The league has given officials a chance to take a second look at pass interference calls this season. The new rule has only caused more controversy
Let’s get this out of the way first: there’s no way a non-call ended up costing the Houston Texans the game on Sunday. The Texans ended up losing to the Baltimore Ravens 41-7 for a number of reasons, the most obvious being that Lamar Jackson threw for four touchdowns. Still though, there’s every reason for the Texans to be upset that NFL officials refused to make a clear pass interference call despite the benefit of reviewing the play.
The play in question came when Baltimore cornerback Marlon Humphrey grabbed Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone to break up a pass. Although the ruling on the field was an incomplete pass, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien challenged the call. Despite being about as clear cut of an example of defensive pass interference as one will find, the officials – as has been the norm since the NFL gave coaches the ability to challenge PI – declined to penalize the Ravens. If O’Brien had successfully challenged, the Texans would have had a first down on the Baltimore one-yard line, pretty much the ideal situation for them to pick up seven points. Instead, the team lost a time out and they failed to score.
34-year-old beats teammates in close race for racing title
Busch missed out last year in part because of pit errors
Kyle Busch emerged from the Joe Gibbs Racing juggernaut as Nascar’s latest champion, winning his second title on Sunday after two teammates were slowed by pit-road gaffes.
Busch won the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to snap a 21-race losing streak and beat Gibbs teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr, as well as rival Kevin Harvick, for the Cup. Busch won the 2015 title and joins seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson as the only active drivers with multiple titles. “Ol’ two-timer out there,” crew chief Adam Stevens radioed. “I’m proud of you buddy.”
Ravens thrash Texans 41-7 in battle of young quarterbacks
Dak Prescott threw for 444 yards and three touchdowns, while Ezekiel Elliott added a pair of TDs as the visiting Dallas Cowboys kept pace in the NFC East with a 35-27 victory Sunday over the short-handed Detroit Lions.
Prescott completed 29 of 46 passes, while surpassing 400 yards for the third time this season, and Michael Gallup caught nine passes for 148 yards as the Cowboys (6-4) remained in first place.
• Greek becomes youngest winner of event since 2001 • The 21-year-old wins 6-7 (6), 6-2, 7-6 (4)
Three years ago, Stefanos Tsitsipas arrived in London as a wide-eyed teenager, happy to offer his services as a hitting partner for Dominic Thiem, whom he knew a little. They got to know each other a lot better on Sunday night, spending two hours and 35 minutes together in front of a capacity crowd here as the 21-year-old Greek became the youngest winner of the ATP Tour Finals since 2001.
He looked gone midway through the final set before forcing a second shootout to win 6-7 (6), 6-2, 7-6 (4). “I do not know how I played so well in the second set, breaking him twice,” Tsitsipas said. “It was an excellent set for me. It was frustrating to play with such nerves in the third.
England have cut a swathe through their Euro 2020 qualifying group, advancing to the finals on the back of a run of free-scoring and expressive performances and, once again, they had too much for lowlier ranked opponents here.
It was a display of control from Gareth Southgate’s young team, which was marked by Harry Winks’s first-half goal – his first in an England shirt – and glossed by a late surge that showed how ruthless they can be when they find their connections.
Pierre Hugues-Herbert and Nicolas Mahut just beat Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus to win their first ATP Finals title, another important victory to their incredible resume. They have now won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open, ATP Finals and Davis Cup together. All eyes will be on the Olympics next.
Roger Federer was frustrated with his own performance in yesterday’s defeat to Tsitsipas, but he had some positive words for his conqueror.
I look across the net, and I thought that he played really well. He took the ball early. I know he does that. I thought I returned actually pretty good on the first serve. Second serve of breakpoints and stuff, I guess there were better moments, but for the most part I wasn’t quite getting into the rallies the way I wanted to.
Well, I think I have to credit him for pushing me to not playing at the level I was hoping to today.
I think it’s fair to say that this is not the reception England are used to receiving when they play away:
The Kosovo manager, Bernard Challandes, seems quite impressed by this England team:
We know exactly against who we will play and we have seen in the last game and all this campaign, England has the best potential offensive in the world now. For me, it’s the first favourite for the next European Championship, with this offensive potential. It’s an advantage for us to play here. There’s a big, big enthusiasm behind the team. People are very proud of the team. Unfortunately we have only 13,000 spectators, but I think the players of Kosovo have a good feeling with the support, and that can help, particularly today. We never lost here, but we never played against such a team as England also.
We’ve got two races of this season still to go, but next season is already underway. Can anyone show Lewis Hamilton that they’ll close the gap, never mind best him over the stretch?
Max Verstappen might just have the talent, and he’s getting closer to having the car. His Red Bull has carried him to pole, and a decent winter in the factory will at least put him in with a chance when it all goes off again.
But, in the meantime, he’ll fancy himself today. He was about to win Interlagos last term until, hilariously, Esteban Ocon tried to unlap himself and ended up shunting the leader off the track. Ahahahahahahaha! Excuse me. Words and handbags were later exchange, and we can only hope for more of the same today.
The former Newcastle defender on Asprilla, that goal against Manchester United and working as a greengrocer after football
“When we travelled back to Newcastle from London, we often had five or six hours to kill on the coach. On the way Steve Watson used to bring videos and Viz comics. Even if we didn’t understand everything, Kevin and the whole team were always laughing. On the way back, before we got on the motorway, Kevin used to stop the coach at a petrol station, go and buy some drinks out of his own pocket and bring them back for the team: red wine, white wine, lager, water, soft drinks. Then, when we passed a certain place on the M1, he would buy us all fish and chips.”
The Barcelona defender and his company Kosmos Tennis have invested in giving international sport’s oldest team event a World Cup-style overhaul. It starts in Madrid on Monday
It is a wonder Gerard Piqué can accommodate all his activities in any 24-hour day. Or answer his phone. When we finally get around to talking after a few false starts he is voluble and polite and determined to make the revamped Davis Cup in Madrid next week a success, whatever the sceptics say.
This past week Piqué trained and played with Barcelona (against Cartagena to raise money for flood relief in the Mercia region), kept an eye on the assets of his global investment company as well as prepared for the “project of my life”, the relaunch of the oldest team event in international sport.
