Tag Archives: leader

Rafa Benitez plays down talk of David Luiz being future long term Chelsea captain

I'm not ready to make Luiz my captain yet, insists Chelsea boss Benitez amid doubts over Terry's future

By
Matt Barlow

PUBLISHED:

12:54 GMT, 16 April 2013

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UPDATED:

13:15 GMT, 16 April 2013

Rafa Benitez has dismissed claims that David Luiz is in line to replace John Terry as the long-term captain of Chelsea.

Terry was left out of Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City at the weekend and has missed a number games this season.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech led the side in Terry’s absence at Wembley on Sunday, but Luiz has been cited as a possible long-term replacement.

Future leader: Rafa Benites has played down talk of David Luiz being Chelsea captain

Future leader: Rafa Benites has played down talk of David Luiz being Chelsea captain

But Benitez played down the suggestion saying he did not want to praise the Brazilin too much.

‘I don’t want to talk about the future when we’re involved in top four challenge and Europa League. He’ one of the important players we have, there are others, I don’t want to give too much credit to him. He is a key player and will be in the future.’

Arsene Wenger expects Jack Wilshere to become an England centurion

Bale is the flavour of the month… But Wilshere will be an England centurion, claims Wenger

By
Jim Van Wijk, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

22:50 GMT, 2 March 2013

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UPDATED:

09:40 GMT, 3 March 2013

No pressure: Jack Wilshere is expected to win 100 caps, according to Wenger

No pressure: Jack Wilshere is expected to win 100 caps, according to Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is in no doubt midfielder Jack Wilshere can outlast the hype and go on to earn a century of caps for England.

Wilshere, 21, returned from more than a year out injured in October, but is already being heralded as an integral part of the future hopes of both club and country.

Arsenal head to Tottenham on Sunday, where they will come up against in-form Welshman Gareth Bale, who has drawn comparisons with Europe's best after his match-winning performances this season.

Wenger believes his own talented midfielder has everything ahead of him.

'Bale is the flavour of the moment. When you look at Wilshere, who will deny that this guy will get 100 caps for England Nobody, if he has no injury,' said Wenger.

'My worry is not to compare Wilshere with anyone else. My only worry when you are a footballer player of that talent is to become as good as you can become.

'That is the only thing that is of interest to me. I leave the comparisons to other people. My job is to get the best out of him.'

Talking a good game: Wenger (left) and Wilshere (right)

Talking a good game: Wenger (left) and Wilshere (right)

Wenger feels it is sometimes overlooked just how much Wilshere has achieved since arriving at the club aged nine.

'You tend to forget how old he is when you see him play. You never come out of a game and think 'this guy is 21 years old'. He's at a stage where the others have not started,' said Wenger.

'You think of Jack (as) an established player in the Premier League and at international level, that is still something special.'

Wenger feels Wilshere will develop into Arsenal's natural leader. He continued: 'Jack breathes football. He doesn't talk too much, but he understands everything.

On the run: Wilshere (right) takes on Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger

On the run: Wilshere (right) takes on Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger

'What he has exceeded is the speed of his physical fitness in the game. Honestly, I never expected that.'

Wilshere has yet to score in the Premier League this season, but Wenger feels that the goals will soon come.

'I believe it's part of his development to play a bit more advanced,” the Arsenal boss said.

'In some games, he is more comfortable deeper. I believe he has a little dribble that can get him through in the final third and the finishing will come.

'He's a bit in a situation like (Cesc) Fabregas was for a while. He said to me “but I cannot score goals', however you could see that it would come.

'Jack doesn't talk about it, but who doesn't want to score goals He is more a team player than a goalscorer.

'He will never be a goalscorer, but he can be capable to score.'

Arsenal head across north London defending a five-match unbeaten run, with three victories on the bounce, as they look to move back to just one point behind their rivals.

Wenger accepts there are no longer any margins for error if his team at to secure another top-four finish.

'It is still open, but I am realistic and we cannot drop points,' he said.

'One or two of the other teams will always win over the weekend. If we drop points we can fall quickly behind.

'So there are two things we cannot do – drop points and also speculate over the weaknesses of our opponents because that can be deadly as well.'

Golf: Richard Sterne and Trevor Fischer Jnr are tied for the lead at the Johannesburg open

South African duo Sterne and Fischer Jnr tied for the lead in Johannesburg

PUBLISHED:

17:26 GMT, 8 February 2013

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UPDATED:

17:26 GMT, 8 February 2013

South Africa's Richard Sterne and Trevor Fisher Jnr are tied for the lead at the halfway stage of the Joburg Open, three shots clear of the chasing pack.

