they also brought back the message of the power of women,” de Blasio said at City Hall.The United States has returned to the top of the FIFA women’s rankings after winning the World Cup. The U.S. toppled Germany after beating Japan 5-2 in Sunday’s final in Vancouver to collect the top prize in women’s soccer for the first time in 16 years.JONATHAN LEMIRE, Associated Press___Associated Press Writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.TweetPinShare0 Shares
ATHENS – Οlympiakos continued its undefeated run in the Greek league, beating Giannena 3-0 away on Sunday for its 19th win in 20 games.Costas Fortounis scored twice in the first half, with a free-kick in the 13th minute and a penalty in the 25th, and provided the assist for Jimmy Durmaz to score the third goal, in the 57th.The defending champion, seeking its 18th league title in 20 seasons, kept its 16-point lead over second-place AEK Athens, which beat Veria 3-0.Also, Panathinaikos won 3-2 at Platanias, Asteras beat Levadiakos 2-0 and Xanthi defeated Iraklis 2-0.On Saturday, Atromitos drew 1-1 at PAOK, Panionios prevailed 1-0 over Panthrakikos and Panetolikos beat last-place Kalloni 1-0. TweetPinShare0 Shares
ATHENS – Soccer fans of a certain age may still remember Antonis Nikopolidis for his resemblance to American actor George Clooney and as the goalkeeper who helped Greece become surprise European Champions in 2004.Now the country’s national youth team coach, Nikopolidis is helping refugees stranded in Greece regain a sense of purpose. The soccer team he helped build, named Hope (Elpida in Greek), is made up of players who fled warzones in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan.Most of Hope’s players live in Skaramangas, an industrial zone west of Athens where metal containers have been turned into shoebox-shaped homes. They compete in an amateur league on Sundays, facing teams made up of lawyers, telecom workers and accountants.Nikopolidis, a soft-spoken 46-year-old whose hair has turned silver in retirement, says team practices and matches provide a welcome distraction for young men facing uncertain futures in the European Union’s slow-moving relocation program.“We’re helping people who are at a difficult moment in their lives,” he said. “They are guests in our country, and we are trying with this team to give them a few hours of happiness.”AP Photo/Thanassis StavrakisSoccer is the main source of entertainment for many of the 60,000 refugees and economic migrants living in camps around Greece while they wait for asylum applications to be processed and a possible move elsewhere in Europe.“You have to spend your time (doing something) because it’s very boring,” Hozaifa Hajdepo, 23, a Hope player from Syria, said. “If you stay in your home and you don’t have work, you will be like — you will die.”The Union of European Football Associations, the governing body for soccer in Europe, has awarded grants to assist refugees in 15 countries. Some of the money that went to Greece is being used to sponsor Nikopolidis’ team.AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis.Nearly 9,000 refugees have been moved from Greece to other European Union countries, and the coach already has lost several players. But with the pace of relocations still at just over half the target rate, most of the team expects to be in Greece for a while.“It’s a joy for me to do this,” Nikopolidis said. “The main thing is that they enjoy it, that they have fun … We have created a group of friends, with bonds of friendship, a family.”TweetPinShare11 Shares
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA is planning to organize a special election for a FIFA Council place after being left with only three candidates for the four vacant seats available.European soccer’s governing body originally had five contenders for the vacant positions — which currently earn $300,000 annual payments from FIFA — but now has only three.Last week, Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko was ruled out because of conflict with his government duties, and former Icelandic soccer association president Geir Thorsteinsson withdrew.Three candidates will now be elected unopposed on April 5 at the UEFA Congress in Helsinki, Finland, and formally join the FIFA Council in Bahrain in May.The three, all federation presidents who will join the ruling panel through 2021, are: Sandor Csanyi (Hungary), Dejan Savicevic (Montenegro), and Costakis Koutsokoumnis (Cyprus).Savicevic was a Champions League-winning player with AC Milan.UEFA must now find a new date to elect the final official who will complete Europe’s quota of eight seats on the 37-member FIFA Council.“An Extraordinary UEFA Congress will therefore be organized later this year at a date to be decided in due course,” UEFA said Tuesday in a statement.While UEFA election rules allow its executive committee to organize a fast-track ballot in exceptional circumstances, FIFA statutes call for a four-month campaign that allows time to vet the eligibility of candidates.UEFA said Thorsteinsson passed his FIFA eligibility check but pulled out because UEFA wants only active officials in senior elected positions. That policy, supported by UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, should be formally adopted next month in Helsinki.TweetPinShare0 Shares
