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'Landmark' technology won't change how A-League is refereed: officials

ABC Sport - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 1:31pm

The introduction of a video review system in the A-League, a world-first in football, is a "landmark day" for the Australian game but it won't change the way it's refereed, officials say.

Cooper Cronk leaving Melbourne Storm for Sydney at season's end

ABC Sport - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 11:21am

Months after signing a contract extension, reigning Dally M medallist Cooper Cronk announces he will leave the Melbourne Storm to move to Sydney at the end of the 2017 NRL season.

Big Titles: 'Unpredictable' Start Helps Federer Pad Lead

ATP news - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 9:30am

What to call the beginning of Roger Federer's 20th year on the ATP World Tour?

In January, we would have used adjectives such as “hopeful” or “upbeat”. Federer, describing himself, picked “rejuvenated” and “refreshed”.

In what looks like prescient language now, three months on, the Swiss veteran said at the start of the year, “I do believe it could be very beneficial for the future of my tennis career that I've had this six-month layoff... I feel rejuvenated, refreshed. Maybe mentally I needed this rest more than I thought I would. Maybe also my body needed a rest more than I thought I would.”

But now, after Federer has rolled through the Australian Open, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Miami Open presented by Itau, his earlier adjectives no longer work.

Perhaps “unbelievable”? None of this was predicted – not by Federer, not by his coaches, not by tennis pundits and maybe not even by the millions of fans across the world who scream for the Swiss star. But whatever term you pick, there's no mistaking what Federer's start has added to his place among the best in the game.

By capturing the season's first three “Big Titles”, Federer has extended his “Big Titles” lead against long-time rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The Swiss right-hander now has 26 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns and 50 overall “Big Titles”. That puts Federer three “Big Titles” ahead of Djokovic and eight ahead of the left-handed Spaniard.

Current and Former Champions' Big Titles Won (Records Since 1990)

Player Grand Slams ATP Finals
1000s Total (Avg) Roger Federer 18/69 6/14 26/125 50/208 (4.2) Novak Djokovic  12/49 5/10 30/95 47/154 (3.3) Rafael Nadal 14/47 0/7 28/100 42/154 (3.7) Pete Sampras 14/52 5/11 11/83 30/146 (4.9) Andre Agassi 8/61 1/13 17/90 26/164 (6.3) Andy Murray 3/44 1/8 14/93 18/143 (7.9) Boris Becker* 2/26 2/6 5/51 9/83 (9.2) Thomas Muster 1/29 0/4 8/53 9/86 (9.6) Gustavo Kuerten 3/33 1/3 5/67 9/103 (11.4) Jim Courier 4/38 0/4 5/71 9/113 (12.6) Stefan Edberg** 3/28 0/4 1/24 4/56 (14) Marcelo Rios 0/26 0/1 5/56 5/83 (16.6) Michael Chang 1/50 0/6 7/86 8/142 (17.8) Marat Safin 2/41 0/3 5/87 7/131 (18.7) Andy Roddick 1/46 0/6 5/75 6/127 (21.2) Lleyton Hewitt 2/66 2/4 2/75 6/145 (24.2) Patrick Rafter 2/35 0/2 2/48 4/85 (21.3) Sergi Bruguera 2/33 0/3 2/63 4/96 (24) Juan Carlos Ferrero 1/45 0/3 4/84 5/132 (26.4) Carlos Moya 1/47 0/5 3/76 4/128 (32) Stan Wawrinka 3/48 0/4 1/93 4/145 (36.3) Yevgeny Kafelnikov 2/38 0/7 0/77 2/122 (61)

 * Becker's four other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.
** Edberg's three other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.

“Once you win a big tournament like the Australian Open, or any big tournament for that matter, you can just bank usually on some confidence,” Federer said on Sunday after beating Nadal for his third Miami title. “That confidence gets you through a lot of the tough matches that nobody ever speaks about again.”

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To earn that belief, in Melbourne, the 17th-seeded Federer had to beat Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori, Mischa Zverev, Stan Wawrinka and Nadal for his 18th Grand Slam.

In Indian Wells, Federer met Nadal, not in the final, but in the fourth round, and then faced rising American Jack Sock before again beating Wawrinka in the final.

The past two weeks in Miami, Federer had to overcome Juan Martin del Potro and Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the last eight. In the quarter-finals, Federer saved two match points against Berdych before outdoing Nick Kyrgios in an epic semi-final and again beating Nadal in the final.

Federer's stats from the three big tournaments: 18 wins, zero losses; a 7-0 record against the Top 10; a 10-2 record in tie-break sets, and the most important number: Three more “Big Titles”.

“I can't explain. I told Severin [Luthi], my coach, when I was warming up, if I would have just played the Miami finals, no Indian Wells, no Australian Open, we would still be very happy right now,” Federer said on Sunday. “But I have way more, so that's why I was trying to remind myself just to play without pressure. Just do it one more time and go out there and be brave on the big points. I think I was able to do that.”

