Tag Archives: court

Image article-0-196D9CA5000005DC-586_634x412.jpg

Romelu Lukaku racism case: Sunderland fan swears at cameras on way out of court

Sunderland fan accused of racist gesture at Lukaku swears as he leaves court

By
Tom Wilkinson, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

12:12 GMT, 22 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:35 GMT, 22 April 2013

The Sunderland fan who denies making a racist monkey gesture at Romelu Lukaku swore and threatened to spit at photographers after a court hearing on Monday.

Liam Jones, 21, of East Vines, Sunderland, was charged following an alleged incident in the stands of the Stadium of Light last November.

Offensive: Liam Jones swore at photographers and threatened to spit (below)

Offensive: Liam Jones swore at photographers and threatened to spit (below)

Liam Jones

West Brom striker Lukaku, on loan from Chelsea, scored a goal against the north-east club as his side won 4-2, and in the aftermath Jones allegedly made the gesture.

He was arrested after the match and was charged last month with racially aggravated harassment.

Sunderland Magistrates adjourned the case for trial on June 26.

Jones was granted bail on a number of conditions, including that he does not go within 300 metres of the Stadium of Light or 500m of St James’ Park – the home of rivals Newcastle – on match days.

Bail: Jones is not allowed near the Stadium of Light or St James' Park until the trial

Bail: Jones is not allowed near the Stadium of Light or St James' Park until the trial

Image article-2312169-196636FD000005DC-188_634x427.jpg

ATP Monte Carlo Masters – Rafael Nadal beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Novak Djokovic beats Fabio Fognini in semis

Serving up a classic Djokovic and Nadal to meet in mouthwatering Monte Carlo final

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

17:40 GMT, 20 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:01 GMT, 20 April 2013

Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal will lock horns with world No 1 Novak Djokovic for third time in the Monte Carlo Masters final after both sailed through their semi-finals with relative ease on Saturday.

Nadal was given a fight by Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before the Spaniard won 6-3, 7-6 but Djokovic was dominant in a 6-2, 6-1 thrashing of Italian showman Fabio Fognini.

Former world No 1 Nadal, looking for his fourth title of the year in only his fifth event since returning from a long-standing knee injury, clinched a 46th consecutive victory at the traditional clay court event alongside the Mediterranean.

Winning run: Rafael Nadal beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets in his semi-final

Winning run: Rafael Nadal beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets in his semi-final

Serving up a classic: Nadal will play Novak Djokovic in the final on Sunday in Monte Carlo

Serving up a classic: Nadal will play Novak Djokovic in the final on Sunday in Monte Carlo

The final against Djokovic will give a further measure of Nadal’s physical condition as he eyes the French Open, especially as the Serb is showing no sign of being worried by the ankle he twisted while on Davis Cup duty two weeks ago.

‘It’s fantastic to be in a fifth final in a row after seven months out,’ Nadal said. ‘Novak always pushes you to the limits.’

Djokovic, who has branded Nadal ‘the ultimate challenge on clay’, will hope to improve on his previous Monte Carlo finals against Nadal. He was beaten 6-3, 6-1 in the final last year and in three sets in 2009.

Looking to the heavens: Nadal beat the Frenchman Tsonga 6-3, 7-6

Looking to the heavens: Nadal beat the Frenchman Tsonga 6-3, 7-6

Smashing effort: Tsonga put up a fight in the second set but couldn't force a decider

Smashing effort: Tsonga put up a fight in the second set but couldn't force a decider

‘I will have to be at the top of my game. I’m ready for it. I know what I need to do,’ said Djokovic, who was pleased to have spent only 52 minutes on the court.

‘I had enough tests already this week so I’m happy I can be fresh,’ said the Serb, who was pushed to three sets in his first two matches.

Nadal set up a 16th tournament final against Djokovic despite a wobble from 5-1 up in the second set when Tsonga produced a late surge to make a match of it. Neither the cold wind gusting off the sea, nor the inconsistent Tsonga managed to upset a solid Nadal, who has made the Centre Court stage his own since 2005.