Croatia’s 3-1 win over Slovakia means they top Group E, but the 2018 World Cup finalists got a scare when Robert Bozenik put the visitors ahead after 32 minutes in Rijeka. Two goals in four minutes from Nikola Vlasic and Bruno Petkovic settled the hosts’ nerves near the hour mark, before Ivan Perisic sealed victory with a spectacular finish, volleying into the top corner on the stretch with 15 minutes to play.
Dominic Thiem continued his formidable march to the summit of tennis in a season in which he has truly come of age, outperforming his good friend Alexander Zverev 7-5, 6-3 to reach the title match of the ATP Finals. He will face Stefanos Tsitsipas as the next generation settles at the top of the sport.
Tide quarterback injured late in first half of 38-7 win over MSU
ESPN reports concern that Tagovailoa injury is ‘very serious’
Tua Tagovailoa injured his hip while being dragged down by tacklers late in the first half on what was likely his last series and No 4 Alabama went on to bear Mississippi State 38-7 Saturday in a game that might have cost the Crimson Tide its star quarterback.
Kaepernick moves workout from Falcons training facility
Reps for quarterback suggest NFL’s process is illegitimate
Upset at what he called preconditions imposed by the National Football League, quarterback Colin Kaepernick moved his scheduled tryout on Saturday away from the Atlanta Falcons training facility.
The former starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers is seeking a return to the NFL three years after his protests against racial injustice roiled the sport. Kaepernick, 32, accused the NFL of not acting in a forthright manner in organizing the workout and said the tryout would be held at another Atlanta location later on Saturday.
The disingenuous decision to organize a last-minute workout for Kaepernick brilliantly creates a no-lose situation that will extricate the NFL from the PR catastrophe it made for itself
The NFL’s decision to organize a private workout for Colin Kaepernick on Saturday in Atlanta is not what it looks like on the surface. Mostly it feels like a guy inviting an old girlfriend to dinner and getting her hopes up at the thought of reconciling when he really has zero interest other than ending the relationship on good terms. He wants her to think he’s a good guy so she tells all her friends that he isn’t the lying and manipulating pig they all know him to be.
• Greek wins 6-3, 6-4 in titanic semi-final encounter • Tsitsipas: ‘Beating him is the biggest honour I could have’
Stefanos Tsitsipas, looking eerily like a young Roger Federer, reached the ninth final of his young career by beating the game’s most enduring champion 6-3, 6-4 for a place in Sunday’s deciding match in the ATP Tour Finals.
The 17-year age differential between them is the biggest in the 50-year history of the event and a pointer to the power shift in the game. He saved 11 of 12 break points in a match that see-sawed for most of the hour and 36 minutes it held the packed stadium entranced. It was not a classic but nonetheless memorable for its mistakes and missed opportunities.
The former Manchester City captain – ‘100% Congolese, 100% Belgian, 100% Manc’ – on the ‘beautiful adversity’ of his new challenge at Anderlecht, racism and Brexit
“Every chapter in my life has started with a setback and a struggle,” Vincent Kompany says, “but there has been success or glory at the end. That doesn’t come by doubting yourself. It doesn’t come by giving up in difficult circumstances. Quite the opposite. It’s learning and staying calm in adversity. There is such a beautiful side to adversity.”
Kompany’s eloquence and intelligence light up a drab Monday morning in Manchester as we begin an interview that is unlike any other I’ve done with a footballer. The former Belgium and Manchester City captain, who now works as a player-manager at his boyhood club, Anderlecht, addresses systemic racism and the bleak rise of populism. He talks about Brexit, the lessons of vulnerability in his last season at City and the spatial awareness of Pep Guardiola.
• Teemu Pukki double secures first major finals appearance • Norway keep their hopes alive with 4-0 win over Faroe Islands
Teemu Pukki scored twice as Finland beat Liechtenstein 3-0 to book a place at Euro 2020 and reach the finals of a major tournament for the first time in the country’s history.
Jasse Tuominen put the Finns ahead after 21 minutes before Pukki converted a penalty early in the second half and wrapped up the points with their third goal 15 minutes from time. The win secured second spot in Group J for Finland with 18 points, six behind section winners Italy.
The failure to suspend Damarious Randall for the gruesome hit that preceded Myles Garrett’s outburst shows the NFL cares most about the perception of combating violence
The NFL indefinitely suspended Myles Garrett on Friday after the Cleveland Browns star defensive lineman removed Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet and smashed it into Rudolph’s head on Thursday night. Garrett will miss at least the remainder of the regular season and the postseason if Cleveland manage to qualify. The league also suspended Steelers offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey three games and Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi one game for their roles in the brawl and fined the teams $250,000 apiece.
• New world No 1 edges out Greek in three close sets • Nadal must wait on ATP World Tour semi-final place
This was a fight Rafael Nadal did not desperately need – having already secured the world No 1 ranking when Novak Djokovic fell to Roger Federer on Thursday evening – but one he fought with heart and guile to win 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5 over two hours and 52 minutes of often spellbinding struggle against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Yet victory guaranteed nothing. The immediate prize was a long wait to see if Daniil Medvedev could ease the Spaniard’s way through to the ATP World Tour semi-finals by beating Alexander Zverev in the evening match.
Show’s female Chilean freestyler and captain of Barcelona Women on the project expressing Messi’s career through performance and their hopes for women’s sport
‘The email said: ‘You’ve been chosen for Messi10’ and I started to cry,” Catalina Vega says. “I looked at it again: ‘Wow.’” Sitting alongside her, Vicky Losada asks: “Had you ever done anything as big as this?”
The circus is empty now but for the occasional stagehand wondering through. On the way in, a woman from wardrobe passes carrying a tiny jacket in lurid colours with huge shoulder pads and a No 10 on the back. It’s quiet, late morning, 10 hours until the circus starts, but this place is still imposing. A huge marquee, a blue stage, 3,000 seats rising around it, spotlight on, nowhere to hide. It is big.
Ban is longest ever suspension for a single on-field infraction
Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was suspended for at least the rest of the regular season and postseason by the NFL on Friday for using a helmet “as a weapon” and striking Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head.
His violent outburst in the final seconds of Thursday’s nationally televised game against the Steelers landed him the longest suspension for a single on-field infraction in league history. Tennessee’s Albert Haynesworth was suspended five games in 2006.