“Be brave” – it's the same mantra Federer carried with him during the Australian Open final, the first time he surprised Nadal with his flat backhand, and likely the same advice he brought to the court in Indian Wells. “Be free in your head, be free in your shots, go for it. The brave will be rewarded here,” Federer said in Melbourne.

Watch & Vote: March Masters Golden Hot Shot

His “Big Titles” lead is hardly secure, though, especially considering his announcement that he'll take an extended break and likely play only Roland Garros on the clay. Three Masters 1000 tournaments sit between now and the season's second Grand Slam, which starts 28 May, including the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, the Mutua Madrid Open and the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.

All three other members of the “Big Four” have brought home hardware from those clay-court Masters 1000 events. Djokovic and Nadal have won all three titles in their careers, and Andy Murray is missing only the Monte-Carlo crown.

Just last year, Nadal won his ninth Monte-Carlo title, Djokovic claimed his second Madrid trophy, and Murray celebrated his first Rome championship. Djokovic also still remains the all-time leader in Masters 1000 titles with 30.

"Unpredictable"? You could say that about Federer's first three months, and about the next few months of the ATP World Tour season.

Lexi Thompson taking three weeks off after LPGA major debacle

ABC Sport - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 8:28am

The American golf star thanks fans for backing her after she was robbed of victory by a bizarre retroactive stroke penalty — all thanks to a home viewer — at the year's first LPGA major.

A Look Back At The 2017 Miami Open

ATP news - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 8:27am

Hasler re-signing a show of faith from Bulldogs

ABC Sport - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 7:04am

Canterbury reaffirms its trust in Des Hasler to return the Bulldogs to the top after re-signing him for another two NRL seasons.

Matthews leads home rare Aussie cycling trifecta in Spain

ABC Sport - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 6:27am

Michael Matthews sprints to victory in the opening stage of the prestigious Tour of the Basque Country to top an all-Australian podium where he was flanked by Jay McCarthy and Simon Gerrans.

'There is no budget': China's multi-billion-dollar bid to dominate world football

ABC Sport - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 6:02am

China is a pushover and a perennial dud in world football — but with national pride on the line, it is spending big on international players and the grassroots in a bid to sit on top of the world by 2050.

Moët Moment: Federer Wins Miami 2017

ATP news - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 3:42am
Roger Federer celebrates winning his third Miami Open presented by Itau title in this Moët Moment. Photo: Getty Images

Menendez-Maceiras Halts Decade Title Drought

ATP news - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 1:50am
.videoWrapper { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; /* 16:9 */ padding-top: 25px; height: 0; } .videoWrapper iframe { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } A LOOK BACK

Torneo Internacional Challenger (Leon, Mexico): Adrian Menendez-Maceiras lifted a trophy for the first time in a decade to cap an astonishing week in Mexico. The 31 year old had lost his past eight finals on the ATP Challenger Tour, but prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 against Roberto Quiroz in the first all-qualifier Challenger final since 2010.

Menendez’s reward for his second Challenger title, his first since Cordoba in 2007, is for the Spaniard to climb up 70 places to No. 210 in Emirates ATP Rankings.

Open Harmonie Mutuelle (Saint-Brieuc, France): Austrian top seed Gerald Melzer lost in the opening round at Saint-Brieuc. His conqueror Egor Gerasimov won seven matches in eight days as a qualifier to clinch a second Challenger title.

The 24 year old is the lowest-ranked title winner in 2017 (No. 404) and as a result surges up 141 spots to No.263 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Also, Gerasimov is the second Belarusian winner on the Challenger Tour this year, joining Rennes champion Uladzimir Ignatik.

WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID

Menendez-Maceiras: "This is really important for me. I can't say how many finals I lost over the last 10 years, so this is very, very important. With hard work and patience I won this tournament with my level. I hope to return next year and fight for the title again."

A LOOK AHEAD

Onto the clay and there are two Challengers on the schedule this week, leading with the €64,000 event in Sophia Antipolis, France. World No.40 Benoit Paire enters as a wildcard to take the top seeding, alongside a strong field in France, which includes former Top 10 player Nicolas Almagro and fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. #NextGenATP player Stefanos Tsitsipas has taken a wildcard into the clay court event.

The $50,000 tournament in Panama City, Panama, is back on the calendar following a two year absence. 2012 champion Rogerio Dutra Silva returns to try and reclaim his title, with Argentine Horacio Zeballos playing as top seed. Victor Estrella Burgos will also be a threat in Panama, having taken his third-straight title on the clay at the Ecuador Open in February.

View Draws & Watch Free Live Streams

ATP CHALLENGER TOUR ON TWITTER: The ATP Challenger Tour has launched a dedicated Twitter account for the latest news and information about players and events. Follow @ATPChallengerTour at twitter.com/ATPChallengerTour.