Tag Archives: russia

Great Britain v Russia – Davis Cup: Dan Evans and James Ward both lose singles matches in five sets

Britain's Davis Cup hopes in tatters after two five-set defeats… and rebel Evans admits he doesn't try hard enough

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

18:17 GMT, 5 April 2013

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UPDATED:

23:47 GMT, 5 April 2013

Great Britain's Davis Cup hopes are close to being extinguished for another year after two epic near-misses against Russia on Friday and a disarming admission from No 2 player Dan Evans.

Having come so close to producing another heroic performance for GB, the 22 year-old did not hold back on why his ranking remains so stubbornly low, conceding that he simply does not put enough effort into his tennis.

He played far above his world ranking of 325 to push world number 67 Dmitri Tursunov desperately close before succumbing 6-4 6-7 6-4 5-7 6-4 in just under four hours, and later was blunt about his stalling career.

Dejection: Great Britain's Dan Evans lost in five sets to Dmitry Tursunov

Dejection: Great Britain's Dan Evans lost in five sets to Dmitry Tursunov

Marathon: Russian Tursunov prevailed in just under four hours in Coventry

Marathon: Russian Tursunov prevailed in just under four hours in Coventry

'It's because I don't train hard
enough and don't work hard enough day in and day out. I know that's the
reason. I'm obviously pretty bad at my job,' he said, amid various moans
about the costs associated with playing the tour, and an admission that
he gets 'distracted' at more obscure events.

'There are other things in life. I'm from a pretty working class background and I just go out. It's nobody else's fault.'

His defeat was compounded by James
Ward going down 4-6 4-6 7-5 6-3 8-6 to world No 80 Evgeny Donskoy. Both
matches were far closer than rankings predicted but ultimately only a
win in Saturday's doubles will keep Euro/Africa Zone tie at Coventry's
Ricoh Arena alive.

Try harder: Evans, who was called up to the squad at late notice, admits he doesn't work hard enough

Try harder: Evans, who was called up to the squad at late notice, admits he doesn't work hard enough

In the absence of Andy Murray, British
captain Leon Smith originally picked national No 3 Jamie Baker for this
tie, only to dump him on Wednesday evening for the errant 22 year-old
Evans, source of so much frustration for a variety of British coaches
over the years.

Yet when Evans gets in front of a
crowd and, crucially, has the guidance of Smith at every changeover, he
is transformed into someone in the tradition of Tim Henman, an elegant
all-court player with wonderful touch at the net. You hope one day he
will get his kicks from winning.

While some in the British game felt
that picking Evans, who has been stuck in a constant revolving door in
and out of official LTA training programmes for years due to his
questionable commitment, sent the wrong messages out to other players it
was clear why Smith took the gamble – and it nearly paid off.

Blown: James Ward let a two-set lead slip in his defeat to Evgeny Donskoy

Blown: James Ward let a two-set lead slip in his defeat to Evgeny Donskoy

Blown: James Ward let a two-set lead slip in his defeat to Evgeny Donskoy

Big-serving Tursunov won the first
set with relative ease but Evans took the next 7-5 in the tie-break and
levelled for 2-2 when he snuck in a late break.

Ultimately his lack of a single big
shot to gain cheap points hurt him, as did a tendency to throw in
untimely double faults. An anxious Tursunov finally asserted his class
to serve it out once he had made the key break for 4-2 in the decider.

Against the highly-rated but initially
nervous Donskoy, world No 214 Ward led 2-0 in the third set but could
not sustain his early level of serving and consistent depth, losing
after being broken at 6-6 in the decider.

Joy: Russia celebrate a perfect first day as they took a 2-0 lead

Joy: Russia celebrate a perfect first day as they took a 2-0 lead

Nigel Levine wins silver medal in 400 metres at the European Indoors championships

Levine wins 400m silver medal in Gothenburg but Meadows misses out

after suffering an achilles injury in September 2011, but had targeted a medal in the event she won in Paris two years ago. The Wigan athlete was only awarded her title two weeks ago after Russia's Yevgeniya Zinurova received a backdated doping ban.

Meadows said: 'I feel a bit silly to say I feel disappointed that I came fourth – it’s an amazing achievement – but I’ve tried to keep my lack of preparation at the back of my head. If I stood on the track thinking that, I probably wouldn’t have even got to the final.

'A medal would have been a bonus and I was good enough to get a medal. I’ve let myself down a little bit tactically but I’m fit and healthy and in one piece and it’s a way forward for the summer.'

