Topping the ranks of women’s tennis for 2019 is Ashleigh Barty. Now, this tennis star cut another record when she smashed the $10 million prize money ceiling for the season. Barty earned herself a spot only shared by one other for having the most lucrative WTA Finals ever, as her on-court earnings slipped to an impressive $10.93 million.
The recent windfall in the Australian’s income just more than doubled her career earnings in only one season. This could increase even more if Barty manages to defeat Petra Kvitova and thus qualify for the semi-finals. If Barty makes it to the final four in the tournament, she will be sure of at least $1.45 million, and if she moves on to the finals and takes victory, the total value of her prize money stands at $5.98 million. Considering the odd scenario that she might lose during the semi-finals, the 23-year-old player will still depart back on her journey home from China with $890 000 in hand.
Holding Your Future in Your Hands
The results of the finals are very much in Barty’s own hands. That is also the way that she prefers it to be. Currently, the contest within the pool is still keen to compete for the finals, but the action plan for Barty to proceed to the desired position is rather evident. The Australian star needs to take Kvitova out of the run and then she’ll be in the top view of the Red Group.
This will secure that she advances to the semi-finals. Once again even if she loses, she might still be able to slip into the finals if she manages to snatch a set from Kvitova and Kiki Bertens manages to gain victory over Belinda Bencic in a total of three sets. This would be a much more complex scenario, yet still possible. When counting back the number of games won and lost by each of the competing players, this might gain her access to where she wants to be.
Barty vs Kvitova
Barty stated that every single time the two of them met on the court, it had been a challenging experience. She also noted that each time is different. Now playing in China, the condition would once again be changed. What she needs to do is to be able to find Kvitova’s strengths and eliminate their effect while working on her weakness and still stay true to her pattern of play. Barty also expressed that the two tennis forces do have tremendous respect for each other. She stated that Kvitova does have a way to bring out the best performance she has to deliver on the court.
Does Barty manages to proceed, she is bound to meet up with either Elina Svitolina, the titleholder, or the champion of Wimbledon Simona Halep or Karolína Plíšková, to secure the desired spot in the finals.
The sports legends of the world give it they’re all while playing, both mentally as well as physically. This extreme devotion to the sport often takes its toll on their bodies and later on they have to pay the price with their health. This has just been proven once again as studies revealed that professional footballers stand a much higher chance of suffering from dementia as well as other neurological diseases than others.
The University of Glasgow’s Brain Injury Group has just completed a 22-month study which revealed that professional footballers have an increased likelihood of suffering from dementia or any other neurological severe disease later on in life, of three and a half times. They also revealed a risk increase of five times for Alzheimer’s and four times for motor neuron disease and twice for Parkinson’s. The causes of these finding, however, remains still uncertain and researchers couldn’t determine whether this is due to the heading of leather footballs, regular concussions or any other contributing factor. Further research funded by the Football Association will now continue to determine the contributing factors affecting the lives of these heroes.
The Football Association stated that the study has been revealing. They mentioned that it used digitized data from NHS Scotland and compared the cause of death of 7 676 former professional male footballers born between 1900 and 1976 with the data of 23 000 people living ordinary lives. Yet the FA stated that this is not yet providing enough evidence to bring about any change to any aspect of the game. Still, Marc Bullingham, FA chief executive said that they would continuously monitor the situation and continually reassess all aspects of the game if any new evidence brings about new findings.
Over past years the Professional Footballers’ Association has been criticized for their slow response to the problem of dementia in former players. With the new research coming to light, family members of former players who have already passed away due to these diseases required an apology from the FA. One such player is Mike Sutton who formerly played for Norwich. Sutton’s son Chris Sutton stated that over the past decade the FA has been slow to give any response to the evident dementia problem among former players and now he wants an apology for this.
Another family expressing their shock regarding the situation is the family of Jeff Astle. Astle, the former striker to West Bromwich Albion, passed away in 2002 due to what was stated by the coroner as “industrial disease”. His career of heading heavy footballs at least partly caused this. They now said that they are shocked by how large the scale of the problem is.
