Tag Archives: uncertainty

Australian Open 2013: Maria Sharapova wins first round

Sharapova begins Melbourne campaign with double-bagel win over compatriot Puchkova

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

01:41 GMT, 14 January 2013

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UPDATED:

04:03 GMT, 14 January 2013

Maria Sharapova dispelled any uncertainty over her fitness with a ruthless demolition of Olga Puchkova at the Australian Open today.

The Russian was forced to pull out of the warm-up event in Brisbane after suffering a collarbone injury shortly before Christmas.

But in her first competitive match of 2013 she showed no signs of rustiness by brushing aside her Russian countrywoman 6-0 6-0 in just 55 minutes.

Signed, sealed, delivered: Maria Sharapova eased through to the second round in Melbourne

Signed, sealed, delivered: Maria Sharapova eased through to the second round in Melbourne

Sealed with a kiss: Maria Sharapova cruised to victory against Olga Puchkova

Sharapova's dominance was only threatened in the early stages when Puchkova, ranked 107 in the world, held two break points in the opening game but the second seed gave an early demonstration of her physical state with two booming aces to avert the danger.

From there on in it was a procession as the first match of the tournament on the main show court – Rod Laver Arena – ended in a disappointing no-contest.

Sharapova reached the final last year before being crushed by world No 1 Victoria Azarenka and she is hoping to go one better this year and repeat her Melbourne triumph of 2008.

She said: 'After a couple of close games I started to concentrate a bit better.

Sealed with a kiss: Sharapova had too much in her locker as she crushed compatriot Olga Puchkova (below)

Sealed with a kiss: Sharapova had too much in her locker as she crushed compatriot Olga Puchkova (below)

Plenty to ponder: Puchkova was hopelessly outclassed by Sharapova

'I didn't want to focus on the fact I hadn't played a lot of matches but just focus on what was ahead of me and really be aggressive.

'Today was a good scoreline.'

Although she didn't drop a game, Sharapova insisted there was still room for improvement.

'It's tough to feel completely satisfied,' she said.

'You always want to improve on things and work on certain things that you feel will help you in the later rounds towards the end of the second week.

'But overall I was happy with the way I started considering I didn't play any matches coming in.'

Demba Ba joning Chelsea

Ba set to join Chelsea as Pardew confirms striker will leave with Newcastle's blessing

By
Neil Ashton and Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

00:57 GMT, 3 January 2013

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UPDATED:

00:57 GMT, 3 January 2013

Demba Ba is on the verge of joining Chelsea from Newcastle.

The Senegal striker, left out of the Newcastle squad for the game against Everton ahead of his proposed 7million switch, underwent a medical on Wednesday.

Ba could be handed an instant role in the weekend FA Cup clash against Southampton.

Away: Demba Ba looks set to join Chelsea after being given permission to speak to the Stamford Bridge club

Away: Demba Ba looks set to join Chelsea after being given permission to speak to the Stamford Bridge club

Chelsea interim manager Rafael
Benitez said after the club's shock 1-0 defeat at home to QPR: ‘Fernando
Torres is one of the players we need to rest, he has been playing too
many games. I don’t have any official information about the situation.
Officially he (Ba) is not our player. The club are working on it and we
can talk about him when it’s official.

‘If we can do the business then, hopefully, he can be available for the weekend.’

Newcastle confirmed Chelsea had triggered the striker’s 7m release
clause and that he had been left out of Wednesday night's 2-1 defeat to
hold talks with Chelsea officials.

The Stamford Bridge club saw off late interest from Arsenal in Ba, who,
it is understood, will earn around 70,000 a week at his new club — a
significant improvement on his terms in the North East.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew told Sky Sports: ‘It’s done, he’ll go to Chelsea with our blessing.

Main man: Ba has been in fine form for Newcastle, scoring 13 goals in a struggling side this season

Main man: Ba has been in fine form for Newcastle, scoring 13 goals in a struggling side this season

‘For us, it’s not a bad thing because all the uncertainty over whether
he was going to stay, it’s now done. We are bigger than any player so in
some respects I’m pleased.’

Chelsea’s bid looked in the balance on Sunday after talks between Ba’s
representatives and club officials broke down over his wage demands.

Sportsmail understands Ba’s advisors initially rejected Chelsea’s
attempts to hold further talks on Monday, saying they wanted to speak
with other interested parties.