Sterne followed up his opening-day 63 with another blemish-free round of 65 today on the east course to join early leader Fisher Jnr on 15 under par for the tournament.

Fisher Jnr had looked set to take a comfortable lead into the third day after he shot a blistering 62 on the west course, just one stroke outside Charl Schwartzel's course record.

Faultless: Richard Sterne followed up his opening day 63 with a high quality 65

Faultless: Richard Sterne followed up his opening day 63 with a high quality 65

Faultless: Richard Sterne followed up his opening day 63 with a high quality 65

However, Sterne, who was runner-up to Stephen Gallacher in the Dubai Classic last week, continued his good run of form to stay in contention for his sixth European Tour title at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Course.

A birdie on the opening hole and gains at the fourth and seventh saw him quickly close ground on his compatriot before an eight-foot putt at the ninth saw him claim an outward score of 33.

Sterne then added birdies on three of the last four holes which saw him catch up with Fisher Jnr and repeat his effort from the opening day of finishing the round joint top.

'I did the right things and putted well. It's nice to not be behind going into the weekend,' Sterne told europeantour.com.

Man on a mission: Trevor Fisher Jnr shot a round of 62 to climb to the top of the leader-board

Man on a mission: Trevor Fisher Jnr shot a round of 62 to climb to the top of the leader-board

'It won't be easy on the weekend. The players that are five or six back can catch us as well. Charl's there, George (Coetzee) is due a win, so it's a long way from over.'

Fisher Jnr, who was named Sunshine Tour Players' Player of the Year two days ago, shot an eagle and seven birdies on the way to a nine-under-par round of 62 on day two.

'It was a great day out there,' Fisher Jnr said. 'Everything just happened for me and I sank the putts I needed to sink.

On song: Fisher Jnr shot an eagle and seven birdies

On song: Fisher Jnr shot an eagle and seven birdies

On song: Fisher Jnr shot an eagle and seven birdies

'I was happy and patient with myself – walked slow and did everything slow – and it was just a good day.'

Coetzee completed the all-South African top three on 12 under par while home favourite Schwartzel fired 65 on the west course to tie for fourth place alongside compatriot Keith Horne and Felipe Aguilar of Chile.

And Schwartzel was not surprised with Fisher Jnr's strong performance so far in the tournament.
He said: 'We played foursomes for South Africa Under-23s – I know how good he can be.'

England's Tommy Fleetwood finished on nine under par for the first two rounds after he carded 66 today to lie in a four-way tie for seventh while Scotland's David Drysdale and England's Richard Finch were another shot back in a cluster of nine players.

Tom Stalker becomes second London 2012 British boxer to turn pro after signing with Matchroom

Stalker becomes second London 2012 British boxer to turn pro after signing with Matchroom

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

13:17 GMT, 9 January 2013

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UPDATED:

15:35 GMT, 9 January 2013

Thomas Stalker has become the second British Olympic boxer to turn professional.

The 28-year-old has signed with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom outfit and follows London team-mate Anthony Ogogo into the paid ranks.

The Sportsmail columnist will make his debut in February and will also be on the undercard of Tony Bellew's world title eliminator against Isaac Chilemba at Liverpool's Echo Arena on March 30.

Turning pro: Stalker has signed with Matchroom

Turning pro: Stalker has signed with Matchroom

Stalker is a former European and
Commonwealth gold medalist and was controversially beaten in the
quarter-finals at the London Games.

'I feel I am going to be exciting to
watch as a professional boxer,' Stalker said. 'I felt it was time for me
to turn professional now and see how far I can go. I have done
everything I could possibly do as an amateur, bar winning an Olympic
medal.

'Even though I didn’t medal myself,
as a team I have captained the most successful amateur boxing team we
have ever had and that was a big thing for me.

Leader: Tom StalLeader: Tom Stalker (second right) was Team GB's captainker was Team GB's captain

Leader: Tom Stalker (second right) was Team GB's captain

Stalker is a former European and
Commonwealth gold medalist and was controversially beaten in the
quarter-finals at the London Games.

'I feel I am going to be exciting to
watch as a professional boxer,' Stalker said. 'I felt it was time for me
to turn professional now and see how far I can go. I have done
everything I could possibly do as an amateur, bar winning an Olympic
medal.

'Even though I didn’t medal myself,
as a team I have captained the most successful amateur boxing team we
have ever had and that was a big thing for me.

