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Tigers win Dreamtime at the 'G, Crows embarrass Dockers

ABC Sport - Sat, 27/05/2017 - 1:20pm

The Tigers break their losing run with a thrilling Dreamtime at the 'G victory, while the Crows hammer the Dockers by 100 points. Get the scores and stats in our ScoreCentre.

Australia's best Indigenous surfers take on Bells Beach

ABC Sport - Sat, 27/05/2017 - 10:48am

Competition is hot at the Bells Beach Australian Indigenous Surfing Titles, but the event is also about Aboriginal culture and dispelling the myth that Indigenous people do not surf.

Gilbert On Agassi-Djokovic: 'The Potential Is There'

ATP news - Sat, 27/05/2017 - 9:02am

After coaching Andre Agassi to a Roland Garros title, ESPN tennis analyst Brad Gilbert believes his former charge has the tennis wisdom to do the same for defending champion Novak Djokovic.

Speaking on an ESPN conference call ahead of Roland Garros, the former No. 4 in the Emirates ATP Rankings shared his thoughts on the partnership. Although some have questioned how successful the new coaching arrangement will be, Gilbert said the similarities in their playing styles could spark a successful relationship.

“Andre played his best tennis from 29 on. Djokovic just turned 30. Today's 30 is like 25 used to be,” said Gilbert. “A lot of times when I'm watching Djokovic, when he's playing at his best, nobody plays closer to the style that Andre played. He hits big, but with safe margins in the court. He doesn't hit a lot of winners, but hits very few unforced errors when he’s playing his best tennis.

“I think it's really exciting that Andre is going to coach for the first time. A lot of players have approached him before. He brings an incredible amount of knowledge, wisdom and passion. It’s just getting to know each other at the start, but I think the potential is there for an exciting partnership.”

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Gilbert also discussed the resurgence of Rafael Nadal, who remains an on-paper favourite to win his 10th title at Roland Garros. Although the Spaniard suffered his first loss on clay this year to Dominic Thiem at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, Gilbert doesn’t think the loss will hold much weight heading into Paris.

“He's serving a lot better this year. He doesn't have a massive serve, but his serve really sets up his game. I think his forehand looks as good as it has in the past two or three years,” he said. “He's hitting a lot more aggressively and with more confidence. Those are two aspects of his game that really can lift him. He's playing at an elite level again.”

Having also coached World No. 1 Andy Murray for 16 months from July 2006 to November 2007, Gilbert also believes last year’s Roland Garros finalist can’t be counted out. Although Murray is experiencing a dip in form on clay compared to his stellar 2016, Gilbert said the gritty play required to succeed in Paris is tailor made for Murray’s personality.

“He was dictating play a lot more last year on clay, especially with the forehand," said Gilbert. "Having that balance between offence and defence has been an issue. But he has plenty of time to turn it around. He loves the fight. He’s not about the show and the bling. He loves the guts and working hard.

“I do think the resurgence of Roger Federer and Rafa will only inspire Novak and Andy. For years, Djoker and Murray were chasing them. Now it's back to those guys chasing them again. I think this will inspire Andy to put a little fuel to the fire.”

Thiem Tops Cuevas In Clay Masters Golden Hot Shot Vote

ATP news - Sat, 27/05/2017 - 8:07am
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Dominic Thiem and Pablo Cuevas produced sensational hot shots en route to quarter-finals upsets earlier this month in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 action. 

After five days of voting, fans crowned Thiem’s backhand strike against Rafael Nadal at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia as the Clay Masters Golden Hot Shot. It finished with 54 per cent of votes cast, ahead of Cuevas' no-look winner against Alexander Zverev at the Mutua Madrid Open with 23 per cent of votes.  

View Complete Results For Golden Hot Shot 

Thiem's hot shot brought up break point for the Austrian, and he promptly capitalised, going on to win three straight games to end Nadal's hopes for the Masters 1000 title treble. Cuevas, meanwhile, turned the tables against #NextGenATP star Zverev with his moment of brilliance early in the second set. 

"I don't practise it very often," said Cuevas. "It was just a last-minute thing that I hit. I thought it would work... Normally I never try that shot. Today I tried that shot. I thought I hit the ball pretty well. When I looked that I placed it in a good place in the court, I was happy."

