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Djokovic chases Sampras feat, cruises to Wimbledon last 16

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Three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic has demolished Serbian compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic 6-0, 6-3, 6-4.

Novak Djokovic has comfortably reached the last 16 at Wimbledon while Maria Sakkari has become the sixth top-10 women’s seed to crash out in the first week.

Three-time defending champion Djokovic demolished Serbian compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 on Friday, staying on course to pull level with Pete Sampras as a seven-time champion, one behind Roger Federer’s men’s record.

“So far, so good,” said the 35-year-old top seed after beating a player who described him as his “idol”. It was the 330th win of Djokovic’s Grand Slam career.

Waiting in the fourth round is Dutch wild card Tim van Rijthoven. Playing in his debut Grand Slam main draw, the world number 104 defeated 22nd seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

“Before the tournament started, it was a dream for me to play Djokovic,” said Van Rijthoven, only the seventh man since 2000 to reach the round of 16 on his Grand Slam debut.

Women’s seeds tumble

Greek fifth seed Sakkari lost 6-3, 7-5 to German world number 103 Tatjana Maria, who only returned to the tour last year after maternity leave.

Maria, in the fourth round of a Slam for the first time, will face former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko for a place in the quarter-finals.

“It feels amazing, first time in the last 16, so that’s amazing. To win against Sakkari today, it’s pretty awesome,” said mother-of-two Maria.

Ostapenko, a semi-finalist at the All England Club in 2018, took her winners count to 102 over three rounds by defeating Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Meanwhile, John Isner set a new record for serving aces in his third-round clash against Jannik Sinner.

The 37-year-old American started his match against the 10th seed four aces behind Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who has served 13,728. Isner broke the record in the third game with his fifth ace.

Isner, who stands six feet 10 inches (208 centimetres) tall, is also in the record books for taking part in the longest match in history in 2010, against Nicolas Mahut.

A plaque was unveiled outside Court 18 at Wimbledon to commemorate that contest, which lasted 11 hours and five minutes.

“Give him another plaque,” US tennis great John McEnroe said on ESPN.

Source: TRTWorld 

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Keeping his legacy alive

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BOGOTA-So-called sweeperkeepers such as Manchester City’s Ederson, his Brazilian compatriot Alisson Becker at Liverpool and Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer are all the rage in modern soccer.

But until FIFA changed the backpass rule 30 years ago, goalkeepers were rarely expected to use their feet to take part in the team’s build-up play other than to punt the ball upfield. They could take their time and throw the ball.

Former Colombia international goalkeeper Rene Higuita-famed for his outrageous overhead scorpion kick-claims he was responsible for the rule change.

“Football greats like Pele and (Diego) Maradona … (were) very good players, but they didn’t change a rule at FIFA,” Higuita told AFP by video call.

In Colombia, the decision to ban goalkeepers picking up a back pass with their hands is known as the “Higuita Rule”.

World soccer’s governing body FIFA decided to act after the 1990 World Cup in Italy came in for huge criticism for dull matches that produced a record low 2.2 goals per game.

Higuita, now 55, argues that in that tournament, he showed the way forward.

FIFA banned the back pass at the next Olympic Games in Barcelona in the summer of 1992, initially to confusion and ire.

“FIFA put an end to something that was awful, in the 1990 World Cup almost all the teams played backward, giving the ball to the goalkeeper,” historian Luciano Wernicke told AFP.

At that World Cup, goalkeepers such as Argentina’s Sergio Goycochea, Luis Gabelo Conejo of Costa Rica and Italy’s Walter Zenga “had the ball in their hands for a huge amount of time,” added Wernicke, an Argentinian.

Higuita stood out, not just for his frizzy locks, but also for his fearlessness with the ball at his feet and an ability to create attacking situations with his passes.

It was not all glory. Higuita’s ball-playing ultimately cost his side.

In the last 16, Higuita was tackled far outside his penalty box by Cameroon’s Roger Milla while trying to dribble past the forward.

Milla then raced away to score the winner and eliminate Colombia. His dancing celebrations of his two goals in that 2-1 win became iconic moments at the tournament.

‘Clueless’ keepers

Higuita, known as “El Loco” (the madman) also took penalties and freekicks, scoring 43 goals in his career.

“Now football is much faster, there’s more movement, every day the goalkeeper has to work a little more on his feet to give something to the team,” said Higuita, who is convinced that he was the reason for the rule change.

While Wernicke recognizes Higuita was unique, he disputes that theory.

“It’s not that the law changed because of Higuita but rather because of all the many goalkeepers who weren’t like Higuita.”

