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Novak Djokovic Takes His 23rd Grand Slam Title Winning French Open

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Novak Djokovic Takes His 23rd Grand Slam Title Winning French Open

For years, Tennis star Novak Djokovic made it obvious that being an all-time grand-slam winner  was his ambition. His major goal was to win the biggest trophies on the largest platforms in his sport, and today he stands alone — ahead of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and every guy who has ever swung a racket.

If Djokovic could maintain this record for this long, he could easily wait the half-hour or so it took to straighten out his swings in the French Open final. So, after a hesitant start in the dense, humid air and beneath threatening charcoal clouds on Sunday, he imposed himself. Casper Ruud, the opponent at Court Philippe Chatrier, never stood a chance after that.

Novak Djokovic won his 23rd Grand Slam singles title, breaking a tie with Nadal and moving three points ahead of the retiring Federer, with a 7-6 (1), 6-3, 7-5 victory over Ruud that was never in doubt for the majority of the 3 hours, 13 minutes.

Djokovic, 36, of Serbia, adds this championship to the French Open titles he won in 2016 and 2021, making him the only man with at least three from each major. He has ten Australian Open titles, seven Wimbledon titles, and three US Open titles.

Novak Djokovic is once again halfway to completing a calendar-year Grand Slam — winning all four majors in one season — a feat not accomplished since Rod Laver in 1969. Djokovic came near to accomplishing the record in 2021, when he won the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon and advanced to the U.S. Open title final before losing to Daniil Medvedev.

Djokovic will resume his quest at Wimbledon, which begins on the All England Club’s grass on July 3.

He has now won 11 of the previous 20 Grand Slams, a phenomenal record made even more extraordinary by the fact that he missed two majors during that time due to a lack of COVID-19 vaccination.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic Kicked out of Australia

Djokovic was deported from Australia before the Australian Open in January 2021, and he was barred from flying to the United States before last year’s U.S. Open due to a rule that has since been repealed.

Getting to 23 not only sets a new record for men, but also ties Djokovic with Serena Williams, who retired last year, for the most in the Open era, which began in 1968. Margaret Court earned several of her 24 Slam trophies during her amateur career.

Djokovic is the oldest singles champion at Roland Garros, which is regarded the most gruelling of the majors due to the lengthy, grinding points necessitated by the red clay, which is slower than grass or hard courts underfoot elsewhere.

Nadal won his 22nd major in Paris a year ago, two days after turning 36. He had arthroscopic surgery on June 2 after being sidelined by a hip issue since January.

Novak Djokovic

Top Spot in the ATP Rankings

As if that weren’t enough, Djokovic’s victory on Sunday means he will reclaim the top spot in the ATP rankings on Monday, replacing Carlos Alcaraz. Djokovic has already spent more weeks at the top than any other player — man or woman — since computerised tennis rankings were introduced a half-century ago.

Djokovic knocked off Alcaraz in the semifinals on Thursday, wearing him down over two thrilling sets until the 20-year-old Spaniard’s body cramped up severely. Alcaraz kept playing, but the final two sets of the four-set match told the story: 6-1, 6-1.

Ruud, a 24-year-old Norwegian, reached his third Slam final in the last five competitions, although he is currently 0-3. He was defeated by Nadal at the French Open a year ago, then by Alcaraz in the US Open last September.

Djokovic, in his 34th major final, got off to a rough start, possibly due to a sense of what was at risk.

Ruud was greeted with a standing ovation and courteous applause. More people stood up when Djokovic entered, followed by thundering cries of his two-syllable moniker, “No-le! “No, no, no!”

That song began again shortly before the game began — and again throughout the afternoon, sometimes to celebrate his best moments, sometimes to encourage him.

The crowd erupted when Djokovic rattled off 12 of the final 13 points, collapsing onto his back with his limbs stretched wide at the finish.

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NASCAR Teams Have Hired A Top Antitrust Attorney In Their Revenue Dispute. Here’s What It Means

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The NASCAR season has begun, with 38 races to select another stock car racing champion in the 76th season of the main motorsports series in the United States.

There is a significant issue for NASCAR and its teams: negotiations on a new revenue-sharing plan have stalled. In mid-February, officials from five teams notified The Associated Press that they had recruited renowned antitrust sports lawyer Jeffrey Kessler as an adviser.

The action was a power play by the 15 teams with the 36 charters that ensured entry into every race, sending a message that they would not be intimidated in negotiations. Here’s what you need to know about this off-track battle worth millions:

Charters are comparable to NASCAR franchises, but the series can withdraw them at any time. The current market rate determines their worth, but the specifics are not publicised. Live Fast Motorsports reportedly paid $40 million for a charter that Spire Motorsports bought last year, a significant increase from the $6 million Spire Motorsports paid in 2018 when it became the first team to purchase a charter from another team.