These families will never get their loved ones back, but they do have some questions answered now and want the FA to show that they cared enough for their players to make the necessary changes to protect and support them.
There is a fascinating scene unfolding on the European football fields. All teams are pushing hard in the race to be in next season’s Champions League. Currently, there are a couple of clubs in the lead of their leagues. This is no surprise, and then there are a few which are a refreshing change. Below we list the teams that are looking to win the Premier League and all other European Soccer Leagues.
The Winning Teams
Real Madrid Leading La Liga – They had a bumpy start and then shot out to the top. Currently standing at eight games undefeated.
Liverpool Heading in Premier League – They are keeping their advance from the rest at quite a distance.
Borussia Mönchengladbach in Bundesliga – Refreshing replacement of Bayern Munich at the top for a change. Holding on to the first place will be tough.
Juventus Number 1 in Serie A – Currently in a battle with Inter to keep their position. Thus far, it hasn’t been easy for them.
Paris Saint Germain Fighting in Ligue 1 – They aren’t dominating and will have to work hard to get a third consecutive title.
Lokomotiv Moscow Heading the Premier Liga – They are adamant about getting it one step further than the previous season when they didn’t make it.
Famalicão at the top of Liga NOS – Newly promoted and fired up. A beautiful story filled with inspiration.
Club Brugge – The club had a high season thus far with a no defeat start to the season.
Ajax Shooting Out in Eredivisie – A healthy competition between the current number one and PSV Eindhoven.
Shakhtar Donetsk in Premier Liga – Dominating the Ukraine scene and as it seems now, their current position isn’t likely to change.
Alanyaspor for Süper Lig – Currently, the first place is still up for grabs as there are no dominant leaders that can be identified thus far.
Red Bull Salzburg Leading Austrian Bundesliga – Erling Håland is having a ball of a time with scoring goals, and thus the new edition is attracting a lot of attention.
Slavia Prague Leading Fortuna Liga – After a dry-spell, Slavia was back in the game with the trophy in hand at the end of last season, and this year they are defending it with all their might.
Midtjylland Number 1 in Superliga – They have been the runners-up for two seasons and are set to change that this season. Ten games and no defeat indicates that they are ready to do this.
Olympiacos Heading the Super League – 2018 brought an end to seven consecutive wins, this year they are ready to get back on track with their record.
Anorthosis Famagusta First in First Division – This team is making Cyprus proud, clawing their way up to the top from a position of being locked in previously.
Red Star Belgrade First in Serbian SuperLiga – Being the runaway winners in two previous seasons, they are set to do it a third time.
Hajduk Split for the HNL – In a leading position but not secure at all yet.
Rangers First in Scottish Premiership – This team is fighting it out with Celtic for this acclaimed position.
Basel Leading Swiss Super League – Looking for revenge after defeat in the previous season against Young Boys.
World Rugby is caught in a moment of embarrassment not due to the super typhoon on its way to hit Tokyo but much rather due to their lack of having a contingency plan in place. In addition to that, the question has also been asked about why was the tournament schedule during typhoon season in this country. This is not an out of the ordinary event, and Japan is often experiencing this kind of weather but plans to have venues available on short notice to be able to proceed with games haven’t been put in place.
The games affected by the super typhoon heading to Japan are France who would have taken on England in Pool C and New Zealand and Italy would have taken on each other in Pool B. These games won’t be rescheduled and according to World Rugby rules, both teams will receive two points for the game which couldn’t be played. France was hoping to defeat England this weekend to rise to the top of Pool C. Now the chances of that happening has vanished, and this is creating a scenario where the integrity of the tournament is now being questioned.
The Italians were already at a point of elimination and their only chance of making the playoffs would have been if mathematically they could have managed to succeed by gaining enough points during their match against the All Blacks and preventing the New Zealanders from scoring another bonus point. Thus the cancellation of their game isn’t that detrimental since in 14 attempts Italy has never been able to defeat the current world champions.