Dedicated: Stalker hard at work

Dedicated: Stalker hard at work

'It wasn’t just a three-week
tournament it had been four years of trying to qualify to win those
medals so to see all the lads and women do so well and win medals was
amazing and I am very honoured to have captained that team.

'Winning the Commonwealth Games gold
medal was obviously a highlight for me in the amateurs but I would say
qualifying for the Olympics was a big moment after all the hard work it
took to qualify.

'Since the Olympics I haven’t had a
goal and I have been a bit depressed, especially seeing the other lads
doing all sorts of stuff but now I have that hunger back and to get in
that ring and fight is going to be amazing. The one for me is going to
be March, boxing a homecoming in Liverpool. It is going to be amazing
for me to be boxing in front of all my friends and family in Liverpool
and that is when I will really feel like a professional.

First: Anthony Ogogo had already turned pro

First: Anthony Ogogo had already turned pro

'I think a lot of Eddie Hearn and I
think a lot of the fighters he has; Carl Froch, Kell Brook and of course
the Liverpool fighters he has got, Tony Bellew, Rocky Fielding and
Callum Smith. I thought it made sense to go with Matchroom because Eddie
is doing really well for his fighters at the moment.

'Kal Yafai, Scotty Cardle and Martin
J. Ward were all really good friends in the GB squad and I see them
doing really well now with Matchroom. When I was watching Scott Cardle’s
last fight I was picturing myself against the opponent he was fighting
because he is about the same weight as me.'

Stalker will be trained by Paul and
Mick Stevenson at Everton Red Triangle boxing club alongside British
flyweight champion Kevin Satchell.

Guide: Eddie Hearn will promote Stalker

Guide: Eddie Hearn will promote Stalker

Rob McCracken, GB Boxing performance
director, said: 'It has been very good working with Tom over the last
three years, when he has shown himself to be a fine boxer with the
ability to win medals at major tournaments.

'It is disappointing for us that Tom
has decided his future lies away from the GB Boxing squad but he departs
with our best regards and we wish him every success in his future
career.'

Luca di Montezemolo: I"d want Sebastian Vettel not Lewis Hamilton to replace Fernando Alonso at Ferrari

Forget Hamilton, I'd want Vettel to replace Alonso at Ferrari, claims Di Montezemolo

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UPDATED:

18:40 GMT, 20 December 2012

Lewis Hamilton is lagging behind Sebastian Vettel on Ferrari's wishlist of a potential replacements for current team leader Fernando Alonso.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo revealed he is a greater admirer of Vettel's talents than those of Hamilton when asked who he would like to take over when Alonso decides to call it a day.

'If, tomorrow, Fernando would withdraw for any reason – let's say he moves to Hawaii with his girlfriend – then I would want Vettel,' said the Ferrari president to German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

Moving on: Hamilton will race for Mercedes next season

Moving on: Hamilton will race for Mercedes next season

'He is young, he has his feet on the floor, and he has an indomitable will to win. Michael Schumacher made me aware of him years ago because he knew him from his karting years. I must say, Michael was right.'

Seemingly ruling our Hamilton's chances of driving for Ferrari, di Montezemolo claimed his decision to leave McLaren for Mercedes counts against him.

Asked why he preferred Vettel to Hamilton, di Montezemolo replied: 'Because he (Vettel) is younger, and because Ferrari would be Hamilton's third team. And if you've reached your third team, your career is already in its second half.'

Even hints by Vettel that Ferrari had used 'dirty tricks' to try and derail his pursuit of a third successive world title do not seem to have dented his chances of a move to Maranello.

Hat-trick: Vettel claimed his third world title this season

Hat-trick: Vettel claimed his third world title this season

'In the heat of battle you can always say something emotional,' said Di Montezemolo.

Given the increasingly fierce rivalry between Vettel and Alonso there seems little prospect of the pair sharing a garage at Ferrari until the Spaniard decides to call it a day.

And Di Montezemolo insisted he would be only too delighted if Alonso opts to see out the remaining three years of his contract with Ferrari.

He added: 'I'm incredibly happy with him. He is more than just a driver.'

Long-term contract: Alonso still has three years to run on his Ferrari deal

Long-term contract: Alonso still has three years to run on his Ferrari deal

With Hamilton having already admitted he is unlikely to be in the title frame next season as he strives to turn Mercedes into frontrunners, the drivers' championship has all the hallmarks of being another titanic battle between Vettel and Alonso.

However, Jenson Button will hopeful of forcing his way into the title picture if McLaren can find the required reliability to go with the speed advantage they enjoyed last season.

