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Coronavirus: Boris Becker feuds with Nick Kyrgios over Alexander Zverev criticism

Nick Kyrgios and Boris Becker have traded insults on social media following the Australian’s criticism of Alexander Zverev after a video appeared to show the German dancing in a crowded club despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The video was posted on Instagram by German designer Philipp Plein and later deleted. There was no indication of when the video was taken.

Zverev said last week he would self-isolate after playing in Novak Djokovic’s ill-fated Adria Tour exhibition tournament in Serbia and Croatia, which had to be abandoned after numerous players tested positive for COVID-19.

Kyrgios on Monday called Zverev, the current men’s world number seven, “selfish”, prompting a rebuke from commentator and former six-time Grand Slam champion Becker.

Don’t like no #rats ! Anybody telling off fellow sportsman/woman is no friend of mine! Look yourself in the mirror and think your better than us…@NickKyrgios @farfetch

“Don’t like no #rats! Anybody telling off fellow sportsman/woman is no friend of mine! Look yourself in the mirror and think your better than us… @NickKyrgios,” Becker said on Twitter.

Kyrgios, the world number 40, was prompt in his reply: “For goodness sake Boris, I’m not competing or trying to throw anyone under the bus. It’s a global pandemic and if someone is as idiotic as Alex to do what he has done, I’ll call him out for it. Simple.”

Zverev, 23, took part in Djokovic’s event, which saw crowds packed into stands in Belgrade while players hugged at the net and played basketball in Croatia. The German player said he and his team had tested negative.

“We all live in the pandemic called #Covid_19! It’s terrible and it killed to many lives…we should protect our families/loved ones and follow the guidelines but still don’t like #rats @NickKyrgios,” Becker continued.

Kyrgios had previously criticised the organisers of the Balkan event and hit out at governing bodies for their plans to restart professional tennis during the pandemic.

“Rats? For holding someone accountable? Strange way to think of it champion, I’m just looking out for people. When my family and families all over the world have respectfully done the right thing,” Kyrgios said.

@TheBorisBecker is a bigger doughnut than I thought. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ can hit a volley, obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed though.

“@TheBorisBecker is a bigger doughnut than I thought … can hit a volley, obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed though.”

Becker then attempted to steer the conversation away from coronavirus and to Kyrgios’ career. The talented 25-year-old has reached just two Grand Slam quarter-finals, with a series of on-court controversies having led to criticism from fellow professionals.

Becker wrote: “I really would like to see @NickKyrgios fulfill his potential and win a grandslam! He would be an incredible role model for for the youth of the world addressing the issues of equality/race/heritage! Man up buddy and deliver!”

However, Kyrgios, whose last competitive match came in Mexico in February, was not impressed by Becker’s attempt to change the subject.

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Wimbledon: Richard Lewis says there’s no major financial impact from cancellation

Outgoing Wimbledon chief Richard Lewis says there has been no major financial impact from the cancellation of this year’s tournament.

The grass-court Grand Slam was scheduled to start on Monday but was cancelled for the first time since World War Two in April.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) said its spending plans would not have to be curtailed.

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“It won’t be severely impacted. If you have to cancel, it’s great to have insurance,” Lewis, who will step down as the CEO next month, said.

“We’re still in a very good position, we’re financially very stable. British tennis is going to be pretty well protected.”

However, Wimbledon would not have similar insurance cover in place next year, he added.

“That’s impossible in the current climate,” he said. “When I started in 2012, there were some signs that things were not insurable, because of communicable diseases that had taken place, like Sars and swine flu.

“In the immediate aftermath you can’t get insurance but fairly soon after that you can start to get insurance again, the market returns. So there won’t be insurance next year.

“But just because we’ve made one claim, it won’t affect us in the long term.”

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The US Open is going ahead as scheduled at the end of August while the French Open has moved to the end of September from May and Sally Bolton, who will succeed Lewis, said the AELTC would learn all they can from the tournaments.

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Battle of the Brits: Dan Evans defeats Kyle Edmund to win exhibition event

Dan Evans dominated his domestic rival Kyle Edmund to claim victory in the Battle of the Brits exhibition event at Roehampton.

The 30-year-old Evans lived up to his reputation as the nation’s No 1 by going unbeaten through the round-robin singles tournament, culminating in an emphatic 6-3 6-2 final win.

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Evans made an immediate impression by breaking Edmund in the opening game of the match and although he was immediately broken back, he continued to retain the ascendancy.