Australian Open 2013: Maria Sharapova beats Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-0

Maria's in love again: Sharapova into quarter final after dropping just one game to Flipkens

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

06:46 GMT, 20 January 2013

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UPDATED:

06:53 GMT, 20 January 2013

Maria Sharapova took a little bit of time to warm up, but continued her progress through the Australian Open with a 6-1 6-0 victory over Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens.

Sharapova had been the most dominant player in the women's draw so far, recording successive 6-0 6-0 victories in the first two rounds before she dispatched seven times grand slam winner Venus Williams with contemptuous ease in the third round.

From Russia with love: Maria Sharapova celebrates after beating Belgium's Kirsten Flipkins

From Russia with love: Maria Sharapova celebrates after beating Belgium's Kirsten Flipkins

In top form: Sharapova won in straight sets

In top form: Sharapova won in straight sets

The second seed, however, took time to get into her match against the 27-year-old Flipkens and while she won the first set 6-1, it took 43 minutes which demonstrated how difficult she found the tenacious Belgian to put away.

Sharapova, however, cranked into gear in the second set to clinch it in 25 minutes and set up a quarter-final against fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova after the 19th-seed dispatched fifth seed Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-4.

Sharapova said: 'I'm certainly happy to be playing this well but it's the quarter-finals and it only gets tougher from here.'

Brendan Rodgers will not discuss Zenit St Petersburg fans

Rodgers refuses to be drawn on hellish trip to Zenit for Liverpool's black players

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 20 December 2012

Liverpool have been handed the Europa League trip from hell after being paired with Zenit St Petersburg in the round of 32.

A group of Zenit supporters sparked outrage this week when they published a manifesto calling for 'all non-European' and 'sexual minorities' to be 'barred from playing for the club'; Zenit remain the only Russian club never to have signed an African player.

The manifesto, which Zenit manager Luciano Spalletti quickly distanced himself from, also has a sinister sentence that declares that 'black players are being imposed on Zenit almost by force'. it prompted former Blackburn defender Christopher Samba to label Zenit fans 'racist'.

Steering clear: Brendan Rodgers had nothing to say about the manifesto produced by Zenit's fans

Steering clear: Brendan Rodgers had nothing to say about the manifesto produced by Zenit's fans

It promises to be an uncomfortable trip for Liverpool, who could travel with as many as five high-profile black players in their squad – Glen Johnson, Raheem Sterling and Andre Wisdom could yet be joined by January targets Tom Ince and Daniel Sturridge.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers refused to discuss in detail the prospect of what might happen on the trip next February.

He said: ‘It is a good draw for us. We have had experience of playing in Russia (this season against Anzhi Makhachkala). I think it was important that we go there as group winners as it means we play the second leg at home. They are a good side and they have invested a lot of money in their team.’

When pressed about the publication of the manifesto, Rodgers replied: ‘I haven’ t given it any thought at this stage. I’ve got my own personal view but that’s for nearer the time. I’ve seen that come out but I’ve got nothing to say on it.’

Liverpool have only had two incidents of their players being racially abused in recent years. Emile Heskey was targeted in Kiev in 2002, while Djibril Cisse was abused three years later in Sofia during a Champions League qualifier.

When Gerard Houllier took Liverpool to face Spartak Moscow in October 2002, he said he would take his players off the pitch during the game if they were subjected to racist chanting but it passed without incident.

Rodgers, meanwhile, has challenged Raheem Sterling to show he will be worthy of another contract in five years’ time, as the England winger prepares to rubberstamp his protracted first major deal.

It is expected Liverpool will formally
announce Sterling has committed his future to the club in the next 24
hours. His representatives shook hands on a deal on Wednesday that will
see him earn around 30,000 per week for the next five years.

In action: Luis Suarez trains ahead of Liverpool's clash with Fulham

In action: Luis Suarez trains ahead of Liverpool's clash with Fulham

The most racist club in football

Zenit St Petersburg’s fans have one of the worst reputations for racism in world football. Here are some of the reasons why…

MARCH 2008
Olympique Marseille players complain of being racially abused after facing Zenit in a UEFA Cup tie. Before the final in Manchester, manager Dick Advocaat says: ‘I would be happy to sign anyone, but the fans don’t like black players.’

APRIL 2011
Zenit are fined $10,000 after one of their supporters offers Brazilian full back Roberto Carlos a banana before a Russian Premier League match against Anzhi Makhachkala.

DECEMBER 2012
Zenit fan club Landscrona writes in an open letter: ‘We’re not racists but we see the absence of black players at Zenit as an important tradition.’