The world No 1 can reach 111 classical games without losing at the fifth round of Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee in January
Magnus Carlsen, the world champion, will face five opponents aged 21 or younger when he bids for a record eighth victory at Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee in January. The traditional Dutch tournament at the small windswept North Sea town is by general consensus the best all-play-all annual event on the chess calendar and the invited entry for its 2020 version is bold and imaginative.
Fabiano Caruana, the world No 2, and Wesley So, who crushed Carlsen 13.5-2.5 at Fischer Random earlier this month, are in the field, but many dedicated fans will be watching Alireza Firouzja, who at 16 is receiving rave reviews comparing the Iranian teen to the legendary attacking genius Mikhail Tal. Jeffery Xiong, 19, the No 1 US junior, also has a breakthrough opportunity.
First set: Rafael Nadal *2-2 Stefanos Tsitsipas: A much stronger hold from Tsitsipas there, easily levelling the match to love. He crushed a really nice angled forehand at 15-0, then Nadal badly dumped a backhand slice attempt into the net. Tsitsipas closed it out with a big unreturned serve.
The joys of round robin tennis.
Nadal will be knocked out of the ATP Finals if he loses to Tsitsipas this afternoon.
If Nadal wins, then he will knock out Daniil Medvedev but must hope that the Russian beats Zverev later. Nadal would then go through as group winner to play Federer tomorrow.
Liverpool’s full-backs, the beating hearts of Chelsea and Sheffield United and an evergreen striker make our leading XI
The biggest compliment that can be paid to the Leicester goalkeeper is that he has gone unnoticed this season. The 33-year-old has kept goal with quiet authority as Leicester’s defence has become the stingiest in the league, conceding only eight times. Ederson might have been a more obvious choice but the Brazilian has not been as assured for Manchester City this season. Schmeichel has been error-free and solid with his distribution. An honourable mention should go to Ben Foster who has made some wonderful stops while being overworked at Watford.
Patrick Vieira and Jesse Marsch are exponents of Major League Soccer’s growing reputation as a proving ground for young managers, a path Henry hopes to follow in Montreal
He was the right man at the right time for the New York Red Bulls. Having just moved into their jewel of a new stadium in Harrison, New Jersey, they needed something to capture new fans and a local media market which had somewhat lost interest. The signing of Thierry Henry fit the bill, with the legendary striker not just going on to become one of the most influential figures in RBNY’s history, but Major League Soccer as a whole.
The defending NFC champions have wedded themselves to a kind-of-sort-of OK quarterback they’re paying like a superstar and the consequences could be far-reaching
The Rams have a Jared Goff problem. At 5-4, in the toughest division in football, the upstart darlings from a year ago are in danger of missing the playoffs.
Sunday’s loss to the Steelers was the most disappointing yet, for Goff and the team. As in last year’s ugly Super Bowl loss, Goff turned into a puddle of panic. He was in a terrible state. His eyes flicked around the field. If he didn’t feel real pressure from an immediate free-rusher, he imagined it. Rarely has fear been so visible in a quarterback’s face. Defenders know; his teammates too.
Garrett loses cool, hits Steelers QB with helmet in brawl
Beckham Jr, Landry mock Tomlin with yawns in end zone
The Browns were seconds away from a season-changing win when Myles Garrett lost his composure in a moment of rage rarely seen on an NFL field.
Garrett tore off Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet, wildly swung it and hit the QB in the head, a shocking act that will likely result in a lengthy suspension for Cleveland’s star defensive end and perhaps cost the Browns any chance of making the playoffs.
• Federer beats Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 in London • Swiss advances to semi-finals of ATP Finals
Between meekly losing his opening match against Dominic Thiem and then being constantly reminded this week of one of the most heartbreaking moments of his career, his bitter defeat by Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, Roger Federer had plenty of reason to doubt as he prepared to face Djokovic on Thursday night.
Instead, the 20-times grand slam title winner produced a breathless exhibition of serving and aggression to reach the semi-finals of the ATP Finals with a 6-4, 6-3 win. It ended a four-match losing run against his great rival, his first win since 2015.
Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout has overcome injury and tragedy to win his third AL MVP Award.
Trout got 17 of 30 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America revealed Thursday night. Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros was second with the other 13 first-place votes. That duo combined for all the first- and second-place votes.
• Former All Black keen to grow rugby league in North America • ‘I want to help prove to people these guys are here to stay’
Sonny Bill Williams thrives on a challenge but as he took in his surroundings on Thursday even he was quick to admit this was a whole new world. “That makes it so exciting because I believe in this project,” the Toronto Wolfpack signing said.
Seldom does rugby league attract the attention of the opposite code, but when you combine a player of Williams’s profile with a league franchise as unique as Toronto, it is not difficult to see why this move has the sporting world talking. By his own admission it is likely the final chapter of an outstanding cross-code career.
Well! Is the playing field finally level? These two meet tonight having both lost to Dominic Thiem, while Rafael Nadal was beaten by Alex Zverev then only just sneaked by Daniil Medvedev. It’s taken years and skipped a generation – we’ve seen the false dawns of your Griggsys, your Nickys, your Miloses and the rest – but finally, aged 127, 109 and 106 respectively, the big three are losing big matches to children. Quite how tennis copes with that, I’ve not a clue – for a decade, it was the best sport in the world in terms of how good its greatest were, and it’s inconceivable that these will be anywhere near them – but we’re good for a change, and it looks like we’re getting one.
Whoever wins tonight will join Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals, with Zverev and Medvedev fighting over the final sport tomorrow. I’d be buzzing for that if I wasn’t replete with buzz for this – we don’t know how much more of these boys we’ve got, so it’s our duty as human beings to wade right into them while we can. Yalla yalla!
• Big-hitting Italian lifts game to beat Austrian 7-6 (3), 6-3 • Thiem finds world No 8 too lively over an hour and quarter
Whether it was his own lassitude or his opponent’s fighting spirit that spoiled Dominic Thiem’s spotless progress to the semi–finals of the ATP Tour Finals, the Austrian had to concede that Matteo Berrettini was too good for him in two sets here on Thursday afternoon.
Having become the first player to beat Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer back-to-back at this tournament, Thiem found the world No 8 – a Finals debutant at 23 who lost his two opening matches – too lively over an hour and a quarter.