Typhoon Hagibis is making landfall on Saturday and thus effecting both of Saturday’s games. Currently, the games set for Sunday is still set to continue since by then the typhoon would have passed Tokyo, but it can’t be said with certainty that there won’t be any structural damage which might prevent the matches to continue. Thus Sunday’s games might still also be cancelled.
This year is the first time in 32 years in which some of the matches have to be cancelled in the tournament. This is bringing a tremendous financial implication to World Rugby. The fact that around 200 000 tickets for these matches need to be refunded is only partial to the economic impact of the storm. Broadcasters have committed to broadcasting these games, and they might request compensation form World Rugby for this income loss. The expected number of viewers for the match between Japan and Scotland would have been one of the highest in history, and thus if the game has to be cancelled, the financial impact is tremendous.
Also in terms of the teams in the tournament, the outcome can be detrimental with at least three of the teams in the quarter-finals not being able to complete all their pool games. In the end, World Rugby couldn’t plan the weather, but they could have made better plans surrounding the tournament.
Kevin Na was on an emotional brink when he secured his playoff victory at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open which were played in his hometown, Las Vegas. Shortly after his success, he delivered an emotional speech in his mother tongue to his native fans in Korea, thanking them for their support and that they always believed in him.
Kevin Na moved to the United States from Seoul where he was born, when he was a young boy of eight years old. He played on the Asian Tour, and in 2002 he won the Volvo Masters of Asia. Na was also playing in the European Tour and the PGA Tour during 2004. During the next couple of years, his successes weren’t great. He landed the third position in the Southern Farm Bureau Classic, fourth in the Honda Classic and 2005 he came in second place at the world-renowned FBR Open and Chrysler Classic of Tucson.
His career was somewhat held back due to first a hand injury and then a back injury. In 2011 he won his first PGA Tour after attempting it 211 times. He earned $792 000 in prize money after being on tour for eight days. After this victory, the 36-year-old Korean had almost seven years with no great success. Then last summer he had won at The Greenbrier and during early this year, he was victorious once again at Colonial. He was thus making this victory the third in a relatively short period for him.
The Open in Las Vegas
It was an exciting series of events as Na’s position wasn’t so great after losing his three-shot lead during the back nine. Then he made up with a clutch par putt when playing the 17th hole and ended up winning the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
At the 10th hole, Na made a triple bogey and then on the 16th he hit the waterhole on a par five and that made him lose his lead for the first time during the day when he hit a bogey. On the 17th hole, he managed a 25-foot par putt again which brought him back into a tie position with Cantlay whose ball landed in the water. On the 18th hole, he matched a birdie putt from Cantlay.
This day was a day riddled with mistakes, but the worse was made by Cantlay delivering three-putt from 45 feet and another one from inside 6 feet territory. Na closed 1-under 70, and when his four-foot par rolled in, he lifted his arms victoriously. Na’s victory made Cantlay the runner-up for the second time in a row in Las Vegas. Even though Cantlay reaped the benefits from mistakes that Na made, he made too many himself and Na gained the victory. Cantlay finished with a deficit of three shots, and he closed on 68 in the Open which was his first PGA victory three years ago.
Every single time over the past eight Rugby World Cup Tournaments, there have been specific teams which were without a doubt the favourites to win the Webb Ellis trophy. They are considered the leading organizations, and whether it is with love or hate, the globe acknowledges their greatness on the field. There have been many surprises over time too. Once again Japan reminded us that sometimes the underdog could surprise us when they defeated the much more favoured Ireland. Reflecting on five of these unexpected events, it is clear that some teams need more recognition than what they get.
Japan Beating Ireland – Hosting country, Japan managed to take the world by surprise when they defeated Ireland, currently second-ranked in the world. By half-time, Ireland was in the lead, only slightly and with far less of an advantage as that viewers have expected, but during the second half the sunset on Ireland and Japan roared to victory. For especially South African supporters, this was a déjà vu moment. Only this time around the green jerseys didn’t reflect the Springbok emblem.
