Tag Archives: heaven

Andy Murray is not mean enough on the court, says coach Ivan Lendl

'Murray needs to get mean': Lendl says his protege is too nice on the tennis court

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UPDATED:

17:49 GMT, 20 December 2012

Andy Murray’s coach Ivan Lendl has revealed the British No 1 can be too nice on court and needs to get meaner in training in order to keep improving.

In his first year as Murray’s coach Lendl has helped guide the Scot to his first major at the US Open, a Wimbledon final and even an Olympic gold at Centre Court.

But speaking to the Times newspaper, the 52-year-old revealed Murray has to get tougher to get better.

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Andy Murray won the Olympics in 2012

Murray had his finest year in 2012, winning his first Slam and an Olympic gold medal

‘I think Andy is too nice sometimes,’
Lendl said. ‘You can only play the way you practice — there’s not way
you’re going to play differently than the way you practice. At least I
don’t see it.’

After watching Murray complete a
training match against fellow Scot Jamie Baker, Lendl added: ‘Andy knew
what I wanted (during a particular rally). I wanted it buried, either in
the corner or in the guy’s nuts, but bury it somewhere.’

This time last year, Lendl was
considering taking on Murray as his next coaching project after the
British No 1 had parted with ways with Alex Corretja earlier in the
year.

When the pair met, and a mutual commitment to winning was established, it quickly became a match made in heaven.

Andy Murray was beaten by Roger Federer in the 2012 Wimbledon final

But the year hasn't all been plain sailing – the Scot was devastated when Roger Federer bested him in the Wimbledon final

Lendl said: ‘Part of our discussions
with Andy (before becoming his coach) was me getting to know him a
little bit and see if he is as committed as I would be if I did it. The
answer was yes.’

Lendl also revealed the level of
scrutiny that Murray’s physical performance is under, and how minor
tweaks can have the most profound effect on on-court performance.

‘I went to Jez (Green, Murray’s
physical trainer) in Australia in January this year and said where I saw
weaknesses in his conditioning, whether it was movement, turning around
to one side or the other side. Jez then showed me some new exercises
and by Wimbledon he was better.

‘I understand, for Andy to do better,
he needs to be fit, he needs to be quick and he needs to be uninjured,
and they understand that, in order for him to do well, he needs to play a
lot of tennis in certain situations.’

Andy Murray won the US Open in 2012

Murray was thrilled with his US Open title, but Lendl says he will have to get meaner if he wants to win another

Andy Murray won gold at the 2012 Olympics

His next opportunity for Grand Slam success will be in Australia, but he will be up against defending champion Novak Djokovic

With the Australian Open on the horizon, Murray will be resting his body over the Christmas period.

The first Grand Slam of the year has bowed to player pressure and increased prize money for early losers at the season’s opening grand slam.

Tennis Australia announced in October the tournament would have a record purse and today confirmed the major beneficiaries would be players who lose in the opening rounds having incurred the sizeable costs of travelling Down Under.

The title favourites are also set to benefit with both the men’s and women’s champion receiving 2.43million Australian dollars – the biggest prize in the history of the sport.

'Our motivation is to make a major contribution toward helping ensure professional tennis players can make a decent living,' said Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley.

'To just reach the main draw of a slam, a professional tennis player has to be among the top 100 in what is one of, if not the most, competitive professional sport in the world.

'We will not be stopping here,' he added. 'There will be more talks and more increases during the next four years. This is just a very positive first step.'

The Australian Open starts on January 14 with Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka in line to defend their titles.

Carlos Tevez brings back the sparkle to Manchester City: Jamie Redknapp

Weekend watch: Star man Tevez brings back the sparkle to Manchester City

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UPDATED:

23:14 GMT, 28 October 2012

After defeat by Ajax, the one thing
you could be sure of was that Carlos Tevez would be on the Manchester
City teamsheet against Swansea. His energy was the lift they needed in
an otherwise lacklustre display. He’s had his ups and downs at City but
he’s like a bottle of pop, fizzing with energy. You knew he’d score the
winner.

