Thursday, July 31, 2008
McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh said: "We welcomed Heikki onboard at the start of the year. He is under contract to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and will race for us in the 2009 season."
After joining McLaren following his release from Renault, the 26-year-old has endured his fair share of troubles this season.
It means after 10 races, Kovalainen trails Hamilton by 30 points in the drivers' standings, with his title chances virtually over.
One podium to date has not helped his cause, but McLaren have now made it clear they are determined to stand by Kovalainen and help him progress.
Whitmarsh added: "He is a brilliant young racing driver.
"His pass of Robert Kubica at Hockenheim (at the German Grand Prix) reminded anybody who needed reminding that he has all the speed and skill to be battling at the front.
"But there's no magic in Formula One and we still need to work with Heikki to extract his full potential."
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
With Rafael Nadal hot on the Swiss' heels for top spot in the ATP rankings, a slip-up by Federer in the second-round clash in Cincinnati would have paved the way for the Spaniard to cash in.
But Federer battled back from losing the first set to triumph 6-7 (2/7) 7-6 (7/5) 6-0 over his unseeded rival.
Federer broke serve in the seventh game but Ginepri hit back straight away to level at 4-4. The former Wimbledon champion again broke the American to go 5-4 up but failed to successfully serve out for the first set and Ginepri again restored parity at 5-5.
Both players then held to force a tie-break which Ginepri stormed 7/2.
The first break of second set went to Ginepri in the 11th game to put the American 6-5 up and serving for the match, but Federer showed his class and levelled at 6-6.
The defending champion held his nerve to edge the tie-break and then breezed through the third and decisive set without losing a game.
Federer has been atop the ATP rankings for a record 235 weeks, but that reign is in jeopardy with Nadal in a hot streak of form.
The Spaniard has won five consecutive events - including victories over Federer in the French Open and Wimbledon finals - and strung together a 29-match winning streak in the process.
If the second-seeded Nadal can win the title here and Federer bows out before the semi-finals, the 22-year-old will rise to the top of the rankings.
The second-seeded Spaniard took just 49 minutes to dismantle Frenchman Florent Serra in a 6-0 6-1 second-round win at the hardcourt event.
Nadal has won his last five events and has a 30-match winning streak since a second-round defeat to Juan Carlos Ferrero at Rome in early May.
The 22-year-old lost only 10 points in the opening set and won 75% of his return points, breaking Serra three times.
The Frenchman was able to hold serve after he trailed 3-0 in the second set but it proved inconsequential as Nadal moved a step closer to ending Roger Federer's 235-week reign as world number one.
Nadal, who won his 30th career title on Sunday at the Rogers Cup, needs to win the tournament and hope defending champion Federer loses before the semi-finals in order for that to occur.
The Spanish ace will face Tommy Haas of Germany in the third round. Haas was leading Gael Monfils 5-1 when Monfils retired.
Nadal avoided a possible quarter-final with compatriot David Ferrer after the fifth seed was upset 7-6 (7/2) 3-6 6-3 by unseeded Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador.
World number three Novak Djokovic defeated Italy's Simone Bolelli 7-6 (7/2) 7-6 (7/2) in the second round to set up a meeting with Italy's Andreas Seppi.
Seventh-seeded James Blake, who is in the same quarter of the draw with Djokovic and is the best American hope following the late withdrawal of sixth seed Andy Roddick, reached the third round with an impressive 6-4 6-3 win over unseeded Frenchman Gilles Simon.
"I'm just as surprised as anyone," said Blake, who faces Latvia's Ernests Gulbis next.
"I figured it was going to be a really tough match. As much as it looked easy, it wasn't. He's a great player and makes you work for everything.
"He's the kind of guy that gives you great rhythm, but really makes you beat him."
Eighth seed Andy Murray got past unseeded American Sam Querrey 7-6 (7/3) 6-1 and will take on Russian Dmitry Tursunov, who ousted 11th seed Richard Gasquet 7-6 (10/8), 6-0.
Tenth seed Fernando Verdasco also advanced with a 7-6 (7/4) 7-6 (7/4) victory over Chris Guccione.
In the late night match, Spaniard Carlos Moya held a 7-6 (10/8) 1-0 advantage over Russian Nikolay Davydenko when the match was suspended by rain.
The Scot has been expected to agree terms on a new deal for several months, but admits that bringing new faces to the club has been his priority and the reason for the delay.
Moyes, speaking on the Toffees' US tour ahead of Wednesday's friendly with Chicago Fire, said: "Hopefully in the next week or so I will get it (the new contract) tied down and get it done."
He added: "I want the best for Everton and I do not want to let the players down.
"I have told them that there will be more players coming to help them along the way. I want to make sure that is done before anything else.
"That is more important to me just now. But it is very close."
