Thứ Ba, 15 tháng 11, 2016

Stan Wawrinka proves poor substitute for Roger Federer

Stan Wawrinka crashed out of the ATP World Tour Finals in a one sided match against Kei Nishikori.

stan wawrinka, atp world tour finals, atp finals, roger federer, wawrinka federer, tennis news, sports news
With six-times champion Roger Federer absent, Swiss fans dotted around London’s O2 Arena were rooting for Stan Wawrinka at the ATP World Tour Finals on Monday but left feeling short-changed after their man was thrashed by Kei Nishikori.
Wawrinka, who claimed a third grand slam title at this year’s US Open, should have been a decent deputy for the 17-times grand slam champion who is missing the year-ender for the first time since 2001 because of injury.
It did not look like it against Nishikori though as he sprayed 31 unforced errors in a 6-2 6-3 defeat to the Japanese who could climb above him to finish the year third in rankings.
He was uncomfortable from the start, saving break points in his opening service game, but once he dropped serve midway through the first set he offered precious little resistance.
“It was not a great match compared to what I can do, that’s for sure,” Wawrinka, the oldest player in the eight-man draw, told reporters. “Wasn’t a great day for myself.
“I was a little bit slow on everything. I was hesitating a lot with my game, my movement.”
Wawrinka has made three semi-finals in London, twice losing to compatriot Federer including a gripping duel two years ago.
If he is to reach that stage again he will have to make a substantial improvement in his remaining group matches against world number one Andy Murray and big-serving Croat Marin Cilic.
He drew comfort in the fact that he managed only five games in his first match against Rafael Nadal here last year.
“It’s not the first time that I lost the first match here,” Wawrinka said. “Last year I lost against Rafa, really bad match.
“I’m sure I still have something inside me to play some great tennis before the end of the year, so I’m going to try everything for that in the next match.
“I’m going to do what I need to do tomorrow to get ready for trying to play better in two days.”
Wawrinka offered a few signature backhands — the shot that has dismantled Novak Djokovic in grand slam finals — but they were few and far between.
Nishikori got the first break in the fifth game with a punishing forehand and was ruthlessly efficient as he polished off the set with the help of another break when Wawrinka double-faulted to end a woeful service game. A netted forehand gave Nishikori a break point in the fifth game of the second set which he converted when Wawrinka elected to leave a return that floated in.
Nishikori claimed some revenge for this year’s U.S. Open semi-final loss when he broke again to end the contest after Wawrinka wafted a lazy backhand over the baseline(Editing by Pritha Sarkar).

More games: friv

Thứ Sáu, 23 tháng 9, 2016

Roger Federer made a debut on the ATP rankings list on this day 19 years ago!

Roger Federer probably doesn't remember this date, but exactly 19 years ago, on September 22, 1997, his named has appeared on the ATP rankings list for the first time! He was 16 years and 1 month old at that moment and with 12 points earned at Switzerland 1 Masters Satellites at Bossonnens, he instantly made the Top 1000, being ranked at 803rd position. 

In 1996, at the age of 15, Roger tried to qualify for two Satellites at home, with no success, and in July 1997 he lost in the qualifying round of the ATP event in Gstaad, so those events in Bossonnens were his first professional tournaments in the main draw in a career. In 4 tournaments, played on outdoor clay, Roger made two semi-finals, losing to the second seed Daniele Balducci and the first seed Agustin Garizzio respectively, and in the quarter-final to Yves Allegro, with whom he later played in many ATP doubles events, including 2004 Olympics in Athens (they won the title in Vienna in 2003). All in all, Roger scored 8 wins during that month at Bossonnens, and he finished 1997 ranked 704th. As we all know, the rest is history, and Roger is the leader of the ATP rankings in terms of an overall number of weeks spent at the top (302) and at the first place consecutively (237). He managed to finish 10 seasons ranked 1st or 2nd, which is also a record.