Drubbing: Novak Djokovic beat Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-1 in his semi-final in Monte Carlo

Drubbing: Novak Djokovic beat Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-1 in his semi-final in Monte Carlo

Drubbing: Novak Djokovic beat Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-1 in his semi-final in Monte Carlo

Sixth seed Tsonga made too many mistakes from the baseline as Nadal took a stranglehold on the match. However, a change of tactics when he began charging the net briefly unsettled Nadal to the delight of the previously subdued French crowd.

He attacked in waves and saved four match points to force a tie-break before running out off steam and allowing Nadal to take the match and avoid a third set.

Fognini played some crowd-pleasing winners against Djokovic but was no match for the ruthless Serb who was in no mood to mess around on the centre court.

The 32nd-ranked Italian, who has enjoyed a huge support this week at a stadium located just kilometres away from his home, offered little fight and was booed off court after only 50 minutes by the restless crowd.

Image article-2297067-12C02B9D000005DC-254_623x351.jpg

Happy 7th birthday, Twitter! Highs and lows in sport

Happy 7th birthday, Twitter! Highs (and lows) since the micro-blogging site changed the way we interact with sports stars

Olympics.
267,200 tweets per minute after Juan Mata scored for Spain in the Euro 2012 final victory Italy.
13.7m tweets during the Super Bowl when the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21-17.
184,535 tweets per minute when Fernando
Torres equalised against Barcelona to send Chelsea heading towards the
2012 Champions League final.

Torres torrent: The Chelsea striker's goal against Barcelona prompted a flood of tweets


Torres torrent: The Chelsea striker's goal against Barcelona prompted a flood of tweets

Seven Twitter controversies

Joey Barton v Dietmaar Hamann

Joey Barton seems to be ranting and raving every hour of every day, giving his outspoken opinions on everything from The FA to the Israel-Palestine dispute. But his most controversial exchange came when a row erupted with Dietmaar Hamann, after Barton tweeted about QPR’s attempt to hijack Newcastle’s bid for Loic Remy in the January transfer window.

Barton was chided by Hamann for getting involved in ‘club politics’ and he responded viciously with a string of insults and allegations about the former Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester City player. The pair hammered out a total of over 50 messages and Barton repeatedly told Hamann, 39, to get his ‘life in order’ and claimed the German was unprofessional.

The volatile midfielder also made reference to a gambling problem which Hamann revealed he had, in February 2012, and his family life.

Repeat offender: Barton has been involved in numerous Twitter spats, including with former team-mate Hamann

Repeat offender: Barton has been involved in numerous Twitter spats, including one with Hamann

Repeat offender: Barton has been involved in numerous Twitter spats, including one with Hamann

Ashley Cole v Rio Ferdinand

After Ashley Cole reportedly gave court evidence defending Chelsea team-mate John Terry against allegations of racism towards Anton Ferdinand last summer, Rio Ferdinand, disappointed by the ‘Not Guilty’ verdict sent a tweet suggesting that Ashley Cole was a ‘Choc ice’.

Rio was subsequently fined by The FA but the controversy re-emerged in December when Ferdinand was the was left bleeding after being hit in the face with a two pence coin as he celebrated Manchester United’s winning goal against Manchester City at Eastlands.

The family of Ashley Cole took to Facebook to declare their pleasure in seeing Ferdinand hurt, with the Chelsea star’s brother Matthew is said to have posted on Facebook: ‘So happy Rio got hit in the face today when he tried to give it kissing his badge!! Straight in the eye!! Made my day.’ Cole’s mother Sue later added her own comment: ‘Give the fan that threw it a medal!!’

Former friends: Ferdinand and Cole fell out following allegations of racism directed at Anton Ferdinand

Former friends: Ferdinand and Cole fell out following allegations of racism directed at Anton Ferdinand

Former friends: Ferdinand and Cole fell out following allegations of racism directed at Anton Ferdinand

Ashley Cole slams The FA

Ashley Cole was fined 90,000 after admitting a Football Association charge in relation to foul-mouthed outburst on Twitter.

The Chelsea and England full-back labelled the FA a 'bunch of t***s' on the social networking site after an independent regulatory commission of the governing body investigating the John Terry racial abuse case had cast doubt on Cole's evidence.

His comments were swiftly removed but the FA reacted quickly and charged Cole, whose furious outburst was retweeted more than 19,000 times and provoked large condemnation from the footballing world.