Moyes' comments come after chief executive Keith Wyness announced his resignation from his position and as a director of the club.
Wyness has been the driving force behind Everton's bid to build a new 50,000 seater stadium in Kirkby, in a controversial link-up with Tesco.
The club have been waiting for some weeks for a decision from central government over whether the plans will be 'called in' for further examination. That decision is expected this week and Wyness has said that if a call-in takes place, it could scupper the plans for good.
But the Merseysiders have issued a statement re-iterating their commitment to the move to Kirkby and a spokesman said: "The club wish to re-iterate our commitment to the Destination Kirkby project. The departure of Keith Wyness is in no way connected to that project."
The veteran Italian striker travelled to Reggina's pre-season camp in Brusson on Tuesday evening to meet his future team-mates.
A club statement read: "Whilst waiting to resolve certain bureaucratic issues with [Manchester City owner Thaksin] Shinawatra's club, Bernardo Corradi arrived at Brusson to get to know the atmosphere at the Amaranto camp. Corradi will become a Reggina player once he has defined his position with Manchester City."
The 32-year-old, who played last season on loan at Parma after a disappointing one-year spell at Eastlands, is set to pen a one-year contract with the Serie A side.
The former France international has been a reported transfer target of Barcelona this summer, with the Catalans linked with a 25million euro bid.
"Trezeguet is staying put," said Cobolli Gigli. "We will see what happens in the future but for the time being we remain as we are."
Juve's capture of Brazilian forward Carvalho Amauri from Palermo increased speculation over Trezeguet's future in Turin, but the club's supremo has quashed talk of the 30-year-old's imminent departure.
Trezeguet scored 20 goals as Juve finished third in Serie A last season.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
The Wales international struck early on in the fixture before putting the result out of The Posh's reach with his second just before the break.
Summer signing Valon Behrami from Lazio made his Hammers bow and looked lively before he was replaced on 66 minutes.
Bellamy's opener came in the third minute when he latched on to Scott Parker's pass before rounding shot-stopper Joe Lewis to tap home.
On 42 minutes, Bellamy, who endured an injury-plagued campaign last term, doubled West Ham's lead via an expertly taken lob over Lewis.
Peterborough came closest late in the second half when George Boyd's effort beat goalkeeper Robert Green but came back off the post.
"This will be a spinners' track. Why should we not prepare the pitch for spinners when we have bowlers like Muralitharan and Mendis in our squad."
However, Waranaveera stressed that the track would assist the fast bowlers initially.
"It will assist the seamers initially. From the third day, it will start spinning. If Sri Lanka bat first then India could face defeat."
Murali has been sensational in the Galle International Stadium, snapping 91 wickets in 12 matches at 16.50 apiece, with 10 five wicket and four 10 wicket hauls.
The Indian proved completely incapable of handling Murali and Mendis and if the curator at Galle lives up to his promise, Anil Kumble's men have a lot of thinking to do about.
However, the move could also backfire on the Lankans if Kumble and Harbhajan Singh get a bowl later in the match. The islanders could well be at the receiving end then.
Oleguer becomes the club's fourth summer signing after Miralem Sulejmani, Dario Cvitanich and Ismael Aissati, but Van Basten is not done yet.
"We have another month before the transfer window closes," said the former Holland coach, who took over the Ajax reins on July 1.
"We will stay active in the coming weeks, just like we did in the past period."
Oleguer is looking forward to his new challenge in Holland after spending his entire career to date in his homeland.
"The sporting plans of the club and the new coach appealed to me enormously," the Catalonian added on www.ajax.nl.
"There have been a lot of things said and it is a very personal situation but we have a great team here, we play in a great stadium, with great fans and we have an opportunity to win more," said the 37-year-old.
"It is not that the team is going backwards.
"We have other trophies to play for, like the Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup. You don't get the chance to play in those competitions very often because you need to win the Champions League in order to qualify.
"In my opinion, being at Manchester United is a great way to play at the highest level and win trophies with a team that is very closely knitted together.
"Cristiano also has a contract here. Sometimes things change but we have a good squad here without any question."
Monday, July 28, 2008
Steyn, who sustained the injury while fielding a ball that was driven back to him off his own bowling during the second test at Headingley on Monday, was expected to play with the injury but the specialist advised that it would be too much of a risk of incurring further damage to the thumb.
With South Africa 1-0 up in the four-match series, the injury to the bowler ranked second in the test world rankings is a major blow to the Proteas’ hopes of winning their first series in England since 1965.
“Dale has sustained a fracture on the base of his left thumb and will see an orthopaedic surgeon to have a cast put on and it will be on for between two and three weeks, then we will take another x-ray and take a decision from there,” Moosajee told reporters at Worcester, where South Africa were playing Bangladesh A.
