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Search resuls for: "Joshua Robinson"


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Once Novak Djokovic made it back to Australia, he hardly wanted to leave. Djokovic had been in the country for almost a month and not lost a single tennis match there—not in the Australian Open tuneups nor in the tournament itself, which he won for a record 10th time on Sunday. A year on from his Melbourne deportation fiasco, Djokovic had returned in conquering form and felt right at home again.
MELBOURNE, Australia—It took nearly two years, but Novak Djokovic has resumed normal service. He is an Australian Open champion again. On Sunday, Djokovic capped a two-week display of total mastery and brutal efficiency by beating No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) to win the 10th Australian Open of his career. The victory also secured a 22nd major title for Djokovic, 35, tying the all-time men’s record held by 36-year-old Rafael Nadal and leaving the retired Roger Federer two behind them.
MELBOURNE, Australia—For the past two seasons of her career, Aryna Sabalenka had been the semifinal specialist of women’s tennis. She would muscle her way through the draw, all the way to the final four, and give herself a shot to claim a Grand Slam title. Then she would fall apart.
MELBOURNE, Australia—Novak Djokovic likes to be very clear about what is and isn’t in his control. When he comes into the Australian Open feeling some discomfort in his hamstring, he can adjust. When fans are heckling him too much, he can make the umpire ask them to be quiet. And when his father is photographed on the grounds of the tournament alongside Russian fans who openly support President Vladimir Putin, Djokovic distances himself.
An Australian Open Women’s Final Built for Power
  + stars: | 2023-01-26 | by ( Joshua Robinson | ) www.wsj.com   time to read: 1 min
Elena Rybakina has one of the most powerful serves in the women’s game. MELBOURNE, Australia—The most dangerous weapon in women’s tennis is heading to another Grand Slam final. Elena Rybakina’s serve—a fluid, ferocious action that tops out at more than 120 mph—had already carried her to an unexpected title at Wimbledon last summer. Now Rybakina is back in a groove at the Australian Open and aiming to claim a second major title in the space of six months when she faces world No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka in Saturday’s final here.
MELBOURNE, Australia—The biggest player in this NFC Championship game is a 6-foot-8, 365-pound lineman who grew up playing the wrong sport. Long before he was dwarfing the NFL’s most menacing pass rushers, Jordan Mailata’s real dream was to play professional rugby league in his native Australia. The only problem was that even rugby league thought he was too huge.
MELBOURNE, Australia—Round after round at this Australian Open, young American men seemed to be having their best-ever major tournaments. They took down seeded opponents and rolled into the second week. Four of them reached the round of 16. But as the first Grand Slam of the year heads into the semifinals on Friday here, only one American remains: a 25-year-old from New Jersey named Tommy Paul. He defeated fellow American Ben Shelton in their heavy-hitting quarterfinal, 7-6(6), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, on Wednesday.
MELBOURNE, Australia—On a balmy night in Melbourne last week, Stefanos Tsitsipas was buoyant about his chances at the Australian Open. With the crowd at his back, he had just put on another commanding display. Now he wanted to commune with his fans at Rod Laver Arena. Tsitsipas approached the front rows of the stands and his supporters reached out for autographs. He reached back with pre-signed postcards.
MELBOURNE, Australia—Until he boarded a flight for the other side of the world earlier this month, Ben Shelton had never left the U.S. He was 20 years old and already a champion in college tennis, but while other players his age crisscrossed the globe chasing tournaments, he chose to build up experience at home. Then came the prospect of playing in the Australian Open this year. Shelton knew it was time to rack up some airline miles. Over a matter of weeks, he launched himself to events in Adelaide, Australia, in Auckland, New Zealand, and finally here in Melbourne to play just the second major tournament of his young career.
MELBOURNE, Australia—When Jessica Pegula woke up on Sunday morning here, she was still in the hardest section of the Australian Open. Potential matches against world No. 1 Iga Swiatek or fellow American Coco Gauff lay ahead if Pegula could just stick around long enough. But by the time she took the court for her fourth-round match, the draw was collapsing around her. Swiatek had fallen apart against the surprise Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, and Gauff had lost to Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, the player who won the 2017 French Open and hasn’t reached a Grand Slam final since.