Referee Mark Halsey receives Death Threats

Referee Mark Halsey called the police in over sick Twitter taunts following his handling of the explosive clash between Liverpool and Manchester United.

A number of tweets referred to Halsey's well-known battle against cancer and sickeningly referred to his wife, Michelle, who has also been fighting the disease.

Two of the most offensive comments came from a John Wareing who posted ‘I hope Mark Halsey gets cancer again and dies’ (@johnwareing1) and a John Hughes who tweeted ‘Mark Halsey should’ve died of cancer’ (@lfcjohn259).

Within minutes of the game finishing in a 2-1 defeat for Liverpool, messages were being posted on social media websites following a number of controversial refereeing decisions including a first-half red card for Liverpool’s Jonjo Shelvey for a rash tackle on United defender Jonny Evans.

Sick: Referee Halsey was targeted by Twitter thugs over his handling of a match

Sick: Referee Halsey was targeted by Twitter thugs over his handling of a match

10 Year Old Boy 'blacks up' as El Hadji Diouf

A ten-year-old Leeds United fan became embroiled in an online race row after he blacked up to pose with his hero El Hadji Diouf.

The child posted a series of pictures on his Twitter account provoking a backlash from users who said he was racist.

But the primary school child said he did not realise it would be offensive and did it as a tribute to his footballing hero. The boy’s father was forced to take to his son’s Twitter account to defend him from accusations of racism.

He wrote: 'I want to apologise if (my son) dressing up has caused offence.'

Unbelievable: One Leeds fans 'blacked up' to mimic his favourite player - Diouf

Unbelievable: One Leeds fans 'blacked up' to mimic his favourite player – Diouf

Ryan Babel Mocks up Howard Webb in a Man United shirt

In January 2011, Liverpool winger Ryan Babel became the first professional footballer to be censured for comments made on the social networking site Twitter after the Football Association fined the Dutch international 10,000 for posting a mocked-up picture of referee Howard Webb wearing a Manchester United shirt.

In the dock: Liverpool striker Babel was reprimanded for posting this mocked-up picture of Webb

In the dock: Liverpool striker Babel was reprimanded for posting this mocked-up picture of Webb

In the dock: Liverpool striker Babel was reprimanded for posting this mocked-up picture of Webb

Carlton Cole Fined for Anti-Immigration tweets

Carlton Cole was fined 20,000 by the FA for his Twitter comments during England’s match against Ghana in March 2011.

Cole tweeted: ‘Immigration has surrounded the Wembley premises! I knew it was a trap! Hahahaha. The only way to get out safely is to wear an England jersey and paint your face w/ the St. George’s flag!’

He later deleted the tweet and said it was a ‘joke’.

Bobby Barnes, deputy chief executive of the PFA, said: ‘The commission fully accepted the mitigation put forward on Carlton’s behalf and his apology for any offence caused, however unintentionally.

Poorly chosen words: Cole said his comments about immigration were a 'joke'

Poorly chosen words: Cole said his comments about immigration were a 'joke'

Image article-2287351-18674113000005DC-250_634x428.jpg

Rafael Nadal beats David Ferrer 6-0 6-2 in Mexican Open final

Nadal crushes Ferrer to claim Mexican Open title… and he's raring to go for Indian Wells!

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

12:32 GMT, 3 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:44 GMT, 3 March 2013

A dominant Rafa Nadal dismantled fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 6-0 6-2 on Saturday to win his second Mexican Open title and continue his successful comeback from a long injury lay-off.

Nadal, ranked fifth in the world, needed just over an hour to dispatch top seed Ferrer and was delighted with his form.

'For me, I played almost perfectly,' said Nadal following the match. 'My knee responded well all week.'

King of clay: Rafael Nadal collects his trophy wearing a sombrero in Acapulco

King of clay: Rafael Nadal collects his trophy wearing a sombrero in Acapulco

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

Moving on: The Spaniard will play in the Indian Wells Masters tournament next week

Nadal also confirmed he would play in next week's Indian Wells hard-court tournament, despite speculation he might skip the event to spare his knee.

'My heart tells me I should continue competing, that I need to move on to the next tournament,' he added.

Nadal had been sidelined for more than seven months due to a partially torn tendon in his knee. He made his return early last month at the Chilean Open, losing in the final to Argentine Horacio Zeballos. A week later he claimed the Brazil Open title.