Freshman star declared ineligible over impermissible benefits
Wiseman under fire over $11,500 in moving expenses for family
7ft 1in center is averaging 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds for Tigers
Freshman James Wiseman has withdrawn his lawsuit against the NCAA and Memphis, and the university has declared him ineligible while officials work to resolve the case.
“The University supports the decision, as it believes it is in James’ and the men’s basketball team’s best interests to resolve his eligibility issue expeditiously through the NCAA process,” Memphis said in a statement released Thursday morning.
Montenegro are in town! And England have a chance to gain the point that would secure the place at Euro 2020 that was in doubt right up until the format of this competition was revealed. As if that’s not enticing enough, this is also England’s 1000th match! No other country has played so many! That’s a heritage to be proud of and there’s no harm in taking a moment to think of all the players who have contributed a thread or two to this wonderful international footballing tapestry, from Segar Bastard to Harry Kane MBE via Joe Gaetjens, Antonio Rattin, Jim McCalliog, Jan Tomaszewki, Diego Maradona, David Gualtieri, Oyvind Leonhardsen, Mladen Petric and Mario Mandzukic. If there’s anyone else you believe deserves a mention, please don’t hesitate to say so. You might even spare a thought for Raheem Sterling, dispatched to the naughty step this week but not forgotten.
Ultimately, though, today is about the here and now and, um, the future: Gareth Southgate is expected to send out a youthful lineup to signify his optimism that England are on the verge of radically improving that success rate of one trophy per every 1,000 matches.
• Monitors will continue to be used sparingly in Premier League • ‘Ensuring the pace and tempo of football remains important’
Pitchside monitors will continue to be used only sparingly during English top-flight matches, the Premier League has announced.
The league has been in discussions with the refereeing body the Professional Game Match Officials Board and said on Thursday afternoon that the existing policy on pitchside monitors would remain broadly the same.
Two-time World Cup champion rips NWSL marketing ‘failure’
Rapinoe also criticizes league’s new allocated fund provitions
Two-time World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe has been at the forefront of the US women’s national team’s fight for gender pay equity but the fiery forward has told Reuters she also hopes for more investment in the domestic league and better pay for club players.
Earlier this month, the National Women’s Soccer League announced new compensation guidelines for 2020, including a nearly 20% increase in the overall salary cap as well as allocation money allowing teams to invest in some players above the maximum salary.
• Former Arsenal and Barcelona striker signs two-year contract • ‘I have always had an eye on this club and now I’m here’
Thierry Henry has been appointed as head coach of Major League Soccer club Montreal Impact. The former Arsenal and Barcelona striker has signed a two-year contract, with the option of a further season, following an unsuccessful stint in charge of Monaco which ended in January.
Henry finished his playing career in MLS, scoring 51 goals in 122 appearances for the New York Red Bulls from 2010 to 2014.
When the Argentina legend went to manage a Mexican second division side in drug- and gang-ravaged Culiacán, many feared the worst, but a revealing documentary shows him thriving
Diego Maradona tears a piece of paper, then again, until it is in shreds. On a screen opposite, the team he manages are minutes from victory in the first leg of a final tie – yet his stare is within. Maradona has been sent off for arguing with the fourth official, needlessly but because he cares – passionately.
“I told him there was an elbow to the head,” he reflects aloud. “The San Luís trainer told me to shut my mouth. I said: ‘Really? Do you know how many games I’ve played?’ I’m not perfect. No one’s perfect. Sometimes I’m confronted by things I can’t control. But be clear: I’m a good man. I want to improve football, for the good of people.”
The borough’s first sports team since the Dodgers left during the 1950s represents to Brooklynites both a hip alternative to the dismal Knicks and a symbol of gentrification and erasure
The Uber driver squinted through his glasses at the rearview mirror after I’d finished a phone interview. He had to ask: Do you work in media? Was that someone criticizing Barclays Center? Yes. His assumptions from what he overheard confirmed, he had a take. No, Barclays Center is actually good.
Keble Jackson, a 42-year-old Brooklyn Nets fan, spent the rest of the 20-minute ride conversing about his point. He would’ve been vivid even if he didn’t have his old childhood haunts to gesture at as he drove down Eastern Parkway into Prospect Heights, his lifelong home. To the left, he’d rap with friends near the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch. To the right, there’s a well-kept building that once was a drug house that sits not too far from the Grand Army Plaza fountain, where the neighborhood’s kids swam in its dirty waters. When he turns right down Flatbush Avenue, he mentions how parents use to make their children stand on certain parts of the street, where they could get a view of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower’s clock to learn how to tell time. That sight is now crowded by high rises and condos.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has picked up and left LA Galaxy after a season and a half, but what legacy has North America’s most headline-worthy player since Pelé left behind for MLS?
In his own not-so-humble words: “now go back to watch baseball.” Because a league without Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not a league worth watching, at least according to the man himself who confirmed his exit from the LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer with a typically brash social media post on Wednesday. The show is over, or at the very least it has packed up and left Hollywood.
Verlander edges teammate Gerrit Cole for AL Cy Young honors
Mets ace deGrom captures NL prize for second straight season
Justin Verlander has a second AL Cy Young Award – and a clear path paved toward Cooperstown.
Verlander beat out teammate Gerrit Cole in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America revealed Wednesday night. Verlander got 17 first-place votes to 13 for Cole, who became a free agent after the season.
‘You wanted Zlatan, I gave you Zlatan. You are welcome’
Free-agent striker linked with a move back to Serie A
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has thanked LA Galaxy for making him feel “alive again” before instructing the club’s fans to “go back to watch baseball” now he has played his last MLS game for them.
The Swedish striker will end a two-year spell at club when his contract expires in December. Ibrahimovic scored 52 goals in 56 games for Galaxy after leaving Manchester United in March 2018, but his final match ended in defeat with Galaxy losing to Los Angeles FC in the MLS Cup play-offs conference semi-finals.
Chelsea’s signing of the Matildas striker should herald a push towards further investment by clubs and leagues
When Sam Kerr poked a reluctant toe at her first football at the age of 12, having been forced by her parents to abandon her first love – Australian rules – after coming home from a boys’ match with a black eye, few could have predicted the frustrated forward would sign for one of the biggest clubs in the world just over a decade later.