Messi and Ronaldo Stage a Zany Finale in Riyadh
  + stars: | 2023-01-19 | by ( Joshua Robinson | ) www.wsj.com   time to read: 1 min
Lionel Messi, left, and Cristiano Ronaldo took the pitch together for what appears to be the last time on Thursday. RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—The rivalry between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo played out for over a decade in the cathedrals of European soccer. They clashed at the Bernabeu in Madrid, Camp Nou in Barcelona, the Olimpico in Rome, and Old Trafford in Manchester. The stakes were Champions League trophies and Spanish league titles. When Messi and Ronaldo took the pitch together for what appears to be the last time, it was inside King Fahd Stadium, a tired relic on the edge of Riyadh.
Back when Paris Saint-Germain agreed to play a midseason exhibition in Saudi Arabia in early 2022, the event was expected to be a lucrative and forgettable friendly match, little more than a glorified photo op. When the match had to be delayed by a year due to Covid-19, the affair became mostly an inconvenience. Then Cristiano Ronaldo intervened.
Rafael Nadal Exits Australian Open in Second Round
  + stars: | 2023-01-18 | by ( Joshua Robinson | ) www.wsj.com   time to read: 1 min
Rafael Nadal ‘s latest bid for a 23rd major tennis title came to an abrupt end Wednesday when he was eliminated in the second round of the Australian Open by unseeded American Mackenzie McDonald . Nadal struggled with an apparent hip injury, which caused him to pull up midway through the second set. Though he resumed the match, Nadal was clearly limited in his movement and never looked like mounting a comeback. McDonald , a former NCAA singles and doubles champion at UCLA, finished the job to win 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.
Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka and manager Mikel Arteta celebrate a 2-0 win against rival Tottenham, solidifying the young team’s surprising place at the top of the Premier League with the season nearly half over. LONDON—For nearly a decade, Arsenal made its annual trip across North London to the home of rival Tottenham Hotspur and returned without a victory. So when the streak ended on Sunday afternoon with a 2-0 win for Arsenal at the Tottenham Stadium, the result could have stood as a milestone on its own. But as the players celebrated in front of the small contingent of traveling fans, they understood that they had claimed something far more surprising. By the time Arsenal left its hated rival’s home, it was a genuine contender in the Premier League title race.
At this time last year, Novak Djokovic was doing his stretching exercises in a migrant detention facility in Melbourne, as he fought a losing court battle to remain in the country and play at the Australian Open. When he was finally placed on a flight back to Europe after more than a week of wrangling, the understanding was that he wouldn’t be welcome back for at least three years. But at some point over the past 12 months, Australia’s ban on Djokovic was quietly lifted. The three-year penalty turned out not to be the hard-and-fast rule it once seemed and the state of Victoria dropped the strict requirement that all visitors be vaccinated against Covid-19.
At this time last year, Novak Djokovic was doing his stretching exercises in a migrant detention facility in Melbourne, as he fought a losing court battle to remain in the country and play at the Australian Open. When he was finally placed on a flight back to Europe after more than a week of wrangling, the understanding was that he wouldn’t be welcome back for at least three years. But at some point over the past 12 months, Australia’s ban on Djokovic was quietly lifted. The three-year penalty turned out not to be the hard-and-fast rule it once seemed and the state of Victoria dropped the strict requirement that all visitors be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Naomi Osaka released a children’s book recently. On Wednesday she announced she’s pregnant and will miss the 2023 tennis season. 1 Naomi Osaka will sit out the 2023 tennis season after she announced on Wednesday that she is pregnant with her first child. Osaka, a four-time major tournament winner, hasn’t played a competitive match since September and last week pulled out of this month’s Australian Open without specifying why. By sharing a photo of a December ultrasound on social media on Wednesday, she made the reason clear.