Easy: Nadal dropped just two games and was on court for little more than an hour against David Ferrer

Easy: Nadal dropped just two games and was on court for little more than an hour against David Ferrer

Easy: Nadal dropped just two games and was on court for little more than an hour against Ferrer

The former world number one charged out of the blocks and won the first eight games against three-time defending champion Ferrer, who saw his 19-match winning streak at the clay-court event come to an end.

'Rafa was just better than me today,' said Ferrer.

World No 4 Ferrer waited 44 minutes to win his first game of the final, the crowd erupting in applause as he put away a service winner to trail 2-1 in the second set.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

Success: Nadal added the Mexican title to his triumph in Brazil and final in Chile since his return from injury

Crushed: Ferrer admitted his compatriot was the better man on the day

Crushed: Ferrer admitted his compatriot was the better man on the day

With Ferrer serving down 3-1, an extended rally in which both players scrambled back and forth from the net ended with a top-spin lob winner by Nadal, bringing the crowd to its feet and the score to 30-30.

Second seed Nadal, the 2005 Mexican Open champion, won the next two points to go up two breaks in the set and virtually put the match away.

Image article-2280112-17A44535000005DC-282_306x488.jpg

Rafael Nadal wins Brazil Open, beating David Nalbandian 6-2 6-3 in the final

Back to winning ways! Nadal cruises past Nalbandian to seal first title since comeback

before he was sidelined by tendon trouble in his left knee after
an early exit from Wimbledon.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

Victory: Rafael Nadal won his first title since his injury return in Sao Paulo

Rafael Nadal

Nadal made his long-awaited comeback at last week's clay-court event in Vina Del Mar but surprisingly missed out on the title after losing in three sets to Argentinian Horacio Zeballos the final.

The Spaniard struggled to find a rhythm in the beginning but was still able to break Nalbandian's serve twice to take the first set, then rallied from 3-0 down in the second to win six straight games to close out the match.

Nalbandian was playing in a final for the first time since he was disqualified for kicking an advertisement board and injuring a line judge at Queen's Club last June. The former world No 3 hasn't won a title since 2010 in Washington.

Too good: Nadal cruised past David Nalbandian in the Brazil Open final

Too good: Nadal cruised past David Nalbandian in the Brazil Open final

Nadal, who was coming off two three-set matches, still looked far from his best and didn't seem to be moving well. The knee appeared to be bothering him again and he left many balls unchallenged throughout the match.

But with the support from the local fans and with former Brazil star striker Ronaldo and mixed martial arts champion Anderson Silva in the crowd, Nadal took control of the match in the second set to secure the victory.

The 11-time Grand Slam champion admitted that the level of the competition in Brazil was not as high as in other tournaments but said that it wasn't bad either, giving him the perfect opportunity to give his knee a good test. The Spaniard will play another clay-court tournament in Mexico in two weeks.

Delight: The Spaniard celebrates after beating his Argentine opponent

Delight: The Spaniard celebrates after beating his Argentine opponent

Delight: The Spaniard celebrates after beating his Argentine opponent

Nadal had won four of his six career matches against Nalbandian, the last one a three-set victory in the quarterfinals of Indian Wells last year. Nalbandian's last victory over Nadal was in 2007 in the final of a Master Series tournament in Paris.

The 31-year-old Argentine made his season debut in singles at the Brazil Open. He was out of action for several months last season because of an abdominal injury.

Sao Paulo: Nadal signs autographs for the Brazilian fans

Sao Paulo: Nadal signs autographs for the Brazilian fans

DEL POTRO WINS FIRST TITLE OF YEAR IN ROTTERDAM

Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro clinched his first title of the year as he overcame Julien Benneteau 7-6 6-3 in the final of the World Indoor Tournament in Rotterdam on Sunday.

Del Potro, beaten in last year's final by Roger Federer, lost his serve in the first set but Benneteau had no answer to his solid baseline performance which earned him the tiebreak 7-2.

After an early break in the second set Del Potro never looked back against 39th-ranked Benneteau, still seeking a first title having lost all eight finals he has contested.

Juan Martin Del Potro

'It was so important to win the tie-break as I missed several opportunities through mistakes I made to clinch the first set sooner,” Del Potro told reporters.