“If it doesn’t heal in time he may (miss the fourth test at The Oval starting August 7) but we are giving ourselves a window for him to be re-assessed in two weeks. The risk for Edgbaston was that if he played he might have done further damage and then needed surgery.”
A team spokesman earlier said there “was no cause for alarm” but the seriousness of the injury now means that Andre Nel or Monde Zondeki will come in for Steyn, who claimed seven wickets in the second test.
Coach Mickey Arthur said he was confident that the strength in depth in the squad would allow South Africa to adequately replace Steyn.
“Missing a player of Dale’s calibre is a blow,” Arthur said, “but I feel we have such good depth with the likes of Andre Nel and Monde. Nel is probably next in the queue. That was why I was strong on wanting good reserve strength with experienced players who know about the intensity of test cricket.”
Meantime, spinner Paul Harris was cleared to play in the match at Worcester after he had an x-ray on an elbow injury after slipping in the bathroom in his hotel room. He suffered minor ligament damage but not enough to prevent him bowling.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
The Red Devils have agreed a US$66 million fee with Tevez's owners, who are no longer MSI, for the Argentina forward.
"Carlos Tevez's economic rights are owned by a third party, based offshore but this is not MSI," confirmed Tevez's long-time advisor Kia Joorabchian.
Tevez's initial arrival at Old Trafford was dragged out almost until the start of last season as the Premier League satisfied themselves over a loan deal for the striker, even though it was almost identical to the one which saw Javier Mascherano leave West Ham for Liverpool.
But the 24-year-old created a hugely favourable impression at United, leaving Sir Alex Ferguson in no doubt he wanted to sign the player permanently.
Now that move is almost complete, although not without some interest from elsewhere.
While there has been no comment from Joorabchian or United, it is believed two clubs approached the South American, one of whom was Real Madrid.
Joorabchian, though, did say: "We will help him accelerate the deal to make sure it goes through.
"Everyone's keen to make sure his future is dealt with in the correct way.
"Manchester United have been fantastic with Carlos - he's very lucky to have them and they are lucky too because he's been very good for them.
"It looks like it should happen - but we don't know the timing, whether it will be a month, two or six.
"But we'll make sure when the time is right everything is done smoothly."
He added on Sky Sports: "He is very happy at United and that's the key. That's all he wants to concentrate on.
"He has been with us since the age of 19 and we will continue to play a big part in his career going forward.
"We want to make sure United get the best out of him. When he gets on the pitch he doesn't stop - that's why he is one of the best players in the world."
United did the Premier League and Champions League double last season - and the Argentinian wants a repeat this year - with the FA Cup to boot.
Joorabchian continued: "He wants to do the Treble - that's his ambition at the moment.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Although Hakkinen retired two years later, he has remained close to the team, and occasionally still attends races as their guest.
The Finn was on hand on Sunday to congratulate Hamilton following his latest glorious triumph at the German Grand Prix, giving the 23-year-old a big bear hug as he entered the McLaren brand centre.
The two men have also built up a relationship of late as they are ambassadors for Johnnie Walker's 'Responsible Drinking' campaign, and regularly attend promotional functions together.
Compared to last year when McLaren were riddled with problems on and off track given the spy scandal and discord between Hamilton and team-mate Fernando Alonso, as an outsider looking in, Hakkinen can see the difference following Alonso's departure and Heikki Kovalainen's appointment.
"What Ron Dennis and Norbert Haug have done is brought together two fantastically talented young drivers," Hakkinen told PA Sport.
"They are fast, they motivate the whole team, and they are getting better, stronger, more solid, more stable - they deliver the whole package.
"I can see right now McLaren Mercedes is a solid team, positive in terms of spirit both behind the scenes and on the track.
"I can sense that just by being around the teams these days."
With Hamilton now four points ahead in the drivers' standings after back-to-back victories in Britain and Germany, Hakkinen senses the team's long wait for a title could soon be over.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
England were forced to leave out injured bowler Ryan Sidebottom before the game, star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff came back in, regular middle-order batsman Paul Collingwood was dropped after going more than a year without a century and little-known Darren Pattinson was a leftfield pick ahead of the more experienced Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison and Simon Jones.
“I’ll be sitting down this week and be discussing areas we can improve,” Vaughan told reporters. “There are obviously areas we can and hopefully we can find a side that can beat South Africa at Edgbaston.
“We didn’t feel as much as a unit this week as we did the week before. I have a huge belief that we need to be a unit in Test match cricket and have that togetherness. Two changes don’t help.
“Over the next week it’s important the guys get away and work and come back to the squad on Sunday and react like we did at Lord’s and get that buzz back. This week it wasn’t there.
“I think Darren’s been given a lot of criticism but it’s not his fault. He turned up and tried his guts out and at times bowled some good spells. I felt sorry for him. He’s not been in the set-up and didn’t know anyone. And we didn’t know him, so it was very difficult for him.