Though Rodgers is thrilled that the business has reached a successful conclusion, he has made it clear that he will not tolerate Sterling sitting back and thinking he has done enough; Rodgers has pointed out that Sterling is not yet at senior level.

‘He hasn't joined those ranks, don't worry about that,’ said Rodgers. ‘He has been rewarded as a young player who, at 17 years of age, has come in and performed very well. He will never be elevated above his position here at the club.

‘There is a lot of development and a lot of nurturing to go yet, but he has been rightly rewarded and it is fantastic for the football club. If you play for a big club there is always going to be expectation. For young Raheem we need to help manage those expectations.

If you go into a lot of clubs as a young
player it is a nice little journey. If you go in at one of the biggest
clubs in the world it is magnified one million per cent. It is our job
to nurture him and educate him and there is still so much for him to
learn. He hasn't long left school.’

New deal: Youngster Raheem Sterling has agreed terms with the club

New deal: Youngster Raheem Sterling has agreed terms with the club

Rodgers added: ‘It is not only football education he needs but life education as well. We will support him in that and make sure the expectancy is at the correct level. I always congratulate players when they sign a new contract and then I warn them.

‘I tell them they need to decide after this contract whether there is going to be another contract at one of the biggest clubs in the world or whether it will be at a different level.’

Liverpool remain confident of completing a deal for Ince despite Blackpool saying they have rejected an offer from Anfield for the England Under-21 international.

Europa League draw: Chelsea face Sparta Prague, Liverpool land Zenit, Spurs take on Lyon and Newcastle face Metalist

EUROPA LEAGUE DRAW: Chelsea face Sparta Prague, Liverpool land Zenit, Spurs take on Lyon and Newcastle face Metalist

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UPDATED:

15:35 GMT, 20 December 2012

Europa League draw – selected ties

Sparta Prague v Chelsea

Tottenham v Lyon

Newcastle v Metalist Kharkiv

Zenit St Petersburg v Liverpool

Scroll down for the full last-32 draw and the round of 16

Chelsea have been drawn against Sparta Prague in the last 32 of the Europa League.

The Champions League holders, who finished third in their group behind Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk as they tried to defend their European crown, play the first leg away against the Czech side.

It will be a return to his former club for Blues goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Ajax or Steaua Bucharest will be waiting for the winners in the last 16 following both draws in Nyon on Thursday afternoon.

Liverpool travel to Russia for the second time this season after being drawn against Zenit St Petersburg.

The
Reds, winners of Europe's secondary competition in 1973, 1976 and 2001,
topped Group A ahead of Anzhi Makhachkala on goal difference.

If Brendan Rodgers steers the Merseysiders through, it will be Dnipro or Basel next.

Humbled: Chelsea won the Champions League but slipped down to the Europa League six months later

Humbled: Chelsea won the Champions League but slipped down to the Europa League six months later

Dutch of class: Patrick Kluivert pulls out Chelsea during the Europa League draw

Dutch of class: Patrick Kluivert pulls out Chelsea during the Europa League draw

Main man: Luis Suarez (left) helped Liverpool top their group ahead of Udinese, Young Boys and Anzhi

Main man: Luis Suarez (left) helped Liverpool top their group ahead of Udinese, Young Boys and Anzhi

What are the chances…

Chelsea 8/1
Tottenham 14/1
Liverpool 16/1
Newcastle 33/1

Best odds available on the English teams (supplied by oddschecker.co.uk)

Tottenham have been paired with French big guns Lyon with the first leg in north London while Newcastle are at home first after being pulled out with Metalist Kharkiv. The Magpies then face a long flight for the return in one of the stadium's used at Euro 2012.

Spurs winger Gareth Bale tweeted: 'Not an easy draw but a trip to Lyon should be good fun for our fans.'

A victory for Spurs and they will play Inter Milan in the last 16 if the Italian giants see off Cluj. Bale scored a hat-trick against Inter in a 4-3 defeat in the Champions League two years ago and ripped them apart in a 3-1 triumph at home.

Tottenham general secretary Darren Eales expects a tough clash with Lyon.

'It's a tough draw and this is the first time in nine years they've not been in the Champions League,' Eales told Sky Sports News.

Action packed: The full Europa League draw shown on television

Action packed: The full Europa League draw shown on television

Watching brief: Figo, Inter Milan's ambassador, could see his club face Tottenham in the last 16

Watching brief: Figo, Inter Milan's ambassador, could see his club face Tottenham in the last 16

Holders: Atletico Madrid lifted the trophy last year after beating fellow Spaniards Athletic Bilbao

Holders: Atletico Madrid lifted the trophy last year after beating fellow Spaniards Athletic Bilbao

'There are a lot of tough teams in the draw. We can ask Hugo (Lloris, Tottenham's former Lyon goalkeeper) the way to go and I think he will be excited about the chance to go back to his old team and play there.