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Nick Kyrgios' doubles winner from Madrid came from behind on the final day of voting to move into the top three, moving ahead of Rafael Nadal's impossible angle shot from the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

Re-live nine great hot shots from the season’s ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay tournaments:

Subscribe to our Hot Shot playlist, and watch match replays on TennisTV.

Nadal Prepares For Run At History In Roland Garros

ATP news - Sat, 27/05/2017 - 7:11am

The season of “La Décima” ascends to its final stage during the next two weeks, and the conquistador, Rafael Nadal, appears primed for more history. Nadal will go for a record 10th title at Roland Garros, the season's second Grand Slam, which starts Sunday.

He's approaching unprecedented tennis history: No man or woman has won a Grand Slam title 10 times in the Open Era, since April 1968. But Nadal, who won Roland Garros crowns in 2005-08 and '10-14, has already entered double digits at two tournaments this year.

The Spaniard captured his 10th title at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Two weeks ago, he also won his fifth Mutua Madrid Open crown. Nadal is feeling positive as he prepares in Paris this week.

“I feel at home because I have a great relationship with all the girls that are working here, with a lot of people that are running the event. It's always good to see people that I have spent a lot of days in my life with,” said Nadal, who is making his 13th consecutive appearance at the tournament. “I just say thanks to them for everything that they do for me, and I feel great every time that I have the chance to be back here and to see all of them.”

The 30 year old Nadal boasts a remarkable 72-2 record at Roland Garros. Only three times since 2005 has he not reached the title match, including last season when a left wrist injury forced him to withdraw prior to his third-round match against countryman Marcel Granollers.*

Nadal Through The Years At Roland Garros

Year

Result

Opponent

2016

Third Round

w/o to Granollers*

2015

QF

l. to Djokovic

2014

Champion

d. Djokovic

2013

Champion

d. Ferrer

2012

Champion

d. Djokovic

2011

Champion

d. Federer

2010

Champion

d. Soderling

2009

Round of 16

l. to Soderling

2008

Champion

d. Federer

2007

Champion

d. Federer

2006

Champion

d. Federer

2005

Champion

d. Puerta

But the draw certainly didn't treat him like a nine-time champion. Nadal opens against Frenchman Benoit Paire, No. 45 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. The 28 year old beat World No. 3 and 2015 Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka in the third round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters earlier this month.

Nadal leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-0 and both meetings came on clay – 2013 Madrid, 2013 Barcelona.

“He's not an opponent you want to play against in the first round. He's a player with big talent – great serve, great hands and a fantastic backhand. He's a dangerous opponent,” Nadal said.

A year ago, the Spaniard also arrived at Roland Garros feeling positive. The left-hander had won his ninth title in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona and was again one of the top contenders to take the Roland Garros crown. But the nagging injury cut short his stay in Paris. “I hope that the story doesn't repeat itself,” Nadal said, smiling.

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This season, though, the Spaniard has more than returned to his best level. With the addition of former World No. 1 Carlos Moya to his team, Nadal has reached three hard-court finals and won three clay-court titles already this year.

On the red dirt, the left-hander is 17-1, with his only loss coming to Dominic Thiem in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia quarter-finals last week in Rome. Nadal beat Thiem in straight sets to win the Barcelona and Madrid titles.

“Since the beginning of the season I am happy with the way that I have played. I think I played well in almost every event... played well on hard. Then played great on clay,” Nadal said. “Here we are, another year, just trying to have the right days of practice before the competition starts. I know I need to be ready in the beginning because I have a tough opponent in the first round. So I am focused.”

Nadal could meet Thiem in the semi-finals. “I am very happy the way that I arrived here. Now I have to play well here. That's all,” Nadal said.

Nadal On Clay In 2017

Tournament

Result

Opponent

Internazionali BNL d'Italia

QF

l. to Thiem

Mutua Madrid Open

Champion

d. Thiem

Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell

Champion

d. Thiem

Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters

Champion

d. Ramos-Vinolas

Djokovic All Smiles With Agassi On Board

ATP news - Sat, 27/05/2017 - 5:57am

Novak Djokovic has a familiar face in his corner this week in the build-up to Roland Garros, which gets underway on Sunday. With his pigeon-toed walk, former World No. 1 Andre Agassi has been drafted in to help the Serbian recapture his peak form and confidence.