Del Potro became only the second Argentine after Guillermo Vilas to triumph at the tournament.

'I had a great week and really enjoyed the tennis I played from the first round on,” added Del Potro.
Benneteau said he had fought with all his might to match the hitting and power of world number seven Del Potro.

'It was tough to stay in the first set as I was under pressure every game, as well on my own serve as his,' said the Frenchman, who beat Federer in the last eight.

Image article-2274882-17666C3B000005DC-553_634x468.jpg

Mohammad Asif arrives at Court of Arbitration for Sport

Asif arrives at Court of Arbitration for Sport ahead of appeal hearing over spot-fixing ban

after serving six months of a sentence for conspiracy to cheat at gambling and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments.

'I am reasonably optimistic of a favourable outcome in this appeal,' said Asif's barrister Ravi Sukul ahead of Thursday's hearing.

Optimistic: Asif's barrister is confident of overturning the appeal

Optimistic: Asif's barrister is confident of overturning the appeal

Optimistic: Asif's barrister is confident of overturning the appeal

Image article-0-12FE177E000005DC-382_224x423.jpg

Sam Allardyce accepts damages from Steve Kean and Blackburn Rovers

Allardyce accepts damages from Blackburn and Kean over foul-mouthed rant

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

11:21 GMT, 6 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:32 GMT, 6 January 2013

Steve Kean pulled out of a scheduled appearance on Goals on Sunday today, the day after Sam Allardyce accepted an out-of-court settlement believed to be in the region of 200,000 from him and Blackburn Rovers.

Former Blackburn manager Kean had to fork out after derogatory claims were made about Allardyce by him in the summer of 2011.

SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH THE VIDEO OF KEAN'S RANT

Steve Kean

Sam Allardyce

No love lost: Sam Allardyce (right) and his former No 2 Steve Kean

Goals on Sunday co-host Chris Kamara revealed the short-notice change on Twitter this morning.

He said: 'Morning all. Last minute lineup change Didi Hamann and Phil Brown with me and the adorable @benshephard tweet him any questions 11till 12.'

Kean was filmed making the remarks by supporters during a pre-season trip Blackburn made to Hong Kong.

Kean’s allegations about the
operating methods, integrity and managerial ability of Allardyce — his
predecessor at Ewood Park — were made public when the fans published a
video of the conversation on YouTube.

Allardyce took legal action against
Kean personally and against Rovers. The action has been settled with a
payment to Allardyce, who is now manager of West Ham. On Saturday all
parties involved in the case declined to comment.

VIDEO: Kean's foul-mouthed tirade

Image article-0-166A345E000005DC-508_468x300.jpg

Portsmouth face 10 point deduction even if supporters trust save club

Pompey will still be docked 10 points if supporters group win fight to save club

|

UPDATED:

17:13 GMT, 10 December 2012

Portsmouth still face a 10-point deduction should the Pompey Supporters' Trust (PST) win their battle to save the club this week.

The Football League today confirmed the sanction, to be imposed once the club comes out of administration, after receiving details of the PST's proposed takeover.

PST's bid hinges on administrators PKF gaining permission to sell Fratton Park, which is controlled by the club's former owner Balram Chainrai, at a High Court hearing which starts on Thursday.

In danger: Portsmouth will be docked 10 points even if the supporters trust saves the club

In danger: Portsmouth will be docked 10 points even if the supporters trust saves the club

The League is awaiting the outcome of that hearing, and for the trust to raise the remaining funds as set out in their business plan, before fully considering their application.

A statement from the League read: 'The Football League Board has received details of a proposal by Pompey Supporters' Trust and its partner investors to acquire the assets and certain liabilities of Portsmouth Football Club.

'Having considered the proposal in detail, the Board concluded that it had significant merit.

'However, two outstanding points will have to be resolved before the Board can fully consider PST's application to become the new owner of Portsmouth Football Club.

'They are the outcome of the current High Court proceedings relating to the ownership of Fratton Park and PST raising the remaining funding from supporters that is anticipated in its business plan.

'The Board also confirmed that ongoing membership of the League would be subject to a number of conditions that seek to ensure the sporting integrity of league football and the financial viability of the club going forward.

'It therefore reaffirmed its earlier decision that these conditions would include a deduction of 10 points (applicable at the point of transfer of share) and a range of other restrictions on playing budgets and future borrowing for the next four seasons.'