But, after a significant breakthrough, Chelsea moved quickly on Wednesday.

Get shirty: An image quickly circulated on Twitter of a Chelsea shirt being printed with 'Ba'

Get shirty: An image quickly circulated on Twitter of a Chelsea shirt being printed with 'Ba'

The Senegal striker, 27, joined Newcastle in 2011 from West Ham and has
scored 29 goals in 54 league games for them. But he has been
consistently linked with a move away from the club because of the
release clause in his contract.

Newcastle have tried several times to persuade the striker to sign a
new, improved deal in a bid to get rid of the clause but Ba has always
refused.

Benitez had put a new striker at the top of his January shopping list
after Liverpool’s 12m capture of Daniel Sturridge, which was confirmed
on Wednesday, left Torres as his only recognised striker.

Owner Roman Abramovich remains interested in Atletico Madrid’s Radamel
Falcao but it is looking increasingly likely the Russian will have to
wait until the summer to land him.

Wave goodbye: Ba looks set to bid farewell to Tyneside and move south to London

Wave goodbye: Ba looks set to bid farewell to Tyneside and move south to London

Newcastle will step up their pursuit of Marseille striker Loic Remy after Ba’s departure.

The 26-year-old France striker, who has scored 82 goals in six years in
the French league, was identified as Newcastle’s top target even before
Ba left.

Newcastle are hoping to see off late interest from QPR and West Ham to land Remy.

Newcastle have also shown an interest in Ajax’s Holland youth forward Jody Lukoki.

Fears continue over Salford"s future after club cancel friendly with Leigh

Fears continue over Salford's future after club cancel winter friendly with Leigh

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UPDATED:

16:29 GMT, 21 December 2012

Salford have called off their festive friendly against Leigh amid continuing uncertainty over the club's future.

The City Reds, who are due in court on January 7 to face a winding-up petition, say they are unable to raise a team for the friendly, which was due to take place at the Leigh Sports Village on Sunday, December 30.

Reds coach Phil Veivers, who has been able to make just one new signing so far for Super League XVIII, said: 'It's unfortunate but we had to make the right call.

Game over: The clash at the Leigh Sports Village Stadium has been called off

Game over: The clash at the Leigh Sports Village Stadium has been called off

'We have a few too many knocks and niggles this week and, as everybody knows we are a bit light on personnel at the moment anyway with the current situation.

'We felt it was better to give the boys an extended break over Christmas and prepare ourselves fully for the Swinton game on January 6.'

Salford's bank account remains frozen and recruitment hinges on new investment in the club taking place.

The club, who are faced with a tax bill in the region of 50,000, need to find around 600,000 in the next six weeks to pay off their debts.

Alan Shearer blames Mike Ashley for Newcastle"s poor performances this season

Shearer: Stingy Ashley to blame for Newcastle's failure to challenge title contenders

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UPDATED:

10:40 GMT, 17 December 2012

Alan Shearer has launched a stinging attack on Newcastle owner Mike Ashley's over his apparent failure to improve the squad to capitalise on last season's fifth-place finish in the Barclays Premier League.

Alan Pardew's side have failed replicate the form which saw them finish fifth last term and are currently languishing just two points above the relegation positions at the half way stage.

The St James' Park legend believes the club have missed the opportunity to firmly establish themselves among the top flight's elite.

Given the run around: Newcastle were beaten 3-1 by City at the weekend

Given the run around: Newcastle were beaten 3-1 by City at the weekend

Shearer told The Sun: 'Newcastle missed a huge opportunity in the summer.

'Having punched above their weight last season and almost made it into the top four, this was the time to spend.

'The club was up and running again after so many years mired in uncertainty.

'There was once again a feel-good factor and even Mike Ashley was enjoying it.

'But he needed to put his hand in his pocket and strengthen with two or three quality players.'

Defeat in Saturday's early kick-off to Manchester City means the club have won just one of their last ten games in all competitions.

And while Shearer concedes the Toon do not have the spending might of City or Chelsea, they can achieve the same as Tottenham – who finished fourth last season.

Penny pinching Shearer has lambasted Newcastle owner Ashley

Penny pinching Shearer has lambasted Newcastle owner Ashley

He said: 'Just look what Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea did this summer, even if City couldn't get their main targets.

'I know Newcastle do not have the spending power of those three, but they most certainly could have found the cash to significantly strengthen that squad.