Rumours have swirled for months about Kerr’s European destination, particularly after Greg O’Rourke, the head of the W-League, confirmed she would not be returning to her home-town club Perth Glory for the 2019-20 season.
• World No 1 saves match point and wins 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (4) • Nadal admits: ‘I was super lucky’ after dramatic comeback
Rafael Nadal arrived in London with a new wife and an old abdominal injury, his mood turning angry and dark when he had to deny that either were in any way linked to each other or his form on the court, a suggestion that hovered on the outer edges of good taste and credulity. He was not a happy Spaniard.
However, the boyish smile returned with interest when he came from 1-5 down in the third set to beat the languid young Russian Daniil Medvedev in one of the great comebacks of his long career.
• Silva also fined £50,000 and sent on education course • Portugal midfielder set to miss Chelsea match on 23 November
Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva has been suspended for one match, fined £50,000 and ordered to complete face-to-face education after a tweet he sent to teammate Benjamin Mendy was deemed to have constituted an “aggravated breach” of the Football Association’s rules on social media behaviour because it appeared to reference the French left-back’s race.
The Portugal midfielder posted pictures of Mendy as a child alongside the mascot for Spanish confectionery firm Conguitos on 22 September. He immediately deleted it but was charged by the FA last month.
• Chelsea beat rivals to land striker on two-and-a-half year deal • Kerr has won five consecutive golden boots in US and Australia
Chelsea have beaten a host of top European clubs to the signing of the Australia striker Sam Kerr on a two-and-a-half year deal.
After Kerr announced she would not be returning to Perth Glory in Australia’s W-League, having finished the NWSL season with Chicago Red Stars, European teams, including the Champions League holders Lyon, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, were linked with the record-breaking forward.
Striker will finish career in January with Vissel Kobe
37-year-old scored 59 goals in 98 appearances for Spain
Spanish striker David Villa says he will retire in January. The 37-year-old will finish his career with Vissel Kobe in January of next year at the close of the league season in Japan, ending the career of Spain’s top scorer in international play.
First set: Rafael Nadal *3-3 Daniil Medvedev: The level has risen over the last few games, and that was an excellent hold from Medvedev. Some big forehands but also incredible defence at 30-0, chasing down a forehand far off the court and getting himself back in the point with his trademark forehand slice ‘squash shot’. Good work.
Most people don’t know Nadal as a great volley player, but he is one of the best singles players in the forecourt. He is particularly so good at moving forward behind the correct shot. That’s why it was so jarring to see him struggle there against Zverev on Monday.
The problematic pundit’s sacking was long overdue. Now’s the time for Rogers Media to replace him with a truer reflection of Canada’s wonderfully diverse hockey scene
Every Saturday night for the last 37 hockey seasons, Canadians have been subjected to a segment called Coach’s Corner featuring belligerent former NHL coach Don Cherry, who’s been accompanied by the more pacific Ron MacLean since 1986.
Unfancied Purple Aces stun nation’s No 1 team at Rupp Arena
UK become first No 1 to lose at home in November since 1996
Evansville went off as 25-point underdogs in historic surprise
Sam Cunliffe scored 17 points, including two free throws with 6.8 seconds remaining, and Evansville stunned No 1 Kentucky 67-64 on Tuesday night.
KJ Riley added 18 points as the Purple Aces – coached by Walter McCarty, who won a national title with Kentucky in 1996 – pulled off the biggest upset in program history with their first win over a No 1 team in three tries.
League invites all teams to workout for free-agent quarterback
Pro day-style event will include on-field workout and interview
Kaepernick, 32, has not played since final week of 2016 season
The NFL has informed all 32 of its teams that a private workout will be staged for free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick on Saturday in Atlanta, according to a league memo obtained by ESPN.
The pro day-style event will include an on-field workout and interview session, similar to workouts common for collegiate prospects during the run-up to the NFL draft. Teams will be permitted to send scouts, or the video footage to be made available to any club which requests it.
An England manager has nothing but mystique and soft power. If they don’t use it they become irrelevant
Happy thousandth everyone. Another month, another England landmark. Welcome to the 1,000th overblown mini-drama to enliven an otherwise deathly international break.
Congratulations are due on all sides. First to Raheem Sterling for instigating a significant but far from terminal training-ground bust-up. Second to the Premier League, the world’s greatest sporting soap opera, for granting us this spin-off episode and finally to the FA for “announcing” the incident on a slow Monday evening, electrifying the buildup to an inevitable 2-0 [Kane 2 (1 pen)] home win against Montenegro.
The 50th anniversary celebration of Court’s calendar grand slam in Melbourne in January would be a fitting moment for Williams to win that elusive slam No 24
When Margaret Court threatened to boycott the 50th anniversary of her grand slam sweep at the 2020 Australian Open in January – envious of the accolades that are heaped on her compatriot, Rod Laver – another legend far away surely allowed herself a smile.
If Court and Serena Williams, from different backgrounds and with very different sensibilities, have anything in common but the racket talent that raised them to global adulation in careers of vastly different eras, it is a sense of grievance. Champions are like that, different from the herd. They are obsessed with winning. Winning everything. All the time. And, more than that, they demand applause for their greatness, because they judge themselves to be worth it. Where others might see arrogance, they see only proper recognition.
Initiative sets two-pronged target over next decade
Chase Carey: ‘We hope to make a positive impact’
Formula One has pledged to deliver on an ambitious programme to address the global climate emergency by going carbon neutral within 11 years.
The sport has committed to a plan that not only ensures it has a net carbon impact of zero by 2030 but will also adopt policies to make all grands prix fully sustainable by 2025. Both are bold targets that will not be easily met for a sport which produces 256,000 tons of CO2 each season while transporting 10 teams and equipment to 21 races and with the global calendar set to expand.
• Swiss bounces back from Thiem defeat at ATP World Tour Finals • Berrettini beaten 7-6 (2), 6-3 in 78 minutes at the 02 Arena
Roger Federer warmed up for his hugely anticipated rematch with Novak Djokovic on Thursday by blunting the power of Matteo Berrettini on the third day of the ATP World Tour Finals. The young Italian, who scraped into the last eight at the last minute, could not live with a Federer playing near his peak to win 7-6 (2), 6-3.