Japan Defeats the Springboks – This was by far the biggest World Cup shock in 2015. More than that it was probably also the biggest stir in Test union rugby history. The Cherry Blossoms was under the guidance of Eddie Jones, and they didn’t bend their knee before the mighty Springboks, leaving the Boks defeated and embarrassed.
Fiji defeats Wales – Wales was kicked out of the tournament by none other than the underdogs from Fiji. This was the third time that Wales had to endure embarrassment from the South Sea Islands. During 1991 and 1999 it was the Samoans who forced the Welsh to bend their knees before their rugby superiority. During half-time already, the strong Welsh team were on their knees with a 25-10 score on the board. Then they fought back and were convinced of a win, but Graham Dewes, prop to the Fiji team muscled up for a last-minute score and Fiji went to the quarter-finals.
Western Samoa Crushing Wales – This legendary moment meant that for the first time in World Cup history, one of the leading nations in the world of rugby was defeated by a rank outsider. The Samoan team included names which later on became very familiar like that of Pat Lam, Brian Lima and Frank Bunce and they demolished the already bruised Welsh squad in front of a packed audience at Cardiff Arms Park.
France Defeating the All Blacks – Whether you want to call this a spectacular moment or some French flair, this game is serving until today as a reference to what can happen. The All Blacks were ahead with 24-10 by half-time, but the second half became an epic battle for the French when they started raking in some great tries.
On the brink of the Rugby World Cup to kick off in Japan, one record which is undoubtedly expected to be broken is the one standing for more than a decade. The record set by Percy Montgomery for the highest number of points scored for the South African Springbok team. The player chasing this record is Handre Pollard.
Montgomery is known for his trendy haircuts and white boots. The fullback of the Springboks played for his country during two World Cups. During 2007 he was part of the winning squad, just before he decided to hang up his boots for the last time. Montgomery debuted into the Springboks during the 1999 tournament. He was one of the strong forces on the field which led the Boks into the third place that year. During 2007 he was playing an instrumental role in gaining victory for South Africa and bringing the coveted trophy home once again. During the World Cups, Montgomery bagged a total of 111 points for the South African team, 12 points alone only from the final in Paris, defeating England for World Cup victory.
Second in Line
De Beer made his debut into the Springbok team at the same time as Montgomery. He managed his record when he managed five successful drop goals for South Africa while fighting it out with England in 1999. This number of drop goals remains a record number to take place during a tournament. De Beer only represented South Africa during the 1999 World Cup and managed a total of 97 points for the Springboks.
Third in Line
Pollard is standing on 93 points going into the tournament, and now it is only a complete lack of skill or injury which will prevent him from setting a new record within the Springbok camp. The 25-year-old is playing for the Bulls but also represented his country when playing for the Springboks in 2015. He is usually to be seen in the position of fly-half but was also part of the action in the past in the area of the centre.
Up to now, De Beer and Montgomery were the only South Africans to have made it to the list. This situation is expected to change soon, with Pollard bound to move up in position. Still, even though these three players have managed to set the record for the Springboks, it is a far reach to the top of the list. Currently still standing with Dan Carter playing for New Zealand in fourth place with 191, Michael Lynagh playing for the Aussies with 195, Gavin Hastings from Scotland at 227 and then miles ahead of them all, is Johnny Wilkinson who played for England with 277 points.
Over the past six years, the family of the seven-time World Champions was very tight-lipped regarding his condition. Only seldom reports would surface from close friends stating that he is unable to communicate or walk. In January this year, around his 50th birthday, his family made a statement they are doing all that is humanly possible and that he is getting excellent care. Otherwise, his wife Corinna has managed to keep her husband entirely out of the public eye. Therefore recent reports stating that the racing legend is conscious, are received with great excitement by his loyal fans.
