Month: May 2019

No Aussies left to cheer in Open

For the first time in seven years there will be no local player in the third round of the Australian Open men\’s singles championship.

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For the first time ever there will, at the conclusion of the Open, be no Australian male in the world\’s top 100.

The last of a group that seems to dwindle every year was Chris Guccione who lost his second round match on Tuesday after showing everything that everyone has hoped to see from him – for about 45 minutes.

Guccione won the first set from the talented Frenchman Gilles Simon, but then seemed to run out of ideas and desire, going down 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-1 6-2.

The 23-year-old Australian served well, moved well and was tactically sound for just about every game of the opening set.

And then it all began to disappear.

Simon was frustrated and uncertain and it showed in his early play.

But as Guccione admitted, the Frenchman then “got onto my serve”.

“It wasn\’t to be today,” Guccione said.

“He was hitting a lot of good passing shots, was getting onto my serve a bit.”

Simon is ranked 124 places higher than Guccione, a statistic that seemed to satisfy the Australian.

“It was no easy assignment out there.” he said.

“It was good to get a set, but I would have liked to have done a little bit better in the third and fourth sets especially.”

A lot better, perhaps.

This isn\’t the attitude that Jelena Dokic took into her match the night before.

Faced with an opponent ranked 169 places higher, and with a far from orthodox preparation behind her, Dokic got tough and won.

For Australian men\’s tennis, the picture – as the rankings reveal – has hardly been more grim.

Lleyton Hewitt is showing the strain of carrying the weight of a nation\’s expectation for most of this century.

Bernard Tomic revealed his awesome talent when he was 12 and as a 16-year-old he showed he probably has what it takes by becoming the youngest Australian male to win a singles match at the Open.

But he doesn\’t seem to be bringing too many through with him.

While the top 100 is now bereft of Australians, there are 16 Spanish players on the list, 14 Frenchmen, 10 Argentinians, seven Russians and the same number of Germans.

Tennis Australia (TA) and the Australian Institute Of Sport have been working on the problem for the past three years.

“We are rebuilding,” says TA\’s director of tennis Craig Tiley.

“We\’ve introduced many initiatives that have set the foundations for future success.

“Results take time and patience, but we are entering an exciting time for tennis in Australia.”

It will be possible to gauge the progress of the Tennis Australia program when Australia play Thailand in March in their bid to win back a spot in the World Group of the Davis Cup.

But with fewer than four players in the world\’s top 200, exciting times may still be a way off.

Continue reading No Aussies left to cheer in Open

Slumdog stars sued for defamation

Slumdog Millionaire, the runaway hit film that has charmed audiences around the world, seems to have hit a sour note with one Indian activist a day before its release in India.

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Tapeshwar Vishwakarma, representing a slum-dwellers\’ welfare group, is suing the film\’s music composer A R Rahman and one of its stars, actor Anil Kapoor, for depicting slum-dwellers in a bad light and violating their human rights.

Vishwakarma objected to the use of words such as “slumdogs” to describe the millions of inhabitants of India\’s cramped shantytowns, and filed a defamation case against the duo in the east Indian city of Patna, according to media reports Thursday.

Movie \’derogatory\’

His lawsuit alleges that the very name of the movie is derogatory and an affront to the dignity of India\’s many slum-dwellers.

The Golden Globe-winning film tells the rags-to-riches story of a young orphan from Mumbai who defies expectations to win the Indian version of the popular gameshow Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

It has won accolades in India and abroad, and is viewed as a possible contender for next month\’s Oscars.

Vishwakarma told the Times of India that he was only suing Kapoor and Rahman because they were more familiar to Indian audiences than the film\’s British director Danny Boyle.

Slumdog title \’hurts\’

“Vishwakarma made it clear that he hardly expected anything positive from a British filmmaker as their ancestors described us as \’dogs\’,” Vishwakarma\’s lawyer Shruti Singh told the Indo-Asian News Service.

“But what hurt him was that even Indians associated with the film hardly bothered to object to calling us a \’slumdog\’.”

The film\’s co-director Loveleen Tandon is quoted in the Mail Today newspaper as defending the movie, saying “the title is really not meant to be taken as insulting or offensive”.

The Patna court will hear the case on February 5.

Continue reading Slumdog stars sued for defamation

Lightning sparks Victorian blazes

Lightning strikes have started one fire and authorities fear they could ignite more as firefighters battle wild weather and several blazes across Victoria.

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Fire crews are at the scene at Centre Track, 7km south-west of Mallacoota near the NSW border, where lightning started a fire that had spread to around half a hectare by Thursday afternoon.

A fire at Stuart Creek, 10km north-east of Bruthen in Gippsland, has been contained but crews are having difficulty reaching another blaze in remote and rugged terrain at nearby Mountain Ash Creek, 15km north-west of Glencairn in the state\’s east.

Bad weather has forced the reconnaissance aircraft to return to base.

Fire near NSW border

Two separate blazes burning close to each other in the South-East Forests National Park at Yambulla, also near the NSW border, have remained stable and firefighters are working in steep, rugged terrain to complete control lines around them.

