This year’s final at Roland Garros pitted World No. 1 Novak Djokovic against Tsitsipas. The latter had beaten big names like Alexander Zverev and a higher-ranked Daniil Medvedev on way to the final. It was the Greek’s first Grand Slam final, and he was facing the best in the business. There was a twist in the tale. The first set went into a tiebreak and Tsitsipas held the nerve to clinch it. In the second, the Greek was all over the Serb as he took it 6-2. Before the third set, Djokovic took a break and returned with a bang. He took the next three sets to win the French Open.
Although Tsitsipas couldn’t pull off an upset, he was termed the next big thing in men’s tennis. He still is, only that form has seen a big drop. He has played 10 tournaments since without making a single final. His farthest run has been the semi-finals of the Canadian Open and Cincinnati Masters. What has halted Tsitsipas’ dream run? It’s not that the 23-year-old has been beaten heavily by opponents. Most often, matches have been gone into deciders, like against Carloz Garfia in the third round of the US Open. What Tsitsipas has failed to do is to hold onto crucial moments. He has let games slip when he has had the upper hand.
In the French Open, Tsitsipas dominated his opponents. Even when he played a five-setter against Zverev, he did not flinch even once. But things are different now. He came into Wimbledon as the third seed and one of the favourites. Tsitsipas lost in the first round to Frances Tiafoe in straight sets. At the Tokyo Olympics, he lost to Ugo Humbert. Reily Opelka beat him in the Canadian Open, Nikoloz Basilashvili at the Indian Wells and Tiafoe again at the Vienna Open.
Former India tennis player Vishal Uppal feels the Greek is going through a rough patch. In a chat with News9, he said, “Drop in form is temporary. He will come back stronger if he stays healthy.”
sitsipas’ has had his share of controversies. It began with the reluctance to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He went on record to say that no one has made vaccination mandatory and hence he hasn’t got vaccinated. Although he assured, he would do so once it’s compulsory, the decision didn’t sit well. Also Read – Britain beat Czechs to reach quarter-finals, Croatia, Kazakhs through Soon after was the ruckus over toilet breaks. In his first-round match against Andy Murray at the US Open, Tsitsipas took an eight-nine-minute toilet break. This went on for a few more games with opponents protesting the long breaks. There have been charges of cheating, with him carrying a bag to the toilet breaks. Zverev said the bag contained his mobile phone and all the while Tsitsipas was out of the court, his father was seen on the phone in the stands. Although none of the toilet breaks have bent rules, Tsitsipas has come under fire and has been booed on the court. Uppal said fans turning against a player can affect his game. “It’s never easy when fans turn against you in a tournament. Any distraction can affect players mentally,” he said.
Warriors midseason review: Grades, awards for one of NBA’s top first-half surprises
As the regular season passes the halfway point, there have been few more pleasant surprises than the Golden State Warriors. But after 30 wins in their first 41 games, the season’s midpoint is also bringing the Warriors their most adversity yet this season.
Compared to the past two years, though, most fans will take the NBA’s second-best record, even if it comes now on the heels of five losses in their past seven games, the possibility of an extended absence for Draymond Green and a rare shooting slump from Steph Curry.
“We understand what’s going on right now. We’re in a tough spot, just like every team faces every year,” coach Steve Kerr said. “This is our time right now.”
One message rings true up and down the organization: it’s championship or bust.
“Everything we’re doing right now is preparing for the playoffs,” said Andrew Wiggins, whose postseason experience in seven previous seasons has been limited to single series elimination.
“It gives me chills thinking about what we can be at that point in the year,” said Klay Thompson, who has four games under his belt after missing the past two years.
Before we get there, let’s take a look back at how the Warriors put together one of the best records in the NBA through their first 41 games.
Offensive MVP: Steph Curry
Nobody in the NBA had a better first two months than Curry. He tore up the league to the tune of 28.6 ppg while making 46.6% of his shots from the field and 42.3% from 3-point land in his first 19 games. He made history, setting the all-time 3-point record in December, but by then, he was entering one of the longest shooting slumps of his career: 24.0 ppg on .377 shooting (34.5% from 3) in 20 games since. His scoring average has dropped to sixth in the league (26.3 ppg). Find Curry’s true value, though, by looking at the leaders in plus-minus: the Warriors are outscoring opponents by 402 points with him on the floor, 40 more than the next-closest player, Utah’s Rudy Gobert.