'If we do get Inter if we do get through, two years ago in the Champions League when Gareth Bale got that wonderful hat-trick – that's an exciting game but we have to think about Lyon first.'

And Eales believes Villas-Boas has what it takes to lead Spurs to the European title after he engineered a win for former club Porto during a treble-winning first season in charge which saw his side also lift the Portuguese Cup and win the Primeira Liga.

Hard going: Andre Villas-Boas sometimes found it hard to watch as Spurs finished second in Group J

Hard going: Andre Villas-Boas sometimes found it hard to watch as Spurs finished second in Group J

Eyes on the prize: Amsterdam will host the Europa League final next year

Eyes on the prize: Amsterdam will host the Europa League final next year

He's got the pedigree so hopefully he can do what he did with Porto two years ago and we can go al the way to (the final in) Amsterdam,' he said.

'We want to be playing in European competition. We don't see why we can't have a successful Europa League campaign and do well in the league.'

Alan Pardew admitted Newcastle's adventure in Ukraine will be a trip into the dark.

Asked what he knew about their next opponents, Pardew said: 'Not much, really. I do know it's a long journey, I've had a look at that, and they won their group, so it's a tough agenda for us.

'It's a tough draw in terms of travel; the opposition, I know very little about. I can't even comment on that until such time as we do some studying.'

Anzhi or Hannover will be waiting for the winners of Newcastle's tie.

Holders Atletico Madrid take on Rubin Kazan while former Ajax striker Patrick Kluivert pulled his old club out against Steaua Bucharest.

EUROPA LEAGUE DRAW – ROUND OF 32

BATE vs Fenerbahce

Inter Milan vs CFR Cluj-Napoca

Levante vs Olympiacos

Zenit St Petersburg vs Liverpool

Dynamo Kiev vs Bordeaux

Bayer Leverkusen vs Benfica

Newcastle vs FC Metalist Kharkiv

VfB Stuttgart vs Genk

Atletico Madrid vs Rubin Kazan

Ajax vs Steaua Bucuresti

Basle vs Dnipro

Anzhi Makhachkala vs Hannover 96

Sparta Prague vs Chelsea

Borussia M'gladbach vs Lazio

Tottenham vs Lyon

Napoli v Plzen

First legs to be played on February 14, second legs on February 21

EUROPA LEAGUE DRAW – ROUND OF 16

Napoli/Plzen vs BATE/Fenerbahce

Bayer Leverkusen/Benfica vs Dynamo Kiev/Bordeaux

Anzhi Mackhachkala/Hannover 96 vs Newcastle/FC Metalist Kharkiv

VfB Stuttgart/Genk vs Borussia M'gladbach/Lazio

Tottenham/Lyon vs Inter Milan/CFR Cluj-Napoca

Levante/Olympiacos vs Atletico Madrid/Rubin Kazan

Basle/Dnipro vs Zenit St Petersburg/Liverpool

Ajax/Steaua Bucuresti vs Sparta Prague/Chelsea

First legs to be played on March 7, second legs on March 14

Andrey Arshavin set to join Zenit St Petersburg for third time

Zenit ready to sign Arshavin for third time as Arsenal look to get Russian off wage bill

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UPDATED:

10:06 GMT, 24 November 2012

Andrey Arshavin is set for a third spell at Zenit St Petersburg with the Russian club poised to make a move in the January transfer window.

Arsenal are keen to do a deal with the Russian giants in the winter window to prevent the midfielder leaving for free in the summer when his contract expires.

The 31-year-old is believed to earn 90,000-a-week and is one of Arsenal's top earners but the club now want him off the wage bill as he has been reduced to a bit part player.

Returning to Russia: Zenit St Petersburg are keen to re-sign Andrey Arshavin

Returning to Russia: Zenit St Petersburg are keen to re-sign Andrey Arshavin

Arsenal’s willingness to sell has encouraged Zenit to try to re-sign a player they sold to the Gunners for 12million in 2009 and took back on a three-month loan earlier this year.

Manager Arsene Wenger will expect around 3million for Arshavin, and Zenit are prepared to offer the Leningrad-born attacker a two-and-a-half-year deal.

England could be set to host Under 21 European Championships in 2013

England could be set to host Under 21 Euros in 2013 if crisis worsens in Israel

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UPDATED:

23:44 GMT, 20 November 2012

UEFA would consider asking England to be on stand-by to host next summer’s Under 21 European Championships if the Israel crisis escalates.