NASCAR chose which teams were granted charters in 2016. Four charters have yet to be offered for sale and are being held by NASCAR for use if a fourth manufacturer joins the Cup Series.

The present pact expires after the season, and teams have been negotiating with NASCAR for two years to get a better deal, including making the charters permanent.

NASCAR stated it needed to finish a new media rights package first, and a new $7.7 billion broadcast rights agreement was revealed in December. NASCAR’s economic offer to the teams arrived shortly after that.

The five-person negotiation committee for the race teams told the Associated Press that NASCAR was clear: “We’ve been informed, ‘This is all there is; there is no flexibility.’ “That is not a negotiation,” said Curtis Polk, co-owner of 23XI Racing with Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin.

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NASCAR’s Financial Health

NASCAR’s stability has ebbed and flowed for years, with significant emphasis on empty seats in the bleachers and viewing figures from season to season. The series has been through it all, and the TV contract is deemed significant.

According to a recent S&P Global Ratings report, NASCAR will continue to see strong growth in live attendance, sponsorship, and advertising-related revenue this year, and the new rights deal “provides good revenue visibility” until 2031.

The report also raised its credit rating for NASCAR, highlighting the series’ capacity to pay down debt while increasing revenue. This year, NASCAR’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation are expected to climb by 6% to 8%, according to Standard & Poor’s.

S&P also anticipates a positive cash flow of $135 million to $145 million, which could be lowered to $85 million following infrastructure repairs and utilised to reduce debt further.

Polk stated that the data demonstrates that NASCAR is financially solid and has had minimal difficulty repaying the almost $1.5 billion borrowed in 2019 to take its racetracks private.

“The rating agencies have upped NASCAR to a better rating based on the health of NASCAR,” Polk said in a statement. “NASCAR’s debt is now reduced to around $400 million. They repaid $1 billion in debt in less than five years.

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WHAT IS THE ISSUE?

The teams seek more than simply a bigger financial stake.

In addition to a rise in the proportion of the television rights deal, the teams want the charters to be permanent, as they are in other leagues. With so many of NASCAR’s top team owners in their 70s (Roger Penske turned 87 this week), they want their investments to be legacies for their families.

NASCAR has declined to contemplate making the charters permanent.

The teams also want to have a say in governance and foster a collaborative environment to generate new revenue prospects.

WHAT CAN TEAMS DO?
The teams are unaffiliated with NASCAR, which regulates the 38 races each year and provides payouts and cash from licencing, merchandise, and other sources. It also owns several top-tier tracks.

The teams wish to refrain from launching their breakaway series, noting CART’s downfall when Tony George removed the Indianapolis 500 and founded a competing league. Two open-wheel racing series could not be sustained. Thus, they merged in 2008 to form IndyCar. However, the damage had already been done: NASCAR bypassed what was formerly the leading US motorsports series during the split.

Currently, the teams do not intend to promote a race outside of NASCAR’s supervision. They want to strike a deal.

Teams could legally go on strike and cease turning up at the track, but it makes no financial sense, and NASCAR would most likely fill a field with teams from a stock car league it does not currently own.

Who is Jeffrey Kessler?
The attorney specialises in sports labour and antitrust conflicts. In 2021, he helped obtain a 9-0 victory at the United States Supreme Court in NCAA v. Alston, a significant issue on athlete remuneration. He also led the United States women’s soccer team in its winning fight for equal pay and lawsuits against the NBA and NFL’s current free agent rules.

Although employing Kessler could imply that the teams are considering litigation, the negotiating representatives said the attorney was hired to advise them during discussions.

The Race Team Alliance convened at Daytona International Speedway; NASCAR failed to attend, and the teams say NASCAR is no longer negotiating with them collectively. Instead, they feel NASCAR is attempting to communicate with teams individually to create division among what is now a unified front.

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WHAT IF A DEAL IS NOT ACHIEVED?

NASCAR could completely overhaul the eligibility system and develop its income distribution guidelines. NASCAR does not have a collective bargaining agreement for teams, and the RTA, founded to fight this struggle, is not a union.

The teams might file an antitrust lawsuit challenging NASCAR’s market dominance, arguing that NASCAR operates stock car racing as a monopoly.

But NASCAR has already won legal battles, including a 2009 case in which Kentucky Speedway failed to demonstrate that its refusal to host a Cup Series race constituted an illegal monopoly.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

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NAIROBI, Kenya – Kelvin Kiptum, Kenya’s world marathon record holder, was accorded a state funeral Friday after being killed in a vehicle accident earlier this month, prompting many Kenyans to call on the government to do more to protect the country’s famed sportsmen.