Curry is the best show in the sports, as evidenced by the “oohs” and “ahs” and “M-V-P” chants he commands even in opposing arenas. He’s fallen behind names such as Giannis, Jokic and KD in the NBA MVP debate. But for the Warriors? There’s no question. Curry is the man that makes Steve Kerr’s motion offense go.
That said, the Warriors offense has faltered in ways their defense hasn’t since early on in the season. What was once the third-rated offense has fallen to 12th in the NBA, while their defense has maintained its status atop the league.
Overall offensive grade: B+
Defensive MVP: Draymond Green
Like Curry, Green is a legitimate contender for the league-wide honor, so handing him the team award was a no brainer. Nobody within the organization would question it, either. Green is so well regarded that he won the team’s internal defender of the month honor, a motivational tool handed out by associate head coach Mike Brown. It speaks to the expectations the Warriors have for Green, even if he’ll occasionally rib Brown about the snubs.
The Warriors own the best defense in the NBA (102.6 points per 100 possessions), in large part because of Green. But they’re now faced with the challenge of maintaining it with Green possibly out for the longest stretch of his career — at least the next two weeks — with lower back problems. Luckily for the Warriors, they also have the NBA’s league leader in defensive rating — Andre Iguodala (96.9) — and eight of the league’s 21 top-rated defenders between Gary Payton II (98.7), Curry (99.5), Nemanja Bjelica (100.5), Otto Porter Jr. (100.7), Jordan Poole (101.3), Green (101.5) and Wiggins (101.5).
Overall defensive grade: A+
X-factor: Offseason acquisitions
Credit to the Warriors front office for taking a look at the roster after last season and identifying the need for more spacing and a defense-first back-up point guard. The Warriors couldn’t have found better fits than Porter and Bjelica, two smart players who have fit seamlessly into Golden State’s read-and-react offense. Golden State knew both players could shoot, but they’ve also surprised in other ways, be it Bjelica’s drive-and-kick ability or Porter’s work on the boards and his occasional heat wave that reminds observers why he was drafted third overall nine years ago.
Payton joined the organization last season — spending the Summer League with the Warriors even as a 27-year-old without a guaranteed roster spot — but he could have been had by any of the 29 other teams all offseason or at the end of training camp. Even the Warriors, who long admired Payton’s defensive game, couldn’t have seen him developing a real 3-point shot (41.4%), becoming the league’s best 6-3 post player and forcing his way into regular rotation minutes.
Quick side note: a shout out is deserved for the Warriors training staff, which has the notoriously frail Porter, 28, the healthiest he’s been in years, and is squeezing every last drop out of the 18-year veteran Iguodala, whose best days appeared to be behind him the past two seasons in Miami but has played with a renewed vigor. Behind the scenes, Iguodala has also played a key role in getting players like Poole up to speed in the Warriors defense.
Overall first-half grade: A
Prince Charles ‘desperate’ to spend quality time with Lilibet, Archie
Prince Charles has offered an olive branch to his son Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle to stay with him during their possible visit to UK as the future king is ‘desperate’ to meet his grandchildren Archie and Lilibet.
According to the Express UK, the Prince of Wales is ‘desperate’ to meet Archie and Lilibet and he has made it clear to Prince Harry about his wish to spend quality time with the grandchildren.
The report, citing a source, claimed that Prince Charles and Harry had several video calls over the last few months.
Prince Charles has invited Harry and his family to stay with him during their visit to UK amid security concerns.
The Queen’s eldest son, who is also heir to the throne, extended an olive branch to Prince Harry and his family as the Duke of Sussex plans to seek judicial review regarding security in Britain, the Mirror citing royal sources reported on Tuesday.
Prince Harry is scared to return to Britain with Meghan and their kids, the Duke’s legal representatives have claimed.
Queen’s grandson has filed for a judicial review against the Home Office decision.
Harry and wife Meghan lost their UK taxpayer-paid protection when they quit frontline royal duties in 2020 and moved to the United States.
Now living in California, they have their own private security team. Legal papers showed Harry arguing that the US team would not have adequate powers to protect his family in the UK.
F1 news: Lewis Hamilton latest, Red Bull ‘hangover’ ruled out, and Mercedes’ 2022 car launch date declared
The Formula 1 off season rumbles on with the aftermath of Abu Dhabi still an intense topic in F1 circles, not to mention the link between that and Lewis Hamilton’s future. The seven-time world champion appears to be switching off after the bitter ending to the 2021 season as Max Verstappen stole a maiden world title following a thrilling final lap.
But there is also much to debate and discuss surrounding both new rules for the upcoming season, as well as uncertainty surrounding who will line up on the grid.