Important dates in Roger's progression through the ATP rankings:
22.9 1997 - First appearance on the ATP list, ranked 803rd
5.10 1998 - Gained almost 500 positions to enter Top 400
8.2. 1999 - Made Top 200 for the first time
20.9 1999 - Cracks Top 100 at the age of 18
2.10 2000 - Top 30
26.2 2001 - Top 20
20.5 2002 - Top 10
27.1 2003 - Top 5
2.2 2004 - Roger becomes world number 1.

Thứ Ba, 2 tháng 8, 2016

Roger Federer and The Retirement Question – A Nietzschean Interpretation

Roger Federer and The Retirement Question
In terms of recent tennis history, Wimbledon 2008 represents a disruptive and pivotal event. The more poetic Fed fans might use imagery of light and darkness, and view the outcome of the men’s final as the point at which the rays of the long evening sun finally set, to be replaced not by a new dawn but by a different and fractured sky. The golden age of Federer’s reign had finally been extinguished.
Since that time, the question of Fed retiring has been raised repeatedly (indeed, in light of his recent announcement that he will be skipping the remainder of the 2016 season, this question has raised its ugly head once again in social media posts etc.). Loyal Fed fans have consistently avowed support for their hero, saying that Fed will retire when he wants to, or – more extreme – that they want him to never retire, or to at least play until the 2048 Olympics. Other fans have been less committed and have themselves expressed their belief that Fed ought to retire or, worse, have gone over to the Dark Side in support of a new world number 1. But the question I wish to explore in this short article is why the Retirement Question has been cast over Fed’s career in a way in which it hasn’t (as far as I know) over other top ATP players.
There might be some relatively straightforward explanations for this. For example, some people might have uncritically accepted the (former) norm for the age at which tennis players generally finished their careers, and might have seen 26 years old as a respectable age to hang up the Wilson wand when Federer’s career appeared to have passed its peak. But I believe that there are also more profound explanations at work. As such, I will now set out two general theories, both of which draw on ideas set out by the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche.

Theory I – Ressentiment

In his book, On The Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche sets out a psychological mechanism that he calls ‘ressentiment’, which translates into ‘resentment’ in English, but which has a rather special meaning. On his definition, ressentiment is a feeling experienced by those who are not life’s winners and who suffer, in some sense, as a result. However, ressentiment is not reducible to a feeling of antipathy towards the life circumstances in which one finds oneself; it is not merely self-absorbed pity for one’s misfortunes and a desire for things to be different. Rather – and this is a crucial point – it also includes a target: a person or a group of people towards whom the sufferer can channel his frustrations, and whom he can hold responsible for his unfortunate condition. In our society, politicians are clearly key targets, but they are far from being the only targets.
This idea that the sufferer holds the target responsible for his plight suggests that ressentiment is not reducible to common jealousy. Moreover, Nietzsche maintains that ressentiment also includes a desire for some form of revenge. Under the orbit of this psychological mechanism, the poor do not merely covet the rich, but wish to possess and redistribute their wealth. The talentless aren’t merely jealous of the talented, but desire to see that talent and good fortune extinguished and their own condition ameliorated as a result.
In terms of tennis, Federer’s dominant years made him and his fans outright winners by a country mile but, conversely, left his opponents and their fans in a state of near-perpetual disappointment. Whilst Fed fans basked in their hero’s triumphs and glory, other fans were left in a sorry state for which they could hold the Swiss directly responsible (given the average fan’s reluctance to blame her own player for her let-downs). I certainly do not wish to claim that all fans of losing players generated feelings of ill will towards Federer and his self-satisfied followers. However, as the brightest star in the tennis galaxy, Fed was (and arguably still is) the most obvious target of feelings of ressentiment. Those harbouring these feelings might not be conscious of them or of the mechanism that is generating them, but that awareness is not necessary. What is necessary, however, is a justification to express those feelings. For, calling for Fed’s retirement during his dominant years would have appeared bizarre and would have been met with incredulity. There would have been no strong justification for making them. But with the Wimbledon final of 2008 serving as a pivotal moment, where a new tennis order came into being, an opening appeared for people to call for Fed’s exit from the courts on which, in the front or back of their minds, he had unfairly attained too much glory and caused them too much hurt. If he were to retire as they demanded, this would prevent him from attaining even further success, and would give their man a chance to win the big trophies, thereby enabling them to enjoy their moment in the sun.