Agassi has returned to top-level tennis for the first time since retiring at the 2006 US Open and Djokovic, the defending champion in Paris, has been all smiles in recent days.

”It feels like a new chapter,” said Djokovic, who admitted to talking to Agassi on the phone after each match at the Mutua Madrid Open and Internazionali BNL d’Italia. “I was very glad that he accepted to come in person to Paris and spend some time together.”

“He's someone that inspires me a lot,” said Djokovic. “That's one of the things I felt like I needed is new inspiration, someone that knows exactly what I'm going through on the court [and] off the court. He has been through all these transitions, he has been in my shoes before playing Grand Slams, being the best in the world, and facing all the challenges that are present in tennis, in professional sport.”

”We can relate to each other in many different ways from many different sides. That's why I'm very excited for him being here, because it's a great opportunity for me to learn.”

Djokovic announced on 5 May that he had parted company with three long-time members of his team - coach Marian Vajda, fitness trainer Gebhard Phil Gritsch and physio Miljan Amanovic. Former World No. 1 Boris Becker stepped down as Djokovic's coach at the end of 2016.

Having just turned 30, Djokovic is now hoping that Agassi can help him “rediscover what kind of approach is the right one.”

Agassi, who won two of his eight Grand Slam championship trophies over the age of 30, is back in familiar surroundings at the site of his 1999 triumph, when he completed a career Grand Slam. Last year, Djokovic became the eighth man in tennis history to win all four major titles with his first triumph at Roland Garros.

”Yesterday was obviously the first day, and we had two practise sessions together,” said Djokovic. “Then we had a very, very long conversation in the evening. Even though it was the first day, it felt like we knew each other for a very long time. We clicked and connected very fast.

”I was not rushing the process of getting a new coach, because I trust myself. I believe in my own abilities. I have been around long enough to know how to play tennis. So I gave it some time, and I was patient. Andre is a perfect fit for me now in every aspect. I'm trying to absorb as much of his wisdom and knowledge and experience that he tries to share with me.”

Djokovic begins his quest for a 13th Grand Slam championship crown against Spaniard Marcel Granollers. He’s been drawn in the same half of the draw as nine-time former titlist Rafael Nadal, who beat the World No. 2 in the Madrid semi-finals two weeks ago. “I definitely see him as probably the No. 1 favourite for this title… It's definitely [going to be] an interesting edition of 2017 Roland Garros. It's a long two weeks.”

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Wawrinka Looks To Repeat In Geneva

ATP news - Sat, 27/05/2017 - 5:44am

Stan Wawrinka will attempt to retain his Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open title on Saturday when he faces German qualifier Mischa Zverev in the final. The Swiss star, who is tied 1-1 lifetime against Zverev in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, is aiming to lift the 16th tour-level trophy of his career.

Wawrinka improved to a 19-8 record on the season when he defeated Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 7-6(4) in one hour and 39 minutes on Friday. He is 6-5 in clay-court finals and his last crown came in September 2016 at the US Open (d. Djokovic).

"The crowd has been great this week," said Wawrinka. "They are very loud and support me a lot when I need most. I’m happy to be in the final and I'm looking forward to it. Mischa Zverev is a very talented player. He prepared very well for the season and has been playing some great tennis this year. He’s had some great victories especially against [Andy] Murray in Melbourne. He’s a lefty and has a special style that we don’t see too often nowadays."

Zverev, who will attempt to capture his first ATP World Tour title, will be contesting his first final appearance since September 2010 at the Moselle Open in Metz (d. Simon).

Earlier in the day, Zverev, a traditional serve-and-volleyer who has varied his game style throughout the week in Geneva, kept his nerve to knock out second seed Kei Nishikori 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

The 29-year-old German required two hours and 18 minutes to reach the second ATP World Tour final of his career. Six days ago his younger brother, Alexander Zverev, captured his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (d. Djokovic).

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Colombians Advance To Doubles Final

Second-seeded Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah will look to win their second Geneva doubles crown in three years on Saturday after they beat wild cards Johan Nikles and Tim Puetz 6-4, 6-4 in the semi-finals. Cabal and Farah, who beat Raven Klaasen and Yen-Hsun Lu for the 2015 title, have a 10-11 record in team finals (1-2 in 2017).

