Sports Shorts: Murray appoints Mauresmo as his new coach
Andy Murray showed that he is quite prepared to think outside the box by appointing Ivan Lendl, and now he has done it again by appointing Amelie Mauresmo.
The move, the likelihood of which was revealed eleven days ago in Sportsmail, is a groundbreaking one which will make his campaign to defend his Wimbledon title all the more fascinating.
Although initially denied, there always seemed to be something in it when she turned up to watch the whole of his first match at the French Open and reputable sources suggested that contact had been made between them.
Murray knew that he could not replicate the presence of Lendl – who had little coaching experience before their famously successful partnership, but what he is looking for is someone who can add that little extra input which, at the rarefied level he plays at, can be the difference between winning and losing.
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Image: Andy Murray
Photographs: Dan Istitene/Getty Images
'Amelie is someone I have always looked up to'
According to Daily Mail, the appointment is initially for the grasscourt season spanning Queen’s and Wimbledon, but it has very much been made with the longer term in mind.
“I’m excited by the possibilities of the new partnership and Amelie is someone I have always looked up to and admired,” said Murray of the appointment.
“She’s faced adversity plenty of times in her career, but was an amazing player and won major titles, including Wimbledon.
“I have a very strong coaching team already in place, but I think Amelie brings with her experience and tactical expertise and will push us all to improve.
“Everyone I know talks very highly of Amelie, as a person and coach, and I’m convinced that her joining the team will help us push on - I want to win more Grand Slams.”
Image: Amelie Mauresmo
Photographs: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Frenchmen Benneteau and Roger-Vasselin win Paris doubles title
Frenchmen Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin beat the Spanish pair of Marc Lopez and Marcel Granollers 6-3, 7-6(1) to win the men's doubles title at the French Open on Saturday.
They are the first Frenchmen to win the men's doubles title since Yannick Noah and Henri Leconte prevailed in 1984.
The Spaniards, seeded 12th, held until 3-3 but the 11th-seeded Frenchmen had too much variety in their shots and pulled away on Philippe Chatrier Court.
"This is the best moment of my career. The match point and (hearing our anthem) La Marseillaise, was unbelievable," Roger-Vasselin told reporters.
His partner added: "Since I was 10, 11 ... I would dream about playing on this court. Now I have one of the best feelings ever."
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Image: Julien Benneteau,right, and Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France pose with the trophy
Photographs: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters
Mascherano agrees new four-year Barcelona deal
Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano has agreed a new deal to stay for a further four seasons, the club said on Saturday, in a move that shows new coach Luis Enrique has a role for him in his side.
"Barcelona announces that it has reached an agreement with Javier Mascherano for the improvement and extension of his contract for the next four seasons, until the 30th June 2018, plus an optional extra year. The buyout clause is 100 million euros ($136.43 million)," a club statement read.
There has been plenty of speculation over the future of the Argentine who arrived from Liverpool in 2010 as a defensive midfielder who could play as a makeshift centre back, but has ended up being mainly employed at the back.
The Barcelona defence looked shaky last season and Mascherano's weaknesses were exposed, particularly his lack of height.
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Image: Javier Mascherano of FC Barcelona faces the media
Photographs: David Ramos/Getty Images
Beckham insists MLS team won't cost public money
David Beckham appealed on Saturday for support for his plans for a Major League Soccer stadium in Miami, insisting that he doesn’t want public money and will create ‘something special’ for the city.
Beckham and his backers are currently negotiating for a waterfront site next to the Miami Heat’s American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami after plans for a venue at the port of Miami met local political resistance.
e second proposal, which involves filling in a large boat slip and placing the stadium in a new park area, has also come up against some opposition despite Beckham's team offering to pay for the arena entirely out of private funds.
That plan could go to a vote in a referendum in November and on Saturday Beckham fired up his campaign for support – visiting a downtown children's soccer center, as well as the heavily Hispanic Little Havana district, and posing for photographs with local residents.
"We feel that we are doing something positive for the city here and I think people know that," Beckham told Reuters in an interview after the event.