Theory II – Apollonianism

The second general theory I will put forward to explain the prevalence of the Retirement Question is antithetical to the theory of ressentiment. For if the latter represents a form of ill-wishing, the theory of Apollonianism represents, in a sense, a form of well-wishing, but one which is primarily self-interested and which is not particularly psychologically healthy. This can be explained by briefly setting out a key idea in Nietzsche’s first book, The Birth of Tragedy.
According to Nietzsche, the world is not immediately acceptable to human beings – such are the hardships, miseries and evils that it presents to us – and so we have to make it acceptable to ourselves. He identifies three general strategies that human beings have devised to attain this goal: Apollonianism, Dionysianism, and Socratism. Dionysianism (which refers to the Greek god, Dionysus) represents an attempt to escape from the suffering of the world through intoxication and self-abandonment (alcohol, orgies, etc.). Socratism, which Nietzsche believes prevails in the modern world, posits the (unfounded) idea that there is a reason for everything, suffering included, which can act as a consolation for the experience of suffering and as a springboard to eliminate certain ills (science, technology). However, it is Apollonianism (which refers to the Greek god, Apollo) which is our main concern here.
Apollonianism represents an attempt to make the world acceptable by imagining a realm of perfect beauty. Religion provides an obvious example where the Apollonian is at play in its projection of a perfect realm (heaven) and in its claims that the world has been designed as a harmonious order (“All things bright and beautiful…The Lord God made them all”). Science, too, can invoke the Apollonian strategy in so far as it assumes, for non-rational reasons, that the cosmos is a rational, orderly and intelligible totality capable of being fully known and explained by the human mind. But the most obvious sphere in which Apollonianism takes hold is the sphere of art. The creation and experience of beautiful art, whilst of value in itself, is interpreted by Nietzsche as a means to enable us to feel at home in a world which is often experienced as senseless or (to misappropriate the words of Max Weber) as ‘not beautiful and not holy and not good’. In other words, art can be consoling.
Federer’s golden age from 2004 to 2007 represents something beautiful. Not only was his tennis style celebrated as a thing of beauty, but so, too, was his dominance. This was one of the greatest athletes of all time at the peak of his powers, who, seemingly effortlessly, tore through the record books. It would be hyperbolic to liken him to that mythical semi-god, Achilles, but the impulse to portray him and his achievements during this period in some sort of artistic form exists. Not everyone will possess this impulse, but setting out his achievements in the form of facts (e.g. stats), under the cold gaze of scientific reason, will not do. Art provides us with a medium to more fully and richly express and celebrate his achievements. Alongside the bestowing of honours on a person, art is the most appropriate medium for glorification.
Crucially, however, the impulse to employ the Apollonian strategy for Federer’s career can also lead people to call for his retirement. For, this beautiful, glorious period was destined to come to an end, and Wimbledon 2008 symbolised it. To put the matter metaphorically, the canvas created during that golden age was, at the end of that period, now vulnerable to degrading, just as (albeit for very different reasons) the picture of Dorian Gray grew ugly. Thus, for some, the call for Fed’s retirement, on this Nietzschean interpretation, represents not only an unwillingness to see that beauty fade and die but, more profoundly, it derives from a psychological need to preserve that beauty: to encase it, to lift it out of time, and to make it wholly invulnerable to degeneration (i.e. to immortalise it). In other words, in so far as Fed’s tennis was being used by them as a psychological strategy to reconcile themselves to a world which is not immediately acceptable, they were ill-prepared to watch that beauty fade.
Two related points are worth noting to end this section. Firstly, in so far as Fed’s tennis did (or, indeed, still does) represent a psychological crutch for a fan, the call for his retirement is dilemmatic, leaving the fan caught between the hope of witnessing future success and glory, on the one hand, and the fear of witnessing the decline of a champion, on the other. Secondly, this dilemma is far less acute for those fans who have other psychological strategies in place, besides Fed’s tennis, as a means to make the world acceptable to themselves. By implication, therefore, the greatest dilemma is reserved for those most ardent, monomaniac Fed obsessives for whom his tennis is their sole source of meaning and salvation from despair. They (I hope a tiny minority) are left in the unenviable position of needing his tennis to give their lives meaning, but being unable to cope with the inevitable decline of his game.