Many keepers, such as Barcelona great Andoni Zubizarreta, were against the new rule, arguing to El Pais newspaper in 1992 that it would “limit the goalkeeper”.

Higuita smiles mischievously when remembering how “clueless “keepers struggled to adapt.

Santiago Canizares, who played for Spain at the 1992 Olympics, recently spoke about how the back-pass rule made him nervous.

“It was a surprise for us,” he told Olympics.com. “We didn’t know that this could become part of our lives.”

The impact was immediate with the next World Cup in the United States in 1994 producing 2.7 goals per game, the highest figure since 1970.

“It is the best rule change in the last 40 years, it made football more dynamic,” said Wernicke.

Whether or not he was responsible, Higuita supports other measures that could help reduce time wasting in soccer-for instance, stopping the clock when the ball goes out of play.

“There is a lot of talk about introducing ‘real time’ like they have in basketball, and that’s not a bad idea,” said Higuita.

Should that happen, Higuita might take the credit.

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Elon Musk: Tweet about buying Manchester United was a ‘joke’

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Despite calling it a joke, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s tweet could land him in trouble with US regulators.

Elon Musk has tweeted that “I’m not buying any sports teams”, calling a viral post about him purchasing Manchester United a joke.

The world’s richest man has a habit of posting provocative statements on Twitter for fun and Musk was at it again on Tuesday when he told his more than 103 million followers: “Also, I’m buying Manchester United ur welcome.”

The billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO made the comment in reply to another of his tweets, about supporting both of the United States’ two major political parties.

The 51-year-old, who is embroiled in a lawsuit over his bid to buy Twitter, was subsequently asked on the platform if he was serious about owning Manchester United.

“No, this is a long-running joke on Twitter. I’m not buying any sports teams,” Musk replied, after his original tweet garnered nearly 500,000 “likes” in a matter of hours.

“Although, if it were any team, it would be Man U. They were my fav team as a kid.”

Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in world football but suffering a prolonged slump, are owned by the Glazer family. They have been targeted by angry fans.

There was no immediate reaction from United or its owners to Musk’s tweets.

Shares of the team listed on the New York Stock Exchange are down year to date, but ended Tuesday flat, with a market capitalisation of $2.1 billion.

Despite calling it a joke, Musk’s tweet could land him in trouble with US regulators.

Glazer ownership

The Glazers are the focus of fan fury after the team’s dramatic fall from grace. The Americans also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, an NFL franchise in Florida.

United fans have protested against the team’s senior management for poor performances in recent years, as well as their involvement in a plan to start a new “Super League” of Europe’s richest teams.

The Red Devils finished last season a lowly sixth in the English Premier League, and fresh protests against the Glazers are planned ahead of United’s next game, at home to fierce rivals Liverpool on August 22.

Musk, who recently sold nearly $7 billion worth of Tesla shares, is in a major legal battle in the US state of Delaware over his aborted plan to buy Twitter.

READ MORE: Elon Musk sells around $7 billion worth of Tesla shares amid Twitter battle

Source: TRTWorld

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FIFA suspends India’s football federation due to ‘third party influence’

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FIFA and the Asian football body dispatched a team to create a roadmap for the AIFF that includes the conclusion of elections at the latest by September 15.

FIFA has suspended the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect because of “undue influence from third parties”, world soccer’s governing body said.

Monday’s suspension also means that the Under-17 women’s World Cup, which was scheduled to take place in India from October 11-30, cannot be held in the country as planned.

India’s highest court had disbanded the AIFF in May and appointed a three-member committee to govern the sport, amend the AIFF’s constitution and conduct elections that have been pending for 18 months.

In response, FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation sent a team led by AFC general secretary Windsor John to meet Indian football stakeholders and laid down a roadmap for the AIFF to amend its statutes by the end of July and subsequently conclude elections at the latest by September 15.

“The suspension will be lifted once an order to set up a committee of administrators to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been repealed and the AIFF administration regains full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs,” FIFA said in Monday’s statement.

Political interference

Earlier this month, the Indian court ordered elections to be held promptly and said the elected committee would be an interim body for a period of three months.

The elections of the AIFF, formerly led by FIFA Council member Praful Patel, were to be held by December 2020 but were delayed due to an impasse over amendments to its constitution.

“FIFA is in constant constructive contact with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in India and is hopeful that a positive outcome to the case may still be achieved,” FIFA added.

According to FIFA statutes, member federations must be free from legal and political interference in their respective countries.

FIFA has previously suspended other national associations over similar cases.

Source: TRT

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