"At the end of the day, it can go one way or another, if we get the public support it can be incredible but if we don’t we will find a way to turn them around and make them realize that this is a great thing and we are not here to take their money," he said.
While sports teams across the United States regularly get public funding for new stadiums there is widespread opposition to that idea in Miami after $500 million was spent on a baseball stadium for the poorly supported Miami Marlins team.
Beckham's message to potential referendum voters, as well as the politicians he must convince to back his plan, is that his backers will be investing in the city and not arriving with the begging bowl.
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Image: David Beckham with fans
Photographs: Courtesy: David Beckham/Facebook
Cotto clobbers Martinez, wins middleweight title
Miguel Cotto used a furious start to win the World Boxing Council middleweight championship as title holder Sergio Martinez of Argentina surrendered the crown when he did not answer the bell for the 10th round on Saturday.
Cotto, with a ferocious left hook and punishing combinations, knocked Martinez down three times in the first round, and continued to dominate the scheduled 12-round bout at MadisonSquareGarden.
Martinez's corner waved an end to the fight as the bell rang for round 10.
The Argentine, who wore supportive sleeves on both his knees, was cut near his right eye and over his left eye and his knees buckled several times during the one-sided contest.
Cotto, 33, became the first Puerto Rican ever to win titles in four different weight divisions after previously holding the junior welterweight, welterweight and super welterweight crowns.
"This is the biggest achievement I ever had in my career," said Cotto, who improved to 39-4 while the 39-year-old Martinez fell to 51-3-2.
Martinez said he never recovered from Cotto's stunning start.
"I got hit and I never recovered after that. I tried my best," said Martinez, speaking through a translator. "He caught me cold, he caught me hard at the beginning and I didn't recover from it."
Martinez looked set to continue, despite buckling after another powerful left in the ninth round that the referee ruled a knockdown even though the Argentine did not touch the canvas. But his corner surrendered.
"More than a boxer, he's my brother and he's my friend," said trainer Pablo Sarmiento.
Freddie Roach, Cotto's trainer, said the winner executed the game plan to perfection.
"I'm really proud of him," Roach said. "We had a great game plan and he followed it to a tee."
Roach said Cotto manoeuvred Martinez masterfully.
"He had him moving into the hook all night long," Roach said. "Miguel is a better boxer than Martinez."
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Image: Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico knocks Sergio Martinez of Argentina
Photographs: Rich Schultz/Getty Images
Sony becomes first soccer sponsor to back Qatar World Cup probe
Sony has become the first World Cup sponsor to call for a probe into accusations that bribes were paid to secure the 2022 tournament for Qatar, raising the stakes for football chiefs who have threatened to move the cup if the allegations are proved to be true.
Soccer's governing body FIFA is conducting an internal investigation into the decisions to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 Cup in Qatar.
Qatar's bid in particular has attracted controversy from the outset because of the extreme summer heat during the months when the cup is played and the tiny country's lack of domestic soccer tradition.
Britain's Sunday Times newspaper has printed what it says are leaked documents showing bribes were paid to secure the event for Qatar, which Qatar denies. A former US prosecutor leading FIFA's internal investigation is due to report in July, around a week after this year's World Cup finishes in Brazil.
The Sunday Times printed new accusations on Sunday, just days before the 2014 tournament kicks-off in Brazil, alleging that then-Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam, a Qatari, had brokered meetings between Qatari officials and governments to discuss bilateral trade deals.
Qatar denies Bin Hammam was connected to its bid for the Cup. Bin Hammam has not commented. FIFA has already banned Bin Hammam for life from soccer over accusations he paid bribes to win votes for a bid to become FIFA president. That ban was overturned but another was imposed for conflicts of interest.
Until now, FIFA's sponsors have stayed silent. The Sunday Times quoted a Sony statement as saying: "As a FIFA partner, we expect these allegations to be investigated appropriately."
"We continue to expect FIFA to adhere to its principles of integrity ethics and fair play across all aspects of its operations," the statement added.
Image: Sheika Moza bint Nasser poses with the World Cup trophy after Qatar were awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup
Photographs: Getty Images