“Whether it affected the other players in the dressing-room, I haven’t heard that it did, but we didn’t play as a unit. I was involved in the selection. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But one man didn’t lose us a Test match, the collective unit lost us the match.”
Monday, July 21, 2008
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"It was an absolutely great race from him. Outstanding. Senna-type driving. He has now gone up in my estimation," said Lauda.
"Last year he was my favourite, but then he screwed up in the last couple of races and so I didn't understand why he started (this year) as bad as he finished last year - but I think he's got the message now.
"From Silverstone and that difficult race, and in this difficult race, he has produced outstanding performances.
"So he is on the right track, and if he continues like this he is unbeatable."
Sources in the selection commitee have revealed that the team might go in with six batsmen and four bowlers.
Sri Lanka, however, have suffered huge blows in the fast bowling department with the seasoned Dilhara Fernando, Lasith Malinga and Fervez Mahroof missing out due to injuries.
Thilina Thushara and Nuwan Kulasekera have been picked up to partner Chaminda Vaas with the new ball. The attack would obviously depend a lot on the two Lankan spinners.
As expected, Chamara Silva, who scored half centuries in both the innings against India for Sri Lanka Board XI has been given a look in.
Probable starting line-up: Malinda Warnapura, Michael Vandort, Kumara Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardane (capt), Thilan Samaraweera, Thilakaratne Dilshan, Prassana Jayawardane, Nuwan Kulasekera, Chaminda Vaas, Ajantha Mendis and Muthiah Muralitharan.
Reserves: Chamara Silva, Thilina Thushara, Chamara Kapugedara.
India take on Sri Lanka for three Tests starting July 23 at Colombo.
Batting first after winning the toss, Sri Lanka Board XI were dismissed for 224. In reply the Indians declared their first innings at 196 for eight wickets, conceding the hosts a 28-run first innings lead.
Sachin Tendulkar top scored with 69 runs while Dinesh Karthik made 58 not out.
Sri Lanka Board XI ended its second innings at 247 for six. Chamara Silva followed up his 68 runs in the first innings with an unbeaten 59 in the second.
The Colchester Gazette, a local newspaper close to where Kaneria plays county cricket for Essex, quoted the leg-spinner as saying he was ready to turn his back on his country after he had been treated shabbily by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
But Kaneria said: “I did not say that I wanted to stay over here (and qualify to play for England). I still want to play for Pakistan and my state side there – my priority is with Pakistan for as long as they need me in Test cricket.
“In fact I am always there for them in any form of the game – Pakistan has given me the name to be playing cricket in England. If ever Pakistan didn’t select me for three to four years in a row in any form of cricket then, and only then, would I think about coming over here (on a permanent basis).”
Kaneria was the leading wicket-taker in the group stages of the Twenty20 Cup in England yet was left out of Pakistan’s 30-man preliminary squad for the Champions Trophy this week.
He is his country’s fifth-most successful bowler ever in Test cricket with 220 wickets, 16 behind their most prolific spin bowler Abdul Qadir.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Owen Hargreaves, Cristiano Ronaldo, Edwin van der Sar, Patrice Evra and Nani were the notable absentess with Hargreaves and Ronaldo out injured while the other three were given extended holidays after their summer exertions at Euro 2008.
Hargreaves suffered a recurrence of his long term tendonitis injury but Sir Alex Ferguson played down Hargreave's injury worries as he addressed the rumour that the England midfielder's injury was worse than the club first diagnosed.
"It was apparent as soon as he came back to training. It is the same as last year. Some people get these things," Ferguson said.
"Maybe re-starting training on the firmish grounds brings it on or maybe it is just an inherent problem.
"We are trying to sort it out now with injections. That is what we did last November and it worked. Hopefully these work and by the time we come back from South Africa he should be okay.
"Owen is not written off for the start of the season at all. I am sure he will be okay."
One player Ferguson is delighted to have back in the fray is club captain Gary Neville, who has been out for the last 16 months.
The 33-year-old defender will be given his chance in South Africa to wrestle back the right-back role from Wes Brown who has proved a more than able deputy his Neville's absence.
"For Gary in particular this trip is very important. He came through his 45 minutes at Aberdeen on Saturday with no problem at all, which is fantastic news," he added.
"The great thing about Gary is that he has not missed a training session since the last time he came back in April.
"We could have played him at the end of the season but Wes was doing so well.
"His form was so good I didn't want to have doubts in my mind about picking him. Wes had played in every game, so we kept it like that.
"But now, a new season is about to start and Gary will get his chance."
All said and done, the Red Devils are set to thrill the South Africa crowd with their dazzling brand of football before heading back to Manchester to continue their preparations for the defence of their title.