All-action: Carlos Tevez (centre) was at his fizzing best against Swansea

All-action: Carlos Tevez (centre) was at his fizzing best against Swansea

The diving debate

I hate diving and want to see it
eradicated. But referees are under so much pressure to act on it that
we’re seeing dreadful decisions like Mark Clattenburg sending off
Fernando Torres. It ruined a fantastic game and we must be
careful with this agenda. Refs must be sure it’s a dive before acting on
it.

Javier back to his best

A
couple of seasons ago, I I called Javier Hernandez ‘buy of the
century’. Then concussion and other injuries affected him and he looked
tired. Now his spark’s back and goals are coming thick and fast, even if
yesterday’s had a hint of offside. Antonio Valencia was fantastic too, a
real power player, quicker and stronger than most defenders.

Back in business: Javier Hernandez has returned to top form

Back in business: Javier Hernandez has returned to top form

Small guys, big hearts

Two
little men with massive performances stood out for me in the Merseyside
derby. Joe Allen was exceptional in his first derby for Liverpool,
intercepting well and getting his team playing. For Everton, Leon Osman
was an unsung hero. They are both small in stature but big in heart.

More from Jamie Redknapp…

Jamie Redknapp: Electric Sterling and Liverpool are a match made in heaven
21/10/12

Jamie Redknapp: The flair will return for England when Jack's back in the team
18/10/12

Jamie Redknapp: Cazorla and returning Wilshere could be Premier League's Xavi and Iniesta
07/10/12

Jamie Redknapp: Suarez must follow Ronaldo and give up the theatrics
30/09/12

Jamie Redknapp: Liverpool and Manchester United did the 96 proud but why did minority spoil it
23/09/12

Jamie Redknapp: City’s chance for Bernabeu hit and run…
17/09/12

Jamie Redknapp's weekend watch: Hoping for justice for Hillsborough sufferers
16/09/12

Jamie Redknapp's weekend watch: Arsenal's defence is a mean machine
02/09/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

The new odd couple

Sunday was only the second time Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse have scored in the same match. The other was Cisse’s debut in February. I hear they don’t get on well but they have to find a way of playing together, like Teddy Sheringham and Andy Cole did at Manchester United. The win over West Brom should kick-start Newcastle’s season.

Wigan's foreign output

Wigan's win against West Ham was important and I saw an incredible stat — all 34 PL goals they have scored in 2012 have come from foreign players. Even Aylesbury-born Emmerson Boyce plays for Barbados. Shows how tough Roy Hodgson’s England job can be.

Villa in rack and ruin

In February 2011, Fabio Capello called up five Aston Villa players — Gabriel Agbonlahor, Stewart Downing, Darren Bent, Ashley Young and on-loan Kyle Walker — for England. But now, Villa have become dreadful to watch. No-one to get the fans off their seats. They were lucky not to lose to Norwich.

Welcome return: Jack Wilshere looked impressive against QPR

Welcome return: Jack Wilshere looked impressive against QPR

Crackerjack's back

Great to see Jack Wilshere after his long lay-off, just the lift Arsenal need. I love the one-twos he plays around the box — so hard to play against and just what Andres Iniesta and Xavi do for Barcelona. Jack misplaced just three passes v QPR — the best of any starter.

Declan Danaher was bitten by Sisa Koyamaibole

Koyamaibole cops 12-week ban after sinking teeth into London Irish skipper Danaher

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 24 October 2012

London Irish captain Declan Danaher has revealed how former Sale No 8 Sisa Koyamaibole bit his bicep leaving a wound of 18 teeth marks.

The former England forward said he had been shocked by the incident which brought a 12-week ban for Koyamaibole after he pleaded guilty at a disciplinary hearing.

Danaher said had had been bitten at a maul early in the second half of a 43-16 win over Begles Bordeaux in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

Bite: Declan Danaher was injured by Sisa Koyamaibole

Bite: Declan Danaher was injured by Sisa Koyamaibole

He added: ‘I just feel a great deal of disappointment that someone would bite you. I’ve been playing the game professionally for 13 years and no one has ever bitten me before. There is just no place for it.’