BUCKS 108, PISTONS 105, OTMILWAUKEE (AP) — Khris Middleton hit a 3-pointer with 40.7 seconds left in overtime, rookie Thon Maker scored a career-high 23 points and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Detroit Pistons.Giannis Antetokounmpo shot steady from the stripe in the dying moments in overtime to lift the Bucks to victory over Pistons, 108-105.Middleton hit the 3 from the right wing after Maker tipped an offensive rebound right back to his teammate to save a crucial possession that started with a Middleton miss from nearly the same spot behind the arc.It was a thrilling end to the month for the Bucks, who moved into fifth place in the Eastern Conference after going 14-4 in March.Tobias Harris scored 23 points to lead the Pistons in a game of wild of swings. Detroit trailed by 18 in the first quarter, then led by 10 in the fourth quarter before the Bucks finished with a flourish.The best from @Giannis_An34 as he finished with 28 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 blocks and a steal in the win!! #OwnTheFuture pic.twitter.com/LJFBOe3NHG— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 1, 2017CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James scored 34 points, Kyrie Irving dropped 24 and the Cleveland Cavaliers ended a turbulent and troublesome March with an easy 122-105 win over the injury-weakened Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.James made 14 of 22 shots in 30 minutes as the Cavs ended a three-game losing streak and won for just the third time in eight games to end the month 7-10.It’s been an alarming stretch for the NBA champions, who are running out of time to get tuned up for the postseason. But against the lowly Sixers, Cleveland regained some of its swagger before heading into April when the real fun begins.Kevin Love added 18 points and 10 rebounds as the Cavs won their ninth straight over the Sixers.Richaun Holmes and rookie Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored 19 apiece for Philadelphia, which only dressed nine players after shutting down Jahlil Okafor and Robert Covington for the remainder of the season with knee injuries.CELTICS 117, MAGIC 116BOSTON (AP) — Isaiah Thomas scored 35 points, Jae Crowder had 18 and the Boston Celtics rallied to beat the Orlando Magic to maintain their slim lead over Cleveland atop the Eastern Conference.Boston’s Al Horford made two free throws with 1:22 left for a one-point lead, and then Orlando missed three shots down the stretch, including a driving layup attempt by Elfrid Payton with two seconds left.The Celtics (49-27) entered with a half-game lead over the Cavaliers, who won easily against Philadelphia to preserve that margin.Horford and Jaylen Brown each scored 12 points, and Boston won for the fifth time in six games.Aaron Gordon scored 20 of his 32 points in the first half and had 16 rebounds, while Evan Fournier scored 20 points for the Magic. Payton dished out a career-high 15 assists and flirted with a triple-double, getting 12 points and nine rebounds.WARRIORS 107, ROCKETS 98OAKLAND, California (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 24 points, Klay Thompson had 20 and the Golden State Warriors got key plays down the stretch from just about everybody, using a big fourth quarter to hold off the Houston Rockets.Andre Iguodala’s left-handed drive and layup tied it with 7:07 remaining and he finished with 14 points, five rebounds and five assists. Ian Clark hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 5:58 to play before Matt Barnes delivered a clutch basket in a game with a playoff feel.James Harden had another tough shooting night for Houston, held to 17 points while going 4 for 18 from the floor and 2 of 9 from beyond the arc. He also had 12 rebounds and eight assists.JaVale McGee contributed 13 points and a season-best five blocked shots off the bench in a 10th straight win for the Warriors, who are determined to earn the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.PELICANS 117, KINGS 89NEW ORLEANS (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins had 37 points and 13 rebounds in his first game against the Kings, and the New Orleans Pelicans routed Sacramento.Cousins had downplayed his first meeting with the team that drafted him in 2010 and traded him away this February, but his play looked inspired. He tied a career-high with five 3-pointers and executed a tricky, crowd-pleasing, cross-court bounce pass during a fast break.Anthony Davis added 19 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks for the Pelicans, who led by as many as 32 en route to their eighth victory in 11 games. Pelicans first-round draft choice Buddy Hield, who was part of the Cousins trade, had 13 points for Sacramento, while Ben McLemore had 15 points.Cousins, who also finished with four assists and two blocked shots, received a standing ovation from many fans when he checked out of the game for the final time with a little more than three minutes left.SPURS 100, THUNDER 95OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points, and the San Antonio Spurs rallied from 21 points down in the third quarter to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder.The Spurs never led until the final minute. LaMarcus Aldridge’s dunk with 20.7 seconds left put the Spurs up 96-95. Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook drove to the hoop, but Aldridge blocked his shot. Leonard then drove the length of the floor, scored and was fouled. His free throw with 5.8 seconds left put the game out of reach.Westbrook had 32 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists for his 39th triple-double of the season. He needs two more to tie Oscar Robertson’s single-season record of 41 set during the 1961-62 season.Pau Gasol scored 17 points for San Antonio, which was coming off a 110-98 home loss to Golden State on Wednesday in which the Spurs blew a 22-point lead.GRIZZLIES 99, MAVERICKS 90MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) — Mike Conley scored 28 points, Zach Randolph added 22 points and 12 rebounds, and the Memphis Grizzlies clinched a playoff spot with a 99-90 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.Memphis’ win, coupled with Denver’s loss at Charlotte earlier Friday night, earned the Grizzlies their seventh straight postseason berth.But Memphis had to weather a 3-point shooting rally in the closing minutes. Dallas made six of its first nine 3-point attempts in the final frame, a jumper by Wesley Matthews cutting Memphis’ advantage to 94-90 with just over a minute left. But Dallas could get no closer, dropping its fourth straight.Troy Daniels finished with 21 points for Memphis, shooting 7 of 12 from outside the arc.Six Mavericks finished in double figures, led by 13 points each from Dirk Nowitzki, Matthews and J.J. Barea. Matthews also had seven assists, and Nowitzki grabbed 12 rebounds.HORNETS 122, NUGGETS 114CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) — Kemba Walker had 31 points, and the Marco Belinelli and Frank Kaminsky took over in the fourth quarter as the Charlotte Hornets preserved their slim playoff hopes with a win over the Denver Nuggets.The Hornets shot 17 for 26 on 3-pointers, including 7 for 12 in the fourth quarter.Charlotte trailed by eight entering the fourth, but scored 12 straight points to take control. Walker ignited the run with a long 3-pointer and then scored on a drive and drew a foul. Kaminsky, who had 22 points, and Belinelli each had three 3s in the fourth quarter as Charlotte outscored Denver 36-20.Nikola Jokic led Denver with 26 points and 13 rebounds.RAPTORS 111, PACERS 100TORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan scored 40 points and the Toronto Raptors rolled to their seventh straight home win over the Indiana Pacers.DeRozan was 11 of 26 from the floor to register his 30th game of 30 points or more this season, tying Vince Carter’s 2000-01 franchise mark. It was also DeRozan’s sixth 40-point game of the season.Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 17 rebounds for his team-leading 28th double-double, while Serge Ibaka added 15 points and 12 rebounds.Paul George led the Pacers with 28 points, while Jeff Teague added 19, but they were unable to prevent Indiana from its fifth loss in its last six games.The Pacers’ last regular-season win in Toronto came on March 1, 2013.KNICKS 98, HEAT 94MIAMI (AP) — Kristaps Porzingis scored 22 points, Courtney Lee added 20 and the New York Knicks led nearly the entire way in beating the Miami Heat.Justin Holiday scored 12 for the Knicks, who played without Carmelo Anthony (back), Derrick Rose (knee) and Lance Thomas (hip). It was only the fourth win in the last 15 games for New York.Goran Dragic scored 22 points and Hassan Whiteside had 17 points and 16 rebounds for Miami, which missed 15 of its final 16 attempts from 3-point range. Even with the loss, Miami (37-39) held onto the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference standings because No. 8 Indiana (37-39) also lost. The Heat and Pacers are just a half-game ahead of No. 9 Chicago.JAZZ 95, WIZARDS 88SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Gordon Hayward scored 19 points and the Utah Jazz beat the Washington Wizards.The teams traded baskets throughout the fourth quarter. There were six ties, and neither team led by more than four until the final 33 seconds. Hayward got hot late after struggling much of the night and led an 11-4 run that gave the Jazz an 85-80 edge. Washington never led again, and Bradley Beal’s turnover with 35 seconds left allowed Utah to close out the game from the free-throw line.Hayward scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and also had seven rebounds and four assists for the night.Beal led Washington with 27 points.TweetPinShare0 Shares
LAS VEGAS (AP) — James Harden became a star in Houston, and now he’s ready to call the city home. Harden signed a four-year, “supermax” extension Saturday, a whopper of a deal that guarantees Harden about $228 million over the next six seasons and makes it the richest contract in league history.The extension alone tacks another $170 million or so — depending on how the salary cap escalates — on to a contract that still had two more years and nearly $60 million remaining. It’s a mammoth deal befitting one of the league’s brightest stars, which is exactly what the Beard has become in five seasons with the Rockets.