Another trend is how Mercedes, Toto Wolff and the FIA mend their relationship ahead of next season, with Michael Masi’s decisions and performance a source of pain for the Silver Arrows.
All will be revealed in two months when the FIA’s inquiry becomes public on the eve of the opening weekend of the 2022 season.
With George Russell in theory joining Hamilton at Mercedes next season, there will be a shuffle elsewhere, with Sergio Perez not certain to return to Red Bull. Carlos Sainz at Ferrari, Fernando Alonso at Alpine, Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri, Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, Nicholas Latifi at Williams, Alex Albon at Williams, Guanyu Zhou at Alfa Romeo and Mick Schumacher at Haas will all need to secure new contracts too. Follow all the latest F1 news below:
- Toto Wolff’s behaviour at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been branded ‘unacceptable’ by Martin Brundle
- George Russell explains why he will not study Lewis Hamilton ahead of 2022 season
- Valtteri Bottas pinpoints main difference between himself and Hamilton at Mercedes
- Mercedes announce 2022 car launch date
Mick Schumacher: ‘Arrogant’ to suggest anybody can win driving with Mercedes
Mercedes announce 2022 car launch date
11:05 , Jack Rathborn
Maserati open door for potential F1 return
15:45 , Jack Rathborn
Maserati has not ruled out returning to F1 in the future after clarity emerges over the new engine rules.
The Italian manufacturer confirmed its long-overdue return to single-seater competition following over 60 years away with their involvement in Formula E next year.
And with a rich history in the sport, after Juan Manuel Fangio’s drivers’ title in 1957, CEO Davide Grasso responded to questions over their long-term plans: “You mean the other championship led by my friend Stefano Domenicali? Time will tell.
“But Formula 1 is the premier class, the most important championship for racing cars, a great competition. “Maserati was there, winning the world championship with Juan Manuel Fangio. So the question is not out of place, but also not relevant at the moment. Formula E should be our first step.”
Lawrence Stroll excited for 2022 and beyond after Aston Martin moves
15:30 , Jack Rathborn
Lawrence Stroll has hailed the arrival of Mike Krack as team principal after replacing Otmar Szafnauer with the team owner adamant they remain on course in their five-year plan to win the world title by 2025.
Stroll said: “Winning in Formula 1 is all about bringing together the best efforts of all the principal players – drivers, engineers, mechanics, everyone – and Mike is perfectly placed to do just that.
“We are hiring brilliant new people every week. Our new factory build is coming along very well. We have a fantastic roster of superb sponsor-partners.
“We are about to embark on year two of our five-year plan, the objective of which is to win Formula One World Championships. All the ingredients we require are coming together.
“Mike will play a central and leading role, reporting to Martin Whitmarsh and leading our technical and operational functions, our collective aim being to fulfil those lofty ambitions. We are on our way.”
Prost claims boss Rossi drained the fun from Alpine
15:15 , Jack Rathborn
Alain Prost claims Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi drained the fun from the F1 team and wanted “all the light”.
The four-time champion made a high-profile exit following seven years with the Enstone-based outfit, walking away from his role as an advisor.
“Laurent Rossi’s desire is to be alone, not to be polluted by anyone,” Prost told L’Equipe. “He told me himself he no longer needed to be advised. It was in Qatar but he still offered me a contract in Abu Dhabi, which I refused.
“It must be said it was a project in which I believed, and I still believe, an ambitious project which has restored incredible motivation within the group.
“But now, there is a real desire to put a lot of people on the sidelines. Laurent Rossi wants all the light.
“Me, what interests me is the challenge of being in a team and being listened to and involved in certain decisions.
“I was deliberately very isolated, but I still influenced a lot in a discreet way despite all the disagreements that I kept to myself.
“When the team boss doesn’t even say hello to you when you arrive at the circuit, it’s because there’s no more fun. There isn’t even any respect anymore. And then it can’t work anymore.”
Mick Schumacher: It’s ‘arrogant’ to suggest anybody driving a Mercedes can win
15:00 , Jack Rathborn
Mick Schumacher maintains it is “arrogant” to suggest anybody driving a Mercedes can win.
Max Verstappen snapped a streak of dominance for the Silver Arrows over seven years.
“Everyone deserves their place in Formula 1 and anyone can drive here,” Schumacher told Corriere dello Sport.
“But you can only say you can win a race with Mercedes if you sit in it.
“Conversely, it’s an arrogant consideration.”