Danaher said he felt Koyamaibole bite him during a maul, but it was only a few moments later he looked properly at the wound after Irish had scored a try.

‘I suddenly felt a bite on my arm and we then ripped the ball away and went on to score. It was only then that I looked at my arm where I saw I had something like 18 teeth marks and it had started to bleed in one place.

‘I must admit I was quite shocked that someone would do that playing a game of rugby. I did ask him if he did do it, but he did not reply.’

Danaher, who will be playing his 250th game for Irish when they host Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership on Sunday, described the wound as superficial though he has needed a tetanus jab as a precaution.

Banned: Sisa Koyamaibole will 12 matches for his attack

Banned: Sisa Koyamaibole will 12 matches for his attack

‘Rugby is a physical game of big hits and big tackles but biting is another thing. The game is certainly cleaner than it was 10 years ago because ‘heaven help you’ if you got on the wrong side at a ruck then.’

England lock Louis Deacon is aiming to win back his international place after 10 months on the sidelines.

Deacon hopes to start his first game for Leicester since last Christmas in Saturday’s match at Gloucester.

The lock has recovered from a severe hamstring injury, which left him needing an operation to sow the muscle back onto his leg.

‘It was the most severe pain I’ve ever felt,’ he said about the injury he sustained during a line-out when his foot became caught in the jersey of a colleague after he had jumped for the ball.

‘The last year has been a nightmare but I just want to get back playing now,’ Deacon said.

Raheem Sterling has found his dream job – Jamie Redknapp

Jamie Redknapp: Electric Sterling and Liverpool are a match made in heaven

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 21 October 2012

Since Steve McManaman left for Real Madrid in 1999, Liverpool have been crying out for a truly classy winger. They might have found their man in Raheem Sterling, still only 17. Defenders look scared of his electric pace and he took his goal so coolly under pressure against Reading.

Flair: Raheem Sterling has looked very lively for Liverpool

Flair: Raheem Sterling has looked very lively for Liverpool

More from Jamie Redknapp…

Jamie Redknapp: The flair will return for England when Jack's back in the team
18/10/12

Jamie Redknapp: Cazorla and returning Wilshere could be Premier League's Xavi and Iniesta
07/10/12

Jamie Redknapp: Suarez must follow Ronaldo and give up the theatrics
30/09/12

Jamie Redknapp: Liverpool and Manchester United did the 96 proud but why did minority spoil it
23/09/12

Jamie Redknapp: City’s chance for Bernabeu hit and run…
17/09/12

Jamie Redknapp's weekend watch: Hoping for justice for Hillsborough sufferers
16/09/12

Jamie Redknapp's weekend watch: Arsenal's defence is a mean machine
02/09/12

Jamie Redknapp's weekend watch: Tevez joins the 100 club
26/08/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Star man: Juan Mata

With all the excitement surrounding
Eden Hazard and Oscar, it was almost forgotten that one of the PL’s most
talented playmakers was already at Chelsea. Juan Mata is an exceptional
reader of the game and can split defences with a pass. Six goals in
five games is already half last season’s tally.

Arsenal fall in trap

Norwich’s win over Arsenal is the result of the season so far. And Chris Hughton’s team fully deserved the three points. It was interesting to see Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni at Carrow Road after all the criticism he’s received for not watching enough games. Wes Hoolahan will have impressed him.

Norwich silence Santi

Norwich did something only Chelsea have managed this season — they kept Santi Cazorla quiet. He had no time on the ball, meaning he made just 61 successful passes, his second lowest tally this season behind the Chelsea game. Odd to see Arsenal pumping the ball up to Per Mertesacker.

No impact: Santi Cazorla could not work his magic

No impact: Santi Cazorla could not work his magic

The table doesn't lie

I can’t remember the PL table taking shape so quickly. You can guarantee the title will go to one of the current top three and the relegated trio are already in the bottom six. Usually you have a big team struggling — think Everton, Liverpool or Tottenham in recent years — or a quick starter like Alan Pardew’s Newcastle last season.

Rooney's reminder

when he suffered that awful gashed thigh, many were writing Wayne Rooney’s football obituary but three England goals and two for Manchester United on Saturday reminded everyone he has plenty to offer. United will need him at his best to win back the title.