A long forehand from Edmund handed Evans his second break in the fifth game of the set and it proved enough for the favourite – now ranked a career-high 28 in the world – to see out the first set.

Edmund rallied at the start of the second, breaking Evans immediately only to lose his serve straight away and enable Evans to once again seize the upper hand.

A dazzling cross-court winner helped Evans win a marathon sixth game of the set to take a 4-2 lead and there was no looking back as he duly broke Edmund again to love to wrap up his victory.

Although it will not make the official head-to-head record, it was also Evans’ first tournament win over Edmund, who had won their two previous meetings in Monaco and Eastbourne respectively.

Paying tribute to the officials who staged the unique social-distancing tournament, Evans told Amazon Prime: “I wasn’t sure how it was going to be but it literally felt like a tournament event.

“The players have been raving about the tournament all week. It’s been a great week and hopefully we can all do it again.”

Norrie beats Ward in third-place play-off

Earlier, James Ward failed to make the most of having Andy Murray in his corner as he lost the third-place play-off 6-3 7-5 to Cam Norrie.

Ward stepped in late to replace Murray, who was beaten by Evans in their semi-final on Saturday and pulled out as a precautionary measure due to a sore shin.

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Battle of the Brits set for Andy Murray-Dan Evans showdown

Andy Murray and Dan Evans will face off in Saturday’s Battle of the Brits semi-finals after Evans joined Kyle Edmund in recording a 100 per cent record in Roehampton.

Britain’s three leading players, including Cameron Norrie, will be joined by arguably the greatest ever produced for Saturday’s last four match-ups and the appeal of Evans against Murray holds the most allure.

Remarkably the pair have never previously met, and it is ironic that the stars align to pit them into a showdown when Evans tops the British rankings and Murray, the three-time Grand Slam champion and former world No, 1 is fourth.

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Schroders Battle of the Brits – Saturday’s Order of Play

While Murray’s battle back to full fitness has been well documented, Evans has been on something of a journey himself, returning from a one-year ban after testing positive for cocaine to climb to his highest ranking and usurp Murray and Kyle Edmund as the British No 1.

Evans topped the Greg Rusedski group with wins over Jay Clarke, Norrie and Ryan Penniston while Murray won two of his three matches, only suffering defeat to Edmund to finish second in the Tim Henman Group after beating James Ward and Liam Broady.

As well as the pair’s head-to-head at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, Edmund and Norrie – Britain’s No 2 and 3 respectively, meet in the other semi-final before the two winners meet and the champion is crowned on Sunday.

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In Friday’s action, Evans and Edmund completed the group stage with 100 per cent records. Evans saw off Peniston 6-2 3-6 10-4 while Edmund beat Liam Broady 6-3 6-3 to add to wins over Murray and Ward.

After Liverpool secured the Premier League title the previous evening, Edmund saluted the triumph by putting three Reds shirts on display at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, laying them across a bench by the court.

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Andy Murray looking forward to competing at US Open and French Open

Andy Murray has said he is on the right path to playing at the highest level again after a seven-month layoff due to hip problems and is looking forward to competing at the Grand Slams again.

Murray came through a physical encounter with Kyle Edmund at the Battle of the Brits unscathed on Wednesday, even if he did lose in a match which was decided by a championship tie-breaker.

He was playing just his second match since November following a bruised bone, but looked in good condition against the world No 44.

Murray barely has 24 hours to recover as he plays James Ward in his final group game, needing to win to make it through to the semi-finals.

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The hip feels good. If I play like that and do a few things better, sharpen up a couple of things, I will play high-level tennis.

Andy Murray

“To be honest, I am not bothered about the results of the match, after a match like that I hope my hip is OK, and I pull up well from it,” the two-time Wimbledon champion said.

“I know if my hip is good, my tennis will only improve and get better over the next few months. If I can get consistent practice.

“That is my hope. The hip feels good. If I play like that and do a few things better, sharpen up a couple of things, I will play high-level tennis.

“My groin is a little bit sore today, I felt it in practice and at the beginning of my match, but as the match went on, it felt alright.

“That was good, positive. Then it’s pulling up the next day, see how you feel, not getting in a situation where you have to take two to three weeks off to recover basically.”

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After what I have gone through in the last few years, and not being able to compete at any of the majors, I want to have a few more cracks at them. Get to compete at them. Even if it is for one last time.

