David targets seventh world title

Updated 17 December 2012
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David targets seventh world title

GRAND CAYMAN: Nicol David, who will be seeking to extend her record of world titles to seven in eight years on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, hopes to show that the pack of would-be rivals is not closing in on her.
The phenomenal Malaysian is one of the longest-lasting front-runners in the whole of sport, but two losses in recent weeks have offered unexpected encouragement to those who believe the hunt may have found a scent.
These rare winners were Raneem El Weleily, the world No. 2 from Egypt who has improved markedly during 2012, and Alison Waters, the world No. 7 from England, who has made a remarkable comeback from injury.
Their successes will have galvanized others to believe the chase can succeed.
However, David also has reasons for feeling encouraged.
Crucial after six-and-a half continuous years as world No. 1 is to ensure she peaks for important events — and she has just done that rather well.
It was at the US Open in Philadelphia in October where she avenged herself on the two who had beaten her.
“It was a big achievement for me to win it that way,” said David, hinting at evolving priorities as she moves into her 30th year.
“Recovery is key. It’s key to preventing injuries, and keeping the body ready for each day.” She has not been helped in her need to prioritize in this way by a section of the media back home which described her losses as “shocking.”
But David insists her motivation burns bright.
“It’s that will to improve myself, as a player, also trying to get to perfection, and there is a long way to go,” she said.
“I just feel old, looking at all those young players, that just keep going!” Weleily is 23, and as the number two seed, is in the other half of the draw of the World Open which starts on Monday.
Waters is 28 and seeded fourth but has landed in the champion’s half. They may have a semi-final meeting though there are unusually tough hurdles for David before that.
Her first round is about the hardest she could have had — against Omneya Abdel Kawy, whom she played in the 2010 final in Sharm El Sheikh.
Since then injury has caused the Egyptian to fall from the top 20, until an excellent comeback in the last two months.
This opener could prove a thermometer of David’s chances, for the champion has occasionally shown signs of vulnerability early on.

It may not get any easier though, for David has a likely third round with Nour El Sherbini, the 17-year-old Egyptian schoolgirl who contested this year’s British Open final with her.
After that El Sherbini was widely touted as the player most likely to succeed David.
Insights as to how soon that might happen may shortly be available.


Liverpool's Andrew Robertson ready for Roma Champions League test

Updated 23 April 2018
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Liverpool's Andrew Robertson ready for Roma Champions League test

  • Young Scottish star was very impressive during Liverpool's 5-1 aggregate destruction of Man City in last-eight clash.
  • Robertson refuses to take Roma lightly after their shock victory over Barcelona in the last round.

LIVERPOOL: With a desire stoked in the stands of Parkhead, Andrew Robertson is now fired up to fulfil a childhood dream.
While following the fortunes of Celtic, the defender’s first Champions League final memory was when Zinedine Zidane volleyed Real Madrid to success in 2002 as the contest was staged in Robertson’s home city of Glasgow. He was just eight years old.
While Robertson was deemed too small to play for his boyhood idols, released at 15 with a future uncertain, he has grown to prove his worth on Europe’s biggest club stage with Liverpool.
Now, with a semifinal encounter against AS Roma after beating Premier League champions Manchester City in the last eight, he wants to emulate those Reds heroes who lifted the trophy five times before.
“I was a big Celtic fan growing up and my heroes were Henrik Larsson and Co,” Robertson told Arab News ahead of tonight’s first-leg clash 
at Anfield.
“But these heroes who have won the European Cup and Champions League for Liverpool, you have to look up to them — and we want to emulate them and hopefully get a winner’s medal too.
“The club’s won it five times and the history of the club has always been this, the Champions League, where the fans create a special atmosphere and the club challenges for the trophy. It would be unbelievable to be a part of that history.
“This is the highlight for me so far and an incredible feeling, but it just makes you hungry for more. I don’t want it to end.
“As a kid, you sit back and watch how great it would be to play in this competition, let alone in the final.
“I always used to go to Celtic and we didn’t progress very far in the Champions League, but the occasions at Parkhead were always unbelievable.
“The fans at Celtic are incredible, world renowned, but Anfield was unbelievable against Man City and we have another chance for them to create that same atmosphere and hopefully we can put in another great performance.”
Having beaten Pep Guardiola’s City so convincingly, 5-1 over two gripping games, Liverpool will start favorites against Roma.
That is despite the Italians upsetting Barcelona in the previous round with an epic 3-0 win in the second leg after a 4-1 loss at the Nou Camp.
But Robertson will take nothing for granted against a Roma side who last reached the final in 1984 where they were beaten by Liverpool in a penalty shootout at their Stadio Olimpico home.
“Barca are an unbelievable team,” added the Scotland left-back, 24. “But let’s not kid ourselves. For Roma to score three goals against Barcelona, that’s special.
“They’ve been unbelievable this season too in the Champions League and deserve to be in the semifinals. It will definitely not be an easy game.
“But once you get to the semis, the fear of who you are playing has gone because you know how good the teams are.
“It’s like you look forward to the possibility of playing in the final, that’s what drives you forward. We will have fire in our bellies because we are so close to getting there.”
Jurgen Klopp’s men will no doubt be looking to Mohamed Salah to conjure more magic against the club he left in the summer for £36.9 million ($51.5 million).
But Robertson insisted Liverpool are no one-man team and the Egyptian, crowned PFA Player of the Year on Sunday night after scoring 41 goals in an unforgettable campaign, epitomizes a team united and ambitious in their quest for glory.
“He’s just unbelievable,” said Robertson of the frontman.
“In the first half (of the second leg) against Man City we struggled to get him in the game and he wasn’t quite at it. But the second half he was different class and pops up with a goal to help us win it. That’s what he does.
“His goals have been incredible and long may that continue. He’s a great guy, so humble, and for someone who has done so much this season he’s so down to Earth.
“That’s credit to our squad because we don’t let anyone get ahead of themselves.
“Mo is no different, he’s a lovely person and stands for what we are as a team.”

 

HEART OF GOLD

Five years ago Andrew Robertson was playing in the fourth tier of Scottish football with Queen’s Park and earning extra money by selling concert tickets in the corporate offices at Hampden Park.
Last summer he suffered relegation from the Premier League with Hull City before Liverpool signed him for £10 million ($13.9 million).
In a career fraught with setbacks and hardships, he has been grateful, supporting foodbanks that help those in need.
“It’s all about giving something back to the less fortunate,” said Robertson.
“I’m in a fortunate position where I do a job I love and get paid well and it’s nice to give something back, especially in my hometown. I’ll always do that.
“It’s been a great journey for me in my career, and I’ve enjoyed every minute. But I don’t forget where I came from. Maybe it is rare, but a lot more people are doing it now and I hope even more will.”