Still got it: Wayne Rooney showed his skills

Still got it: Wayne Rooney showed his skills

Terriers snap to it

There are lot of good teams in the Championship but promoted Huddersfield are really impressing me so far. Simon Grayson is doing a fantastic job and their 2-0 win over Wolves was convincing. With Jermaine Beckford and James Vaughan firing up front, they have PL class.

Jags looks the part

With John Terry retired from international football, it’s a vital time in Phil Jagielka’s career. He was outstanding at QPR, like a magnet to the ball and a threat in both boxes. Gary Cahill was good too at Spurs, finishing like a striker for Chelsea’s opener.

Richard Hughes wins seven of eight at Windsor

Seventh heaven! Hughes claims string of Windsor wins at odds of 10,168-1

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UPDATED:

17:59 GMT, 15 October 2012

Red riding: Richard Hughes won seven of his eight races at Windsor on Monday

Red riding: Richard Hughes won seven of his eight races at Windsor on Monday

Richard Hughes rode his way into the racing record books with his own fantastic 10,168-1 seven-timer at Windsor on Monday.

The 39-year-old jockey, who is on the verge of his first championship, won on all but one of his mounts to become the first jockey to ride seven winners at a meeting since Frankie Dettori's Magnificent Seven at Ascot on September 28, 1996.

Hughes said: 'I'm over the moon. I always thought I might do it one day at Windsor – my lucky track. It’s one thing after another this year, it’s been great.'

HUGHES' SEVEN WINNERS

Pivotal Movement 13-8

East Texas Red 5-2

Embankment 7-1

Magic Secret 4-1

Links Drive Lady 5-2

Duke Of Clarence 7-4

Mama Quilla 15-8

Hughes, who has ridden 161 winners this season, leads nearest title race pursuer William Buick by a massive 47 wins.

His winning roll started with
three-and-a quarter length success of Pivotal Movement in the colours of
Sir Alex Ferguson and trained by his boss and father-in-law Richard
Hannon, who supplied three of his winners.

The opportunity to go through the
eight-race card was blown when Ever Fortune could only finish third in
race six – the mile handicap.

But the Irishman was back in the
winner’s enclosure with a rallying effort on Hannon’s Duke of Clarence
before Ryan Moore stood down to allow his friend to pick up the
successful mount on William Haggas-trained Mama Quilla in the final
race.

Hughes celebrated with his own (less flamboyant) version of the Dettori flying dismount.

Bookmakers bemoaned the result but said the day was nowhere near as financially damaging as Dettori's 20,095-1 achievement which cost the industry 40million.

David Williams of Ladbrokes, who said
one client had won almost 250,000 for a 256 Hughes-related bet, said:
‘It would be wrong to liken it to Dettori day which was a Saturday with
terrestrial TV coverage but we have not had as bleak a midweek day for
a long time.’

'That was probably the cheapest
seven-timer ever for the bookies,' said William Hill spokesperson, Kate
Miller. 'The last time a high-profile jockey rode a big seven-timer it
cost us 7million, so we're very grateful that Richard timed his on a
quiet Monday.

'We'll pay out around 100,000 but the figure could easily have been 10 times that if he'd chosen this Saturday instead.'

The record for winners at a meeting
outside of Britain is held by US jockey Eddie Castro, who rode nine from
11 mounts at Calder in 2005.

England lose to Spain in Gold Coast Sevens

England suffer painful defeat to Spain in Australia's Gold Coast Sevens

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UPDATED:

11:24 GMT, 14 October 2012

England were beaten finalists in the Bowl competition of the Gold Coast Sevens, going down 19-14 in sudden-death extra-time to Spain in Australia.

Ben Ryan's team overcame Scotland 35-7 in the Bowl quarter-finals, having missed out on a place in the last eight of the main tournament following a 19-17 pool defeat to Samoa on Saturday.

Spanish inquisition: England were beaten in the bowl final

Spanish inquisition: England were beaten in extra time of the Bowl final

Spanish inquisition: England were beaten in extra time of the Bowl final

Dan Norton scored two tries in the win over the Scots, which set up a semi-final against Canada.