“Since he arrived in Houston, James has exhibited the incredible work ethic, desire to win, and passion to be the best that has made him one of the most unique and talented superstars in the history of the game,” Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said in a statement issued by the team. “Additionally, the commitment he has shown to our organization, the city of Houston, and Rockets fans all over the world makes him a perfect leader in our pursuit of another championship.”The deal keeps Harden under contract through the 2022-23 season, a lifetime in the modern NBA financial landscape in which so many superstars take short-term deals to maximize their earning potential. While anything can happen, this is about as much security as a player can get.Harden is coming off of his finest season. Moving to point guard for new coach Mike D’Antoni, Harden averaged 29.1 points, an NBA-leading 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds and finished second in the MVP race to former Oklahoma City teammate Russell Westbrook.“Houston is home for me,” Harden said. “Mr. Alexander has shown he is fully committed to winning and my teammates and I are going to keep putting in the work to get better and compete for the title.”Most importantly for the Rockets in the immediate future is that the extension will not affect Houston’s aggressive pursuit of free agents this summer as the Rockets try to make a run at the Golden State Warriors. The Rockets finished third in the Western Conference regular season last year but know they have plenty of ground to make up if they hope to truly challenge the defending champions.ESPN first reported the contract details.Harden’s do-it-all season helped the Rockets bounce back from a massively disappointing 2015-16 season that collapsed under the weight of chemistry issues with the All-Star guard and big man Dwight Howard. With Howard gone, the Rockets put Harden at the center of everything they do on offense, and it paid off in a major way.Houston went 55-27 in the regular season and beat Westbrook and the Thunder in the first round of the Western Conference semifinals.Harden seemed to run out of gas a bit in their semifinals loss to the San Antonio Spurs, and GM Daryl Morey has worked quickly to get him some help this summer.Morey traded for All-Star point guard Chris Paul, a bold move that gives the Rockets as talented a backcourt as any team in the league. Morey also signed rugged forward P.J. Tucker to boost the defense and brought Nene back as well.And he’s not done yet.This mechanics for this extension are new to the NBA in the latest version of the collective bargaining agreement. Harden was named first team All-NBA, making him eligible for a lucrative, four-year extension that also sends a message to the rest of the league that the Rockets are committed to stability as they try to challenge the Warriors in the West.Morey has never been bashful about hunting big game and Alexander has shown time and again that he will give his general manager the financial resources to go for it.With Harden locked up for the next six years, it’s time to go hunting again.By JON KRAWCZYNSKI TweetPinShare0 Shares
LONDON (AP) — Lionel Messi finally managed one of the few things he had yet to achieve in football.At his ninth attempt, the five-time world player of the year finally scored against Chelsea, salvaging a 1-1 draw on Tuesday and halting his longest drought against any opponent after 730 minutes.By cancelling out Willian’s opener, Messi also gave Barcelona a narrow edge in their Champions League round-of-16 matchup heading into the second leg at Camp Nou on March 14. The night’s other game produced a far more conclusive outcome with Thomas Mueller and Robert Lewandowski both scoring twice as Bayern Munich beat 10-man Besiktas 5-0.It was far tighter at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea deploying Eden Hazard as a false nine and containing Barcelona’s energetic pressing before being made to pay for a rare slip in concentration in the 75th minute.Andreas Christensen, the 21-year-old center back who displaced 32-year-old captain Gary Cahill from the starting lineup, passed laxly across his own penalty area. Barcelona capitalized. Andres Iniesta beat Cesar Azpilicueta to the ball, skipped past the defender’s attempt to tackle and squared for the unmarked Messi to turn into the bottom of the net. It prevented Barcelona from slipping to only its second loss in all competitions since August.“We lacked more clear-cut chances, but the good thing is we managed to force an error out of them and score an equalizer,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said through a translator. “We go back to the Camp Nou happy.”Twice, though, Barcelona had gifted Willian the space to hit the post in the first half. It was third time lucky in the 62nd for Willian, who drifts in and out of the team but was the outlet of Chelsea’s most dangerous moments against the five-time European champions.Chelsea’s Willian celebrates after scoring the opening goal of his team during the Champions League, round of 16, first-leg soccer match between Chelsea and Barcelona at Stamford Bridge stadium, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)The Brazilian was left unmarked just outside the penalty area to receive a pass from Eden Hazard. Sergio Busquets charged forward to block Willian but ended up on flat on his back after Willian shimmied past him.“We gave too much space to Willian to shoot,” Valverde said. “The pass to him was perfect, the control was perfect. And we just had to get closer to him.”They didn’t. Willian picked out a gap in the defense to send the ball into the bottom right of the night.