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Ash Barty’s animal instincts to “hunt” and gather trophies will override any anxieties and nerves as she chases tennis’s greatest prize on Saturday night.
That’s the hope and belief of her esteemed mind coach Ben Crowe, who has been hugely influential in Barty’s inspired rise to world No.1 following an 18-month hiatus from tennis five years ago.
Barty has thrived following Crowe’s simple philosophy of competing, have fun and play and he won’t be offering any other pre-match message despite acknowledging that a Wimbledon final is a different ball game than any other she might ever confront.
“Don’t get me wrong, compete is social Darwinism – kill or be killed on the tennis court,” he said while backing Barty’s ferocious competitive streak to shine through against big-serving Czech Karolina Pliskova.
“She has got the most extraordinary desire and appetite to compete and win and to find a way through.
“In my opinion the work that she and Tyzz (coach Craig Tyzzer) do before matches to almost solve the puzzle and find a way through and how to break down competitors’ games to create opportunities for themselves, is absolutely her primary desire.
“She’s always hunting, always fighting, she’s always competing, she’s always a warrior.
“So I don’t really need to say anything in that regard because she has such a motivation based on competing, fighting and hunting.
“She would be one of the most competitive athletes I have ever worked with – that is intrinsic. I don’t have to do anything.
“Talk to her dad. At five years old, she was smashing things around the house with tennis balls. It is the same with golf, the same with cricket.”
Barty’s ruthless streak and ability to “solve the puzzle” is reflected in three telling stats: the world No.1 is 13-2 in three-set matches this year, has won 19 of her last 22 matches that have gone the distance and she has prevailed in 11 of her past 14 three-setters against top-10 rivals.
Crowe believes Barty is able to play so clutch under pressure because she has learnt to accept that “playing tennis is what she does but it’s not who she is, it doesn’t define her”.
“She can get perspective that at the end of the day tennis is a game,” he said.
“She can go about setting goals and dreams and go after those goals and dreams, without any expectations or promises or guarantees that she can actually achieve those goals and dreams – and that’s OK, that is called living.”
Another key factor in Barty’s charge to the final despite an injury-plagued and uncertain Wimbledon build-up, says Crowe, has been the 25-year-old’s acceptance that her preparation was always going to be somewhat compromised.
“First and foremost was the prioritisation of around her body – focus of recovery and the recuperation,” he said.
“Accept the fact that it was going to be a different approach to Wimbledon this year without the lead-in tournaments and to accept that she just has to find a different way through.
“There is no such thing as a perfect preparation, they are all different – the conditions for every match are different as well.
“Once she was able to accept that and let it go, she could focus on things she could control and her ability to get to the best physical state for this event been extraordinary from a month ago to where we are now.”
For her part Barty said she’s “rapt” about having an opportunity to emulate the great Indigenous trailblazer Evonne Goolagong Cawley.
Barty will become the first Australian woman since her mentor Goolagong Cawley, who won her second title in 1980, to take the biggest prize in women’s tennis.
“It’s a really special anniversary for Evonne and I couldn’t be more proud to be in a position to wear an outfit inspired by her,” Barty said as she prepared for her second grand slam final following her 2019 French Open triumph.
“Now, to give myself a chance to create history in a way that’s a tribute to her, is really exciting. I couldn’t be more rapt to have that opportunity on Saturday.”
Barty, a Ngarigo Indigenous woman who grew up in Queensland, believes it’s her absolute privilege to be honouring her Wiradjuri friend from New South Wales in a match that the world will watch.
As she’s done through a tournament during which she’s dropped just one set, she’ll again be wearing her own version of the famous scalloped dress that the then 19-year-old Goolagong wore when beating fellow Aussie Margaret Court in the 1971 final.
“Her most iconic dress is something that inspired me and inspired our generation of indigenous youth,” said Barty, who’s been winning a whole host of new overseas fans this fortnight with her elegant tennis just as Goolagong won over Britain 50 years ago.
“I hope that my version of it, my outfit, can do the same for the next generation of indigenous youth.”
It’s a tribute that has moved the pioneer, who’ll turn 70 at the end of this month.
“Wow, it just blows my mind,” said Goolagong Cawley, who gave her own seal of approval to Barty’s design. “What a wonderful thing to do, what a wonderful honour. It’s truly fantastic.”
The final starts at 11pm AEST.
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Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has tested positive for COVID-19, forcing organisers to postpone this month’s scheduled third fight with American Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas.
Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) and Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) were scheduled to meet on July 24 at T-Mobile Arena to complete their series of entertaining fights.