McLaren's 2013 challenger, the Mercedes-powered MP4-28, will break cover on January 31 at a launch ceremony in the UK.

Vitali Klitschko watches Ukrainian Parliament debate erupt into brawl

Klitschko stays on his stool as Ukrainian debate in parliament erupts into mass brawl

Heavyweight champion looked on as punches were thrown

Feminist group staged nude protest at the opening of Ukrainian Parliament

Allegations of corruption in country where opposition leader is jailed

MPs brawled ahead of vote to endorse new Prime Minister

|

UPDATED:

11:28 GMT, 14 December 2012

Heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko was about the only one not swinging punches as fists flew in the Ukraine parliament for a second day running.

MPs wrestled with each other following controversial elections in October and the brawl erupted as a vote on the ruling Party of Regions' nomination for
speaker was about to be announced.

Opposition and pro-presidential lawmakers grappled with each other
in a mass of bodies around the main rostrum in parliament but Klitschko, leader of the UDAR, was not involved.

Scroll down for video

Standing back: Heavyweight boxer and leader of the UDAR Vitali Klitschko looked on as the brawl erupted

Standing back: Heavyweight boxer and leader of the UDAR Vitali Klitschko looked on as the brawl erupted

Chaotic scenes: Fists flew in the Ukraine parliament for a second day running, as MPs wrestled with each other following controversial elections in October

Chaotic scenes: Fists flew in the Ukraine parliament for a second day running, as MPs wrestled with each other following controversial elections in October

Violent scenes: The brawl erupted as a vote on the ruling Party of Regions' nomination for speaker was about to be announced

Violent scenes: The brawl erupted as a vote on the ruling Party of Regions' nomination for speaker was about to be announced

Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days

Deputies of the opposition fight with deputies of the majority for a second time in two days

Scramble: Despite some deputies being knocked over in the melee, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich's ruling party still managed to install one of its parliamentary deputies as speaker

Aggressive: Opposition and pro-presidential lawmakers grappled with each other in a mass of bodies around the main rostrum in parliament

Aggressive: Opposition and pro-presidential lawmakers grappled with each other in a mass of bodies around the main rostrum in parliament

Despite some deputies being knocked over in the melee, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich's ruling party still managed to install one of its parliamentary deputies as speaker.

The
violent scenes were similar to yesterday when the new session of the
Ukrainian parliament got off to a dramatic start with MPs brawling on the floor of the chamber while a topless protest against corruption was staged outside.

Teamwork: Ukraine's parliament has seen several physical confrontations in recent years amid bitter confrontation between opposition and pro-government camps

Teamwork: Ukraine's parliament has seen several physical confrontations in recent years amid bitter confrontation between opposition and pro-government camps

Ukrainian lawmakers fight

Ukrainian lawmakers fight

Squaring up: The tension of the situation was visible on some lawmaker's faces

Tension: The men pulled each other's clothing as the violent drama broke out

Tension: The men pulled each other's clothing as the violent drama broke out

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Members of feminist group Femen,
whose motto is 'We came, we undressed, we conquered', stripped naked down to just black pants and knee-high black socks in temperatures of minus 3C.

Their stunt was an attempt to draw
attention to the plight of opposition leader and ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko who was jailed for
crimes not recognised in the West as punishable by prison.

Before being hauled away by police, the Femen protesters claimed parliament, which yesterday met for the first time since the 'flawed' October elections in the country, was a 'stable' for the 'horses of oligarchs'.

Inside
parliament, the opposition nationalist Svoboda group chased and
manhandled two MPs, a father and son, in a bid to prevent them taking
the oath.

 Police officers detain a Femen activist protesting in front of the Ukrainian Parliament

Making a stand: Police officers detain a Femen activist protesting in front of the Ukrainian Parliament

Members of opposition parties block the door to Parliament during a day of violence and tension

Blockade: Members of opposition parties block the door to Parliament during a day of violence and tension

The three main opposition parties have ruled out any coalition with the ruling Party of the Regions

Getting physical: The three main opposition parties have ruled out any coalition with the ruling Party of the Regions

The women were demonstrating over alleged corruption in the country, referring to Parliament as a 'stable' for the 'horses of oligarchs'

Protest: The women were demonstrating over alleged corruption in the country, referring to Parliament as a 'stable' for the 'horses of oligarchs'

VIDEO: Femen activists protest against Ukraine's new parliament

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TYMOSHENKO'S FLAWED TRIAL

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is the leader of the main opposition party, All-Ukrainian Union, also known as 'Fatherland'.