Murray on the Grand Slams

The Scot is already looking at the much longer term as he plots a schedule that will see him arrive at the US Open in the best shape and he looks like returning to the ATP Tour at Washington in the middle of August.

“I am trying to avoid playing back-to-back events, my priority is to be fit for the grand slams. If you are competing two or three days beforehand, then maybe it’s not the hip, it’s your elbow, shoulder, ankle.

“After what I have gone through in the last few years, and not being able to compete at any of the majors, I want to have a few more cracks at them. Get to compete at them. Even if it is for one last time.

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Black Lives Matter: Chanda Rubin delighted to see people standing up in solidarity

“We’ve all had our experiences and I have certainly had mine as well.” Tennis legend Chanda Rubin has opened up about racism in the sport and how the Black Lives Matter movement has been “tremendously gratifying” for her.

With the likes of F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua to name just a few sporting stars displaying their solidarity with the movement, Rubin says she has been overwhelmed seeing the support grow.

The American, who won several WTA Tour singles titles as well as reaching a career-high No 6 in the world, says watching so many people rally around for Black Lives Matter around the globe has been emotional and inspiring.

It’s easy to feel there’s not a lot you can do individually, but I think we just have to keep fighting those battles, fighting the good fight and enlisting others to join in and that’s the only way to move the dial forward.

Chanda Rubin on Black Lives Matter

“For me it has been tremendously gratifying to see all of the support around the world,” Rubin said. “To see so many people who have been impacted and we’ve known this, it’s not singular to the United States but to see others standing up in solidarity at the same time in the numbers that we’re seeing it and it’s continuing.

“It is a clear effort to move the dial forward on a worldwide level and it has been on the most phenomenal things for me to see. You look back at the history, some of the protests that have occurred during the civil rights movement here in the US, trying to gain equal rights, trying to gain the right to vote – some of the basic things we take for granted a little bit today.

“But you saw what it took for those things to gets passed, the sacrifices people made in protesting, trying to protest peacefully, sometimes not being able and having to just deal with the violence that was directed at the movement.

“You see all of those images and some of those pictures and to be in the midst of it now and seeing it live, it’s been incredible. It is very inspiring and hopefully I can continue to help in any way I can. It’s easy to feel there’s not a lot you can do individually, but I think we just have to keep fighting those battles, fighting the good fight and enlisting others to join in and that’s the only way to move the dial forward.”

My parents were really good about this, they tried to kind of shield me from it and just accept whatever happens. Just go out, do what you need to do, play and let your racket speak for itself.

Rubin on how she was shielded from racism in tennis

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Rubin’s best Grand Slam singles result was in 1996 when she reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open. World No 1 Monica Seles ended her hopes that day, although the Louisiana native did win the women’s doubles title alongside Spain’s Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in Melbourne that year.

Despite being one of tennis’ most well-known faces at the time, Rubin revealed there were times when organisers failed to notice who she was.

Rubin, now 44, admits she has suffered some forms of racial discrimination off the court, but she has praised her parents for “shielding” her from the worst of it.

“We’ve all had our experiences and I have certainly had mine as well. Some of it off court and just in the course of daily life, at school you have incidents that happen and certainly for me growing up in the south there’s always been a little bit of that element that you see in just how you’re operating,” Rubin said.

“In tennis, it manifested more in terms of the bias maybe, for lack of a better word, walking up to the event and people not knowing me and thinking I wasn’t the player who was at the top of the seeding and being shocked, being surprised by that.

“Maybe not giving me my just due when it came to creating draws and things of that nature. But for me, and my parents were really good about this, they tried to kind of shield me from it and just accept whatever happens. Just go out, do what you need to do, play and let your racket speak for itself. Conduct yourself in a certain way and that’s one of the things that I’ve learnt to appreciate most about tennis because on the court it’s up to you and no one can really dictate based on their biases.”

We have to try and help others understand and try to engage others in this fight and just support each other.

Chanda Rubin

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Rubin says life as a tennis player can be a lot tougher these days, especially with social media playing a big part in people’s lives.

She added: “It can be tough, and I think now in the day and age that we’re in with social media, it’s hard for some of these younger players and they’re getting comments made, they’re getting bullied, they’re getting talked about. Some of the things we would hear just in person on occasion, they’re getting it on social media over and over again and it’s horrible.

“I’m very understanding of that. I certainly hope that people can become more tolerant and this time period will at least help. Sometimes you think that nothing is really going to change when you see so much hatred that is underlined, that comes out in these moments, but we just do what we have to do individually.

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