Mesut Ozil thanks Jerome Boateng for support over racism row

Mesut Oil retired from Germany duty after the World Cup citing racism as one of the reasons. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Mesut Ozil thanks Jerome Boateng for support over racism row

LONDON: Mesut Ozil has thanked Jerome Boateng for public support in the wake of Ozil’s controversial retirement from international football.
Ozil, 29, walked away from the Germany squad in July, claiming he was made a scapegoat for the national team’s disastrous failure at the World Cup and cited “racism and disrespect” due to his Turkish heritage and criticized the German FA (DFB).
Berlin-born Boateng, 30, was one of the few German players to speak up for Ozil at the time, said in an interview this week that fellow stars in the national team should have supported the Arsenal midfielder against the harsh criticism following the World Cup debacle.
“Thanks bro, for your words,” Arsenal midfielder Ozil wrote in an Instagram story on his official page.
“At the DFB, you were always one of the players who was there during difficult moments.”
After 23 goals and 40 assists in 92 appearances for Germany, Ozil, who was born in Gelsenkirchen to Turkish parents, announced his retirement in a fiery three-page statement.
Boateng said his fellow 2014 World Cup winner had earned the right to a better send off.
“Where were the players, who then publicly thanked Mesut?” questioned Boateng, whose father comes from Ghana, in an interview with Munich-based Sueddeutsche Zeitung this week.
“Apparently, many did not dare to comment because they thought that would not be so popular with German fans.
“It’s about a great player, who became world champion with us, who played fantastic games, who also changed German football a bit. A number 10 with a migration background!
“You have to say ‘thank you’, but I find it a shame that some held back.”


Naomi Osaka shocked as Kristina Mladenovic downs world No. 1 in Dubai

Updated 19 February 2019
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Naomi Osaka shocked as Kristina Mladenovic downs world No. 1 in Dubai

  • It was Osaka's first match since she won the Australian Open — her second consecutive Grand Slam title.
  • World No. 67 Mladenovic lost for words after surprise win.

DUBAI: Naomi Osaka stumbled badly in her first match since winning the Australian Open as the world number one went down in a flurry of errors to exit the Dubai Championships on Tuesday.
Dubai-based Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic claimed a 6-3, 6-3 victory to reach the third round as Osaka made 25 unforced errors.
The rout, which featured seven breaks of the Osaka serve, took barely an hour, sending Mladenovic into a Wednesday contest with Carla Suarez Navarro.
“This is my home tournament, I live here,” world No. 67 Mladenovic said. “It’s great to get a win like this in front of a big crowd.
“Beating the number one is always special.”
The second set was riddled with seven consecutive breaks of serve before Mladenovic finished off the job with a winner to the empty court on match point.
Osaka stunned the tennis world last week by announcing her split from coach Sascha Bajin despite winning back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the US and Australian Opens.
She said earlier this week that she would not prioritize “success over happiness” when asked about the sacking, and she never looked like winning in Dubai as she also served five double faults.
Earlier on Tuesday, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova both won their opening matches, while Elina Svitolina made a strong start to her bid for a third straight title.
Kvitova, the 2013 winner, recovered from losing a first-set tiebreak to defeat Katerina Siniakova 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-4 and squeeze into the third round.
Halep, Dubai champion in 2015, saw off 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.
The Romanian said she is still feeling the effects of her weekend final defeat in Doha by Elize Mertens.
“It was a good match because I won it. I tried to finish the points faster because I’m a little bit tired,” Halep said.
“She played well, the level was pretty good. At some points I really ran very well. I’m confident. I feel good on court even if I’m tired.”
A third former world number one also advanced as Angelique Kerber beat Dalila Jakupovic 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.
Kvitova, Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014, said she was unfazed about the early midday start to her match.
“I don’t really care if I play the first match,” the Australian Open runner-up said. “Now I’m done, so I have a free afternoon.
“I’m not sure what I’m pleased with... maybe with my comeback at the end.”