“We stayed compact, had a plan,” Willian said, “and did exactly what we expected.”Described by Valverde as a “clash of styles,” this was not a meeting of equals.While Barcelona enjoys a seven-point lead at the top of the Spanish league, Chelsea is in a scrap to even secure one of the Premier League’s four Champions League qualification places. Recent damaging defeats at Bournemouth and Watford have left Chelsea with only a one-point hold on fourth place — and no chance of defending its title with Manchester City 19 points ahead.Now Chelsea, which won its only European title in 2012, has to find a way to at least score at Barcelona next month to secure passage to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2014.“We have to go there to attack and score because 90 minutes defending at the Nou Camp is an eternity,” said Cesc Fabregas, who joined Chelsea from Barcelona. “It is a suicide mission.”—By ROB HARRIS , AP Global Soccer WriterTweetPinShare0 Shares
Stefanos Tsitsipas is in the Dubai Championship final, knocking Frenchman Gaël Monfils out of the competition. The 20-year-old Greek tennis produced a sparkling physical and mental performance to overturn an initial 0-1 Montfils advantage to (4-6) in the first set of play. As if that wasn’t enough by itself, Tsitsipas took both tie-breaking sets with scores of 7-6 (4) and 7-6 (4) on his way to earning his place in the Dubai Championship final. With the finals qualification, in just his second Dubai Championship appearance, Tsitsipas will begin next week in the top 10 in the global rankings for the first time in his career, since he has surpassed Croatian Marin Čilić in points who, up until this point, held onto the 10th spot globally. Following eight consecutive wins, the Dubai Championship final provides Tsitsipas with his first back-to-back ATP tournament finals appearances and he will compete for his third career title overall and the first tournament within the 500 series against Swiss legend Roger Federer (6-2, 6-2 vs. Ćorić) Saturday!THIS is what the crowd came to see ?@StefTsitsipas and @Gael_Monfils lighting up the @DDFTennis ?? @TennisTV pic.twitter.com/npvTDCaZ4K— ATP Tour (@ATP_Tour) March 1, 2019Speaking at the press conference after his quarter-final battle with Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, Tsitsipas spoke about what he’s been chasing since the start of 2019, and how close he is to achieving that goal. “I think about it almost everyday, I want it a lot, I would really like it to happen. Because I am so close, I want it to happen as quickly as possible. I personally feel that I have game to be there already. I will take it even if it is a little later than I would have wanted, but again, as quickly as possible. It would also be good for my self-confidence”, said Stefanos Tsitsipas about his imminent ascent into the ranks of Top 10 men’s tennis players in the world. Asked about the semifinal he said, “We both serve well. We have a similar playing style. I think that I am a little bit more aggressive and he’s much faster than me. I will have to deal with all of that. The smile says it all ?See you in the final, @StefTsitsipas ?@DDFTennis | #DDFTennis pic.twitter.com/Aa6vfkAq64— ATP Tour (@ATP_Tour) March 1, 2019“I think about it almost every day, I want it a lot, I really want it to happen. Because I’m so close, I want it to be done as soon as possible. I personally feel I have the game to be there already. Let it happen even a little later, but as soon as possible. It will be good for my self-confidence, “said Stefanos Tsitsipas for his imminent entry to the top ten.Asked about the semi-final said: “We both serve well. We have a similar style of play. I guess I’m a little more aggressive, and he’s a lot quicker. I have to deal with all of that, I need to be patient, have passion and await my opportunity. I will have to serve very well. I will have to serve well to win, otherwise it’s going to be sticky situation”.Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece returns the ball to Gael Monfils of France during their semi final match at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday, March 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)“I continued to be Stefanos”In statements he made after the quarter-finals matchup, Tsitsipas analyzed the match and spoke about the art of tennis. “The break in the 3rd set cleared my mind a little bit. He was finding his game and got into a rhythm, so that break refreshed my mental state, it made me come back stronger and made me raise my level of play in the 3rd set. He absolutely deserve credit because it is not easy to come back when an opponent serves for the win at 5-4. He played brave tennis and showed character, i knew however that if I kept fighting and if I continued to be Stefanos on the court, I would have other opportunities to pick up the win,” said the 20-year-old. “ I try to be an artist on and off the court. I think that it is important to have that sort of artistic lifestyle. Not many people have that, I try to do it. I am certain that a lot of people have something artistic inside of them but they just haven’t found it yet. I think that tennis is a form of art, you can create art through the sport”.TweetPinShare0 Shares