Since the end of Fed’s dominant reign, there have, and continue to be, calls for his retirement. People say that he’s too old and he’s passed his best. I can agree that Fed is passed his prime, but I find calls that he should therefore retire puzzling, particularly when one considers that he is still playing at a level that most ATP players could only dream of. I have therefore provided two possible philosophical explanations for these calls, one which points to a deep-seated feeling that Federer’s unprecedented successes are directly responsible for one’s own unhappiness and therefore need to be revenged (the ressentiment theory); and one which refers to a psychological need to not see his legacy tarnished or his beautiful game grow ugly (the Apollonian theory). Note that I’m not claiming that these two philosophical theories are explanatorily exhaustive. However, I am claiming that as long as Fed is in control of his decision-making, and as long as he can clearly evaluate his level of play, the opinions of others not close to him that he ought to retire are utterly worthless and ought to be treated as such.

Chủ Nhật, 26 tháng 6, 2016

Wimbledon 2016: Roger Federer opens up about recent knee surgery

ROGER Federer has lifted the lid on the emotional turmoil which followed the realisation he would fail to deliver a precious goal — a surgery-free career.
Elaborating on the incident in a Melbourne bathroom which led to a knee operation, Federer said: “I was very, very sad, just because I thought I was going to be lucky not having to do surgery in my career.
“I was doing so well all of last year. I was great at the Australian Open. Felt good throughout.
“All I had was a little hiccup in Brisbane when I was sick. Played the tournament sick somewhat.
“Came into Australia, was actually okay again, I thought. Then Novak (Djokovic) just played this great semi-final.
“I hung in there, maybe could have pushed a fifth set, but didn’t. After that, everything changed.
“The next day, one stupid move, the season’s been completely different than what I expected it to be.
“So when I heard that I had to do surgery, I took it, accepted it. But then going into surgery was difficult. That’s when it hit me.
“I just got really disappointed and sad about it because that’s when I really understood what the road was going to look like.”
Federer, 34, was helping bathe his twin daughters when he tore the meniscus.
The innocuous incident derailed an excellent run of form for the Swiss master before back problems ended his run of 65 successive grand slams at the French Open.
“I’ve always tried to avoid surgeries as much as possible just because I always felt like it was definitely not the thing you want to do as a professional athlete,” he said.
“So I really don’t want to go into details what it was, but it was a meniscus tear in the knee. It was a simple operation. My recovery actually was very quick and very good.
“I felt like I got unlucky throughout the process with hurting my back again before Madrid, getting sick in Miami, so forth.
“I think I got into a tough spell there. I just felt I had to stop everything by not playing Paris, reset basically, essentially.
“I don’t want to say ‘start from zero’, but just reset from there and make another push for Wimbledon, which was great. I had five, six really good weeks from then.”
Chasing an eighth Wimbledon crown and 18th career slam, Federer was in vintage form when it came to discussing his troublesome back.
“Look, this back has won me 88 titles, so I’m okay with that back,” he grinned.
“It’s okay if it messes around with me sometimes.
“It’s frustrating because it shakes the whole mechanics of the body, what you can work on.
“Yeah, maybe if it hits you in bad times, it’s not funny. I think particularly difficult has just been looking ahead of what was to come: Paris, Wimbledon, Olympics, US Open.
“It’s different than if it happens at the end of the season, let’s just say Davis Cup, 2014, where you know ‘Okay, I have another week or two to play, then you go on vacation’.”
“Then you have plenty of time. This was different.
“That’s why the decision not playing Paris, for instance, was very easy to be taken because it was for Wimbledon, it was for the rest of the season, it was for my life, it was for the rest of my career.
“That’s more important than one or two or three tournaments really.”