England triumphed 24-19 against the North Americans after extra-time and appeared on course to win the Bowl title at 14-7 up in the second half, but Spain battled back with tries from Ignacio Martin and Matias Tudela.

Fiji won the overall title, beating New Zealand 32-14 in the final, while Wales were losing Bowl semi-finalists to Spain.

Seventh heaven: Spain celebrate a famous victory over England in Australia

Seventh heaven: Spain celebrate a famous victory over England in Australia

Seventh heaven: Spain celebrate a famous victory over England in Australia

Big winners: Fiji ran out overall victors of the competition on Australia's Gold Coast

Big winners: Fiji ran out overall victors of the competition on Australia's Gold Coast

Bakary Sako completes Wolves switch from St Etienne

Seventh heaven for Wolves as Solbakken secures Sako from St Etienne

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UPDATED:

12:08 GMT, 29 August 2012

Wolves have completed the signing of French midfielder Bakary Sako from St Etienne on a three-year deal.

The 24-year-old watched the npower Championship draw against Derby at Molineux on Saturday and joined his new team-mates for training on Wednesday morning.

Sako becomes Stale Solbakken's seventh summer signing and the Wolves boss is delighted with his latest capture.

New boy: Bakary Sako becomes Wolves seventh summer signing

New boy: Bakary Sako becomes Wolves seventh summer signing

Football League blog

'I am very pleased that we have completed the deal to sign Bakary,' he told the club's official website.

'He can play on either side and also in behind the striker and has a great left foot, which is something we are missing now in attack.

'He has great experience from playing in a top-six or -seven team in France over the last two seasons and hopefully he can be a match-winner for us.'

Lewis Hamilton feeling the pressure ahead of European Grand Prix

Championship leader Hamilton feeling the pressure ahead of European Grand Prix

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UPDATED:

16:30 GMT, 20 June 2012

Lewis Hamilton admits the pressure is now firmly on in the wake of his recent victory in Canada.

Hamilton finally took the chequered flag this season 10 days ago in Montreal, extending a new Formula One record for different winners to seven from the opening seven grands prix.

The 27-year-old's 18th triumph of his F1 career also allowed him to regain the lead of the drivers' championship, albeit just two points ahead of Fernando Alonso and three to Sebastian Vettel.

Seventh heaven: Hamilton won last time out in Canada

Seventh heaven: Hamilton won last time out in Canada

But with 13 races remaining, Hamilton is aware it means little at this stage of the campaign, particularly given the rollercoaster ride to date as the title picture has changed after each race.

McLaren star Hamilton said: 'My win in Montreal was obviously an extremely satisfying moment for me, but it does very little to alter things in the world championship.

'While it's always pleasing to be leading the championship, I'm only two points ahead of Fernando.

'That's nothing, particularly when there are a handful of really strong drivers all separated by a couple of points, so there's still everything to play for.'

Champagne moment: The McLaren star says F1 is impossible to predict this season

Champagne moment: The McLaren star says F1 is impossible to predict this season

Phil Duncan F1 blog

As one of only two drivers to claim points from every race this year – Ferrari's Alonso the other – Hamilton knows the importance of keeping the tally ticking over.

'The intensity of this year's championship means there's so little breathing space,' added Hamilton.

'We may have won in Canada, but there's an enormous amount of pressure to keep racking up good results at every grand prix.

'I think consistency, rather than individual strong results, will be the key to winning this world championship, so we need to back it up in Valencia with another strong result.'

But such are the vagaries of the season it makes it impossible to forecast who will be strong in this weekend's European Grand Prix as F1 makes its second visit to Spain in a few weeks.

Making a splash: Hamilton leads the championship from Alonso

Making a splash: Hamilton leads the championship from Alonso

Hamilton said: 'People are always asking me to predict what will happen at the next race. I always tell them it's really difficult to make an accurate prediction.

'But I'll be heading to Valencia feeling super-motivated to get another strong result and maintain my momentum before we head into Silverstone and the British Grand Prix.'