'It's up to Ashley how much he spends — but just look at what Spurs did.

'They pipped Newcastle to fourth place and went out and spent 57million on six players. Newcastle spent 8.1m on three and got a fourth in on a free.'

Best foot forward: Shearer believes Ashley should have splashed the cash

Best foot forward: Shearer believes Ashley should have splashed the cash

Portsmouth FC future clouded in uncertainty

Pompey future in balance as it remains unclear who will run club's affairs when in administration

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UPDATED:

23:30 GMT, 12 December 2012

The future of Portsmouth was clouded in uncertainty on Wednesday night as a potential dispute developed over who should manage their affairs while they are in administration.

The cash-strapped League One side are currently in the hands of PKF, headed up by Trevor Birch, and a High Court hearing was set for the morning where they were going to try to secure the sale of the club's Fratton Park ground to the Portsmouth Supporters Trust (PST) from former owners Portpin.

But PST on Wednesday said the hearing had been adjourned, before another party, P&A Partnership, said that Portpin wanted them and not PKF to manage the the club's finances until a buyer could be found.

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

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

P&A's Brendan Guilfoyle, a
well-known football administrator, said Portpin were unhappy with some
elements of how PKF had been dealing with things, but they were happy to
fund the club through to the end of the season provided he was allowed
to run their day-to-day affairs.

He also added that Portpin may be forced to shut the 114-year-old club down if they do not secure a change of administrator.

Guilfoyle said in a statement: 'If I
am appointed, I am confident that we can find a buyer to secure the long
term future of this historic and important club.'

P&A initially released a
statement which read: 'Tomorrow, Thursday 13 December, the High Court
will be asked to make a critical decision affecting the future of
Portsmouth Football Club.

'The administrators of the club believe that if the court does not agree to their application, they may have to close the club.

'However, Portpin have made funds
available to enable the club to continue trading provided that Brendan
Guilfoyle is appointed administrator to find a new buyer for the club.'

Portpin is led by former Portsmouth owner Balram Chainrai.

Guilfoyle has become a well-known
hand when it comes to administrations, having this summer helped the
Bradford Bulls rugby league side with their problems, while he
previously worked in football with Crystal Palace and Plymouth.

'The court papers show the club has become a lot more saleable in the last six months,' Guilfoyle said of Portsmouth.

Dire straits: The cash-strapped League One club are facing uncertainty over their future

Dire straits: The cash-strapped League One club are facing uncertainty over their future

Guilfoyle then told Sky Sports he
believed PKF had asked for the adjournment, and that Portpin wanted him
to make sure that if the PST bid – described this week the Football
League as carrying 'significant merit' – failed, that other options
could be sourced.

'Portpin don't feel the club has been
fully marketed and they don't want it liquidated if it can't be sold to
PST,' Guilfoyle said.

'They will fund the continuation of
the club until the end of the season as long as the court involve me and
I can be given an opportunity to find a new buyer.

'My involvement if there is any, will
be a matter for the court, to give the court another option as Portpin
feel the options presented, either a sale to PST or closure, need
broadening.

'If the court decided the sale to the supporters should go through, I wouldn't have any role.'

Referring to the story emanating from
the Trust about the adjournment, Guilfoyle added: 'There has been a
late development this evening, in that I'm told the solicitors acting
for PKF have requested an adjournment because they have a major problem
with their case.

'The solicitors acting for Portpin are trying to find out what that is but they're not being told.

'I don't think Portpin are
particularly happy because they find the uncertainty undesirable. We
don't know why, but it looks like there'll be an adjournment.'

It now appears that the initial
agenda of Fratton Park will need to be scrapped, with Guilfoyle saying:
'The administrators are seeking the consent of the court for the sale of
the stadium for 2.75million to PST.

The reason they're doing that is
because they've been unable to reach an agreement with Portpin. They
(Portpin) feel the whole deal with PST is prejudicial to their interests
and they're not happy with the administrators.

'Portpin are disturbed and are saying
to the court, “If you don't grant us the right to sell to PST we'll
have no option but to liquidate the club”.

'Portpin are saying, “Let's have
another option”. They feel a lot of good work has been done by the
administrators in reducing wages and making the club a more attractive
proposition.'

Initially, PST had told Press
Association Sport they were 'scratching their heads' about the
adjournment they reported, but were unavailable for further comment. PKF
were also unavailable for comment.