Pompey, who have been in administration since February, are currently one place and one point outside the npower League One relegation zone.

Image article-2244222-000D8B051000044C-915_224x423.jpg

Andy Murray should cheer up, says John McEnroe

Pot. Kettle. Black Notoriously grumpy McEnroe tells Murray to cheer up now he's won a Major

|

UPDATED:

23:13 GMT, 6 December 2012

John McEnroe was never known for his sunny demeanour on a tennis court, but he still has some advice for Andy Murray – cheer up now that you have won your first Major.

The veteran American thinks a more positive outlook should help Murray in his quest to add to his US Open next season, although he acknowledged that he was hardly a shining example when he was at the top of the sport.

'It would be helpful to see Andy be sort of “I want to be here and I’m loving this”,' the American, who yesterday beat Jeremy Bates 6-4, 6-1 in the Statoil Masters at the Royal Albert Hall, said. 'The next time he wins a Major it would be nice to look a little bit more excited,'

Cheer up: John McEnroe, renowned for his fire on court, has told Andy Murray he should be happier on court as it may help him win more

Cheer up: John McEnroe, renowned for his fire on court, has told Andy Murray he should be happier on court as it may help him win more

Cheer up: John McEnroe, renowned for his fire on court, has told Andy Murray he should be happier on court as it may help him win more

'I say it as an ex-player and someone who wished that perhaps at times I had done that a little bit more. Maybe he was more relieved than anything else when he won at Flushing Meadows.

'One of the things that worried me is that he used to get so negative that not only would it turn himself off in a way, but it turned off people watching him.

'It's like when I saw Azarenka play Sharapova at the US Open, the grunting, it takes away from what you're watching. You're trying to watch and it was a great battle, but it feels like it's hard to stay with it as much as I would like to, given the quality.'

McEnroe believes that Murray has everything to play for next season in what could be a year of change for the men’s game after so much domination by four players.

'This is around the time that something is going to give. Roger is amazing, no doubt about that, but he’s 31. Rafa is the one we don’t know about, he hasn’t played for seven months. I hope to God he does have two or three more good years.

Eye on the ball: McEnroe beat British tennis star Jeremy Bates at the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Thursday

Eye on the ball: McEnroe beat British tennis star Jeremy Bates at the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Thursday

Eye on the ball: McEnroe beat British tennis star Jeremy Bates at the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Thursday

'Novak's had two years at No 1, so it wouldn’t be unheard of to feel like there'd be some type of let-down on some level. Maybe, then again, if he won two majors next year it wouldn’t be shocking.

'Andy's sort of set himself up for doing something big as well. Someone else is shortly going to come through, I’ve been wondering myself who that is.

'Del Potro to me would be the most obvious choice of who’s got the experience and knows what it's like to go long and win one.

'If he can stay healthy and get himself just a little bit fitter, which is what you've got to do against these guys. Then there’ll be someone sort of unknown.

'I thought it was going to be Milos Raonic, but he’s sort of levelled off in a way, and I thought there were other guys that were in the mix that seem to have dropped off. But someone’s going to appear.

'Andy has set himself for a big year, although he missed a few opportunities at the end of this season, still it was the best one he’s ever had.

'If he doesn’t take it up a notch he would be disappointed but if he wins one Major that would be a good year. They are not easy to win.'

Reasons to smile: Murray claimed his first Major at Flushing Meadows in September

Reasons to smile: Murray claimed his first Major at Flushing Meadows in September

McEnroe has been impressed by what he has seen of Laura Robson and Heather Watson but feels the former has the potential to go further.

'Heather has done well but it might be a bit tougher for her because of her size. Robson to me is the one with the bigger upside. She has got a lot of ability and clearly if she is committed and in tip-top shape, I think she could easily be top 10.

'The US Open is the best she has ever played. I think she can do something big personally. I saw that four years ago.

'Hopefully she will have a consistent period to get where she should be. I think she could be really dangerous.

'She is a natural tennis player but she is going to have to be like a Berdych in the men's game – big and powerful. In natural talent I think she is good as anyone out there.'