On Thursday the stakes rise considerably. Djokovic, who opened his account brilliantly on Sunday, will suspect – but not say – that Federer might be carrying residual psychological damage after failing to convert two championship points against him in the Wimbledon final four months ago.
Pundit stands by comments: ‘I know what I said and I meant it’
Don Cherry might not be out of work for long.
One day after the iconic Canadian hockey pundit was fired by Sportsnet for xenophobic remarks made on Saturday night’s Hockey Night in Canada telecast, a Russian team has publicly recruited Cherry to come aboard as a TV analyst.
• Former world No 1 confident of ‘playing at a high level’ • ‘The reason why I’m playing is because I love it’
Andy Murray believes his surprise victory in Antwerp last month showed that is able to consistently “play at a high level” as he sets his sights on the Davis Cup and then the Australian Open in January.
The former world No 1 was speaking after a chaotic October in which his four-week tournament run across two continents culminated in a victory in Antwerp over Stan Wawrinka. A few days after he returned from Belgium, Murray’s wife, Kim, gave birth to their third child, a son.
Sterling and Gomez are far from the first players to have been involved in a contretemps with a teammate on national duty
Most of the time their tongues were wedged in their cheeks, but there were moments when daggers were drawn — and within the Spanish national team there were genuine concerns about the relationship between Gerard Piqué and Sergio Ramos. Rivals for their clubs, they were partners for their country. Except that a lot of the time people questioned whether Spain was Piqué’s country, and that dimension always lingered in discussions of the players’ relationship. It was driven of course by the often bitter battle between their clubs, with Piqué more than prepared to attack Madrid and that tension sometimes taken to the national team. At least — and this is the key — by the comically partisan media. This was the battle for years, an obsession. Not that they ever came to blows, or even close. Often it was a game. Ramos summed it up when he responded to one Piqué remark by saying: “Coming from Iniesta, it would annoy you, but it’s Piqué and we all know it’s part of the show with him.”
After one game Pique claimed that “in the directors box at the Bernabéu sit the people who pull the strings in this country”. To which Ramos replied: “They have more to answer there than us”. When Ramos was sent off in a clásico, he walked past Piqué and said: “Go on, keep talking.” Afterwards Piqué insisted it was a “clear red, but they’re so used to referees letting them get away with it”. Very different characters, if perhaps not quite as different as they would like to think, they were actually a brilliant partnership and they got on better than many people liked to imagine. One day when Spain wore white, like Real Madrid, Ramos sidled up to Piqué and said: “White looks so good on you that you’re lost for words.” Sid Lowe
Monday night’s instant classic between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks hearkened back to the days of the storied 2011-14 rivalry between these two NFC juggernauts. Tough battles. An electric stadium. Winning franchises. There was one big difference, though. Richard Sherman, one of the game’s best defenders, has switched sides.
• Forward to miss Montenegro game after ‘disturbance’ • Gareth Southgate: ‘Emotions from Sunday’s game were still raw’
Raheem Sterling has been dropped for England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro on Thursday after a bust-up with Joe Gomez at St George’s Park.
Emotions were still running high on Monday afternoon following Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Manchester City 24 hours earlier and the title rivalry spilled over into the England camp. City’s Sterling and Liverpool’s Gomez were involved in a heated clash towards the end of the match at Anfield and both players had to be separated again after reporting for international duty.
Seahawks knock Niners from unbeaten ranks with overtime win
Jason Myers field goal as time expires seals victory for Seattle
Jason Myers kicked a 42-yard field goal after Chase McLaughlin missed a kick earlier in overtime, and the Seattle Seahawks handed the San Francisco 49ers their first loss of the season with a 27-24 victory on Monday night.
Myers gave Seattle (8-2) its second straight overtime win after Russell Wilson got the Seahawks into position with an 18-yard scramble on third-and-3. After being iced by a timeout, Myers delivered one week after missing two field goals and an extra point, putting Seattle right in the thick of the NFC West race with San Francisco (8-1).
• Zverev beats world No 1 Nadal 6-2, 6-4 • Stefanos Tsitsipas defeats Daniil Medvedev 7-6 (5), 6-4
They call it stormy Monday – except in the literature for the ATP Tour Finals, which labelled day two “momentous” – and so it proved, calamitously so, for Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal.
The fourth iteration of the season-ending tournament, 50 years after it began in an art museum in Tokyo, has a year to run in London to close out 11 years of extraordinary revenue churning before it moves to Turin in 2021. And, although there have been some low-key performances in recent years at the fag-end of the longest season in sport, the event is winding down on the southern reaches of the Thames in a stylish swirl of surprises and quite lovely tennis.
Famed hockey pundit fired by Sportsnet over racist comments
Cherry attempted to shame immigrants for not buying poppies
Longtime Canadian hockey pundit Don Cherry has been fired by Sportsnet for on-air remarks about what he believes are new immigrants not honoring the country’s fallen soldiers.
“Sports brings people together - it unites us, not divides us. Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night’s broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down,” Sportsnet president Bart Yabsley said in a statement on Monday. “During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for.
Guardiola is generally in one of three phases of engagement – it is tempting to conclude we are in this third stage now, that the Pep exodus has begun
This is the end, beautiful friend. Or rather, it may just be a vision of it. Watching Pep Guardiola capering on the Anfield touchline on Sunday – skinny legs splayed, arms flailing, black quilted jacket bouncing about like an angry rubber ball – was at least confirmation of one thing. Manchester City’s manager remains an extraordinarily agile and sprightly 48-year-old footballing obsessive.
Beyond that it was hard to interpret this reaction to a third Premier League defeat as a sign of good health, stability and plans for the future falling neatly into place. Instead Guardiola seemed oddly isolated, out there operating without restraint, still in the field, a manager who may just have entered the next phase in a familiar career parabola. So much so it is tempting to ask another question. Will he actually be back at Anfield for another league game?
The stars of track and field need a powerful and independent union to protect them from abuse from the sportswear giant and the mismanagement of the governing body
What more can one say about Nike except that in a hotly contested field it once again leads the way in being the biggest hypocrite in global sport?
It urges women to Dream Crazier, throwing the spotlight on female stars who have shattered barriers and inspired the next generation, while also telling others, such as Allyson Felix and Alysia Montaño, that they will pause or reduce their contracts when they get pregnant.