The biggest surprise of the U.S. men’s national team’s campaign at the World Cup last November came a couple of hours before any American kicked a ball in the tournament. Coach Gregg Berhalter had published his first starting lineup in Qatar and one name wasn’t on it: Gio Reyna. Reyna was one of the most talented players at Berhalter’s disposal and already established with a major European club at Borussia Dortmund. So after he missed the Americans’ first World Cup match in eight years, a 1-1 draw with Wales, much of the conversation revolved around him. “I’m good to go.”
Gregg Berhalter had just returned from coaching the U.S. men’s national team in the World Cup last month, when he appeared at a conference in New York to talk about leadership lessons. Told that whatever he said would remain in the room, Berhalter spoke candidly about his team’s campaign. What he never expected was for his thinly veiled comments about Gio Reyna, the young American star he chose to bench due to poor attitude in practice, to turn into the strangest scandal in the recent history of the U.S. men’s national team.
A 31-year-old abuse allegation against U.S. men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter was made by Danielle Reyna, the mother of U.S. men’s soccer star Gio Reyna, after she and Gio’s father, Claudio, took issue with Berhalter’s public description of benching their son during the Qatar World Cup. Claudio and Danielle Reyna confirmed in separate statements on Wednesday that they had brought the allegation to the attention of U.S. Soccer, the sport’s national governing body. The allegations represent a confrontation between two families that had been friends for decades, dating back to the days when three of them were students at the University of North Carolina. News of the Reynas’ involvement was first reported by ESPN.
Cristiano Ronaldo Joins Saudi Club Al Nassr
  + stars: | 2022-12-31 | by ( Joshua Robinson | Jonathan Clegg | ) www.wsj.com   time to read: 1 min
Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the greatest soccer players of his generation, effectively ended his career at the game’s top level in Europe on Friday by joining Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia for what is believed to be the richest sports contract of all time. The club made the announcement on social media on Friday evening, five weeks removed from Ronaldo’s acrimonious exit from Manchester United and three weeks after he was benched by the Portuguese national team at the World Cup.
Pelé, arguably the greatest soccer player of all time and a three-time World Cup winner with Brazil, died on Thursday in São Paulo of multiple organ failure due to colon cancer, according to the Albert Einstein Hospital, where he was being treated. During a 22-year professional career that set new standards for goal scoring and individual virtuosity, Pelé came to redefine the meaning of global sports celebrity and established Brazil as the supreme power of the world’s most popular game. He spent most of that time with his boyhood club in Brazil, Santos, before a high-profile move to the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League in 1975, a disco-era experiment that created a brief surge of passion for the sport in the U.S.
The biggest inconvenience an English Premier League season has ever known—greater than frozen pitches, television blackouts or clubs going bankrupt—is finally over. It was known as the World Cup. And English soccer isn’t wasting any time in pretending it never happened. While La Liga in Spain is waiting till the end of next week to resume, and the German and Italian leagues are simply waiting until next year, the Premier League will storm back to life on Monday. Even in the unprecedented year of a World Cup held in November and December, English soccer was unwilling to compromise on Boxing Day, Dec. 26, the one day on the calendar when it knows it owns every fan’s attention.
Messi Lifts the World Cup and Ends the Ronaldo Debate
  + stars: | 2022-12-19 | by ( Joshua Robinson | ) www.wsj.com   time to read: 1 min
DOHA, Qatar—As Lionel Messi prepared for the biggest night of his professional life, the man who had spent over a decade as his biggest rival trained alone in Spain, on a separate pitch at Real Madrid. He wore gear he had borrowed from the club. Cristiano Ronaldo had left the World Cup in Qatar more than a week before Messi, following Portugal’s stunning quarterfinal defeat to Morocco. The last image of Ronaldo at the tournament captured him walking down the tunnel in tears, bitterly mourning his last chance to win the one prize that had eluded him.
LUSAIL, Qatar—Coaching Lionel Messi seems like the easiest job in sports: Give him the ball, and get out of the way. But for nearly two decades now, a succession of men who were charged with building a winning national team around one of the game’s greatest ever players discovered it was a nearly impossible task.
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