Despite that view, it was ultra-competitive and mobile Watson who finished the year as British No 1. She is in the middle of a winter training block that has been mostly done in Florida, although on Thursday night she was playing a mixed doubles exhibition alongside Tim Henman at the Statoil Masters.

Pride of Britain: Heather Watson and Laura Robson have bright futures

Pride of Britain: Heather Watson and Laura Robson have bright futures

One of things she will be doing this week is sitting down with her father Ian in what is like an annual general meeting to determine her goals and mark her performance of this season.

'We have this big meeting every year when we discuss the targets for the next season. It lasts about three hours and we talk very openly and honestly and I mark my performance at each tournament. It sort of guides me through the year.

'Twelve months ago my target was to break the top 50 and win an event on the WTA Tour, and I managed both. I don’t know what we will come up with for next year yet but the training is going very well and I’m feeling very confident.'

Image article-2229303-15E637AF000005DC-797_306x423.jpg

Andy Murray loses to Novak Djokovic in London

Murray downed by Djokovic as world No 1 comes from behind to win in London

|

UPDATED:

17:01 GMT, 7 November 2012

Andy Murray's bid for the ATP London Masters took a hit when he was beaten by Novak Djokovic in three sets.

The Scot flew out of the blocks and did not look back, dropping only three points on serve in winning the opening set of their Group A clash 6-4.

This was their seventh meeting of the year after sharing the first six, with Djokovic winning an epic Australian Open semi-final but Murray turning the tables at the Olympics and then clinching his first grand slam title at the US Open.

Setback: Andy Murray was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the ATP world tour finals

Setback: Andy Murray was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the ATP world tour finals

Setback: Andy Murray was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the ATP world tour finals

Setback: Andy Murray was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the ATP world tour finals

That match was also a dramatic five-setter, and their contests have become ever more physically demanding.

The O2 crowd, packed almost to 17,000
capacity, were anticipating another classic, and they were certainly
not disappointed in the opening game.

Murray brought up a break point and
took it with a scampering cross-court forehand after the sort of rally
for which the pair have become famous.

The Scot looked extremely sharp, moving well and hitting his groundstrokes with a real zip, particularly on the forehand.

Djokovic did not win a point on
Murray's serve until a double fault in the sixth game, and in the ninth
game he found himself facing set point after some more incredible
defence from the third seed followed by a cute drop shot.

He could not convert that one,
hooking a forehand long, but on serve he was rock solid once more,
holding to love after 44 minutes.

Out of reach: Murray's serve was formidable early on, but dropped off in the later sets

Out of reach: Murray's serve was formidable early on, but dropped off in the later sets

It was a shorter set than normal in
encounters between the pair, mostly due to Murray's dominance on serve,
with Djokovic not so much as managing a deuce.

The Serb won their most recent match,
in Shanghai last month, in a more than three-hour epic in which Murray
held five match points, but he was struggling to make an impression
here.

Murray had another chance to break in
the third game of the second set but Djokovic landed a drive volley
right on the join of the lines, perhaps more by luck than judgment, and
three games later he had his first chance.

Surprisingly Murray chose to serve
and volley on break point and it did not pay off, the Scot forced to
play off his toes and missing the baseline by a fraction.

And this time it was Djokovic who did not waver serving it out, taking the set 6-3 to level up.

The momentum had well and truly
shifted, with Djokovic now the aggressor and Murray throwing in a few
too many errors, and four of them cost him in the third game of the
decider as the top seed broke through again.

Taking a tumble: Murray was eventually beaten 7-5 in the final set, despite breaking back

Taking a tumble: Murray was eventually beaten 7-5 in the final set, despite breaking back

The crowd tried to raise their man
but the contrast from the first set was total and Murray, whose serves
were now coming back with interest, was beginning to look a little
forlorn.

Instead of putting pressure on
Djokovic, Murray was just trying to hang on, and he saved break points
in the fifth and seventh games before at last rediscovering his spark.

He forced himself to flatten his
forehand back out and it paid dividends, HawkEye showing Djokovic to
have missed by a whisker to give Murray the break back, and suddenly the
British player was one game away.

Djokovic did not waver, though, and it was Murray who cracked again to leave his opponent serving for the match.

Still it was not straightforward as
Murray forced two more break points but this time Djokovic saved them
and clinched victory after two hours and 34 minutes when the Scot missed
a backhand.