The draw for Euro 2013 will be held in Tel Aviv next week and will be attended by a delegation from the FA which includes Under-21 head coach Stuart Pearce.

If the worst case scenario develops, England could end up staging the eight-nation competition in June as they lost out to Israel in the initial bidding process.

Possibility: England lost out to Israel in their bid to host Euro 2013

Possibility: England lost out to Israel in their bid to host Euro 2013

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has told England they need to start praying if they are ever to host the World Cup again.

The FA lost out to Russia in the battle to host the 2018 tournament and cannot bid to host the finals until after the 2026 event, Blatter has suggested to the London Evening Standard that only the Lord can save their dream, saying: ‘One of the gods up there, the god of football perhaps, knows. I will ask Joseph Ratzinger [the Pope].

'I will ask him. Every morning he is speaking with the Lord, so he will tell me.'

Lord knows when England will host World Cup, jokes Sepp Blatter

Only the Lord can bring the World Cup back to England now, jokes Blatter

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UPDATED:

12:56 GMT, 20 November 2012

Sepp Blatter has told England they need to start praying if they are ever to host the World Cup again.

The FA bitterly lost out in the race to host the 2018 tournament, with the game’s elite voting for it to go to Russia instead.

England cannot bid to host the finals until after the 2026 edition – and FIFA president Blatter has suggested only the Lord can save their dream.

Lord knows: Sepp Blatter has joked about England's hopes of hosting the World Cup finals

Lord knows: Sepp Blatter has joked about England's hopes of hosting the World Cup finals

He told the London Evening Standard: ‘One of the gods up there, the god of football perhaps, knows. I will ask Joseph Ratzinger [the Pope]. You know who Joseph Ratzinger is

‘I will ask him. Every morning he is speaking with the Lord, so he will tell me.’

In a more serious moment, Blatter has told England to get over their defeat and accept that others have the right to host the World Cup.

He added: ‘In our game, you have also to accept defeat. England has given us, not only this beautiful game of football, but also the term fair play. And fair play means accepting defeat.

Defeat: England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup spectacularly failed

Defeat: England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup spectacularly failed

‘England should accept they got only two votes [one of them from the Englishman on the executive, Geoff Thompson]. If they had 11 [out of the 24] votes, they could be disappointed.

‘They could say who did it It was not one person, it was the general movement that did not want England. So who is responsible for the defeat’

Rolling back the years: England last hosted a major tournament in 1996 for the European Championship

Rolling back the years: England last hosted a major tournament in 1996 for the European Championship

England women drawn against France, Russia and Spain at Euros

England women drawn against France, Russia and Spain at Euro 2013

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UPDATED:

01:03 GMT, 10 November 2012

England will face France, Russia and Spain in the group stage of the 2013 European Women's Championship.

Hope Powell's side, who were beaten by Germany in the final in the 2009 tournament, learned their opponents in today's draw in Gothenburg.

England drew 2-2 with France in a friendly in Paris last month and qualified unbeaten for next summer's Euros.

Going to the Euros: Hope Powell will lead England next year

Going to the Euros: Hope Powell will lead England next year

They will open their campaign against the Spanish on July 12, before meeting Russia three days later and then Les Bleus on July 18, with the matches taking place in Norrkoping and Linkoping.

In the other pools, hosts Sweden were drawn alongside Italy, Denmark and Finland in Group A, while five-time defending champions Germany take on Norway, Holland and Iceland in Group B.

Sweden will open the tournament against Scandinavian rivals Denmark on July 10.

Chamakh seeks to escape Arsenal nightmare by returning to Bordeaux

Chamakh seeks to escape Arsenal nightmare by returning to Bordeaux

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UPDATED:

10:54 GMT, 7 November 2012

Arsenal outcast Marouane Chamakh is eyeing an escape route back to Bordeaux.

The striker has started just one game for the Gunners this season, in the Capital One Cup against Reading.

Frozen out: Arsenal's Marouane Chamakh

Frozen out: Arsenal's Marouane Chamakh

The 28-year-old scored twice in that thrilling 7-5 Gunners comeback win but was back on the bench for Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Manchester United.

Chamakh may now push through a January return to his old club, reports the Daily Mirror.

He said: 'After Robin van Persie left, I thought I'd play more. But in two or three months, if nothing changes, I must make a decision.'

Russia coach Fabio Capello has left another Arsenal's Andrei Arshavin out of a 26-player squad to face the USA next week.

Arshavin has been frozen out by Capello during the team's perfect four-win start in World Cup qualifiers.