Thứ Năm, 26 tháng 5, 2016

Tennis: Nadal back in Paris, no title to defend, no Federer to face

Rafael Nadal

Through the years, Rafael Nadal grew accustomed to a couple of givens at the French Open: He would arrive as the defending champion, and Roger Federer would be somewhere in the draw, often awaiting a showdown in the final.
This time around, neither is the case.
Federer withdrew a few days before Sunday's start of the clay-court Grand Slam tournament, ending his record run of 65 consecutive major appearances.
''For the fans, for the tournament, for the world (of) tennis, in general, is ... very negative news, no?'' Nadal said.
Nadal won the title at Roland Garros every year from 2005-08 and from 2010-14 - a record nine in all, beating Federer in four of those finals - but returns to town trying to earn back the trophy after relinquishing it in 2015.
He is seeded fourth.
''It's a tournament that I know I can play well,'' said Nadal, who lost in the quarterfinals to Novak Djokovic a year ago. ''If I am playing well, I know I can do good things.''
Nadal, who owns 14 major championships in all, could face No. 1 Djokovic in about two weeks in the semifinals - on what would be the Spaniard's 30th birthday.
Asked about that milestone, Nadal waxed philosophical.
''You know, time never stops. Nobody stops the time,'' he said. ''That's not a good thing, but at the same time, I am happy with my life. I enjoyed all these years on the tour, and I hope to keep enjoying the next couple of years.''
After dealing with health problems and a crisis of confidence last season, Nadal has been playing better on his favorite red clay of late.
He is 19-4 on the surface this season, including titles at Monte Carlo and Barcelona. Not bad, but not up to his old standards. In his past two tournaments, Nadal lost in the Madrid semifinals to Andy Murray, and the Rome quarterfinals to Djokovic.
''A lot of tournaments in a row playing well,'' said Nadal, who faces Sam Groth in the first round in Paris. ''I need to just keep going.''
Other things to know about the French Open, which begins Sunday:
Serena's 'Drought': Much was made of Serena Williams' title in Rome last weekend being her first trophy in nine months. She does not consider that gap a big deal. ''I guess when you win all the time, if you go a couple of tournaments and don't win them, it's like you're in a drought,'' Williams said. She is the defending champion and seeded No. 1 at Roland Garros, and another title would be her 22nd at a Grand Slam tournament, equaling Steffi Graf for the most in the Open era, which started in 1968.
Security stepped up: From patdowns at entrance gates to a 25 percent rise in the number of security agents, there is an obvious increase in protective measures at the tournament, about six months after terrorist attacks around the French capital. ''I notice more security pretty much everywhere,'' No. 2-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska said.
Olympic push: A Grand Slam tournament is a Grand Slam tournament, so there is plenty at stake as always over the next 15 days, but there is an added incentive for some players: the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The ATP and WTA rankings of June 6 - the day after the men's final in Paris - will be the basis for Summer Games qualification.
Doping talk: Two recent events put the topic of performance-enhancing drugs on the table in tennis. Maria Sharapova's positive test for meldonium and provisional suspension are keeping her out of the field at a tournament she won in 2012 and 2014. And Nadal filed a defamation lawsuit in Paris last month against France's former minister for health and sport, Roselyne Bachelot, after she said on a television show the player's seven-month injury absence in 2012 probably was due to a positive drug test.
Cheating: A report about whether tennis was doing enough to investigate possible corruption stirred things up at the start of the Australian Open in January. While the chatter has mostly subsided, the French Open revoked the wild-card entry granted to a French player, Constant Lestienne, because the Tennis Integrity Unit said he violated a rule.

