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Serena Williams swears COVID-19 won’t stop her playing in US Open

Serena Williams swears COVID-19 won’t stop her playing in US Open

09/08/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29986363

Serena Williams says she’s committed to playing at the US Open and also open to travelling to Europe for the clay-court season.

Williams announced she’d play in the forthcoming grand slam in New York, but since then a host of top names have pulled out of the tournament due to fears over COVID-19.

Defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal and women’s No.1 Ashleigh Barty are the highest-profile withdrawals, but Williams says she will still play before travelling to Europe for the French Open the following week.

“I see myself doing it all if it happens,” she said ahead of her appearance at the Lexington Open in Kentucky next week.

“But I am not planning for the future, as tournaments got cancelled I was just like, ‘Let me just work on today and see what happens’.”

The 23-time grand slam champion’s openness towards playing is at odds with her attitude during the pandemic.

Williams, who suffered health complications during her labour in 2017, was a self-confessed “recluse” during the lockdown and took strong precautions.

“I have been a little bit of a recluse. I started social distancing in early March,” she said.

“I don’t have full lung capacity so I’m not sure what would happen to me. I am sure I would be OK but I don’t want to find out.

“I have like 50 masks that I travel with, I don’t ever want to be without one.

“With health concerns I am super careful with what I have been doing and everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.

“It is cool to play tennis, but this is my life and my health, so I have been a little bit neurotic but that is how I have to be right now.”

During the lockdown, separated from her coaching staff and phsyios, the 38-year-old resorted to building her own tennis court and gym.

“Tennis is naturally a social distanced sport,” she said. “It was easy for me to walk on my side of the court and my hitter to walk on the other side of the court.

“Florida was a really bad place to be so we were extreme with our social distancing. It was a completely different experience, but that is the only real learning curve.

“I had to make a gym and my husband made a court for me. I guess that is different! We built a tennis court and gym, it is super cool.


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GWS star Callan Ward peppered with death threats after game-winning free kick

GWS star Callan Ward peppered with death threats after game-winning free kick

08/08/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29985363

GWS stalwart Callan Ward has received death threats on social media after winning a controversial free kick in Friday night’s win against Essendon.

Ward has revealed the threats were made on his Instagram page on a post featuring his young son.

“It has just got to stop. If you’re getting death threats like I’ve been getting, there’s some players couldn’t handle that,” Ward told Melbourne radio station 3AW on Saturday.

Ward kicked a victory-sealing goal against the Bombers after being awarded a free kick for high contact in the final minutes of the fixture on the Gold Coast.

Furious Essendon supporters, who watched in horror as their team’s solid lead was whittled away in the last quarter, are adamant Ward did not deserve the free shot at goal and have accused him on social media of “staging” to fool the umpire.

“With what has happened last night, the most disappointing thing is I have a lot of Essendon supporters, a lot of AFL supporters, commenting on photos of Romeo, my baby, and saying I’m a flog, all this stuff,” he said.

“I am copping a bit, which is disappointing.

“I’m in a situation where as an AFL player we’re trying to get the game going and trying to play AFL football.

“But at the same time we’re away from our families and it’s tough for us as well.

“So it’s disappointing to see that people feel the need to express their passion and hatred towards me at the moment.”

The 221-game veteran is receiving support from the AFL Players’ Association (AFLPA).

“The violent threats sent to Callan via social media are disgraceful and the words of cowards,” AFLPA chief executive officer Paul Marsh.

“Contentious decisions occur in every game and while we love the passion of fans, some need to remember that it’s a game.

“It’s incomprehensible that anyone could revert to this type of behaviour in response to a split second moment on the field.”


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Jason Day in contention at US PGA Championship

Jason Day in contention at US PGA Championship

08/08/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29985007

Jason Day is keeping pace with the lead midway through the second round of the US PGA Championship.

Day reached the turn at seven under par and one shot behind China’s Haotong Li at San Francisco’s TPC Harding Park.

Australia’s 2015 PGA champion began his second round steady before bagging his first birdie of the day on the par-5 fourth hole.

He then conjured a spectacular birdie three on the next after finding trouble off the tee, then rifling his approach to little more than a metre.

Day added another biride on the seventh to join Lee in the lead before dropping his first shot of the tournament on the ninth after another errant tee shot.

Jason Day is in contention for the US PGA title. Photo: Getty

He had nine holes remaining on Saturday (AEST) to grab his first 36-hole lead at a major championship since last year’s Masters.