So, who will win? The head-to-head suggests that Nadal enjoys this match-up greatly, and it is difficult to bet against Nadal considering how well he has played. He has now won 30 of his last 31 matches (the ATP doesn’t count walkovers), including the French Open, US Open and two Masters 1000 events.
However, despite the head to head, Zverev theoretically seems to match up very nicely against Nadal. His height and supreme backhand mitigate most of the effects of Nadal’s heavy topspin and swinging lefty serve. Indeed, Zverev has actually acquitted himself pretty well in their meetings, with both of their meetings on hard court going to a deciding set. He really should have won their last meeting when he led by a break in the final set of last year’s Rome final. Having the ability to defeat Nadal is only half of the battle.
Hello! Welcome to day two of our coverage from the ATP finals at the O2 Arena in London. Earlier today, Stefanos Tsitsipas finally made his mark on his bitter rivalry with Daniil Medvedev, winning 7-6(5) 6-4 to score his first win in six tries.
Now, we turn to the one question that dominated the build-up to this tournament: will Rafael Nadal be ready? After a small abdominal tear forced him out of the semi-finals in Paris a couple of weeks ago, Nadal didn’t start serving again until late last week. He has improved with each passing day in practice this week and, by all accounts, he looked comfortable in his final session earlier today.
Mascots were quite dull until Dave Raymond came along. He changed that, winning friends – and an enemy – along the way
You probably know Dave Raymond. Or, at least, if you’ve paid any attention to sport and particularly American sport over the last 40 years or so, you know Dave Raymond’s work.
Not on the field, though: just to the side. For 15 years, Raymond was the man inside the suit of the Phanatic, the Philadelphia Phillies anarchic giant green mascot, the mascot upon whom most mascots since have been based. And after hanging up the furry suit, Raymond became essentially a mascot consultant: the chances are that if you’ve heard of a mascot in North American sports, he’s the brains behind it.
Most Valuable Player? The Super Bowl? It seems nothing is out of reach for the Baltimore Ravens’ second-year phenomenon
What Lamar Jackson is doing is warping our perception of football. Jackson put on a show against the hapless Bengals on Sunday, cementing his status as the MVP front-runner. Jackson became the first quarterback in NFL history to finish two games in the same season with a perfect passer rating (on a minimum of 20 attempts), and was so good even the Bengals fans were moved to chant “M-V-P” as he left the field.
The Ravens as an organization deserve credit for handing their entire football operations over to this once-in-a-lifetime talent. Never have we seen such a smooth, efficient runner. Jackson is unique aesthetically and statistically.
Major League Soccer’s original super franchise has made an understated, under-the-radar efficiency their calling card – and it served them well en route to their improbable second title
On the statistics alone, Toronto FC had the edge in Sunday’s MLS Cup final, claiming 65% of possession, attempting 408 passes in the attacking third compared to the Seattle Sounders’ comparatively low tally of 184 and registering just as many total shots (16) as their Pacific Northwest hosts. The Sounders are a team with a track record of going against the numerical grain, though.
Carli Lloyd, Morgan Brian score in opening minutes of 6-0 win
USA finish 20-1-3 in 2019, ending on 23-match unbeaten streak
Lloyd scored twice in 3-2 victory over Sweden on Thursday
Carli Lloyd and Morgan Brian scored in the first 10 minutes and Lynn Williams came off the bench to add a pair of second-half goals in the United States’ 6-0 victory over Costa Rica on Sunday night at TIAA Bank Field in the Americans’ final match of the year.
The US were 20-1-3 in 2019, finishing with a 23-match unbeaten streak.
Dalvin Cook ran for 97 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown on fourth down, and had 86 yards receiving to set up three other scores, helping the Minnesota Vikings beat the Dallas Cowboys 28-24 on Sunday night.
Cook, the NFL rushing leader, easily outplayed two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott as the Vikings (7-3) beat a winning team on the road for the first time in almost two years. Minnesota was 0-9-1 in its previous 10 such games.
Lamar Jackson threw for three touchdowns in a near-perfect passing performance and added a sensational 47-yard scoring run, Marcus Peters got his third pick-six of the season – this one off rookie Ryan Finley – and Baltimore won its fifth in a row, routing winless Cincinnati.
The Ravens (7-2) followed their eye-opening victory over the previously unbeaten Patriots by quickly pulling away from the NFL’s last winless team.
ESPN reports Waiters missed Friday’s game after panic attack
Waiters reportedly ate THC gummies to deal with stomachache
Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters did not suit up for Friday’s game against the Lakers in Los Angeles after experiencing what ESPN reported as a “panic attack” on the team plane after taking a THC-infused edible.
According to the report, published Saturday night, Waiters received medical treatment upon the plane’s landing in Los Angeles and did not attend the game. He was listed as out due to illness.
Cherry attempted to shame immigrants for not buying poppies
Sportsnet apologized for pundit’s ‘discriminatory’ comments
A Canadian broadcast company has apologized for hockey commentator Don Cherry’s remarks about what he believes are new immigrants not honoring the country’s fallen soldiers.
The 85-year-old Cherry, who has been criticized in the past for his outspoken conservative politics, seemed to single out new immigrants in Toronto and Mississauga, Ontario, where he lives, for not honoring Canada’s veterans and dead soldiers. He said he didn’t see immigrants wearing poppies to honor the country’s fallen on Remembrance Day, which will be observed on Monday.
Never a simple question when you’re talking about a U.S. soccer broadcast, which mimics other U.S. sports by having a pregame show for its pregame show.
Good afternoon to the East Coast, good morning to the West Coast, good caffeinated overnight to Australia and much of Asia, and good evening to those in Europe who watched Liverpool beat Manchester City and are hoping for a closer game here.
Funny thing about that -- MLS is a league of salary cap-enforced parity, and yet we have the same two teams in the final for the third year in the last four.
Novak Djokovic will be watching this match keenly. Here is the Serb’s assessment of Thiem earlier today:
I think he was mentioning earlier in the week that this has been probably his best season, winning at home in Vienna, and of course that was a very important win for him. Indian Wells. We know how good of a player he is on clay. He’s been proving that he can play equally well on other surfaces.
He’s already established top-5, top-10 player. We don’t need to talk about his qualities. Quality is great. His dedication and professionalism and hard work ethics is fantastic, and he’s a really nice guy. So all positive things about him.