A one-hectare fire at Morris Peak, 11km north-west of Bullumwaal, should be under control by Thursday night, the

Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) says.

A DSE spokeswoman said a band of lightning was crossing the Gippsland region on Thursday afternoon and could ignite more fires.

Country Fire Authority (CFA) crews have contained a fire that had threatened houses in the bayside suburb of Seaford, in Melbourne\’s south, earlier on Thursday.

Crews were dealing with smaller grass fires on Thursday afternoon but they did not pose any risk, a CFA spokesman said.

It is likely the total fire ban will be lifted on Friday, he said.

Wild weather causing closures

Meanwhile, high winds and storms have caused widespread damage and road closures throughout the state.

The State Emergency Service has responded to more than 200 incidents so far on Thursday, including a house in Violet Town whose roof was blown off in the wind.

Fallen trees have damaged a home in nearby Jamieson in the state\’s north, while a large number of roads across Victoria are blocked due to debris.

Hot winds fanned dust storms across Melbourne on Thursday afternoon, although a cool change was expected later in the day.

Severe thunderstorms are predicted by the weather bureau in the north-east of the state, particularly in Wodonga, Wangaratta, Sale and Bairnsdale.

The storms are likely to produce damaging winds, large hailstones, very heavy rainfall and flash flooding and people are being warned by emergency services to take care and stay indoors wherever possible.

Gale warnings are in place for coastal areas.

Continue reading Lightning sparks Victorian blazes

City\’s Hughes wants talks with absent Robinho

Striker Robinho faces crunch talks with Manchester City manager Mark Hughes next week after the club confirmed that the Brazilian had returned home without permission.

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Robinho left City\’s training camp in Tenerife on Tuesday, just hours after the club\’s failed bid to sign his fellow Brazilian Kaka from AC Milan.

“Robbie left without permission, he felt that he had personal things that he needed to attend to,” Hughes told the club\’s website 南宁夜网.mcfc.co.uk.

“He made the decision to leave the camp, and go back to Brazil.

“That was not with my permission, and the situation at the moment is not really practical to get him back here with time differences and length of flights.

“Once he is back, I will sit down with him and explain my feelings, and decisions will be made after that,” added Hughes, who said he expects Robinho to be back in training next week.

\’Family matters\’

“He has rung me, and he understands that we need to address this — and we will. Then we will move on.”

The Brazilian\’s website said the player was in Santos and would return to Manchester in the next few days after solving family matters.

“I have a good relationship with coach Mark Hughes and have always respected his decisions. He is the boss,” the 24-year-old striker told the site 南宁夜网.robinhoofficial广西桑拿,.

Robinho has enjoyed a successful start to his City career since his 32.5 million pound transfer from Real Madrid in August but his return to Brazil has prompted media speculation about his future at the club.

Hughes denied that Robinho\’s decision to return to Brazil had anything to do with the club\’s failure to sign Kaka.

“He has already said that himself, and he was on a plane back to Brazil when the Kaka deal was dead and buried,” Hughes said. “People trying to link the two are trying to cause a little bit of mischief.”

Continue reading City\’s Hughes wants talks with absent Robinho

Safin to throw caution to the wind against Federer

The last time the pair met at Melbourne Park in 2005, the 1.

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93m tall Safin saved a match point and triumphed 9-7 in the fifth set of their semi-final before going on to claim his second grand slam title.

Since then the Russian former world number one has suffered from debilitating knee injuries and has slipped down the rankings.

Federer, however, has won nine grand slam titles over the past four years to take his total tally to 13 and now stands just one major away from equalling Pete Sampras\’s record of 14.

“His life has changed (and it) didn\’t (go) too bad. He won a couple of grand slams afterwards, and me, I got injured,” Safin said of their contrasting fortunes.

“I had to recover from the injuries, so we went in different ways. He got much more confident throughout the years and I had to recover from injury.

“I want to be in his shoes.”

\’Nothing to lose\’

When fit and healthy, Safin is considered to possess a game capable of matching the mercurial Swiss and the Russian will be aiming to narrow his losing 9-2 head-to-head record against Federer on Friday.

“Unfortunately I (have not) won a lot of matches against him, but I\’m looking forward. It\’s another chance,” said Safin who also lost to Federer in the 2004 Australian Open final.

“I have nothing to lose. I\’m going to go for it. Whatever comes, comes.”

The Safin family have been given the honour of opening and closing the day\’s action on Rod Laver Arena.

Dinara Safina will continue her bid to try and step out of big brother Marat\’s shadow when she takes on Estonia\’s 25th seed Kaia Kanepi in the first match (midnight British time).

“I\’m not (known as) Marat\’s sister anymore,” she said with a grin on her move up the women\’s rankings.

“Before, really, I was known as Marat\’s sister, nothing else. I had some success, but I cannot compare to what I have now.”

Women\’s top seed Jelena Jankovic is also in action on Rod Laver Arena, against Japan\’s Ai Sugiyama after men\’s champion, and Serbian compatriot, Novak Djokovic plays Amer Delic of the United States.

Continue reading Safin to throw caution to the wind against Federer