Yulia Tymoshenko

She lost the Ukrainian presidential election to Viktor Yanukovych in 2010 and has since faced a number of criminal charges.

Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2011 after being found guilty of abuse of office when brokering a gas deal with Russia in 2009.

The European Union and other international organisations have ruled the conviction as 'justice being applied selectively under political motivation'.

Tymoshenko is currently being held in
Kharkiv, where she is receiving treatment at a hospital
after being diagnosed with a spinal disc herniation.

She is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights against her conviction.

The Ukraine government commissioned a team of U.S. lawyers to compile a dossier on the case to use in its defence at the appeal.

But the Daily Telegraph reports the dossier states the trial was 'flawed' and would not have met the requirements of a Western court.

Gregory Craig, former White House counsel for President Barack Obama and the dossier lead author, said: 'We concluded that there were ways in which Tymoshenko was not given a fair trial.'

A legal expert told the newspaper the procedural violations would have led 'to a cancellations of the verdict' in the West.

They were physically ejected from the chamber by opposition
deputies who accused them of defecting to the ruling coalition.

The procedural wrangling at the opening of the
new parliament threatened to push back a key vote on whether Mykola Azarov will be endorsed for a new term as prime minister.

The vote will be the
first test of the support for President Viktor Yanukovich, who
re-nominated Azarov.

But when the speaker formally announced that
Azarov and his government were present, the chamber echoed to opposition
cries of 'Hanba! Hanba!' (Shame!)

MPs
from Tymoshenko's party wore black jerseys with her portrait on the
front and the phrase 'Freedom to Political Prisoners' on the back.

Tymoshenko remains in prison after being sentenced to seven years in prison in 2011 for alleged abuse of office over a gas deal with Russia.

Yanukovich's pro-business Party of the
Regions and their allies enjoyed a strong majority in the last
parliament, which allowed them to push through changes to the electoral
law and a law on use of the Russian language that sparked street
protests.

Despite losing seats in the October elections, the results were seen as a consolidation of President Yanukovych's power as his party still remained the biggest in parliament.

Most analysts said they believed horse-trading would ensure enough support from independents and others to secure the required 226 or more seats. But the new opposition line-up, whose leaders have ruled out any coalition with the Regions, quickly showed their teeth.

Deputies from the three main opposition parties surrounded the speaker's rostrum, effectively blocking activation of the electronic system which would allow deputies to vote on Azarov's nomination and the appointment of parliamentary officials.

After a prolonged stand-off, both sides went home agreeing to resume business on Thursday, according to the Regions Party.

Separately, the government put off a meeting scheduled for Thursday morning.

Imprisonment: Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite, left, holds the hand of jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko during her visit to a hospital in Kharkiv

Imprisonment: Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite, left, holds the hand of jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko during her visit to a hospital in Kharkiv

Imprisoned: Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko showing bruising on her forearm in the Kachanivska penitentiary colony for women in Kharkiv earlier this year

Injuries: Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko showing bruising on her forearm in the Kachanivska penitentiary colony for women in Kharkiv earlier this year

Demonstration: Supporters of jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko protest against her conviction near the High Court of Appeals, in Kiev, Ukraine

Demonstration: Supporters of jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko protest against her conviction near the High Court of Appeals, in Kiev, Ukraine

ATP Masters: Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic set for battle

Murray and Djokovic gear up for seventh clash of the year at ATP Masters

|

UPDATED:

17:59 GMT, 6 November 2012

There will be no quarter given when Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic meet for the seventh time this year at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London on Wednesday.

The rivalry has been a huge feature of 2012 and the clash is easily the most eagerly-anticipated of the group stages at the O2 Arena.

Their head-to-head for the year is tied at three all and the key feature of the battles between the two is that they have been just that, brutal battles to the point of exhaustion.

No 1: Novak Djokovic took over as the world leader from Roger Federer

No 1: Novak Djokovic took over as the world leader from Roger Federer

Both their grand slam meetings have lasted almost five hours, with Djokovic coming out on top in the Australian Open semi-finals before Murray turned the tables to win his first grand slam title at the US Open.

The last time they met was in the final of the Shanghai Masters last month, a three-set match that lasted three hours and 21 minutes in which Murray held five match points but Djokovic eventually came out on top.

The London crowd will be hoping for more of the same but for the loser, and possibly even the winner, their chances of progress may depend on the result of their final round-robin match on Friday.

Murray said: 'For me anyway there's an understanding of how much you have to put into the match to win it. I think that's just the nature of these matches.