George Russell’s style is ‘between Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button’
14:45 , Jack Rathborn
George Russell’s style has been described by Williams’ Dave Robson as “between Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button”.
“A good question. I think Jenson and Lewis were quite different and in terms of driving style, George is also different,” Robson told Motorsport.com.
“He’s kind of in between the two. To a certain extent it’s about using the tyres and they’ve changed, so I don’t know what Lewis’ style is like these days.
“The most important thing is that George is able to adapt. He drives quite instinctively and I think he continues to improve. He has the talent.”
Valtteri Bottas claims Lewis Hamilton dominance a hindrance at Mercedes
14:30 , Jack Rathborn
Valtteri Bottas claims Lewis Hamilton’s dominance was a hindrance to him at Mercedes.
The Finn was praised for his role in helping Mercedes land all five constructors’ titles during his tenure with his impressive teamwork and performances.
But Bottas has now revealed what he learned with the Silver Arrows ahead of a lead role at Alfa Romeo.
“I’ve been in a position that I’ve got to know Lewis pretty well as a human being as well, not just as a Formula 1 champion, and learned that he fully deserves everything he’s achieved,” he told GPFans. “He’s got the talent, but then he puts that into good use and he works really hard.
“Obviously, his lifestyle is also different in a way that, he might be in New York just a day before the race weekend, whatever, doing other things. But when he is in his working mode and in this Formula 1 mode, he’s never leaving any stone unturned and he’s always pushing the team a lot.
“I feel like in the last few years, he’s been more in a lead role, and for me, it’s been quite difficult to try and take a lead role, because he’s been, obviously, here before and he’s pretty dominant in the way he works with a team. Also, setting up the car for sure, I’ve learned a few things, but also many [other] things.”
Johnny Herbert maintains Michael Masi has ‘done too much damage to F1’
14:15 , Jack Rathborn
Ex-F1 racer Johnny Herbert maintains race director Michael Masi has ‘done too much damage’ to the series to remain in his role for 2022.
“In many respects…and in all respects, no,” Herbert told Sky Sports when discussing if he could survive the controversy in Abu Dhabi. “Because I think he has done too much damage to Formula 1 and I think because of the position that he’s in, we have got to have trust.
“And I think that trust has completely and utterly evaporated. “The problem is, is who do you replace him with? Because obviously experience is going to be very, very important for the man who slots into that position,” said Herbert.
“Michael was very fortunate, he was sort of underneath Charlie Whiting [former F1 race director] when Charlie was the head of it and he learnt a lot of good things from that point of view.
“Is there anybody that sort of stands out for me at the moment to replace him? No. And that is the conundrum.”
Michael Masi got it the right in ‘heart-pumping’ finale, claims Romain Grosjean
14:00 , Jack Rathborn
Michael Masi has been backed by former F1 driver Romain Grosjean, who maintains the FIA race director got it right in what was a “heart-pumping” finale in Abu Dhabi.
“I loved it. It was exciting. My heart was going, it was pumping like hell,” Grosjean said at an IndyCar media day. “There are a few ways of seeing it.
“It would have been very strange to not unlap those cars and have Lewis first and then Max four cars behind over one lap for the world championship.
“And, on the other hand, for Lewis it was definitely not a great call. But as a TV fan, as a spectator, and for the sport, I think Michael Masi made the right decision.
“I don’t think it would have been nice for the championship to finish under the safety car.
“It would not have been nice to finish with the guys first and second being separated by a few cars.”
Alain Prost makes ‘jealousy’ accusation after bitter split with Alpine
13:45 , Jack Rathborn
Alain Prost claims he was marginalised by Alpine over decision-making following a bitter split from the F1 team.
“The 2021 season was very disruptive for me in that I felt that the old ones [staff within the team] had to go,” said Prost.
“I accept change because you don’t have to always do F1 the same way. You can do it differently, and that’s what was done throughout last year.
“But for me, it became too complicated. I was no longer involved in the decisions, sometimes they weren’t even shared with me at all, but I had to continue to convey the official word.
“Even as a member of the board of directors, I discovered certain decisions at the last minute. You may not be listened to, but at least be warned in time.
“It’s a question of respect. Relations became more and more complicated, I felt that there was a lot of jealousy.”
Valtteri Bottas pinpoints main difference between himself and Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
13:30 , Jack Rathborn
Valtteri Bottas believes Lewis Hamilton’s “race pace and tyre management” are the biggest differences between their success at Mercedes.
“Many times he had to copy my setup for the qualifying last minute,” Valtteri Bottas told GPFans.