Raheem Sterling yet to sign new contract with Liverpool

Deadlock in Sterling contract negotiations but Liverpool remain confident

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 28 November 2012

Liverpool remain confident Raheem Sterling will sign a contract despite the latest round of talks passing without the winger being made a firm offer.

The England international turns 18 on December 8 and it has long been expected that Sterling would commit his future on that date.

In talks: Raheem Sterling has yet to commit his future to Liverpool

In talks: Raheem Sterling has yet to commit his future to Liverpool

But there remains some uncertainty after negotiations between Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre and Sterling’s advisors earlier this week ended without a definitive figure being outlined.

Liverpool, however, are certain that Sterling – who has been one of their most influential performers this season – will ultimately agree terms on a long-term deal.

Confident: Brendan Rodgers is not concerned over Sterling's delay

Confident: Brendan Rodgers is not concerned over Sterling's delay

A club source said: ‘Negotiations continue to be constructive but we are not prepared to go into any specifics and we do not think that is best served through the media.’

Jack Wilshere in talks over Arsenal contract – and could be new captain

EXCLUSIVE: Wilshere opens talks over 50,000-a-week Arsenal deal… as Wenger prepares to make him captain

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UPDATED:

07:42 GMT, 27 November 2012

Jack Wilshere is on course for a bumper new contract as Arsene Wenger starts preparing the midfielder for the Arsenal captaincy.

Sportsmail understands preliminary discussions regarding a deal extension, which will see the 20-year-old net a significant increase on his 50,000-a-week deal, have taken place.

The England star still has two-and-a-half years left to run on that contract but the Arsenal hierarchy are understandably eager to extend it. They do not want any uncertainty over Wilshere’s future.

Perfect 10: Jack Wilshere was honoured by the famous shirt in the summer

Perfect 10: Jack Wilshere was honoured by the famous shirt in the summer

Germany forward Lukas Podolski is understood to be the club’s top earner on 90,000 a week but, while Wilshere’s next offer is unlikely to be on that scale, the pay increase will make him one of the Gunners’ best-paid players.

Wilshere has enjoyed a morale-boosting month after his injury nightmare.

Having missed the whole of last season with ankle, foot and knee problems, he has made a successful return to club football and an instant return to the international game after his call-up to the England squad for the friendly against Sweden two weeks ago.

The midfielder will be buoyed further by Wenger’s plan to make him Arsenal’s next captain. The manager has privately identified him as the long-term successor to skipper Thomas Vermaelen.

Wearing the armband: Thomas Vermaelen (centre) is Arsenal's current skipper

Wearing the armband: Thomas Vermaelen (centre) is Arsenal's current skipper

The Belgium defender is under no immediate danger of losing the armband to Wilshere but a plan is in place to promote the talented playmaker within the next two-and-a-half years.

Having come through the club’s academy system, Wilshere has a deep emotional attachment to Arsenal and Wenger likes that. The manager took a similar decision when he made Cesc Fabregas club captain at the age of 21, while Gunners legend Tony Adams’ 14-year stint as skipper started at the same age.

Wenger hopes the lure of the armband will persuade Wilshere, who was given the club’s famed No 10 shirt in the summer, that his long-term future lies at the Emirates Stadium.

Jack Wilshere opens talks with Arsenal over new contract

EXCLUSIVE: Wilshere opens talks with Arsenal over bumper new deal as Wenger prepares to anoint captain Jack

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 26 November 2012

Jack Wilshere is on course for a bumper new contract as Arsene Wenger starts preparing the midfielder for the Arsenal captaincy.

Sportsmail understands preliminary discussions regarding a deal extension, which will see the 20-year-old net a significant increase on his 50,000-a-week deal, have taken place.

The England star still has two-and-a-half years left to run on that contract but the Arsenal hierarchy are understandably eager to extend it. They do not want any uncertainty over Wilshere’s future.

Perfect 10: Jack Wilshere was honoured by the famous shirt in the summer

Perfect 10: Jack Wilshere was honoured by the famous shirt in the summer

Germany forward Lukas Podolski is understood to be the club’s top earner on 90,000 a week but, while Wilshere’s next offer is unlikely to be on that scale, the pay increase will make him one of the Gunners’ best-paid players.

Wilshere has enjoyed a morale-boosting month after his injury nightmare.