Chủ Nhật, 8 tháng 5, 2016

Roger Federer News: Tough road awaits Swiss Maestro in Rome

Roger Federer

Roger Federer is set for a comeback in Rome, but the Swiss Maestro faces a tough road to winning his next tournament, with the rest of the Big Four and other players in the top 10 joining the Masters event.

Federer will be back to the tennis scene when he competes at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome next week following his disappointing exit at the Madrid Open. However, Federer is up for another challenging event, with Djokovic, Murray and Nadal also set to compete in Rome.

But before Federer could face any of the aforementioned contestants, the Basel native must overcome first a difficult bracket that features a decent lineup of tennis competitors. Federer could either open against Alexander Zverev or Grigor Dimitrov, who battles each other in the opening round. There is also a chance Federer could battle Austrian Dominic Thiem in the third round, while Japan's Kei Nishikori could meet him in the quarterfinal stages.

Despite Federer's profile as the world No. 3, there is still uncertainty whether he could pull off another vintage performance to reach the final round of the tournament, considering the Swiss' state this year that saw him miss a chunk of tennis competitions, most recently at the Madrid Open.

The 34-year-old did not participate at the ATP 1000 Masters event at the Spanish capital due to a back problem suffered during his practice session. The minor setback left Federer and his fans disappointed, but the 14-time Grand Slam winner is optimistic about playing well in Rome at the Foro Italico, a tournament he has yet to conquer.

"The goal clearly now is to play there and do well," Federer said, reports Tennis.

"I mean, I am frustrated. At the same time, I'm still upbeat ... I would rather have it being the back rather than the knee ... This is normal back things I've had in the past, which I guess is good because I know how to handle it. I know how long it can take. Sometimes it can vary by a few days here and there."

Federer has suffered from many setbacks since the start of the season. In his first tournament this year at the Brisbane International, Federer caught a flu-like virus that contributed to his final round loss against Canada's Milos Raonic.

After Federer's semifinal loss at the Australian Open, the world No. 3 sustained a knee injury that forced him to be sidelined for more than two months. His post-knee surgery recovery debut at the Miami Open was delayed because of stomach illness followed by the back issues prior to the Madrid Open competition.

It is no secret Federer wants French Open success this year, which leads to speculations that Rome would probably be his training grounds to test his form before heading to Paris. With Djokovic and Nadal gaining steam, Federer's chances for a second title at Roland Garros are very slim, but a win in Rome should put him back as the favorite to win the French Open.

Thứ Sáu, 25 tháng 3, 2016

Roger Federer calls for complete drugs crackdown in tennis

ROGER FEDERER wants tennis chiefs to launch a total crackdown on drug cheats.
The Swiss legend was rocked after Maria Sharapova admitted she tested positive for a banned substance at the Australian Open in January.
Fed, 34, revealed he has been tested just ONCE in ten years in Dubai where he spends about two months a year.
Although he is regularly visited by doping officials in Europe, the 17-time Grand Slam champ said: “I definitely think tennis is doing a lot better than we have in the past.
Federer called for more testing to be done on the circuit
Federer called for more testing to be done on the circuit Getty Images

“You could always do more testing. You could ask someone in fifty years and he’ll say we could still do more.
“You could test four times per day.
“What is the right amount and what’s not?
“Clearly I was very surprised about Sharapova but it also shows the famous players can get caught in the system. It seems to be working.
“I believe we should keep blood samples for ten years, so tennis players know you could get punished retrospectively.
Sharapova tested positive for banned drug meldonium at the Australian Open
Sharapova tested positive for banned drug meldonium at the Australian Open AP:Associated Press

video Maria Sharapova: Press conference Q&A thumbnail
Maria Sharapova: Press conference Q&A

“I’m a big believer in that. I’ve been in Dubai for ten years now and I’ve been tested once — that’s not OK for me.
“I get tested more in Switzerland because a tester lives in my village.
“Maybe I am naive as I believe athletes and trust what they’re doing.
“I don’t think there’s a major problem. I quadruple check anything I take.”

