London :Serbian former world number one Novak Djokovic will be in action at his home club, working under old coach Marian Vajda, — desperately searching for some spark after tumbling down to 13th in the rankings.
Spain’s Rafael Nadal looks on during an interview session on Day 1 of ATP Masters Series Monte Carlo Rolex Master at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.
Rafael Nadal’s build-up to what he hopes will be another French Open triumph begins in earnest this week when the Spaniard returns to one of his favourite old haunts, Monte Carlo.
The Mallorcan world number one has been off the Tour since injuring himself at the Australian Open but looks to have recovered just in time for the European claycourt swing he has dominated throughout his career.
No where more so than Monte Carlo where last year he became the first player to win the same ATP tournament 10 times.
Twelve months ago he went on to win a 10th Barcelona title and then completed La Decima at Roland Garros.
The 31-year-old world number one begins his clay court title-hunting season with few matches in the legs this year though, having taken an extended rest after suffering a hip injury in Melbourne against Croatia’s Marin Cilic who will be seeded two at the Monte Carlo Country Club overlooking the ocean.
Any doubts about Nadal’s physical condition were cast aside, however, when he won both his matches for Spain in last weekend’s Davis Cup quarter-final against Germany.
His display against world number four Alexander Zverev was particularly impressive, winning 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
“I feel that I’m playing well. I had some good days of practice here, playing some good sets,” Nadal said.
“That helps me. I love this event. I always feel comfortable here. I’m enjoying being here in Monte Carlo in an event that always brings me to the best feelings possible.
“It’s hopefully going to be my first event of the year that I can finish. And I’m excited about that.”
Nadal will be chiefly concerned with arriving in Paris in tip-top shape but also in the back of his mind is the fact that his number one ranking is hanging by a thread.
Unless Nadal wins an 11th Monte Carlo title Roger Federer, who is skipping the claycourt season as he did last year, will return to the top spot without hitting a ball.
Messi the best in history : Puyol
London: Barca defeated Manchester United comprehensively in the Champions League quarter-finals with Messi scoring twice in the second leg at Camp Nou. He is top scorer in the competition this season with 10 goals and also tops the scoring charts in La Liga, where Barca are virtually assured of a second consecutive title.
Puyol, the ex-Barca captain who won three Champions League titles, praises Messi as a true leader in Ernesto Valverde’s side.
“He is playing at an incredible level,” Puyol told Goal at the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour Presented by Heineken in Lagos, Nigeria.
“For me, he is the best ever player in the history of the game.
“He has shown that season after season and you can see how his game has evolved, all the things he now does. And you can see he’s improving every year with new attributes he has brought to his game.
“He has improved in every way and he is taking a step forward on a personal level. He has always been a leader on the field but now, you can see that he is a leader on and off the pitch.
“He is an introverted person but now you can see that he is leading from the front as the captain of Barcelona.”
Messi has scored an incredible 45 goals in 42 games in all competitions for Barca this season, and has added another 21 assists. They are nine points clear of Atletico Madrid in the league, with only 18 left to play for, and are now favourites to add another Champions League to their collection with a double header against Liverpool in the semi-finals to come.
“It’s been very good in the Champions League and also in all the other competitions,” said Puyol.
“They’re playing really good football and they have the chance of winning everything. Right now it’s great because the best is yet to come this season.
“Barcelona are one of the favourites for the Champions League because there are only four teams left.
PCB decides not to allow cricketers to take their families along during the WC
Islamabad: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to not allow the national team’s players to bring their families along on the upcoming 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales starting on May 30.
The decision has been taken keeping in mind the pressure of the tournament, the board said while adding that the focus of the payers should be on their game during the World Cup.
The board, has mentioned that players’ families can travel to England on their own expense.
Additionally, the board clarified that the players could keep their families along with them during the series against England prior to the World Cup, a private news channel reported.
The cricket team will travel to England on April 23 to participate in the two and a half month long tour including the series against England and the World Cup.
Chief Selector Inzamamul Haq announced Pakistan’s 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup squad which left out experienced fast bowler Mohammad Amir.
Pandya, KL Rahul fined Rs 20 lakh each by BCCI Ombudsman
Mumbai: Indian cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul were on Saturday handed a fine of Rs 20 lakh each by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Ombudsman Justice (Retd) D K Jain for their sexist remarks in a television chat show “Koffee with Karan”.
The BCCI Ombudsman directed the duo to pay Rs 1,00,000 each to the families of 10 constables in para-military forces who have lost their lives while on duty through ‘Bharat Ke Veer App”.
Pandya and Rahul have also been directed to pay Rs 10 lakh each in the fund created by Cricket Association for the Blind (CAB) and for promotion of game for the blind.
All payments need to be made within a month from the date of the order, the BCCI Ombudsman further said.
Jain also instructed that in case the duo fails to deposit the fine within the deadline, the amounts would be deducted from Pandya and Rahul’s match fees by the BCCI.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court-appointed BCCI Ombudsman had summoned Pandya and Rahul for deposition over their controversial remarks on the celebrity chat show.
The two players were earlier in January provisionally suspended by the apex court-appointed Committee of Administrators (COA) for their loose talk on the show.
However, Pandya and Rahul tendered unconditional apologies and the ban on the duo was provisionally lifted pending an inquiry by the BCCI Ombudsman.
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