Doubts over Novak Djokovic ahead of Australian Open

Novak Djokovic has now pulled out of successive tournaments. (AFP)
Updated 31 December 2017
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Doubts over Novak Djokovic ahead of Australian Open

DOHA: Former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic yesterday withdrew from next week’s Qatar Open, casting doubt on his participation at the Australian Open later in January.
It is the second tournament Djokovic has pulled out of in as many days owing to a niggling elbow injury.
The 12-time Grand Slam champion was top seed in Doha, but in a statement he said he would not be able to defend the title he won by beating Andy Murray last year.
His withdrawal comes just 24 hours after the injury forced him to drop out of an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi.
“Unfortunately, the situation with the elbow has not changed for the better since yesterday,” said Djokovic.
“I still feel the pain. Therefore, I will have to withdraw from (the) ATP tournament in Doha.”
The Serb added: “Only when I’m 100 percent ready to play, I will be able to come back.
“I hope it will be soon. I want to thank everyone for patience and understanding.”
The latest announcement raises fresh doubts over the long-term future of the 30-year-old and more immediately his availability for the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, which begins on Jan. 15.
In recent years, Djokovic has used the tournament as a valuable warm-up for the Australian Open.
In 2016, after beating Rafa Nadal in the Qatar final he went on to claim his sixth Australian title.
Last year in Doha, he ended then world No. 1 Murray’s 28-match winning streak to claim his second Qatar title in a riveting final.
Djokovic was targeting Doha as his first match since his quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon in July this year.
Austria’s Dominic Thiem, world ranked No. 5, has now been made the Qatar Open number one seed.
Qatar Open tournament director admitted Djokovic “will surely be missed.”


Watch: Ramos laughs as Mo Salah leaves pitch in pain

Updated 27 May 2018
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Watch: Ramos laughs as Mo Salah leaves pitch in pain

  • Video footage captures Ramos apparently laughing and smiling as a distressed Salah is walked off the pitch
  • There's doubt over whether Salah will now be able to play in the World Cup

DUBAI: Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos is definitely not the darling of the Arab world after bringing down Mo Salah in the Champions League final on Saturday, and dislocating the Egyptian’s shoulder in the process.

But a short segment of video has sparked even more outrage, dashing any hopes he might have had of being forgiven by Salah fans around the world.

The footage captures the moment a tearful Mo Salah is walked off the pitch, clearly in pain – the camera then quickly pans round to Ramos who is watching, smiling and laughing.

It was always going to be a fiercely fought match, Real Madrid the defending champions, Liverpool eager to claim back the trophy it last held in 2005.

Egyptian footballing superstar Salah was running towards Real Madrid’s goal in the 26th minute, the ball about to land in front of him when Ramos came in for the challenge and the two fell to the ground – Salah’s arm apparently pulled by the Spaniard.

Many outraged Arab football fans have taken to social media expressing their view that the move by Ramos was intentional, that he purposefully targeted Salah, while others say it was a fair challenge

The Liverpool striker played on for another four minutes before falling to the ground, before leaving the pitch, while being consoled by Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Now – as Egyptians everywhere worry that Salah’s injury, so close to the World Cup tournament, will prevent him from playing at all – the images of a smiling Ramos will leave a bitter taste.