However, reports said Fury and “at least 10” members of his team had tested positive for COVID-19, postponing his WBC title defence back to as late as October.
“Fury vs Wilder III will be postponed. We wish Tyson Fury’s team and him speedy recovery from COVID,” the WBC said.
Fury, 32, had been set to face fellow Briton Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia in August in a world heavyweight unification title fight.
But an American arbitrator ordered Fury to fight Wilder again before September 15.
Fury first fought Wilder, who is now 35, in a thrilling draw in 2018 but convincingly claimed the WBC title from him in a re-match in February 2020 with a seventh-round stoppage.
Fury, the English champion considered the best pound-for-pound heavyweight in the world, was already in the US to complete his final preparations for the bout, but is likely to return home to regroup.
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Novak Djokovic is one win away from a record-equalling 20th grand slam title after beating Canada’s Denis Shapovalov in straight sets to reach the Wimbledon final.
The world No.1 is in sight of a sixth All England Club triumph after overcoming big hitting 10th seed Shapovalov 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 7-5.
The defending champion will face Italy’s Matteo Berrettini — the seventh seed — in the Centre Court showpiece on Sunday.
“I don’t think the scoreline says enough about the performance or the match,” Djokovic said.
“He was serving for the first set and was probably the better player, had many chances.
“I would like to give him a big round of applause for everything he has done today and also this two weeks.
“We are going to see a lot of him in the future, he is a great player.”
Victory on Sunday would ensure Djokovic draws level with long-time rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 major titles.
“I am trying to take out the maximum of my own abilities in each match and see what happens,” the Serbian said.”
At this stage of my career grand slams are everything and I’ve been very privileged to make history in the sport I truly love.
“Every time I hear there is something on the line that is historic it inspires me — but at the same time I have to balance it and win only the next match.”
Berrettini powered his way into a first Wimbledon final with a 6-3 6-0 6-7 (3) 6-4 win over Hubert Hurkacz.
The 25-year-old from Rome is the first man from Italy to reach a grand slam final since Adriano Panatta won the French Open in 1976.
Shapovalov was bidding to become only the second Canadian man to reach the Wimbledon final and despite producing some scintillating tennis, he was left pondering what might have been after failing to crack the toughest nut in the business.
He struck 40 winners but whenever Djokovic found himself in peril, he manned the barricades, saving 10 of the 11 break points he faced and making only 15 unforced errors.
Shapovalov repeatedly put pressure on Djokovic but faltered at the crucial moments.
He failed to serve out the first set at 5-3 and then double-faulted on set point in the tiebreaker.
Djokovic saved all five break points he faced in the second set before Shapovalov double-faulted again to hand him a 6-5 lead.
Djokovic broke again for 6-5 in the third set and served out the match at love.
Shapovalov left the court with tears in his eyes but he showed enough in a marvellous run to suggest that he is ready to challenge for the biggest prizes in tennis.
A seventh final at the All England Club ties Djokovic for second on the all-time list, equalling Boris Becker, Arthur Gore and Pete Sampras. Federer has played in 12 Wimbledon finals, winning eight.
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After 41 long years, Australia has another Wimbledon women’s singles finalist to savour, as Ash Barty prepares to take on Karolina Pliskova.
Barty and Pliskova will vie for the Venus Rosewater Dish on Saturday night, with Barty aiming to add her second grand slam singles title to her 2019 French Open trophy.
Barty is the first Australian women’s Wimbledon finalist since her idol and mentor Evonne Goolagong Cawley won the title in 1980.
“Being able to play on the final Saturday at Wimbledon is gonna be just the best experience ever!” the good-natured champion said ahead of the match.
If Barty can replicate her blistering semi-final performance in the final, she will become the nation’s third champion in the Open era after Margaret Court and Goolagong Cawley.
If successful, the 25-year-old will also become the fourth junior Wimbledon champion to win the women’s tournament in the Open Era, alongside Ann Jones, Martina Hingis and Amelie Mauresmo.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Barty reflected on her journey from a junior to No.1 seed.
“Wimbledon for me has been an amazing place of learning,” she said.
“Ten years ago I came here for the first time as a junior and learned a lot in that week.”
Barty said she had experienced some of her “toughest weeks” at the tournament in 2018 and 2019.
“A lot of the time, your greatest growth comes from your darkest times. That’s why this tournament has been so important to me,” she said.
“I’ve learned so much with all my experiences – the good, bad, everything in between I’ve been able to learn from.