Li, out in the morning wave, took the clubhouse lead with an impressive bogey-free round of 65 to climb to eight under for the first major of 2020.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood (64) and American Xander Schauffele (through eight holes) were two shots back.

Day’s fellow Australian Adam Scott was unable to make ground on the lead during a lacklustre round of even par 70 that kept the former world No.1 at two under for the tournament.

Teeing off the 10th hole on day two, Scott opened with a birdie and made the turn at one under for the day. But he came unstuck on the front nine with a lone birdie nullified by two bogeys.

Four-time PGA champion Tiger Woods dropped a shot and through six holes to be at one under.

Meanwhile, Cameron Smith (69) is at even par and looks to be safely inside the projected cut line of one over that will fall at the top 70 players and ties.

The rest of the Australians are staring at an early exit.

Marc Leishman bogeyed his last two holes for a 72 to be two over, while Lucas Herbert (70, three over) and Matt Jones (75, five over) also struggled on day two.


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Teenager charged over alleged revenge porn video of NRL player

Teenager charged over alleged revenge porn video of NRL player

07/08/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29983831

A Brisbane woman has been charged over an alleged revenge porn incident involving Brisbane Broncos player Kotoni Staggs after an explicit video was circulated of him online.

The sensitive footage was released online earlier this week without Staggs’s consent.

Police said an 18-year-old Newstead woman had been charged with distributing a prohibited visual recording.

The non-consensual sharing of explicit images online is a criminal offence in Australia and is considered to be a form of image-based sexual abuse.

The offence can carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

In a statement, the Broncos said they alerted the NRL’s Integrity Unit to the issue and were working closely with Staggs.

Staggs, 21, is unlikely to face repercussions from the league over the incident.

The woman is expected to face the Brisbane Magistrate’s Court in September.

The post Teenager charged over alleged revenge porn video of NRL player appeared first on The New Daily.
AFL investigate boots involved in Isaac Quaynor injury

AFL investigate boots involved in Isaac Quaynor injury

07/08/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29983740

The AFL will investigate whether the gory leg injury suffered by Collingwood’s Isaac Quaynor was the result of an opponent wearing boots with illegal metal studs.

Quaynor was hurt during the dying stages of the Magpies’ narrow win over Sydney on Thursday night when he tackled Sydney debutant Sam Wicks.

Wicks’ boots accidentally raked down the front of Quaynor’s shin as the players fell to the ground and left a deep wound that will sideline the Magpies defender for multiple weeks.

Graphic images have circulated on social media showing the extent of the injury.

It was a costly win for Collingwood, as Adam Treloar and Will Hoskin-Elliott were also ruled out during the game and look set for stints on the sidelines.

After the match, the Swans told media Wicks was wearing “standard issue screw-ins”.

But images have since emerged that show Wicks may have been wearing a hybrid Nike boot that includes some metal studs.

It is unclear what penalty, if any, either Wicks or the Swans would face if he was wearing metal studs, as the incident is believed to be unprecedented.

As Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley pointed out post-match, umpires do not check players’ boots and other equipment before matches.

Buckley, who has spent almost three decades in the AFL system, said the damage to Quaynor was unlike any he had ever seen.

“I haven’t heard of that happening in all my time in footy,” Buckley said.

“Studs pierce the skin periodically … but you would never see what happened to Isaac in that last quarter ever.”

Quaynor was taken off the field on a stretcher and images showed a wound measuring more than half the length of his shin.

“His (Wicks’) studs sort of raked across his shin and actually split his (Quaynor’s) shin six or eight inches completely open,” Buckley said.

“The kid could’ve had metal studs in as well, so that was his bad luck, to tackle the only kid that had that.

“That will be a couple of weeks (out of action) and it will depend on how we can clean the wound and heal that up.”

Sydney coach John Longmire was asked in his post-match press conference whether any of his players were wearing metal studs, but he was not sure.

“It’s the first I’ve heard of it, I’ve got no idea,” Longmire said.

A Swans spokesperson later said the boots were “standard issue screw-ins”.

-with AAP

The post AFL investigate boots involved in Isaac Quaynor injury appeared first on The New Daily.
Fifty-six NFL players test positive for COVID-19

Fifty-six NFL players test positive for COVID-19

07/08/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29983636

Fifty-six NFL players have so far tested positive for COVID-19 since training camps opened to rookies on July 21, players’ union data reveals.