Having missed the whole of last season with ankle, foot and knee problems, he has made a successful return to club football and an instant return to the international game after his call-up to the England squad for the friendly against Sweden two weeks ago.

The midfielder will be buoyed further by Wenger’s plan to make him Arsenal’s next captain. The manager has privately identified him as the long-term successor to skipper Thomas Vermaelen.

Wearing the armband: Thomas Vermaelen (centre) is Arsenal's current skipper

Wearing the armband: Thomas Vermaelen (centre) is Arsenal's current skipper

The Belgium defender is under no immediate danger of losing the armband to Wilshere but a plan is in place to promote the talented playmaker within the next two-and-a-half years.

Having come through the club’s academy system, Wilshere has a deep emotional attachment to Arsenal and Wenger likes that. The manager took a similar decision when he made Cesc Fabregas club captain at the age of 21, while Gunners legend Tony Adams’ 14-year stint as skipper started at the same age.

Wenger hopes the lure of the armband will persuade Wilshere, who was given the club’s famed No 10 shirt in the summer, that his long-term future lies at the Emirates Stadium.

Steffon Armitage faces anxious wait on failed drugs test

Armitage faces anxious wait as French rugby authorities delay verdict on failed drugs test

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UPDATED:

16:21 GMT, 26 October 2012

Steffon Armitage will have to wait until next week to discover whether he will be banned by the French Rugby Federation for failing a drugs test.

Armitage attended a two-hour hearing of the FFR's anti-doping commission in Marcoussis on Friday, at the end of which he was told the verdict would be published at some point next week.

The Toulon flanker tested positive for morphine, a prohibited substance, following last season's Top 14 final defeat by Toulouse but he has always vehemently expressed his innocence.

Anxious wait: Steffon Armitage (right), seen here in action for Toulon against Cardiff last weekend, will have to wait a little longer for his drugs verdict

Anxious wait: Steffon Armitage (right), seen here in action for Toulon against Cardiff last weekend, will have to wait a little longer for his drugs verdict

Toulon's explanation is that the result was caused by side-effects from painkillers and anti-inflammatories Armitage had been prescribed for back pain, which the club say are approved by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD).

Armitage was provisionally suspended but that was lifted in August. The original anti-doping hearing was then postponed from August 21 after the player asked to have his B sample tested.

Capped five times by England, Armitage has been in the form of his life since moving from London Irish to Toulon in the summer of 2011.

Strong defence: Armitage has vehemently denied the charges

Strong defence: Armitage has vehemently denied the charges

Armitage was voted Top 14 player of the year last season and he has carried that form into this campaign, despite the uncertainty of the anti-doping hearing hanging over him.

Toulon team-mate Jonny Wilkinson called for Armitage to be recalled by England following his try-scoring performance in the Heineken Cup victory over Cardiff Blues.

But England head coach Stuart Lancaster is not considering players based in France because they are not available to join up with the squad for training camps outside the international window.

England meet at the Football Association's new training centre in Burton on Sunday night to begin their build-up to the QBE autumn internationals.

Nani uncertain over Manchester United future amid Juventus interest

Will I stay at United Only God knows, says Nani as Juve eye 12m winger

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UPDATED:

06:56 GMT, 25 October 2012

Only God knows what the future holds for Nani, according to the Portuguese winger amid increasing uncertainty over his future at Old Trafford.

Talks over a new contract continue to stall and the 25-year-old has started just five of Manchester United's 12 games so far this season.

Sir Alex Ferguson named Nani as a substitute during Tuesday's 3-2 Champions League win over Braga and he was also on the bench for last weekend's Barclays Premier League victory over Stoke.

Uncertain future: Manchester United winger Nani admits 'only god knows' if he will stay at Old Trafford

Uncertain future: Manchester United winger Nani admits 'only god knows' if he will stay at Old Trafford

Russian big-spenders Zenit St Petersburg failed in a Deadline Day attempt to buy him earlier this summer, citing his 'unreal' wage demands for the breakdown in the deal.

Italian champions Juventus are keeping tabs on his ongoing contract saga and are believed to ready to pounce for his services in January at a cut-price 12million fee.

And Nani, who arrived at United for 14m from Sporting Lisbon six years ago, admits he does not not know what the future holds for him.

'Only God knows what awaits me,' he told The Sun.

'I am in perfect condition — I am physically good and feeling confident.

'I am the same Nani as always.'