Injured myself while preparing bath for daughters: Federer

Injured myself while preparing bath for daughters: Federer
Miami, March 25: Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer has said he suffered a knee injury in January while preparing a bath for his twin daughters.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner needed arthroscopic surgery and has made a return at the Miami Open this week.
"I was going to run a bath for the girls. I made a very simple movement, turned back, heard a click in my knee. I went to the zoo. My leg was swollen," Federer was quoted as saying by BBC on Thursday.
The 34-year-old said he was disappointed that he had to undergo an operation.
"I thought I was going to get through my career without any. It was a big shock and, yeah, disappointing," said the Swiss, who is set to lock horns against Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro in Round 2 here.

Chủ Nhật, 3 tháng 1, 2016

Sports in brief: Matthews hat trick leads U.S. to world junior hockey semis

U.s. makes world jr. semis
HELSINKI — Auston Matthews had a hat trick to lead the United States to a 7-0 victory over the Czech Republic on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the world junior championship.
"Everybody on the ice helped me. My linemates played unbelievably," said Matthews, 18, who plays professionally in Switzerland and is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft in June. (See Tom Jones' 10 athletes to watch in 2016, 1C)
The United States faces Russia in the semifinals Monday, and Finland faces Sweden. Russia beat Denmark 4-3 in overtime, Finland edged defending champion Canada 6-5, and Sweden beat Slovakia 6-0.
Nick Schmaltz, Christian Dvorak, Scott Eansor and Alex DeBrincat also scored for the Americans, and Alex Nedeljkovic made 28 saves for his first shutout of the tournament. Schmaltz plays for North Dakota, Dvorak for London in the Ontario junior league, Eansor for Seattle in the Western junior league, DeBrincat for Erie in the Ontario League, and Nedeljkovic for Niagara in the Ontario League.
"Couldn't ask for a better game," Nedeljkovic said.
For once, a typical EPL day
Normality was restored in the most unpredictable of Premier League seasons as Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United won to kick off 2016, with two of English football's biggest stars grabbing winners after lean spells.
But victory didn't come easily for the three heavyweights as the hectic holiday schedule closed.
Host Arsenal dispensed with its typically silky football and toughed out a 1-0 win over Newcastle, through a goal from defender Laurent Koscielny, to move into first, two points ahead of Leicester.
Manchester City scored twice in the final eight minutes in coming from behind to beat Watford 2-1 for its first road win since September. Sergio Aguero, last season's top scorer and the most lethal striker in the division, scored the winner with his first goal since Nov. 21.
That was the date Man United last won in the league before a 2-1 win over visiting Swansea, sealed by a moment of brilliance by Wayne Rooney. The England captain flicked in a deft finish for his first United goal in two months, which put him second outright in the all-time scoring lists at United (238) and in the league (188).
"It is amazing," United manager Louis van Gaal said, "and that at the age of 30."
Leicester failed to keep pace with Arsenal after being held to a 0-0 tie at home by 10-man Bournemouth and is now without a win in three games, fulfilling many pundits' predictions that its surprisingly strong start to the season wouldn't last. Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty for Leicester, which is a point ahead of Man City.
United — owned by the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs — stayed in fifth place, two points behind Tottenham, which visits Everton today.
et cetera
Horses: Flexibility dominated the $200,000 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct, kicking off the New York road for 3-year-olds heading to the Triple Crown. Flexibility earned 10 qualifying points toward a starting berth in the Kentucky Derby. The colt trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. rallied four wide to earn his second win in four starts.
Tennis: The leadup tournaments to Australian Open begin today with the Brisbane International, which includes defending champions Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova. The the Australian Open starts Jan. 18.