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes the smallest amount of time gained could make the biggest difference come the conclusion to the tightest of battles at present.

'Victory in Montreal was extremely satisfying,' said Whitmarsh.

'While you're only as good as your last result in F1, it's done nothing to quell our determination ahead of the European Grand Prix.

'Given the delta between ourselves, Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull Racing is so narrow, we'll again be pushing hard on both our operational and technical fronts to ensure we stay at the front.

'As always, we aim to bring at least an additional one-tenth (of a second) laptime benefit to each race, and we're pushing hard to ensure we can over-deliver on that on as regular a basis as possible.

'It may sound like a negligible increment, but it could prove to be the difference between winning and losing the world championship.'

On that basis, Whitmarsh has echoed Hamilton's words when it comes to consistency.

He added: 'It's certainly feasible this year's title could be won by a driver who scores only two or three grand prix wins, but who reinforces those victories with the most consistently solid approach.

'So whereas in previous years there was an emphasis on the “big” results, this year it seems minor points placings could provide a decisive edge in the title battle.'

US Open 2012: Tiger Woods shares lead, Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald out

Heaven beckons for Tiger but McIlroy and Donald fail to make cut at Olympic Club

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UPDATED:

02:11 GMT, 16 June 2012

Is Tiger Woods halfway to paradise, and his first major championship victory for four long years No doubt redoubtable veterans Jim Furyk and David Toms will have something to say about that this weekend and let’s hope another major champion in Graeme McDowell will do so as well.

But there was something ominous about the way Tiger fended off outrageous fortune to place himself right where he wanted to be at the halfway stage of the 112th United States Open at Olympic.

Nothing could knock him off his stride on Friday, not a couple of funky spots in greenside bunkers nor a desperate break at the par five 17th hole.

Half way to heaven Tiger's taken a share of the lead heading into the third round

Half way to heaven Tiger's taken a share of the lead heading into the third round

US Open at the Olympic Club

Click here for the full leaderboard

At the end he signed for a level par
round of 70 and on this brutal test it earned him a tie for the lead
with Furyk, US Open winner in 2003, Toms, who won the USPGA in 2001,
with G-Mac, champion two years ago at Pebble Beach, a further two
strokes adrift.

This is the 10th time Woods has led or had a share of the lead after 36 holes of a major. Of the previous nine, he won eight.

'It was some kind of test out there but I feel good about what I am doing and about my game plan,’ said Woods.

Major number 15 has appeared on the
distant horizon, therefore, but Furyk, Toms and McDowell, of course, are
quite capable of obstructing his view. The one thing you can be sure of
with this trio is they won't be scared of the prospect over the next
two days.

Furyk admitted one of the reasons for
his poor form last year was a touch of laziness. As one of the hardest
workers in the game, that’s probably too brutal a dose of self-analysis
but even if true it doesn’t apply anymore.

This is the perfect course for the 42
year old, with its emphasis on finding fairways and greens. As it is
for Toms, now 45 years old, who has played some of the best golf of his
career in the last 18 months.

McDowell was disappointed with a
finish that saw him drop three shots in his last four holes but, as his
manager Conor Ridge said, maybe that is a blessing in disguise. He is
equally at home on this venue as he was at Pebble Beach, just a couple
of hours’ drive away.

Swing the zone: Toms (above) and Furyk (below) share the lead with Woods

Swing the zone: Toms (above) and Furyk (below) share the lead with Woods

Swing the zone: Toms (above) and Furyk (below) share the lead with Woods

'The worst round he played at Pebble
was the third round when he was in the lead,' said Ridge. 'It can be
better to be just a couple of shots back, without the spotlight on you.'

Woods was unlucky when his ball
finished on the edge of a bunker at the 6th, and he had to chop it out
with his hands gripped on the shaft of the club. He had to play a bunker
shot at the 16th with one leg in the bunker and one leg out.

Then, at the par five 17th, a
seemingly perfect approach destined to finish snug to the hole somehow
raced through the back and down a steep hill.

No problem to Tiger. As twice former
US Open Champion Andy North said: ’I think he is comfortable in his own
skin for the first time in three years.’