Later in the day, top seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau overcame Scott Lipsky and Leander Paes 6-3, 3-6, 10-3 in 80 minutes. They will now look to lift their 14th team crown (13-4 in finals).

Berdych Ousts Raonic To Reach Lyon Final

ATP news - Sat, 27/05/2017 - 4:55am

Third seed Tomas Berdych will play for his first ATP World Tour title of the season after earning revenge against Canadian Milos Raonic 7-6(5), 7-6(2) on Friday during the semi-finals of the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon.

Berdych had lost to Raonic in straight sets eight days ago at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, and Raonic led their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 5-2. But the 31-year-old Berdych delivered nine aces to eke out a tight win and reach his first ATP World Tour final since last October, when he beat Richard Gasquet to win the Shenzhen Open.

“Best match here definitely. I'm improving match by match, which is good and that's very important. I'm happy with the way the week is going,” Berdych said.

The World No. 14 last played in a clay-court final in 2015, when he fell to Novak Djokovic at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. The Czech right-hander will try to secure his 14th title when he meets Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who advanced to his first clay-court final with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 victory against Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili.

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“Good feelings today. I played a tough opponent... He was very solid. I managed to keep it up in the third set while he dropped his level a little bit,” Tsonga said.

The 32-year-old Tsonga hit 14 aces and saved eight of 10 break points in the last-four contest. “It was a big advantage for him... He was serving really good,” Basilashvili said.

Tsonga has played in 25 tour-level finals during his 14-year career but none on clay. He won back-to-back indoor titles in February in Rotterdam and Marseille, but has gotten off to a slow start on the clay.

Tsonga had to withdraw from his second-round match at the Mutua Madrid Open and from the Internazionali BNL d'Italia because of a right shoulder injury.

Berdych leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 8-4, but Tsonga won their last clay-court meeting, 2015 Roland Garros. “I'm expecting again a very good test, a big battle and I'm looking forward to it,” Berdych said. “Let's finish the week strong.”

Nadal, Djokovic In Same Half At Roland Garros

ATP news - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 11:29pm

In-form Rafael Nadal faces a major test if he is to claim ‘La Decima’, a 10th title at Roland Garros this year. The Spanish superstar has been drawn in the same half of the draw as defending champion Novak Djokovic, Milos Raonic and Dominic Thiem, the player who beat him in last week's Internazionali BNL d’Italia quarter-finals.

View Draw

Fourth seed Nadal will meet France’s Benoit Paire in the first round as he looks to add to his incredible 72-2 record at the clay-court Grand Slam championship, where he has clinched the 2005-08, 2010-14 crowns. Nadal could meet No. 31 seed Gilles Simon in the third round, with a potential quarter-final against fifth seed Raonic, who begins his quest against Steve Darcis.

Nadal, who will celebrate his 31st birthday on 3 June, has already captured his 10th title at both the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell in 2017. Two weeks ago, he also won a fifth crown at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Second seed Djokovic, who completed the career Grand Slam with his first Roland Garros title in 2016 (d. Murray), will take on Marcel Granollers in the first round. The Serbian, who has a 12-9 record in Grand Slam championship finals, has started to work with Andre Agassi this week as he seeks his first tour-level title since clinching the Qatar ExxonMobil Open crown (d. Murray) in January.

Djokovic, who also finished runner-up on Parisian clay in 2012, 2014 (l. to Nadal both times) and 2015 (l. to Wawrinka), could meet No. 16 seed Lucas Pouille in the fourth round, before a potential quarter-final against sixth seed Dominic Thiem or No. 10 seed David Goffin. Djokovic beat Thiem in the Rome semi-finals, but was ousted by Goffin in the Monte-Carlo last eight in April. Thiem, who opens his bid against Bernard Tomic, lost to Djokovic in last year’s Roland Garros semi-finals. The Austrian has won six ATP World Tour clay-court crowns and is 17-4 on the surface in 2017.