'Both of us are very good retrievers, so often the points will go on a lot. Sometimes you feel like you need to win the point two or three times, which is tough and can be a little bit tiring.

Chat: Andy Murray talks after beating Tomas Berdych

Chat: Andy Murray talks after beating Tomas Berdych

'But we've played each other enough to know what to expect. We do practice with each other quite a lot, too. But it's never quite the same as the matches, that's for sure.'

Both players began their campaigns in London with victory yesterday, Murray fighting back from a set down to defeat Tomas Berdych while Djokovic saw off Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets.

All the players are feeling the effects of a long season, but the world number one knows he must expect more punishment tomorrow.

He said: 'When I'm playing Andy, I need to be ready for long rallies and a physically demanding match. So I'm going to have a day to recover and get ready for my next challenge.

'Playing against Andy is always a big challenge. He has had lots of success in London, playing in his town, in front of his crowd, so he'll have big support. It's a big match.

'We know a lot about each other. I'm sure that we're going to come up with some really good tennis.'

Back home: This is Murray's first home tournament since winning gold

Back home: This is Murray's first home tournament since winning gold

This is Murray's first tournament back in London as a grand slam champion after he finally put questions about whether he would ever win one of tennis' biggest crowns to bed in New York.

Apart from a certain inner calm, Murray has not yet felt too many benefits on the court, but he hopes they will come.

He said: 'It's hard to say because I've lost a few very tough matches since. But I hope when I'm playing the best players in the world I'll believe in my shots a bit more and make sure to be aggressive when I can.

'I thought I did a good job of that (against Berdych). I tried to move forward and take his time away a little bit, which sometimes when I played him in the past, I'd let him dictate a lot of the points. I didn't feel like I did that.

'They're the things that, rather than it necessarily being just (a boost in) confidence, also just learning.

'Having won a few of the big events this year, and having lost a tough one in Australia against Novak, and at Wimbledon against Roger (Federer), I've learned a lot this year how I need to play those big points in big games.'

Green Moon claims stunning victory in Melbourne Cup

Euro challengers fail to fire as Green Moon claims stunning victory in Melbourne Cup

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UPDATED:

07:22 GMT, 6 November 2012

A distinct lack of pace was blamed for
the largely disappointing European showing in the Emirates Melbourne
Cup, which was won by Green Moon.

The Marco Botti-trained Jakkalberry
fared best of the foreign raiders in third, but several big overseas
challengers failed to fire in the coveted Flemington handicap over two
miles.

First up: Jockey Brett Prebble (right) rides Green Moon to victory in the Melbourne Cup

First up: Jockey Brett Prebble (right) rides Green Moon to victory in the Melbourne Cup

Delight: Jockey Brett Prebble

Delight: Jockey Brett Prebble

Green Moon, conversely, mastered every fraction to give jockey Brett Prebble and trainer Robert Hickmott their first Melbourne Cup.

Formerly trained in Berkshire by Harry Dunlop, the five-year-old gelding flashed past the long-time leader Glencadam Gold a furlong and a half from home and was not for catching.

Fiorente, another ex-British runner, stayed on for second, a length adrift of the winner. Hong Kong-based Prebble said: 'He was never going to get beat.

'It's the pinnacle of racing in Australia.

'I've had some great highs here, but you don't get any higher than reaching the pinnacle.

'If he sustained the journey, nothing was going to go with him.

'It's very emotional and it's going to last for a long time.'

Royal approval: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, presents the Melbourne Cup trophy to winning owner Nick Williams

Royal approval: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, presents the Melbourne Cup trophy to winning owner Nick Williams

Joy: Jockey Prebble, centre, celebrates with trainer Robert Hickmott, left, and owner Nick Williams

Joy: Jockey Prebble, centre, celebrates with trainer Robert Hickmott, left, and owner Nick Williams

Glencadam Gold enjoyed an uncontested lead from the outset, but initiated an admittedly humdrum gallop off which major European players like last year's respective first and second, Dunaden and Red Cadeaux, struggled to adapt.

The Luca Cumani-trained Mount Athos was perhaps the biggest casualty, however, as he flew from the rear to finish fifth under Ryan Moore.

Botti was nonetheless proud of Jakkalberry, but was left to reflect on what could have been.

He said: 'He ran a very good race, but he probably could have done with the pace being a bit quicker.

'He stayed on very well. It's been a fantastic adventure and I knew I'd left a bit of improvement in the horse.

'I had him at his best today.

'He's got an invitation for the Japan Cup and we can also think about Hong Kong, but we'll see how he comes out of this first.

'There's also Dubai and we'll think about coming back next year.'