“Just to be able to keep chipping away, keep putting yourself out there, let yourself be vulnerable, just be yourself, knowing that everything that comes with that is an opportunity to learn. That’s been a massive one for us this fortnight.”
Barty’s road to the Wimbledon 2021 final
Barty was forced to produce the performance of her life to defeat former champion Angelique Kerber in the last four.
Living up to her world No.1 billing, the Queenslander reckoned she’d never played such a fine match after prevailing 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in what she called her “ultimate test” on Thursday against the rejuvenated three-time grand slam winner on centre court.
It was the highest quality women’s match in the tournament, with Barty declaring: “This is incredible. This is as good as a tennis match as I’ll ever play.”
“I’m incredibly proud of myself and my team and now we get a chance on Saturday to live out a childhood dream,” she said.
Barty will have to defeat another former world No.1 to win her first Wimbledon title on Saturday night.
Her opponent, the tall, big-serving Czech Pliskova, is in powerful form.
It’s set to be a thriller, with Barty coming into the match five wins and two losses in her seven matches against Pliskova.
Pliskova blitzed 14 aces as she tamed second seed Aryna Sabalenka 5-7 6-4 6-4 in the other power-packed semi-final.
“She has the power and ability to quickly take the match away from you,” acknowledged Barty.
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Twenty-five years after capturing her seventh and final Wimbledon women’s crown, Steffi Graf won’t be the least bit surprised that Ash Barty is chasing her first at The All England Club on Saturday night.
Graf could see the twinkle in Barty’s eyes, the extraordinary hand-eye skills and court craft from the moment she and eight-times major-winning hubby Andre Agassi welcomed the precocious young talent into their Las Vegas home 11 years ago.
Graf, the 22-times grand slam champion, sensed Barty had it all.
Of course she did.
For why else would a 14-year-old from the other side of the world even earn an invitation to join tennis’s most successful and celebrated couple for a starry-eyed week without possessing such class and promise?
Barty was a VIP guest of the esteemed adidas player development team and also received specialist tuition from Agassi’s former mentor and fellow Australian Darren Cahill while bonding with the great Graf at a baseball game.
Cahill, the super-coach who guided Agassi, Lleyton Hewitt and Simona Halep to world No.1 and multiple grand slam triumphs, recalls Barty’s visit vividly.
“She came over with her coach and her fitness trainer. She was there to meet Andre and Stef. She wasn’t there to meet me,” Cahill said.
“I know that she came out and watched Jaden, Andre’s boy, play a baseball game and she came out and hung with us and watched him play. Got to sit with Stef and talk about tennis.
“Stef is the nicest girl in the world and she made her feel at home, nice and relaxed, and I’m sure Ash will have some great memories of that.”
Cahill identified Barty’s rare potential instantly.
“She was brilliant back then for her age,” he said.
“The opportunity to watch her play, the versatility in her game, the way she handled pressure and expectations back then, you could just tell straight away that if she wanted to continue down that path and put the work in she was always going to be a star.
“There was never any question about that.”
Graf, too, was taken aback by Barty’s silky game at such a tender age and, more than a decade later, still takes a special interest in Australia’s tennis marvel.
“She hit some balls with Stef and Stef was really impressed with her and Stef knows talent when she sees it,” Cahill said.
“So she quite often, years after, would ask how Ashleigh was going and how her progress was going because she was such a good tennis player, she had great hands and she played differently to a lot of the younger players back then as well.”
And, tellingly, Barty was prepared to put in the hard work.
“This trip has given me a lot of confidence and self-belief and has made me realise how I need to work and what sacrifices I must make in order to be a great tennis player,” she said at the time.
A year later, Barty won the Wimbledon junior girls’ title at just 15 to confirm her rising star.
Then came three grand slam doubles finals appearances by 17.
But, at 18, she was mentally burnt out after making the ultimate sacrifice of all: leaving the comfort and security of her family home.
Depressingly homesick and suffocating under crushing expectations, the so-called next Martina Hingis walked away in September 2014.
The shy, gifted teenager dropped the bombshell after a first-round US Open loss, trading the grind and isolation of the professional tennis circuit for the camaraderie of women’s cricket and the Brisbane Heat dressing room.
Incredibly, having never hit a ball outside her backyard, Barty made a stunning cross-sport transition.
So exceptional with the willow that Queensland women’s coach Andy Richards reckoned the all-round sporting super talent could easily have been playing the Ashes series against England alongside Ellyse Perry, Meg Lanning and the like.