“Driving style-wise, tyre management is one of his big strengths, and in any condition and circumstances, he always finds a way, how to be able to extend a stint or the best way to efficiently keep the tyres in a good condition.
“That race pace and tyre management part has probably been the biggest difference between me and Lewis and consistency is what he’s had with those things.”
Toto Wolff’s behaviour at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been branded ‘unacceptable’ by Martin Brundle
13:15 , Jack Rathborn
Martin Brundle has called Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff’s actions “unacceptable” after the controversial season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Wolff was furious after Lewis Hamilton was beaten by Max Verstappen after a late safety car period, with Brundle adamant the team-to-FIA radio has to stop next season.
When asked if that form of communication nust end in the sport, he told the Sky Sports F1 Show: “One hundred per cent.
“In the first safety car incident [in Abu Dhabi] when [Antonio] Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo broke down some way from a service road, we had Toto on the radio to Masi saying ‘Hey Michael, no safety car’, trying to influence a safety decision.
“[It is] completely unacceptable and Toto knows that. We can’t have that.
“What used to happen in the Herbie [Blash] and Charlie [Whiting] days is they would get on the radio to Charlie and Herbie would go ‘He [Whiting] is busy at the moment. He will get back to you’.
“Of course, he didn’t because Charlie was busy sorting out the mess that was on track and working to understand when the race could be restarted.”
George Russell explains why he will not study Lewis Hamilton ahead of 2022 season
13:00 , Jack Rathborn
George Russell has explained he will not study Lewis Hamilton ahead of 2022 season as he admires the seven-time world champion’s ability to adapt too much.
“No, there won’t be any studying of Lewis,” Russell said.
“That’s because the reason that makes him so great is because of his adapting to situations.
“We’ve got a brand-new car. Nobody knows what the best way to drive that car [will be].
“I’m sure a Mercedes 2022 car will be different to a Mercedes 2021 car and compared to a Red Bull as well, and a Ferrari and a McLaren.
“They’re all going to have their little quirks about them.”
Lewis Hamilton’s Extreme E team wins Sustainability Award
12:30 , Jack Rathborn
Lewis Hamilton’s Extreme E team has won the inaugural Extreme E Sustainability Award.
The all-electric off-road series begun last year with five rounds in Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Greenland, Italy and England.
And with the focus of raising awareness of environmental issues, the ‘Count Us In Challenge’ was launched to encourage fans to do their bit.
The initiative has a range of steps which range in difficulty from talking to a colleague about issues concerning the environment, to actively reducing your carbon footprint with less flights.
And Hamilton’s X44 team earned the most steps, producing 792 out of a total 3,906 steps pledged by fans from all teams.
In total, the official website claims the initiative has already saved 1,506,207kg of carbon dioxide.
Kimi Raikkonen opens up on working with Sebastian Vettel
12:15 , Jack Rathborn
Kimi Raikkonen says former Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel has a “very particular way of working”.
The pair combined with the Scuderia from 2015-18, and have since maintained their friendship.
“Obviously [he’s] a great guy,” said Raikkonen of Vettel on the Beyond the Grid podcast.
“We had a good relationship always, and [he had] a very particular way of working!”
Lewis Hamilton’s ‘motivation’ will not allow Michael Masi future to dictate 2022 return
12:00 , Jack Rathborn
Martin Brundle maintains Lewis Hamilton cannot give Mercedes ultimatums over Michael Masi’s future in the sport as it would contradict his motivation and desire to race.
“I’m a little bit uncomfortable, let’s just put this issue to one side, of a team and a driver starting to determine who’s doing what in race control, or in any other role in Formula 1 to an extent. That’s the tail wagging the dog,” Brundle said.
“If my driver came to me, if I was a Formula 1 boss, and said ‘Look, I don’t think I want to race any more if that guy’s still around’, I would immediately stop thinking about race control and start thinking ‘Hang on, has my driver lost his motivation?’, which, of course, he hasn’t.
“Lewis will be back and be pressing the throttle ever harder.”
Mercedes have confirmed their 2022 F1 car launch date for the 18 February.
The W13 will be unveiled on Friday 18 as the Silver Arrows attempt to bounce back from a crushing end to the 2021 season.
George Russell will be on board, but Lewis Hamilton’s future remains unclear.
The full name of the car is Mercedes-AMG F1 W13 E Performance, with the primary goal of a ninth consecutive Constructors’ title.
After a black colourway for two seasons, speculation suggests a return to the traditional silver livery for a new era in F1.