LONDON: Teenage sensation Coco Gauff says she hopes that one thing her adoring fans at Wimbledon have learned about her in the past week is she is a â€œfighterâ€ and â€œnever gives up.â€The 15-year-oldâ€™s hopes of moving into the quarter-finals were hindered by a stomach complaint in her 6-3, 6-3 loss to Simona Halep in the last 16.She leaves, though, having turned herself into a media darling, signficantly improved her ranking from 313 and left her mark as a potential Grand Slam winner of the future.However, even though Gauff, the youngest ever qualifier in the womenâ€™s singles, who had then dispensed with three opponents including five-time champion Venus Williams, was more subdued following her defeat she still had a spark.â€œI hope they (the crowd and her opponents) learned about me that Iâ€™m a fighter,â€ she said.â€œIâ€™ll never give up.â€Gauff, who endearingly described herself on Friday as both â€œgoofy and weird,â€ said she hoped she had served as an example to many who were dreaming of making it in tennis.â€œI hope they learned from me that, I mean, anything is possible if you work hard, just continue to dream big,â€ she said.â€œI mean, like I said, if somebody told me this maybe three weeks ago, I probably wouldnâ€™t believe it.â€œBut I think just putting in the work definitely raised my confidence because I knew how hard I worked and I knew what shots I could make and what was possible.â€Gauff, who refused to blame playing seven matches in the past fortnight for her loss, said overall it had been an extraordinary ride.â€œIâ€™d be like, thatâ€™s crazy,â€ she said.â€œI mean, I lost second round of qualifying in Paris.â€œNow I made it to the second week. Iâ€™m super proud of myself.â€œIâ€™m excited to see what Iâ€™ll do at US Open and the next couple tournaments coming up.â€Gauff, whose parents father Corey, who first coached her, and mother Candi looked on concerned for her when she had the trainer and the doctor on in the second set, had said last year she would go to college although she hinted the attraction of the professional tennis career also appealed.This may become something of a debate within the Gauff household.â€œWell, Iâ€™m going to do it online,â€ she said.â€œI still want to go to college. Kind of like a requirement, I guess, from my parents.â€œObviously Iâ€™m still going to be playing professional.â€œIâ€™m definitely going to take some online courses.â€œIâ€™m still fairly new to high school, so I havenâ€™t figured all that out yet.â€Gauff attracted attention from the unlikeliest sources during her run â€” Beyonceâ€™s mother, fashion designer Tina Knowles, posted on Instagram and former US First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted about her â€” and she said her role models on and off court were all women.â€œBeyonce, Rihanna, Michelle Obama,â€ she said.â€œItâ€™s many people.â€œThe list goes on. I mostly look up to the females because, you know… I have a lot of on-court and off-court role models.â€œI would say the off-court role models shape my personality a lot, then the on-court role models kind of shape my game.â€Gauff, whose one bone of contention with her parents was they went off to a Beyonce concert in Miami leaving her to babysit earlier this year, said she had been taken aback by some of the people who had posted about her.â€œSheâ€™s (Michelle Obama) such a role model,â€ she said.â€œI mean, I was really shocked. I wasnâ€™t expecting that.â€œThat was probably one of the least expected.â€œSome of the celebrities that tweeted me I didnâ€™t even know followed tennis.â€œThey probably donâ€™t follow tennis, but itâ€™s crazy how big this has gotten.â€Gauff, who is going to take time off the constant attention by going on a mini-break with her family, said the support she had received from the crowd had been astonishing.â€œI really did feel like I was probably playing in New York somewhere,â€ she said.
When Diego Maradona played in Saudi Arabia – Arab world mourns passing of a legend
DOHA: Andres Iniesta scored his first goal in the Asian Champions League as Vissel Kobe powered their way to the last-16 with a dominant 3-1 win over Fabio Cannavaro’s Guangzhou Evergrande in their Group G clash on Wednesday. The Spain and Barcelona legend fired a right-footed shot from the center of the box in the 84th…
DOHA: Andres Iniesta scored his first goal in the Asian Champions League as Vissel Kobe powered their way to the last-16 with a dominant 3-1 win over Fabio Cannavaro’s Guangzhou Evergrande in their Group G clash on Wednesday.
The Spain and Barcelona legend fired a right-footed shot from the center of the box in the 84th minute to help the Japanese side consolidate their position at the top of their group with two wins from as many matches.
They are now five points ahead of Guangzhou and Suwon Samsung Bluewings and assured of a spot in the knockout phase after the group was reduced to three teams following Malaysian side Johor Darul Ta’zim’s withdrawal from the tournament.
In another match on Wednesday, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors pipped Sydney FC 1-0 in Group H with Na Sung-eun scoring in the 44th minute.
It was the Australian side’s third defeat in four matches while Jeonbuk revived their hopes with their first victory.
Iniesta, who was declared MVP of the match, had been an influential presence for Vissel Kobe throughout the encounter with his quick thinking and crisp passing, and that reflected in their first goal in the 44th minute at the Khalifa International Stadium.
The Spanish veteran dashed his way up on the left flank to control a long diagonal pass and after advancing further turned around near the goalline to tap the ball onto the path of the advancing Kyogo Furuhashi who struck with a clean, low shot from close range.
Furuhashi’s personal joy at scoring lasted only 10 minutes as the forward first conceded a corner and then watched in horror as his attempted clearance from the resultant kick found his own net to give Guangzhou the equalizer.
Cannavaro made three substitutions in a desperate bid for victory after having drawn their opening game against Suwon Samsung Bluewings. But although the two-time champions enjoyed a couple of brief purple patches during which they had the Kobe defence under pressure, the goal they were looking for never materialized.
Vissel Kobe regained the lead in the 74th minute when Douglas, who had just come in five minutes prior, took advantage of a great back-heel from Daigo Nishi and blasted the ball home.