Few back then could have imagined Barty instead trading her cricket creams for her tennis whites and being on the cusp of Wimbledon glory following the dramatic 18-month hiatus.
“I wasn’t sure if it would ever happen, honestly,” Barty said.
“I’ve had ups and downs, and everything in between, and I wouldn’t change one day or one moment, or one route we’ve taken on my path.
“It’s been unique, it’s been incredible, it’s been tough, and I wouldn’t change one thing about it.
“I’m enjoying every single day that we get to come out here and do what I love, and being able to on the final Saturday here at Wimbledon is going to be just the best experience ever.”
And another memorable chapter in Barty’s already compelling career and life that also includes the 25-year-old winning her Brisbane golf club championship last September while sitting out another 11 months on tour during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s a great story for Australia and what she’s been able to achieve in the years since coming back,” Cahill said.
“I think we all get inspiration from it.”
When Ash Barty’s four-year-old niece Lucy wakes up, the first thing she usually asks is ‘did Aunty Ash win at the tennis?’
Well, on Friday morning, Ash’s sister Sara will have been able to tell the little one: “Not bad … she’s just reached the final at Wimbledon!”
Fresh from her glorious semi-final win over Angelique Kerber at the All England Club, Barty revealed on Thursday that the best thing in her day while over the other side of the world is that moment she can text and chat with her loved ones back home.
Yet it’s typical of the grounded superstar that Barty wants know just as much about their day as they want to hear about her beating the world at tennis.
Barty’s progress to her first Wimbledon final is the most significant milestone yet on a tennis world tour that’s been largely triumphant but has had its down moments.
“There have been days when it’s been challenging,” admitted Barty. “Every day, I genuinely miss my family and miss being able to share this with them.
“But I know they’re watching, I get to chat to them every day and having to be away from an extended period gives me the opportunity to do what I love. It’s about looking at it from that perspective.
“But I do know that when ‘Luce’ wakes up every morning, she asks my sister how Aunty Ash went, ‘was she the winner?’.
“I get a message when I come off the court from my sister and my family, they’re genuinely excited to tell my niece and nephew how I played overnight – and that’s what fills me with joy.
“That’s what makes me smile, the fact I get to speak to them and tell them about my day, which is no different to anyone else.
“Each and every day I ask how their day was and they ask me how my day was – and I think being able to keep that really normal is one of the best parts of my day.”
Remaining so grounded while her global fame keeps soaring is one of Barty’s many outstanding traits.
Asked how she manages it, she shrugged on Thursday: “For me, it’s more about an attitude than anything.
“It’s about understanding that you don’t get to play tennis forever, you don’t get these opportunities every single day and genuinely having that childlike, carefree kind of playfulness is really important.
“And even though I’m extremely professional and serious and driven and impassioned about my career, it’s also important to back off sometimes and just enjoy it and try to smell the roses on the way and take it all in.
“It’s not all about the destination. It’s all of the nuances, the silly nuances, the memories that come from the journey which are what make it so special. Being able to appreciate those every day is massively important.”
Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics, saying playing without spectators “doesn’t feel right”.
Kyrgios said an abdominal injury was also a factor in withdrawing from the Games starting on July 23
“It’s a decision I didn’t take lightly,” Kyrgios posted on Twitter on Friday.
Just hours before Kyrgios’ statement, Olympic organisers banned all crowds from the Games amid Tokyo’s ongoing state of emergency due to the coronavirus.
Kyrgios maintained it was his “dream” to compete at an Olympics.
“I know I may never get that opportunity again,” he wrote.
“But I also know myself. The thought of playing in front of empty stadiums just doesn’t sit right with me. It never has.”
The 26-year-old said he was also seeking treatment for an abdominal injury that forced him to retire midway through a third-round match at Wimbledon five days ago.
“I also wouldn’t want to take an opportunity away from a healthy Aussie athlete ready to represent the country,” he posted.
“I will also take all the time I need to get my body right.”
Australia’s tennis hierarchy will meet to discuss a replacement for Kyrgios, after initially selecting 11 players including Ash Barty and Alex de Minaur.
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Australian wheelchair tennis phenomenon Dylan Alcott has powered into Wimbledon’s quad singles final, continuing his quest to win a “golden slam” of all four major titles and the Paralympics.
The Melbourne champion, who has already won his home Australian Open and French Open titles, is hot favourite to successfully defend his Wimbledon crown after beating American wildcard David Wagner 6-2 6-2 in the semis on Thursday (British time).
The 13-times singles champion Alcott took just 73 minutes to defeat his 47-year-old US rival –a six-times grand slam winner himself – in an impressive display that featured 11 aces and 43 winners.