Hundreds of dignitaries, including Kenyan President William Ruto and World Athletics Federation President Sebastian Coe, paid their final respects to Kiptum as he was interred in Naiberi, some 6 kilometres (4 miles) from his village of Chepkorio in western Kenya.

The 24-year-old runner and his Rwandan coach, Gervais Hakizimana, died in a collision two weeks ago near the town of Kaptagat in western Kenya, in the heart of a high-altitude region known as a training ground for Kenya’s and the world’s greatest distance runners.

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Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

Kiptum was one of the most promising road runners to emerge in recent years, breaking the world record in only his third competitive marathon outing. Just days before his death, the world track body World Athletics certified his record of 2 hours and 35 seconds achieved at the Chicago Marathon last October.

Kiptum intended to break the two-hour marathon record in Rotterdam in April and make his Olympic debut in Paris this year.

His death echoed throughout Kenya, where runners are the biggest sports heroes, and many people have become accustomed to tragedies involving their best athletes, with dozens dying in traffic accidents or as a result of domestic abuse.

According to officials, Kiptum was driving on the night of February 11 when the car went off the road into a ditch and collided with a huge tree. He and Hakizimana died instantly. Sharon Kosgei, another passenger, was also hurt in the incident.

Kiptum, an only child, leaves his wife, Asentah Cheruto, and their two children. A High Court on Thursday declined to postpone the funeral in response to a woman’s legal claim that Kiptum fathered her kid.

kiptum

Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

Kiptum ran the fastest as a marathon debutant in the 2022 Valencia Marathon. The next year, he won two of the world’s most prestigious marathons: London and Chicago. He set a new course record at the London Marathon in April; months later, he set the global record in Chicago.

He became the latest Kenyan celebrity to die in sad circumstances.

David Lelei, an All-Africa Games silver medalist, was killed in a car crash in 2010. Francis Kiplagat, a marathon runner, was among five individuals who died in a crash in 2018. Nicholas Bett, who won gold in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2015 World Championships, was also killed in a car accident in 2018.

Many Kenyans believe the government should do more to protect athletes who bring international attention to their country, such as providing them with security, drivers, and advisors.

Elizabeth Wairimu, a vegetable trader in the western Kenya town of Nakuru, said the number of athletes killed in road accidents was frightening.

“I am asking myself what is the problem with our athletes,” she said. “The government should look into this… figure out what is killing our athletes. Where are we headed?”

She expressed sadness that the government was rushing through the process instead of Kiptum, who had pledged to build a new house for his parents.

kiptum

Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

Others in the packed market agreed with Wairimu’s comments.

“The government should not wait until the legends are dead to start caring about their welfare,” said George Thuo, a market seller.

Jimmy Muindi, a six-time Honolulu Marathon winner from Kenya, believes young athletes who reach Kiptum’s level require assistance managing their newfound celebrity status. Former marathoner Isaac Macharia concurred, stating that a support system is required to develop stars.

Jack Tuwei, the president of Athletics Kenya, urged President Ruto and MPs to find a solution to secure the athletes’ well-being and “allow them to have everything they need to be safe.”

Ruto announced that an endowment fund would be established for athletes and that the government would provide Kiptum’s widow with another house and $34,000 in support.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Former NFL Star Richard Sherman Arrested On Suspicion Of DUI, Authorities In Washington State Say

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SEATTLE — Former NFL player Richard Sherman was arrested early Saturday on charges of driving while intoxicated, according to the Washington State Patrol.

In a probable cause statement, Trooper Jordan Hazzard-Thomas, who assisted with the traffic stop, described speaking with Sherman and noticing “the odour of intoxicants” as well as Sherman’s eyes being “bloodshot and watery.”

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Former NFL Star Richard Sherman Arrested On Suspicion Of DUI, Authorities In Washington State Say

Emails seeking comment on Sherman’s arrest were sent Saturday to a representative identified on his social media sites and an attorney who has previously represented him. According to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Sherman will appear in court on Monday.

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Former NFL Star Richard Sherman Arrested On Suspicion Of DUI, Authorities In Washington State Say

He was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-Decade Team of the 2010s in 2020 after being one of the best defensive players of his era.

Sherman played seven seasons in Seattle before moving to San Francisco for three. He also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and attended Stanford University.

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Former NFL Star Richard Sherman Arrested On Suspicion Of DUI, Authorities In Washington State Say

More recently, he served as a football analyst.

In 2022, Sherman pled guilty in Seattle to two misdemeanour offences coming from a drunken driving and domestic dispute the previous year. He also admitted to a criminal charge of speeding in a construction zone.

SOURCE – (AP)

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