The ultimate test as to how comfortable he is, of course, will come this weekend.

Three Englishmen remain on the
fringes of contention. Justin Rose had to be disappointed with a round
of 75 but, at four over par, is only five off the pace. Lee Westwood and
Ian Poulter began their third rounds on Saturday a further shot adrift,
and by no means out of it.

Not so the two best players in the
world. What a desperate disappointment this tournament was for Luke
Donald and Rory McIlroy. For Donald, without a single top ten finish in
this event, it was an all too familiar feeling of disappointment when
leaving the year’s second major.

For defending champion McIlroy,
however, the frustration was plain. No need to ask him whether this was
the worst moment of his career. It was writ large on his face.

'Any idea how many majors Tiger had
won by your age' his manager Ridge asked him. Perhaps it cheered the 23
year old up a little to learn it was the same as he owns – one.

McIlroy ate a sandwich in the locker
room while Ridge and caddie JP Fitzgerald packed his golf bag. He sent a
text to girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki and then talked to a small scrum
of golf writers about his fourth missed halfway cut in five events and
what happens next.

Heading home: It was a day to forget for McIlroy (above) and Donald (below)

Heading home: It was a day to forget for McIlroy (above) and Donald (below)

Heading home: It was a day to forget for McIlroy (above) and Donald (below)

'I guess it is a reminder you’ve got to keep working hard and that the game doesn’t come easy,’ said the Northern Irishman.

'But I've seen enough good signs over
the past two events. Now it's time to go home, play some links golf and
get ready for the Irish Open at Portrush.'

As he indicated, McIlroy didn't play
that badly during his second round 73. At his third hole he missed the
fairway by six inches and finished in a spot so bad he couldn't get the
ball on the green with a sand wedge.

At his last hole he had a putt for a
birdie to make what he thought would be the halfway cut on the limit. He
grazed the right edge and, adding insult to injury, missed the one
back.

Donald improved greatly on his
opening round – not difficult, given he shot 79 – and talked after his
72 about feeling uncomfortable with his swing coming into the event.
‘It happens,’ he said.

Alas, it happens all too often at the
majors. Statistics might be open to all sorts of interpretation, as the
old saying goes, but here’s one that is neither a lie nor a damned lie.
Donald has now played in 20 consecutive majors stretching back to 2006
since he last broke 70 in an opening round.

Why does a man in contention at
virtually every other tournament struggle out of the gate on the biggest
weeks of all It’s known in the trade as getting in your own way, and
Donald might well be its prime victim at present.

The first and last rounds are the
ones where players get most uptight. There’s an obvious need to post a
good number for openers, so you're not playing catch-up.

Amateur dramatics: Hossler briefly led and remains in contention heading into the third round

Amateur dramatics: Hossler briefly led and remains in contention heading into the third round

Amateur dramatics: Hossler briefly led and remains in contention heading into the third round

Donald last found himself in that
position at the 2006 USPGA at Medinah, where he opened with a 68. The
value of a good start was emphasised when he found himself paired with
Tiger in the last group on the final day.

Since then, he’s barely been in
contention to win a major. Sure, he’s posted a couple of top five
finishes but through making up ground as the tournament progressed,
without really being in the thick of it at the death.

It remains a mystery why a man can be
a rock at the Ryder Cup, play like a born winner at the European Tour’s
flagship event three weeks ago and clearly be too uptight here. At 34,
he needs to find a solution quickly.

At Wentworth recently Donald talked
candidly about the subject. 'I want to win one so badly that sometimes
gets in the way and it is all about learning to just relax and deal with
that,' he said.

Clearly, there's a still some learning and relaxing to do.

One of the best stories of the day
was provided by 17 year old American amateur sensation Beau Hossler.
With seven holes of his round to play he actually led his national Open
by a stroke. At that point in the whole wide world of Twitter, he was
one of the two biggest trending subjects.

Then he woke up. A succession of
bogeys and a double bogey followed before he righted the ship with a
glorious chip-in at his 17th hole to finish on two over par.

Beaudelicious, as the Americans might say.

