Kyrgios suffers fresh injury blow ahead of Wimbledon

Australia's Nick Kyrgios slips and is forced to retire in a fresh injury blow ahead of Wimbledon during his men's singles first round match against Donald Young of the US at the ATP Aegon Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 19 June 2017
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Kyrgios suffers fresh injury blow ahead of Wimbledon

LONDON: Nick Kyrgios suffered a fresh injury blow ahead of Wimbledon as the Australian star was forced to retire from his Queen’s Club first-round clash with Donald Young on Monday.
Kyrgios needed lengthy treatment on his left leg after taking a nasty tumble behind the baseline while stretching to make a shot in the ninth game of the first set.
The world No. 20 decided to keep playing, but he was clearly affected by the injury and, after Young won the first-set tie-break 7-3, Kyrgios trudged to the net to withdraw from the Wimbledon warm-up event.
The 22-year-old was expected to make a strong run at the All England Club, but the injury leaves his participation at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament in jeopardy.
Having battled hip and shoulder problems in recent months, Kyrgios last week declared he was finally close to full fitness, but now he faces an anxious wait to discover if he will be able to compete at Wimbledon, which gets underway on July 3.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga got back on track after his French Open nightmare as the world No. 10 eased to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Adrian Mannarino.
Tsonga’s strong start to his grass-court campaign was the perfect way to erase the painful memory of an embarrassing first-round exit against unheralded Argentine Renzo Olivo on the clay at Roland Garros.
That was the first time Tsonga had lost in the opening round of a Grand Slam in 35 appearances, but there was no hangover as he brushed aside fellow Frenchman Mannarino in just 66 minutes.
“For me it was really important to have a victory. On clay it was difficult. I didn’t play really well in Roland Garros,” said Tsonga, who was runner-up at Queen’s in 2011.
“I had the good sense to have a grass court at my house, so I just practice and prepare this grass season, which is a good surface for me.
“Hopefully I will be able to do something good. It’s good to be back.”
Fifth seed Tsonga, who has won titles in Lyon, Marseille and Rotterdam in 2017, will play Gilles Muller or Nikoloz Basilashvili in the second round.
Former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych halted his slump with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Belgium’s Steve Darcis.
Berdych, the world No. 14, crashed out in the French Open second round to continue a disappointing year in which he has gone without a trophy and reached only one final.
The Czech veteran takes on Britain’s Kyle Edmund or Canadian qualifier Denis Shapovalov in the second round.
Grigor Dimitrov, the Bulgarian world number 11, cruised into the second round with a 6-3, 6-1 win against Ryan Harrison of the US.
Dimitrov is the only player other than reigning champion Andy Murray to win the Queen’s title in the last four years and he looks in the mood to push the world No. 1 for the crown this year after crushing Harrison in 54 minutes.
The 26-year-old, who made the Australian Open semifinals in January, faces French qualifier Julien Benneteau or British wild card James Ward in the last 16.


Mohamed Salah’s brilliance and impact better seen off-pitch than on it

Updated 26 April 2018
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Mohamed Salah’s brilliance and impact better seen off-pitch than on it

  • Jurgen Klopp praises the positive impact Mohamed Salah has had on attitudes towards Islam and the Arab World
  • Salah has 43 goals in all competitions this season and is a serious Ballon d'Or contender

LONDON: “Mohamed Salah is the best footballer in the world at the moment,” “Salah is up there with Messi and Ronaldo,” “Salah has the world at
his feet...”
In a world ever more prone to hyperbole and after yet another masterclass from the Egyptian ace, it is not surprising that such grandiose statements get bandied about with the regularity of a Salah goal. The 25-year-old was simply sublime during Liverpool’s 5-2 destruction of Roma on Tuesday night.
He has now scored 43 times this season, has a genuine chance of winning the Ballon d’Or, and with every match looks more deserving of the superstar mantle his admirers have given him.
But while we can sit back and marvel at his talent, all those tributes are perhaps missing the point. We can debate whether he is a world-beater on the pitch, but what is not in doubt is that Salah is a game-changer off it — and that is the true mark of just how impressive he has been since moving to Liverpool.
Go to Anfield for any match now and, once the rousing rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” has died down, it is likely you will next hear the Liverpool fans’ hymn to Salah. Sung to the tune of “Good Enough” by Britpop band Dodgy, it goes like this: “If he’s good enough for you, he’s good enough for me, if he scores another few, then I’ll be a Muslim, too.” Such is the “Salah effect.”
Britain is a hugely fractured country at the moment. The Brexit vote and debate surrounding it has held up a mirror to an island ill at ease with itself, with regressive attitudes to race, religion and immigration out in the open.
That Salah has been welcomed with open arms and lauded in that climate — albeit in a city with a proud tradition of tolerance — is quite something, not least at a time when Islamaphobic attacks in the UK are on the rise and when, as recently as 2016, a national newspaper ran a headline that claimed “1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis.”
The context of the Salah worship evident not just in Liverpool, but also around the country has not been lost on his manager, Jurgen Klopp.
“(The hero status of Salah) is fantastic. It’s exactly what we need in these times,” the German told Channel 4 News.
“To see this wonderful young man, full of joy, full of love, full of friendship, full of everything, in a world where we all struggle a little bit to understand all the things happening around on this planet — so it’s just fantastic.
“He is a Muslim and he is doing all the things that Muslims are doing before a game, washing procedures and stuff like that … like Sadio (Mane) by the way, like Emre Can, by the way; they all do that. Nobody says what we have to be…
“Now we wait, that’s completely normal in a team and that’s how in an ideal world the world would work; we all try to understand each other and deal with all the little strange things for the one or the other.”
Sport sometimes aims for profundity when there is none. Witness any stomach-churning statement of national brilliance during an Olympics, or any underdog story, and you will find people deriving a lot more from some match than the simple “team scores more to win game” narrative that is most set in reality.
But the “Salah effect” has prompted real change off the pitch. From fans singing “I’ll be a Muslim, too” to appreciating the Liverpool talisman simply as a great player regardless of background, the “Egyptian King” is a genuine role model for his country, the region and Islam at a time when the world needs it most.
“We are all kind of ambassadors and sometimes we fit to that role and sometimes not, and at the moment Mo is the perfect ambassador for Egypt, for the whole Arabic world. I love that,” Klopp said.
So it is immaterial whether Salah wins the Champions League for Liverpool, beats Ronaldo to the Ballon d’Or or leads Egypt deep in the World Cup — he has already done more than most footballers do.
Should the positive image of both Arabs and Muslims he has created endure, then that will be his true mark of greatness.