There had been little more than millimetres in it during the previous two meetings of English football’s current powerhouses. Remember John Stones’s goalline clearance for Manchester City at the Etihad last January in his team’s 2-1 Premier League win or when Kyle Walker did the same at the very end of the Community Shield at the beginning of this season? City would squeak to victory that day on penalties.
• Serb takes little more than an hour to see off Italian 6-2, 6-1 • Roger Federer faces Dominic Thiem on Sunday evening
The last time we saw Novak Djokovic in London he was wearing down Roger Federer in the longest final in Wimbledon’s history. On Sunday he returned and spent a mere 62 minutes opening his campaign to finish the season as the world No 1 for the sixth time.
This was as entertaining a Manchester United display as there has been under Ole Gunnar Solskjær. Midway through the second half the manager was regaled with the song that pleads not to “take my Solskjær away” in recognition of the verve and vibrancy on show.
Afterwards he was thrilled. “Our best performance of the season, you can go back to Chelsea [4-0] but today the reaction after they scored was fantastic,” the Norwegian said. “Sometimes this season when you get one up how we didn’t [go on] end up five, six, seven, we don’t know but today was exhilarating, entertaining and great to see the boys enjoy themselves.”
On Thursday Nuno Espírito Santo ordered Rúben Neves to do extra shooting practice after the midfielder fluffed a penalty here in the Europa League. In the 41st minute of this West Midlands derby, Neves demonstrated the value of that fine-tuning by firing the ball into the net from over 20 yards. That gave Wolves a deserved lead and Raúl Jiménez, after thrilling work by Adama Traoré, struck in the the 84th minute to confirm the win that propelled Nuno’s team to eighth in the table despite a stoppage-time goal by Trézéguet. So much for Wolves’ season being undermined by their Europa League exertions.
“This was our 24th match of the season and we have always competed in every one – that is not easy to do,” said Nuno, praising his team’s consistency in the face of a gruelling schedule.
53 mins: Coady goes down injured and removes his left boot. No one comes to treat him and he puts it back on, tying his laces tightly. This update will win my Pulitzer.
51 mins: Traore receives the ball in space for the right, makes a dart for the box, holds it up and then thwacks a shot from 16 yards and it ricochets off the bar and away. That is probably the hardest I’ve seen a ball hit this season. Jimenez then dribbles the ball from a similar position and toe pokes a shot wide from 20 yards.
And welcome to the first leg of this season’s Premier League title play-off! Both teams will I’m sure be looking forward to a bit of genuine competition, away from the 36 mildly glorified irritant friendlies which occupy the majority of their domestic attentions. Whoever wins this one will carry an advantage into the second leg, scheduled for the weekend of 4 April, though the nine-point deficit City will be lumbered with should they lose, coupled with Liverpool’s ongoing refusal to be beaten by anyone under any circumstances, might make that one immaterial.
Briton wins six-round cruiserweight bout in LA against fellow YouTube personality
Britain’s KSI has won his six-round cruiserweight boxing fight against fellow YouTube personality, the American Logan Paul, in Los Angeles.
The fight at the Staples Centre was won by the Watford man in a split decision by 55-56, 57-54, 56-55. The pair first fought last year in Manchester but a “majority draw” was declared after six rounds.
For Tottenham Hotspur this proved to be a case of one step forward and two steps back. After Wednesday’s 4-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade came a result and a performance to suggest that all remains unwell with Mauricio Pochettino’s men. They were outfought and outplayed by a Sheffield United side who left north London with much to cherish but also a sense of injustice given this proved to be another occasion when VAR made its presence felt in maddening fashion.
The visitors thought they had cancelled out Son Heung-min’s 58th-minute goal when, on the hour, David McGoldrick converted Enda Stevens’ cross at the back post. There appeared nothing wrong with the strike but then came that now common uncertainty and dread. Referee Graham Scott had his finger to his ear, the large screen said the goal was being checked by VAR and then, after a delay of 3mins 47secs, came the verdict – no goal. Why? Because Jonathan Moss, the VAR located at Stockley Park, deemed John Lundstram’s big toe had been offside in the build up. Yes – big toe.
The last time Leicester played a league match in such a downpour they scored nine goals. There was never any chance of that happening here, yet in moving Leicester up to second place in the Premier League the Jamie Vardy and James Maddison double that won the points for the Foxes was arguably just as valuable.
The dark clouds that loomed over the Everton manager, Marco Silva, may have subsided but the pressure has not abated but rather intensified on Ralph Hasenhüttl, whose Southampton side are in grave trouble. The outlook for the Saints is considerably gloomy given defeat here means they have now lost six of their past seven Premier League matches. This was yet more anguish for disenchanted Southampton supporters, who have not seen their team record victory on home soil since April. Hasenhüttl grimaced as Richarlison struck the winner and, up in the director’s box, food for thought for Katharina Liebherr, the former majority shareholder who remains on the club’s board.
This victory hoists Everton up into mid-table but Southampton remain in a precarious predicament, a point off the foot of the table with eight points from their opening 12 matches. For so long, Southampton’s turgid buildup play matched the terse atmosphere in the stands. They recovered from an abysmal first-half when Danny Ings cancelled out Tom Davies’s opener but Everton kept knocking in pursuit of a winner, and found one when Richarlison volleyed in Djibril Sidibé’s cross late on.
Serb will only end the year as No 1 for a record-equalling sixth time if he survives a brutal showdown in London
Novak Djokovic, who enthusiastically embraces the concept of the privilege of pressure, should hold his nerve in London over the next seven days to finish the year as No 1. However, he will know he has been in a fight by the end of it.
Fresh from winning his 34th Masters title in Paris and still trailing Rafael Nadal in the rankings by 640 points, he opens the last Tour event of the season, the Nitto ATP Finals against Matteo Berrettini on Sunday afternoon.
The 3pm kick-offs are done and dusted. Sheffield United are up into fifth place after their 1-1 draw at Tottenham Hotspur; Arsenal have been nudged down to sixth. But the Gunners can reclaim fifth spot if they avoid defeat here. Leicester meanwhile can leapfrog Chelsea and Manchester City to move into second spot with a win.
It’s Remembrance Sunday tomorrow. The poppy will grace Leicester’s famous blue shirt ...