Camps opened for all players July 28, and the season is scheduled to kick off on September 10 with health and safety measures in place designed to mitigate the potential spread of the coronavirus.

Players have until 0500 AEST on Friday to inform the league of whether they intend to opt out of the season, with almost 70 reportedly intending to skip the 2020 campaign over COVID-19 concerns.

Eligible players who opt out voluntarily will receive a $US150,000 ($A210,000) stipend, while “high-risk” opt outs get $US350,000 ($A485,000).

Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White hit back at critics on Twitter amid reports he was considering skipping the season, though it was not immediately clear if he had chosen to opt out.

“Crazy that me choosing my family’s wellbeing over a game comes with so called fans attacking and questioning me and saying I’m selfish,” tweeted White, a 2019 Pro Bowl selection.

“No you guys are selfish for thinking that football is bigger than life.”

Health issues that qualify a player for being considered high risk for severe COVID-19 include cancer, type 2 diabetes, certain heart conditions and asthma.

With pre-season games cancelled and attendance limited – or outright banned – in stadiums across the country, Commissioner Roger Goodell told fans in an open letter last week:

“The NFL in 2020 will not look like other years.”

-with agencies

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Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen to be woken from coma after Tour of Poland crash

Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen to be woken from coma after Tour of Poland crash

06/08/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29982929

Doctors will attempt to wake Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen from a medically-induced coma on Thursday, a day after the 23-year-old rider suffered a serious crash at the Tour of Poland.

Jakobsen “is currently on an intensive care unit in stable condition,” Pawel Gruenpeter, deputy head of a Sosnowiec-based hospital said during a press briefing according to the Polish Press Agency PAP.

“Today we will attempt to wake him from the coma. Then we will know what his condition is.”

Jakobsen suffered serious injuries to the head and face but his eyes were not damaged, the official said.

A further update on his condition is expected later on Thursday.

The cyclist underwent a five-hour operation after hitting barriers when he and fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen collided in a downhill sprint just before the opening-stage finish line in Katowice.

Race doctor Barbara Jerschina told Polish Polsat television that Jakobsen’s condition was very serious.

She said the athlete had been successfully intubated and his lungs were free.

“Our thoughts and our prayers go to Fabio Jakobsen,” his team Deceuninck-Quick Step said.

The team later released a statement that said tests on Jakobsen did not reveal brain or spinal injuries at this time.

Groenewegen was disqualified and barred from the 2020 race after the crash.

The UCI deemed Groenewegen’s behaviour “unacceptable” and “immediately referred the matter to the disciplinary commission to request the imposition of sanctions commensurate with the seriousness of the facts”.

“Our federation is wholeheartedly with the affected riders,” the UCI said.

German cyclist Simon Geschke criticised organisers for holding the sprint finish to the stage on a sharp downhill.

“Every year the same silly downhill sprint in the @Tour_de_Pologne,” the 34-year-old Berliner wrote on Twitter.

“Every year i ask myself why the organisation thinks it’s a good idea. Bunch sprints are dangerous enough, you don’t need a downhill finish with 80kph!”

The crash came one year after Belgian cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht died at the 2019 Tour of Poland.

The 22-year-old Lotto-Soudal rider died after crashing into a concrete obstacle during a stage from Chorzow to Zabrze.

The post Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen to be woken from coma after Tour of Poland crash appeared first on The New Daily.
Wayne Bennett, Paul Vaughan face two-week quarantine

Wayne Bennett, Paul Vaughan face two-week quarantine

06/08/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29982583

Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett and Dragons prop Paul Vaughan will be forced to isolate for 14 days after a frustrated Peter V’landys claimed the pair should both know better than to dine out.

The NRL said the decision was made to put the pair on a two-week ‘COVID hold’ after they contravened NRL biosecurity protocols.

Bennett revealed on Thursday that he visited a Sydney restaurant on Wednesday with his partner, while NSW State of Origin forward Vaughan had breakfast at a Wollongong cafe on Thursday.

Both have been tested for COVID-19.

Bennett is set to be barred from coaching in person for two weeks, while Vaughan is unable to play for St George Illawarra against the Sydney Roosters on Thursday night.

Bennett claimed on Thursday he did not know he was breaking the NRL’s biosecurity rules with the lunch date, despite being on the Project Apollo committee.

But V’landys said the pair had put the sport at risk.

“I just hope the game treats this as a wake-up call,” V’landys told AAP.

“They’re not just jeopardising the game in the short term.