Spectacle: The Melbourne Cup

Spectacle: The Melbourne Cup

Celebrity status: Mischa Barton and Ashley Madekwe hold the Melbourne Cup trophy

Celebrity status: Mischa Barton and Ashley Madekwe hold the Melbourne Cup trophy

Ed Dunlop also felt 2011 runner-up Red Cadeaux, who stayed on for eighth, was hamstrung by a weakly-run encounter.

He said: 'About 15 jockeys will tell you that there was no pace.

'He had to drop in anyway, but he just couldn't make up the ground.'

David Redvers, racing manager for Dunaden's owners, Pearl Bloodstock, believes the six-year-old could have been feeling the effects of a tough race in the Caulfield Cup last month as he came home in 14th place.

He said: 'He won so well in the Caulfield Cup that it might have taken the edge off him.

'He's probably got too much weight in handicaps and he'll stick to Group races from now on.'

Cumani echoed the thoughts of Dunlop and Botti when assessing Mount Athos' display.

He said: 'The race was totally inconclusive because of the lack of pace.

'He was further back than we would have liked.

'Ryan started to move him forwards but he got bumped.

'He was the fastest finisher in the race.'

Royal party: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall at Flemington Racecourse

Royal party: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall at Flemington Racecourse

Mount Athos' owner, Dr Marwan Koukash, said: 'I'm a bit disappointed but he ran a big race.

'He would have liked a better pace but he finished like a train.

'Hopefully we can freshen him up and come back next year.'

Cumani also saddled the 10th-placed My Quest For Peace.

He said: 'The other horse is not a sprinter and didn't pick up as we would have liked.'

Irish challenger Galileo's Choice featured prominently under Pat Smullen but weakened into 20th place.

Trainer Dermot Weld said: “'He got a lovely ride from Pat and was in a lovely position turning in.

'It's just unfortunate he couldn't let himself down on that ground.

'We had thunder and lightning but, unfortunately, no rain.

'If we'd had a drop of rain he could have been in the first three.'

Other European disappointments were the 2010 winner Americain and Godolphin's Cavalryman, who finished a respective 11th and 12th.

Cavalryman's racing manager Simon Crisford said: 'He's a hold-up horse and he was never going to be suited by a race with a lack of pace.'

Green Moon is owned by Lloyd Williams and his family, who were securing a fourth Melbourne Cup crown.

Nick Williams, son of the victorious owner, said: 'It's terrific.

'I'm so proud for all of our team at the farm.

'It's another Melbourne Cup win for 'Team Williams'.

'We've put a lot of money in and a hell of a lot of effort so to get this result is terrific.

'I'm so excited and so happy for all our people.'

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix final practice: Sebastian Vettel has problems

Problems for Vettel as championship leader's car falters in final practice

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UPDATED:

12:19 GMT, 3 November 2012

Sebastian Vettel endured a nerve-wracking final practice session in the build-up to qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The reliability issue title rival Fernando Alonso had perhaps been praying for materialised in the closing 60-minute outing at the Yas Marina circuit where McLaren's Lewis Hamilton again led the way for the sixth time in 12 attempts over the four years at this track.

Vettel completed nothing more than two installation laps before then spending all bar the final four minutes in the Red Bull garage as the team worked on a brake problem.

Hope floats: Sebastian Vettel experienced problems in the final practice before qualifying in Abu Dhabi

Hope floats: Sebastian Vettel experienced problems in the final practice before qualifying in Abu Dhabi

Hope floats: Sebastian Vettel experienced problems in the final practice before qualifying in Abu Dhabi

On the medium-compound Pirelli tyres, the slightly slower but more durable rubber, Hamilton posted a top time of one minute 42.148secs, before all teams switched to a blast on the softs in the late stages.

Hamilton appeared on course to better Vettel's best of Friday's when he set a 1:41.751 when he was quickest in the first two sectors.

However, he was forced to ease up in the final sector and finish with a timesheet-topping 1:42.130, 0.290secs ahead of team-mate Jenson Button.

As for Vettel, it was touch and go as to whether he would make it out on track, but his team performed wonders to ensure he had a shot on the soft tyres.

Even with his limited running as he managed just two quick laps, the 25-year-old reigning double world champion still posted the quickest middle sector to finish third overall, half a second behind Hamilton.

As for Alonso, there is likely to be concern in the Ferrari garage, particularly as the team broke the FIA curfew – a period of time when mechanics are not allowed to work on the car – for a second straight day.