But Saturday’s final won’t be easy.
Young Dutch riser Sam Schroder, who beat Alcott in the 2020 US Open final and also at June’s French Riviera Open, defeated Briton Andy Lapthorne 7-5 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 in the other semi.
Yet the irrepressible Aussie character is hoping to get his revenge on the outside courts at Wimbledon, with half-an-eye on the calendar slam.
“I’d have a thousand beers and be the happiest guy in the world if I did the golden slam – so I’m going to try to do it but all I can do is give it my best,” Alcott said.
“Mate, it’d be unbelievable – but it can be a dangerous game when you’re thinking too far ahead, so I try not to. I got burned once before doing that in 2019.
“But my self-worth, my worth to my community and my country is not dependent on me winning the ‘golden slam’. I used to think it was and then I’d fail and think, ‘I’m not worth it’ and ‘I’ve let everyone down’.
“But I can still be an ambassador for my sport if I lose a match and help my community – people with disability around the world.”
Alcott had to spend five days in quarantine after arriving in Britain, and is still unsure of what will happen with his Paralympic bid.
“I haven’t even been thinking about Tokyo, to be honest. I’d love the opportunity to play there as long as we can do it safely. I’ll be there with bells on if it goes ahead,” he said.
“But at the moment I’m in the green – I’m strictly Wimby.”
The Paralympic Games run from August 24-September 5.
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Ash Barty has earned a chance to emulate childhood hero Evonne Goolagong Cawley after advancing to the Wimbledon women’s singles final on Thursday night.
An emotional Barty overcame struggles with her first serve to defeat the three-time grand slam winner Angelique Kerber 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in the first semi-final in one hour and 27 minutes.
The mental strength of the world No.1 was never more evident when she came back from 4-1 down to force a second-set tiebreak in which Barty then raced to a 6-0 lead.
The 25-year-old Barty, who will play either Aryna Sabalenka or Karolina Pliskova in Saturday night’s decider, is the first Australian women’s finalist in 41 years since her mentor Goolagong, who defeated Chris Evert-Lloyd in straight sets in 1980.
A first Wimbledon final.@AshBarty, 50 years on since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won at The Championships, is one victory away from emulating her idol after beating Angelique Kerber 6-3, 7-6(3) #Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/qgWxKoKYvI
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 8, 2021
“This is incredible. This is as good as a tennis match as I’ll ever play and I think Angie definitely brought the best out of me,” Barty said during her post-match interview on Centre Court.
“It was a hell of a match right from the first ball and I knew it was going to have to be that good.
“I’m incredibly proud of myself and my team and now we get a chance on Saturday to live out a childhood dream.
“Being able to play on the final Saturday here at Wimbledon is gonna be just the best experience ever!”
— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) July 8, 2021
In arguably the highest-quality women’s match in the tournament, Barty played her best set yet in the opener to take the initiative.
Then the 2019 French Open champion withstood the sort of inspirational form from a rejuvenated Kerber that took the German world No.28 to the 2018 title to fight back from 4-1 down in a thrilling second set.
Barty had started nervously, opening up with a double fault but once she’d saved a couple of break points in that first service game, she was quickly into her stride.
She immediately earned her own break with a wonderful piece of anticipation that saw her latch on to a Kerber smash and rifle back a cracking forehand winner.
Completely dominating with her Rolls-Royce of a forehand, she had another break point for a 4-0 lead before Kerber, fighting tigerishly, finally got on the board at 3-1 and began to pump up the intensity.
Yet Barty was immaculate and when serving for the set at 5-3, overcame another break point before delivering her third ace to take the stanza – her most assured of the tournament – after 34 minutes.
Congratulations @ashbarty – thrilled for your success. Best wishes for Saturday.
— Rod Laver (@rodlaver) July 8, 2021
Having dictated, Barty suddenly found herself on the retreat as Kerber went on the offensive at the start of the second, reprising some of the glorious tennis that had blown away Serena Williams in the final three years ago as she broke to race into a 3-0 lead.
But serving for the set, Kerber faltered, with Barty cashing in to break to love with a scintillating cross-court forehand.
Then she began to dominate again, winning 10 straight points as she powered to a 6-0 lead in the tiebreak, with the help of her 17th and 18th glorious forehand winners.
Kerber could only delay the inevitable, courageously saving three match points before finally netting a backhand.