“They are jeopardising their own futures for the next two seasons and they’re jeopardising future generations of the game of rugby league.

“Because if it shuts down and we can’t operate, it will have dire effects for years. Not months, but years.

“Because if they don’t (wake up to it), and we don’t finish the season, their consequences will be catastrophic.”

V’landys was adamant that swift action by the NRL would stop any concerns from the Queensland government.

Bennett coached Souths players at training on Thursday, with his team set to take on his former side Brisbane on Friday night.

The NRL has been granted an exemption by the Queensland government to have sides travel across the closed state border due to their biosecurity rules being in place.

“We have the protocols in place, they approved the protocols. And we are now administering the protocols,” V’landys said.

“That gives credibility to governments. Because they can see if someone breaches them, we immediately take action.

“I’m confident the government can see we are responsible, and we will take the responsible action when required, because no system is foolproof.”

It means Bennett will likely be replaced by Jason Demetriou, just two years after his succession plan to have him replace him at the Broncos was knocked back.

Bennett on Thursday admitted he’d been out on previous occasions, and said his confusion arose given he could shop for groceries at packed shopping centres.

“I went for lunch yesterday at Grappa, I did. If it was a breach I wouldn’t have done it. I didn’t think it was a breach. I went with my partner who I live with, just me and her, had something to eat there and that was it,” Bennett said.

He said the restaurant was not busy, and he’d made a point to sit away from other people.

However under the NRL’s rules, no players or coaches within the bubble can have visitors or go to pubs, cafes or restaurants.

“I wouldn’t have done it if I thought I did something wrong,” Bennett said.

“If (isolation) is what’s got to happen, that’s their call. The rules have changed that many times about what we can do and can’t do.

“I didn’t think I was breaking rules yesterday because I wasn’t with a group, it was just me and my partner.”

-with AAP

The post Wayne Bennett, Paul Vaughan face two-week quarantine appeared first on The New Daily.
Nick Kyrgios ‘slim to no chance’ to play French Open

Nick Kyrgios ‘slim to no chance’ to play French Open

06/08/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29982419

Nick Kyrgios has given his strongest indication yet that his tennis season is done for 2020.

The Aussie ace says he will almost certainly be skipping the French Open as well as the US because of coronavirus concerns.

Kyrgios and defending champion Rafael Nadal this week joined women’s world No.1 Ashleigh Barty in withdrawing from the US Open citing COVID-19 concerns.

The world No.40 said he wasn’t surprised a number of stars had chosen not to play.

“I knew a lot of players were going to – I don’t think the US Open will be happy seeing some of the biggest names in sport not put their health at risk and go there and play,” Kyrgios told Nine on Thursday.

“I wasn’t surprised by Rafa’s decision; I think he’s more eyeing the French Open.”

While Nadal will target the rescheduled French Open in October where he will try to match Roger Federer’s all-time record 20 men’s grand slam singles crowns, Kyrgios says he’s unlikely to leave Australia.

“If I was to play I’d definitely rather go to Europe at this time of the year with everything going on,” said Kyrgios.

“There’s a very slim chance I will play in Europe – slim to none to be honest.

“I’m going to use this time to stay at home … train, be with my family and friends, and act responsibly and wait until I think it’s best.”

“It was an easy decision for me to pull out of the US Open with everything going on over in the States at the moment, with COVID,” Kyrgios said.

“But even with the [Black Lives Matter] movement and the whole protests and that type of stuff going on over there, I just don’t think at the moment it’s the correct time to go ahead with sport in my opinion.

“I’m continually training, but also just staying at home with my family and friends, making sure everyone’s safe.”

Kyrgios isn’t convinced about Australian Open organisers’ insistence that the tournament will proceed in Melbourne next year.

“I’m not too sure the Australian Open will be going ahead as it did at the start of the year with the pandemic in Melbourne,” he said from his Canberra base.

“It’s sad times in Melbourne so I’m not too sure if the Australian Open will go on.”

He also slammed players who had criticised him for his views on their “selfish” behaviour through the pandemic, notably at a post-tournament party put on by Novak Djokovic.

“Some of the players, their behaviour throughout this time I don’t think has been great at all, especially coming from some of our leaders of the sport who are supposed to be setting an example,” the 25-year-old said.

“Them coming back at me with behaviour that I’ve done on court just shows their intellectual level.

“They’re putting lives at risk – it’s not really comparable.”

-with AAP

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