Brazil-born Elekson, now known as Ai Kesen, had a goal disallowed for off-side on eight minutes and when Iniesta struck two minutes later, it extended Cannavaro’s misery in Doha.
“The result is bad. We tried but I know that something in my team is not clear. I don’t know if they are afraid to play or they are not confident anymore,” the Italian complained after the match.
“I need to try and do my best to give them the confidence to play. This is my job. I know they are very good players, and we can do much, much, much better.”
Vissel Kobe had landed in Doha after a string of disappointing results back home, conceding a whopping 58 goals in 33 league matches and losing five games in a row.
But their coach Atsuhiro Miura was basking in joy on Wednesday, saying he was ready with a game plan against a side packed with several Brazilians.
“Guangzhou is a very strong side, they have several good Brazilian players but we analysed how they play and how to prevent them from playing to their strengths,” said Miura.
“We did everything well and everything went how we wanted it to. That’s why we got this result.”
Going for goal: Saudi Arabia kicks off first women’s football league
RIYADH: First they opened the grandstands to women, now Saudi Arabia is encouraging them to cross the touchline and compete in the Kingdom’s first Women’s Football League tournament. The historic competition kicks off on Tuesday morning, with 24 teams across Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam competing for a championship cup, and a $133,000 cash prize. The…
RIYADH: First they opened the grandstands to women, now Saudi Arabia is encouraging them to cross the touchline and compete in the Kingdom’s first Women’s Football League tournament.
The historic competition kicks off on Tuesday morning, with 24 teams across Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam competing for a championship cup, and a $133,000 cash prize.
The Kingdom opened its stadiums to women football supporters in January, 2018, but this is the first time they will have been allowed to compete in a tournament.
The competition has been lauded as an important step for the Saudi sports world, with many in the game throwing their support behind the event.
Calling the competition a “positive step,” Abdullah Alyami, Saudi football coach and sports reporter, said he expects many more women to participate in future tournaments.
“This is a very happy day for all athletes, be they male or female. And based on what we’ve seen, and how beloved the sport of football is all over the Kingdom, I believe we will see many more of our sisters getting involved in professional sports,” he said.
عبدالله اليامي: انطلاق #الدوري_النسائي في #السعودية خطوة إيجابية.. وأتوقع إقبالا كبيرا على المشاركة في فرق كرة القدم النسائية#تواصل #قناة_الرسالة@m3sss3 pic.twitter.com/UxRa8pZSWo
— قناة الرسالة (@alresalahnet) November 17, 2020
Saudi sports reporter Riyan Al-Jidani tweeted his support.
“To all my dear sisters participating the Women’s Football League, your success in the tournament is a step in the right direction towards our dream of universality and representing our homeland to the outside world. Raising the flag on the field is a glory and pride,” he said.
The tournament was due to start in March – but the coronavirus pandemic stopped play.
But for some that just presented the opportunity to up their game.
“We started preparations early, and the delay due to the pandemic actually worked in our favor. We were able to take more than two months to prepare for the tournament,” Maram Al-Butairi, general manager and head coach at Dammam-based Eastern Flames FC.
Amal Gimie, 26, an Eritrean midfielder for Jeddah’s Kings United, previously told Arab News that she had been playing the beautiful game since she was eight.
“There was a match every weekend. The boys made us play as goalkeepers in the beginning, and in 2002, when I first saw the Women’s World Cup, it sparked my passion to learn more about this sport,” said Gimie, who is also a management information systems graduate. She joined her first female football team, Challenge, in Riyadh in 2014.
She said: “It was the first time I joined something organized. I was happy to be playing but at the same time I felt as though it was an unreachable goal (to become a professional athlete or join an official league), I felt like I was growing older without achieving anything.”
The matches won’t be broadcast, but Saudi’s army of football fans remain excited by the tournament.
Wejdan Al-Shammary, who grew up playing sports in school, said she would have tried for a team “in a heartbeat” if she had been just a few years younger.
“I played both basketball and football on my high school teams. I was a complete sports nut, but it makes me happy to know that even if it’s too late for me to achieve those dreams, there’s a chance now for young Saudi girls that I never had,” she said.
Najla Ahmed, a 16-year-old from Riyadh who plays on her school’s football team, said she would try for a local team in 2021.
“I’ll be 17, and therefore eligible, and I would love to see anyone try and stop me,” she said.
Both women said they hoped this was just the start and that more sports would be opened up to women.
“Football is just the beginning. I would love to see more focus on other sports, as well. Basketball, tennis, maybe even competitive swimming,” said Al-Shammary. “I’m sure we have so many potential Olympians among us who just need their talents nurtured.”
NFL game postponed over Covid-19 cases
Tennessee Titans’ long snapper Beau Brinkley (left) and defensive tackle DaQuan Jones (right) have been put on the reserve/Covid-19 listThe NFL game between the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday has been postponed because of Covid-19 cases.The game will be rescheduled for Monday or Tuesday after the outbreak among Titans players and staff.On Tuesday,…
Tennessee Titans’ long snapper Beau Brinkley (left) and defensive tackle DaQuan Jones (right) have been put on the reserve/Covid-19 listThe NFL game between the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday has been postponed because of Covid-19 cases.The game will be rescheduled for Monday or Tuesday after the outbreak among Titans players and staff.On Tuesday, defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, long snapper Beau Brinkley and practice squad tight end Tommy Hudson were put on the reserve/Covid-19 list.The NFL has since shut down the team facility.According to the NFL network, a fourth player also returned a positive test on Wednesday.The Titans played the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis last Sunday.The Vikings’ facility was also closed on Tuesday and Wednesday and it is unclear whether their scheduled game with the Houston Texans will take place on Sunday.