Wimbledon dream: ‘I wasn’t sure it would ever happen’
Barty said that even a month ago, when struggling so badly with the left hip problem that forced her to pull out during the second round at Roland Garros, she could never have believed she’d be in the position she is now.
“I mean, we had 23 or 24 days in between finishing up in Paris and my first round here,” reflected Barty, after playing what she felt was one of the highest-quality matches of her career.
“To be honest, it was going to be touch-and-go. Everything had to be spot on to give myself a chance to play pain-free and to play knowing that I could trust my body.
“To know that my body’s held up over a fortnight off a different preparation, and just being able to accept that I could trust everything that we’ve done to the best of our ability, is incredible.”
Asked when she first believed she could make a Wimbledon final, Barty conceded: “I wasn’t sure if it would ever happen, honestly.
“I think you have to keep putting yourself in the position. Wimbledon for me has been an amazing place of learning.
“Ten years ago, I came here for the first time as a junior and learned a lot in that week (when she won the girls’ title).
“Probably 2018 (when she lost to Daria Kastkina), 2019 (beaten by Alison Riske) was some of my toughest weeks playing.
“To come away with losses in those two tournaments, I learned a hell of a lot from those two times.
“A lot of the time your greatest growth comes from your darkest times. I think that’s why this tournament has been so important to me.
“I’ve learned so much with all my experiences — the good, bad, and everything in between.”
Barty said it had been an incredible journey.
“I’ve had ups and downs, and everything in between, and I wouldn’t change one day or one moment, or one route we’ve taken on my path,” she said.
“It’s been unique, it’s been incredible, it’s been tough, and I wouldn’t change one thing about it.
“I’m enjoying every single day that we get to come out here and do what I love, and being able to on the final Saturday here at Wimbledon is gonna be just the best experience ever.”
Dylan Alcott aims for ‘golden slam’
Australian wheelchair tennis phenomenon Dylan Alcott has powered into Wimbledon’s quad singles final, continuing his quest to win a ‘golden slam’ of all four major titles and the Paralympics.
The Melbourne champion, who has already won his home Australian Open and French Open titles, is hot favourite to successfully defend his Wimbledon crown after beating American wildcard David Wagner 6-2 6-2 in the semis on Thursday.
The 13-time singles champion Alcott took just 73 minutes to defeat his 47-year-old US rival – a six-time grand slam winner – in an impressive display that featured 11 aces and 43 winners.
The only men to beat Alcott in grand slams in the past two years are Briton Andy Lapthorne in 2019 and the young Dutch riser Sam Schroder in 2020, both at the US Open, and they were playing later on Thursday in the other semi-final.
The 21-year-old Schroder defeated the Australian in New York last year and also beat him at last month’s French Riviera Open to end Alcott’s 14-match winning streak.
“I’d have a thousand beers and be the happiest guy in the world if I did the golden slam, so I’m gonna try and do it. But all I can do is give it my best,” Alcott said.
“Mate, it’d be unbelievable. But it can be a dangerous game when you’re thinking too far ahead, so I try not to. I got burned once before doing that in 2019.
“But my self-worth, my worth to my community and my country is not dependent on me winning the ‘golden slam’.
“I used to think it was and then I’d fail and think, ‘I’m not worth it’ and ‘I’ve let everyone down’.
“But I can still be an ambassador for my sport if I lose a match and help my community – people with disability around the world.”
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European football’s governing body UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against England on Thursday over a laser pen shone at Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during the deciding moment of their Euro 2020 semi-final.
Television footage showed Schmeichel was targeted by a spectator using a green laser as England captain Harry Kane stepped up for a penalty in extra time to give the home side a dramatic 2-1 win during Wednesday’s match at Wembley Stadium.
The keeper saved Kane’s initial effort but could not stop the rebound which sent Gareth Southgate’s side into Sunday’s decider.
UEFA said it was also investigating England over fans’ lighting of fireworks and disrupting the national anthem.
UEFA opens disciplinary action proceedings against England for the laser pen pointed at Schmeichel during Kane’s penalty, the booing of Denmark’s anthem and use of fireworks pic.twitter.com/lexOHO5wXp
— Dan Kilpatrick (@Dan_KP) July 8, 2021
Fans booed when the Denmark anthem was played before kick-off.
Jeers were also heard when the German anthem was played at Wembley last week when England beat Joachim Loew’s side in the round of 16.
“The case will be dealt with by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body in due course,” UEFA said in a statement.
England is looking to win its first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup, also played on home soil, and will face the four-time world champions and 1968 European Championship winners Italy in the final at Wembley at 5am on Monday, AEST.