Latest – The New York Yacht club and American Magic have confirmed their intention to compete in the next Americas Cup.
Photo: PhotoSport / Andrew Cornaga
American Magic principal Doug DeVos says after reflecting and assessing all options coming out of last year’s campaign, the two organisations are teaming up again.
The team says it’s well prepared to compete in AC37 as they build on the foundation and experience from their AC36 campaign, claiming it’s been busy assembling an elite team and committed to further developing talent across all areas of sailing and business operations.
“The America’s Cup remains the highest peak in sailing and one of the most difficult challenges in the world of sport,” said Paul M. Zabetakis, M.D., Commodore of the New York Yacht Club.
“The lessons learned during our previous campaign, combined with American Magic’s physical and intellectual assets and a commitment to multiple cycles, will ensure we come into this challenge with a strong chance to claim sailing’s ultimate prize.”
American Magic join INEOS Team UK, Alinghi and Luna Rossa as intended challengers for the Cup, held by Team New Zealand.
US Open to become womens golf’s richest tournament
The U.S. Women’s Open purse will nearly double this year to US$10 million from $5.5 million in 2021
The figure eclipses the previous benchmark set by the AIG British Women’s Open, which offered $5.8 million in prize funds in 2021 and is expected to offer an additional $1 million this year.
“For more than 75 years, the U.S. Women’s Open has been the one that every little girl, in every country around the world, has dreamed of winning,” USGA CEO Mike Whan said in a statement.
“While I’m incredibly proud of what we are announcing today, I know this is just the beginning,” he said.
The USGA said it also planned to increase the prize fund to $11 million and then $12 million in the next five years.
The oldest of the five women’s golf majors, the tournament begins June 2 at Pine Needles in North Carolina.
New signing for Wellington Phoenix
The Wellington Phoenix has signed an experienced centre back who was once on Sir Alex Ferguson’s books at Manchester United.
30-year-old English defender Scott Wootton has agreed to join the club for the remainder of the A-League season.
It is hoped he will arrive in Sydney before the transfer window opens in a week’s time.
Wootton played four matches for United as a 21-year-old in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season at Old Trafford in 2012, playing alongside the likes of Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney.
Wootton has played more than 200 league matches in England across the Championship, League One and League Two and brings invaluable experience to the Phoenix which has an average age of just 22.
Brazilian star to join Aston Villa
Aston Villa have signed Brazilian international Philippe Coutinho on a loan deal until the end of the season from Barcelona.
Philippe Coutinho. Photo: Offside Sports Photography
He will be reunited with former captain Steven Gerrard, with the pair playing together at Anfield from 2013-15 and Gerrard now managing Villa.
Coutinho, who has won two league trophies and two Copa del Rey titles with Barcelona, has played 16 times for the club this season in all competitions and scored two goals.
The 29-year-old previously spent six years in the Premier League playing for Liverpool, where he made over 200 appearances and scored 54 goals.
Gerrard heaped praise on Coutinho.
“If you go and have a look at his Wiki page you’ll see a serial winner wherever he goes. He’s won 63 caps for Brazil, played for Barcelona and was incredible at Liverpool,” Gerrard said.
“I don’t think you get a nickname of ‘The Magician’ if you’re not a special footballer.”
The agreement, subject to a medical and a work permit being granted, includes the option to make the transfer permanent, Villa said.
Coutinho joined Barcelona in January 2018 for approximately 142 million pounds ($192 million) but has not been able to establish himself in the first team at Camp Nou and he spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Bayern Munich.
Leicester lose Vardy for eight weeks
Leicester City striker and club top scorer Jamie Vardy has been ruled out for up to eight weeks due to a hamstring injury.
The 34-year-old, who has nine goals in the Premier League this season, played the full 90 minutes in last week’s 1-0 home win over Liverpool despite a hamstring issue that kept him out of the Boxing Day loss to Manchester City.
Manager Brendan Rodgers said Vardy does not need an operation, but the injury was worse than first feared.
“Jamie will be out for a number of weeks. It’s been unfortunate for him but we’re looking at up to eight weeks,” Rodgers told reporters before Leicester begin their FA Cup title defence in Saturday’s third-round tie at home to Watford.
“His is the higher end of his hamstring, you are looking into March for Jamie. He doesn’t need an operation and that was the only good news from it.”
Spain into final of ATP Cup
Former world number nine Roberto Bautista Agut edged past Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(6) 2-6 7-6(5) in a thrilling contest on Friday to fire Spain to their second ATP Cup final in three years.
Roberto Bautista-Agut Photo: PHOTOSPORT
Spain, who went down to Serbia in the championship match in the inaugural edition of the team event in 2020, will meet either defending champions Russia or Canada in Sunday’s final.
Bautista Agut, 33, came into the match with a 2-0 head-to-head record against world number nine Hurkacz but had to dig deep to earn the victory after a high-quality match that lasted two hours and 44 minutes.
Hurkacz saved five match points, the first of them with an incredible low backhand drop volley that brought the crowd at the Ken Rosewall Arena to their feet.
But Bautista Agut kept putting him under pressure and then sealed the contest and the tie when the 24-year-old found the net with a return.
“It’s a match that I will always remember,” Bautista Agut said on court.
“I think both of us could get the win today. He also really deserved a lot of good things. But this is our game, this is tennis. Today I was the one who got the win. I think I also deserved it. I did a lot of good things on the court.”
Poland were dealt a blow even before they took the court for the semi-finals with Kamil Majchrzak, who won all three of his singles matches at this year’s tournament, ruled out after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.
Australian tennis star in good form
World number one Ash Barty delighted the Memorial Drive crowd by breezing through to the Adelaide International semi-finals with a comfortable 6-3 6-4 victory over Sofia Kenin to set up a meeting with defending champion Iga Swiatek.
Barty, the 2020 Adelaide champion, dominated from the start and showed no signs of the rust on display in her win over Coco Gauff in the previous round of the Australian Open warm-up event.
In their first meeting since Kenin upset Barty in the 2020 Australian Open semi-final, the American struggled with her serve while her top-ranked opponent was nearly flawless, producing 17 aces and winning 31 of 32 first serve points.
Osaka continues her resurgence
Former world number one Naomi Osaka has reached the semi-finals of the Melbourne Summer Set WTA event on by beating German Andrea Petkovic.
Photo: Tokyo Olympics
Four-times Grand Slam champion Osaka beat Petkovic 6-1 7-5 as the Japanese player fought back from a break down in the second set, sealing victory in one hour 14 minutes at Rod Laver Arena.
The 24-year-old, who struggled for form last year since withdrawing from the French Open in May, will face third seed Veronika Kudermetova in the last four after the Russian beat compatriot Anastasia Potapova 6-2 4-6 6-0.
“I definitely think I played really well in the first set, and I was really happy about that,” Osaka said. “I feel like it was just a matter of feeling out.
Andy Murray gets another wildcard
Former world tennis number one Andy Murray has been handed a wildcard into the main draw of next week’s Sydney Tennis Classic.
The 34-year-old Briton, who has slipped to 134th in the world rankings after long injury lay-offs due to hip surgery, was also handed a main draw wildcard into the Australian Open, which starts in Melbourne on Jan. 17.
Murray’s preparations for the year’s opening Grand Slam, however, began on a losing note when he lost to Argentina’s world number 76 Facundo Bagnis in the first round of the Melbourne Summer Series earlier this week.
“I’m looking forward to playing in Sydney for the first time and continuing my preparation for the Australian Open,” said Murray, who has won three majors and two Olympic singles gold medals.