Up late: The 14-year-old Andy Zhang enjoyed his first taste of major tournament golf

Up late: The 14-year-old Andy Zhang enjoyed his first taste of major tournament golf

French Open final 2012: Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic

Seventh heaven! Nadal secures record French Open title with triumph over Djokovic

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UPDATED:

12:46 GMT, 11 June 2012

Rafael Nadal became the first man ever to win seven French Open titles as he defeated Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5, in their rain-delayed final at Roland Garros.

The Spaniard, who has now surpassed Bjorn Borg, had trailed 2-1 in the fourth set when they resumed following Sunday night's suspension but he immediately retrieved the break and clinched victory when Djokovic double-faulted.

The world No 1 had been bidding to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four grand slam trophies at once following three successive victories over Nadal, but this time the king of clay turned the tables.

Pure delight: Rafael Nadal has won a record seventh French Open title with victory over Novak Djokovic

Pure delight: Rafael Nadal has won a record seventh French Open title with victory over Novak Djokovic

Pure delight: Rafael Nadal has won a record seventh French Open title with victory over Novak Djokovic

Pure delight: Rafael Nadal has won a record seventh French Open title with victory over Novak Djokovic

Sunday's first part had certainly not been short on drama, whether it was the fluctuating fortunes of both men or the weather itself.

It had rained for almost the whole three hours, and the wet and heavy conditions affected Nadal both physically and mentally during the third and fourth sets.

The Spaniard was getting increasingly irate as they continued to play, the balls so wet and laden with clay that he could not impart his vicious spin.

King of clay: Nadal is the most successful player ever at Roland Garros

King of clay: Nadal is the most successful player ever at Roland Garros

No response: Djokovic rallied before the weather enforced overnight break

No response: Djokovic rallied before the weather enforced overnight break

From two sets and a break up, he lost eight games in a row before composing himself to win the final game last night, which looked very important when he promptly broke in the first game today to level the fourth set at 2-2.

The slow but dry conditions were perfect for the Spaniard, although he got a huge slice of luck with a net cord on break point that left Djokovic helpless at the net as the ball whizzed past him.

With Nadal leading 4-3, the rain resumed, although it was light, and the Spaniard's feelings were obvious when he sprinted from his chair before the umpire had called for play to restart.

Djokovic looked briefly perturbed but, as has done so often over the last 18 months, he steeled himself to find a way through the game.

Heavens above: Djokovic was the most affected by the weather and subsequent stoppages

Heavens above: Djokovic was the most affected by the weather and subsequent stoppages

... but Nadal had his problems too and questioned some of the decisions being made in the chair

… but Nadal had his problems too and questioned some of the decisions being made in the chair

He could not threaten on Nadal's serve, though, and the second seed moved to within one game of victory with a love hold.

Suddenly the rain was falling much harder, bringing tournament referee Stefan Fransson onto court, but the players stayed on in their seats while the worst of it fell and then resumed after a brief delay.

Djokovic withstood the first challenge as he served to stay in the match, but at 5-6 Nadal sensed blood and he brought up a first match point with a thundering forehand.

The Serb's resistance crumbled and he ended the match on a double fault, with Nadal sinking to his knees on the clay as he savoured a moment of history.

Putting on a show: The two best players on the planet produced a match worthy of a showpiece

Putting on a show: The two best players on the planet produced a match worthy of a showpiece

Putting on a show: The two best players on the planet produced a match worthy of a showpiece

Nadal climbed into the stands to embrace his support team before taking his customary bite of the Coupe des Mousquetaires.

The Spaniard, who has moved level with Borg and Rod Laver on 11 grand slam titles, said of overtaking the great Swede: 'It's an honour but the most important thing is this tournament. It's unforgettable, one of the most special moments in my career.'

Djokovic joined Roger Federer, who twice saw his hopes of holding all four trophies ended by Nadal in Roland Garros finals, but the Serb had no complaints with the result.

He said: 'I feel really privileged to be in this position, being in the final at Roland Garros for the first time. I enjoyed the match, Rafa was the better player. I hope to come back next year and play even better.'