Getting over an overblown yr of anti-climaxes

We met 2016 holding sparklers in the garden, trying to get them to light up at the precise moment the clocked ticked twelve and we could say for sure that 2015 was behind us. Over the fence, beside our property near the bay, a man fired two red signal flares used by sailors in distress. They arced upward in a blaze and come back to earth slowly, like burning leafs.
Someone pointed at the sky and said something maudlin about the possibilities of 2016 and where this new air should take us, but nobody was much interested in that. The first hour of the New Year was spent doing what we’d done for most of the year previous, drinking at nighttime and talking about the things that went wrong during the day.
The distress flares worked as a glowing allegory for this new age in which so much is about shooting for greatness, for wellness, and often finding a natural anti-climax. And ours being a sporting bunch, the flares preceded a discussion about the anti-climaxes of 2015 according to the field of dreams.
Of my favourite misfires, the first happened early in the year at the Australian Open. An enthusiastic manager at Rod Laver Arena was informed that Kenny Rogers, the ailing country singer, would be in attendance at Andy Murray’s match. He cued the Gambler to play over the speaker system upon Rogers’ arrival, which coincided with Murray’s bluster, talking into the palm of his hand and wearing the expression of a tired child. He missed a forehand to lose a tight game and it was then, at the change of ends, that Rogers began his journey down the stairs.
The Gambler rang out and the big screen drew our attention to Rogers’ struggle. It was embarrassing for Rogers, who took about two minutes to reach his seat. A few people clapped him but Murray was not among them. He turned to face Rogers with his hands on his hips, letting the old boy know whose show this was. Kenny gave him a little wave but Murray was bouncing a ball on his racquet, far away inside the crazed mind of a tennis star where the universe moves around him and his routine, and the strange etiquettes of his sport.
Someone else nominated the Ashes series, and Michael Clarke’s retirement, which was among the neatest anti-climaxes of 2015. Clarke’s was a rapid descent to the finish line, followed by the tasteless rumours that his presence would not be missed. The English preyed on his late batting fragility, then Clarke resided over two of the more definitive Ashes defeats in memory and retired. Maybe it was a bitter taste of the real world calling him on, his back pain a signal flare for a new era.
Jarryd Hayne’s first moment in the NFL was another beautiful anti-climax. The dropped punt return is among the worst and most visible mistakes a player can make in the NFL. His parade into Americana, the "Hayne Plane", the hash-tagging and the fulltime coverage of his efforts lead, perhaps inexorably, to that outcome – a lost chance in prime time and then a cascade of "Shake it off" references on Twitter.
Then there was Roger Federer at Wimbledon, after all this time, managing again to lose the final after playing some of the most harmonic tennis I’d ever seen against Novak Djokovic. Watching Federer lose on grass is like watching money burn. It had me thinking of the rich boys on a yacht near San Sebastian I’d seen, opening thousand-dollar bottles of Champagne and pouring them into the sea just because they could afford it. What a glorious waste.
Naturally, the AFL Grand Final found its place around the table, but I was there, and I did see something inspiring in Hawthorn’s performance despite the one-sided nature of the game. It was like being shown the inner makings of a Swiss watch, every tiny movement the result of another, equally fine and well measured.
But I think by way of definition, and since he was the highest paid athlete in the world in 2015, Floyd Mayweather’s fight against Manny Pacquiao has to reside near the heart of the topic. The fight was delayed for years, deliberately to maximise the obscene money it generated, and when at last it happened there could only ever be disappointment.
It was one of those peculiar cases in which one felt compelled to watch but somehow repelled at the same time by the trick of paying for it, for contributing to that great wealth, in the way one can feel about watching Star Wars at the cinema.
I cannot say honestly I didn’t enjoy anything about that bout, since Mayweather’s defence and timing was still remarkable at his ripened age. But according to the International Business Times, he made something in the air of $220 million that night, without getting hurt or hurting his opponent. That fight said something to me about the sporting age we’ve entered, the one of extreme business moves, of advertising and exaggeration.
What I anticipate most in 2016 is the athletics at Rio, and the sight of Usain Bolt crouched in the lights, waiting for the gun to send him into the climax of his running life.