World No. 1 Andy Murray, who became the first Briton to reach the Roland Garros final since Bunny Austin in 1937, on the back of a title run at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (d. Djokovic), has been working hard in Paris this week with his coaches Ivan Lendl and Jamie Delgado. Murray, who has a 16-7 record in 2017, including the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships trophy (d. Verdasco), opens his campaign against Andrey Kuznetsov. Murray may face a tricky third-round encounter against No. 29 seed Juan Martin del Potro, who opens against a qualifier.

Murray or del Potro could then challenge No. 13 seed Tomas Berdych, who recorded the 600th match win of his career last week in Rome. #NextGenATP German Alexander Zverev, the ninth seed and winner of his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy in The Eternal City last week, begins his quest for glory against Fernando Verdasco. Zverev may then face No. 22 seed Pablo Cuevas in the third round, with a possible fourth-round tie against eighth seed Kei Nishikori.

Nishikori, who competes at Roland Garros for the seventh time hoping to better his 2015 quarter-final run (l. to Tsonga in five sets), plays Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis, who is on the comeback trail from a shoulder injury. The Japanese star may meet No. 27 seed Sam Querrey, this year’s Abierto Mexicano Telcel champion, in the third round.

Stan Wawrinka, currently competing at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open, where he is the defending champion, is 18-8 on the year, but will be hoping to evoke memories of his 2015 Roland Garros title run. Last year’s semi-finalist, who competes in Murray’s half of the draw, opens against a qualifier with a third-round test against Fabio Fognini in prospect. Seventh seed Marin Cilic, No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 15 Gael Monfils, No. 18 Nick Kyrgios, No. 24 Richard Gasquet all feature in Wawrinka's second quarter of the draw.

Horror draw for practically every Aussie at the French Open

ABC Tennis news - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 10:12pm

Nick Kyrgios and Samantha Stosur will have their work cut out making an impact after Australia's tennis stars were handed very difficult draws for the French Open starting on Sunday.

Horror draw for practically every Aussie at the French Open

ABC Sport - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 10:12pm

Nick Kyrgios and Samantha Stosur will have their work cut out making an impact after Australia's tennis stars were handed very difficult draws for the French Open starting on Sunday.

Force shatter Reds' finals hopes with Super Rugby win

ABC Sport - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 9:59pm

The Queensland Reds are out of Super Rugby finals contention after losing 40-26 to the Western Force in Brisbane.

Eels far too slick for struggling Rabbitohs

ABC Sport - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 7:01pm

The Parramatta Eels play themselves into form, beating the Rabbitohs 22-16 at Sydney's Olympic stadium.

Roughead stunner sees Hawks pip Swans in SCG thriller

ABC Sport - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 7:01pm

Jarryd Roughead smokes a stunning last-gasp goal to seal a thrilling six-point win for Hawthorn over the Sydney Swans at the SCG.

AFL to introduce lifetime free agency

ABC Sport - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 6:33pm

The AFL is set to introduce lifetime free agency next season, with boss Gillon McLachlan describing it as a logical change. But how will it impact Queensland and NSW clubs?

Dreamtime at the 'G a life-changing experience for country kids

ABC Sport - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 5:51pm

More than 90,000 people are expected to attend this year's Dreamtime at the 'G — but for 20 young Indigenous children, Saturday could be the highlight of their lives so far.

LeBron overtakes Jordan as NBA's greatest playoff point-scorer

ABC Sport - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 1:46pm

LeBron James leaps over Michael Jordan to top the list of greatest NBA playoff point-scorers as the Cavaliers book a third straight finals series against the Golden State Warriors.

ATP Announces New Name And Extended London Stay For Nitto ATP FInals

ATP news - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 12:17pm
During a press conference from the Shard, the ATP announces that under a new title sponsorship with the Nitto Denko Corporation, the Nitto ATP Finals will stay in London a further two years through to 2020.

Calls to rename Margaret Court Arena after Qantas boycott

ABC Tennis news - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 11:14am

Martina Navratilova joins calls for Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne to be renamed after the tennis champion said she would no longer fly with Qantas because of the airline's stance on same-sex marriage.

Calls to rename Margaret Court Arena after Qantas boycott

ABC Sport - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 11:14am

Martina Navratilova joins calls for Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne to be renamed after the tennis champion said she would no longer fly with Qantas because of the airline's stance on same-sex marriage.