Playing catch-up: Fernando Alonso will hope to make the most of his rivals' poor run

Playing catch-up: Fernando Alonso will hope to make the most of his rivals' poor run

The Spaniard, who trails Vettel by 13 points following the German's run of four successive victories, could only manage eighth quickest and was a second down on Hamilton, something he cannot repeat in qualifying if he is to have any chance in Sunday's race.

Sandwiched in between himself and Vettel were Mark Webber in his Red Bull, the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg, Lotus' Romain Grosjean and Williams of Pastor Maldonado.

Behind Alonso were Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus and Paul di Resta in his Force India, the Scot appearing happier after his team opted for a change of chassis given his recent issues and without a point in his last three races, finishing 1.2secs down.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa was 11th, 1.350secs adrift, underlining the problems faced by his team, with Sergio Perez 12th in his Sauber.

Mercedes are also struggling as Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher were down in 13th and 14th, around 1.5secs down, with Kamui Kobayashi 15th in his Sauber.

At the rear of the field was Narain Karthikeyan in his HRT, nearly five seconds adrift and half a second behind team-mate Pedro de la Rosa.

Korea Grand Prix 2012: Martin Whitmarsh praises Lewis Hamilton

'Heroic' Hamilton praised by McLaren boss Whitmarsh for fighting spirit in Korea

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UPDATED:

12:15 GMT, 14 October 2012

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh hailed Lewis Hamilton's dogged drive to 10th in the Korean Grand Prix as 'heroic' and one of the best in the team's history.

Hamilton's hopes of signing off from McLaren at the end of the year with a second world title in his pocket are effectively over as the result in Yeongam left him 62 points adrift of new championship leader Sebastian Vettel with only a maximum of 100 up for grabs.

His Korean challenge was undone by a rear anti-roll bar failure during his first stint, which had a dire effect on the car's handling and destroyed its tyres at a vastly accelerated rate.

Dogged: Lewis Hamilton battled through various technical problems to finish in a respectable tenth in Korea

Dogged: Lewis Hamilton battled through various technical problems to finish in a respectable tenth in Korea

It left the Briton as the only man who needed to make three stops during the 55-lap race as he slowly fell back from fourth place, despite his best efforts to fight with Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean as they took advantage of his woes.

Even after his final stop Hamilton was threatening to catch and pass the Toro Rossos of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo, only to pick up a piece of loose Astroturf and fall back.

But, having had to deal with so many problems, Whitmarsh was in no doubt about the quality of the 2008 world champion's performance.

He said: 'I thought it was going to be very unlikely he would get to the end of the race because I thought he would probably consume all the tyres we had available for him.

'He showed really heroic fighting spirit to do a job, despite what a terrible day it is I have to come away incredibly proud of him and what he did in the circumstances to fight.

'He was fighting with Kimi and Grosjean and ultimately – after his third stop – catching the Toro Rossos and he should have been able to get past them when he collected two to three square metres of Astroturf on the car as well which he had to contend with for the last few laps.

'Most things that could go wrong did go wrong. I think he showed fantastic spirit and grit to get to the end and get the most hard-fought world championship point I can remember in the history of this team.

'For one point you don't get much more heroic a drive.

Unfortunate: A rear anti-roll bar on his car scuppered his chances of taking the race in Korea as some Astroturf was caught under his car

Unfortunate: A rear anti-roll bar on his car scuppered his chances of taking the race in Korea as some Astroturf was caught under his car

Unfortunate: A rear anti-roll bar on his car scuppered his chances of taking the race in Korea as some Astroturf was caught under his car

'That's the inspiration I will take away from Korea, I will try and forget lots of it, but the way in which he fought for that was fantastic.'

It was an even worse day for Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button. Having started 11th the 2009 world champion only got as far as turn three, where he and Nico Rosberg were assaulted by the wayward Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi, who received a drive-through penalty for his trouble.

And Button was also unimpressed with the driving of his future team-mate Sergio Perez.

'I was braking for the first corner and Sergio braked really late and he didn't hit me, but he hit the car in front of me and broke something off the back of that car, so I had to run wide and push Nico (Rosberg) off the circuit.

'I don't know what happened then, I braked really late for turn three and saw a car flying over the top of mine and it was a Sauber again.

'It's pretty poor driving standards considering this is the pinnacle of motor sport.

'I don't know what they are doing out there, I don't know how Kobayashi managed to hit two of us under braking, it was pretty special of him.'

Praise: Martin Whitmarsh was delighted with Hamilton's 'heroic' drive

Praise: Martin Whitmarsh was delighted with Hamilton's 'heroic' drive