QPlay: Time for Wimbledon Whites, Australia beat India 6-2 & More
All the latest sports news in The Quint’s morning wrap.
1. After French Open Loss, Djokovic Focused On Wimbledon Greens
Defending champion Novak Djokovic’s preparations for Wimbledon have been laid back, in the extreme.
The world number one has not played a competitive match since the gut-wrenching defeat by Stanislas Wawrinka in the French Open final at the start of the month, opting out of all Wimbledon warm-up events.
However, the world number 1 will not have long to wait to discover whether his risky pre-Wimbledon schedule was indeed the perfect way to prepare to defend his title. He starts off in the first match on Centre Court on Monday against Germany’s world number 33, Philipp Kohlschreiber.
“Right now I think I’m 100 percent prepared. Hopefully tomorrow when I get on the court I’ll be able to perform my best because that’s something that is going to be very much needed in order to win against Kohlschreiber,” Djokovic told reporters.
“It’s one of the toughest first rounds I could get,” he added.
2. Serena Williams: Under No Pressure to Complete ‘Serena Slam’
Such has been Serena Williams’ iron-fisted dominance of women’s tennis that the American is one Wimbledon title away from achieving a ‘Serena Slam’ and halfway towards completing a rare calendar Grand Slam.
However, the women’s top seed does not want to stress on the prospect of pulling off a feat she last achieved as a 21-year-old in 2003.
“I don’t feel any pressure to win all four,” said the 33-year-old U.S., Australian and French Open champion.
“It doesn’t make it feel any different, which I think is a good thing,” added the world number one, who is being tipped to become the first player since Steffi Graf in 1988 to pull off the calendar slam.
The top seed kicks things off in the women’s draw with the first match on Court 1 on Monday against Margarita Gasparyan of Russia.
3. India Succumb to Australian Pressure, Suffer 2-6 Loss
India’s defence caved in under pressure as a rampaging Australia crushed them 6-2 in the last league fixture of the FIH World League Semifinals on Sunday.
Penalty corner shooter Chris Ciriello’s three conversions set World champions Australia on course for a runaway victory that placed them on top of Group A standings with four straight wins. India meanwhile finished in second spot with seven points from four matches.
Birender Lakra (34th minute) and Ramandeep Singh (51st) reduced the defeat margin for India in the match, which was dominated by the world number one side.
Frayed nerves and inability to cope with the high rhythm set by the Australians hurt us very badly at the start of the match.
– Paul van Ass, Indian Coach
4. ICC Confirms Receiving Lalit Modi’s E-mail in 2013
The ICC has confirmed that it had received a letter from Lalit Modi in 2013 in which the former IPL Commissioner alleged that three players were bribed by a business tycoon.
London-based Modi, on Saturday, tweeted a letter, which he claims to have written to ICC CEO Dave Richardson in June 2013, passing on “some information” regarding the alleged involvement of two leading Indian cricketers and a West Indian player. The three had received cash and kind from the businessman, Modi had written.
In reply, the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday, posted a statement on its website regarding the e-mail and clarified that it acted as per standard procedure.
The ICC confirms that Mr Modi’s confidential e-mail, which was received in June 2013, and which has recently been published on Twitter, was provided to the ACSU at the time. The ACSU handled that information in accordance with its standard operating procedures, which included sharing it with the BCCI’s anti-corruption unit.
– ICC Statement
5. Australians Beat Kent by 255 Runs to Start Ashes Preparation
Australia’s Ashes squad began its preparations for the forthcoming series with a convincing 255-run win over English county side Kent on Sunday.
The four-day tour match ended with the tourists having made 507-8 and 322-4 before declaring in both innings, while Kent replied with scores of 280 and 294.
Shaun Marsh and Steven Smith both hit centuries in the Australians’ first innings, while Mitchell Marsh chipped in with a ton in the second innings.
The bright spot for the hosts on Sunday was a combative 127 from Daniel Bell-Drummond.
Australia next plays Essex in another four-day game which begins on Wednesday at Chelmsford.
It will be their second and final warm-up before the Ashes starts against England in Cardiff a week later on July 8.
6. FIFA: Blatter Not Making Resignation U-turn
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has not made a U-turn on his plans to leave office, the sport’s governing body has confirmed
FIFA responded after Swiss daily Blick reported comments made by Blatter late Thursday that he technically did not resign on June 2 but had pledged to leave at a special election congress, which is still being organised.
“I have not resigned, but I put back my mandate at the disposition of the next extraordinary congress,” the outgoing FIFA leader said in Blick’s report.
“We can confirm the quotes in Blick are accurate,” FIFA said in a statement.
Domenico Scala, the independent chairman of Fifa’s audit and compliance committee also added, “The times of flirting with the power are definitely gone.”
“I call on all concerned - including Mr Blatter - to endorse in the interest of the reforms unequivocally the announced changing of the guard at the top of FIFA.”
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