Admitted in Paris
It was revealed this week that Schumacher was admitted to the George Pompidou hospital on Monday. Even though the hospital refrained from commenting at all due to privacy policies, it was revealed that a nurse did confirm that he is in their care and that he is conscious. During his time at the hospital, which seems like his third visit for treatment, he was also visited by Jean Todt, his former senior at Ferrari. Todt spent 45 minutes at the racer’s bedside. It also appears that over the past couple of weeks, Schumacher was also visited by other previous racing colleagues.
The reason why Schumacher was at the Parisian hospital is due to a very specialized form of stem cell treatment which he receives under the treatment of Professor Philippe Menasche. Menasche is the director of the Brain and Spinal cord institute at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital. This is where he initially examined Schumacher before sending him for treatment at the George Pompidou, where the 69-year-old professor is a practising cardiac surgeon. During 2014 Menasche was responsible for pioneering the successful transplant of stem cells unto a patient with heart failure. The assumption is that this is the same kind of pioneering work which he is applying to the legend as well. Stem cell treatment is used to aid recovery by reducing inflammation in the body. The stem cells distribute throughout the entire body and help the healing to take place faster.
The World is Starving for News about the Legend’s Condition
During December 2013, the entire world stood in shock when the news broke about his skiing accident and the severe head injury which he suffered when his helmet cracked open from the impact. For six months his medical team kept him under a medically induced sedation before he eventually was moved back home during September in 2014. Due to the tremendous amount of secrecy which his family maintained throughout his condition, fans haven’t had any real certainty about his actual state. Therefore rumours about him being conscious and seemingly better are well-received globally. One person who also urges the family to make some statement about the legend’s health is Nick Fry. Fry worked with Schumacher for three years at Ferrari and stated that millions of the fans have a genuine concern for their hero. Some update from the family would be much appreciated.
Since 2013, the international women’s team of Thailand has been present every year in the qualifying rounds for the ICCT20 World Cup. This year they are performing brilliantly, and there is only one game left to win, for them to make it to the World Cup, due take place next year in Australia. Considering the short history of cricket in this country, it is an extraordinary journey of immaculate success for these women.
In Thailand, cricket has mostly been played by expats from abroad. In 2007, the new CEO of the Association of Cricket in Thailand, Mohideen Kader, has gone to great lengths to introduce the sport to the local communities to recruit young Thai players for the team. This effort to increase the popularity of the competition was further expanded during 2008; then the local government recognized cricket as an official sport of the country. Today cricket is being played throughout the entire country and has teams in all 14 provinces representing the age groups U15, U19 as well as both a male and female teams in the senior league.
Captaining the Thai Team
In the position of captain of the Thailand Women’s team is Sornnarin Tippoch. Tippoch came from a softball background when she was introduced to cricket during the 2007 drive to expand the sport. At that stage, she was already 20 years old, which would be considered as rather late by most, yet this didn’t stop her. Merely one year later she was leading the Thai team as captain. Tippoch’s career is a classic example of how the sport expanded in Thailand. She immediately loved the game, and since she felt that it was relatively much like softball, the switch over happened smoothly for her. She also soon realized that cricket might be a much better opportunity for her to represent her country on a professional level.
Growing As a Team
The team has been performing well enough every year to make it to the qualifying rounds, but during 2018 Harshal Pathak was employed as the new coach to the side, and since then their performance excelled. Some of the highlights which they managed to achieve are not only having four bowlers on their team with a record low of bowling averages of less than 500 balls, but also a record winning streak of 17 matches and winning the quadrangular series against Scotland, Netherlands and Ireland. This left them at the top of their group in the ICC T20 World Qualifiers. Pathak stated that when he joined, the team was already there with so much talent and ability, the only thing which he needed to provide was the right direction for them to follow and to get them there. He worked with them on improving their consistency as well as specific technical aspects of their game, and the results are showing.
There is a constant drive to expand the sport of soccer in the United States. Major League Soccer’s is also committed to providing the growing number of local soccer fans with clubs and stadiums. Thus the announcement was made this week that the town of St. Louis has been added as the 28th club in the league.
A Long and Winding Road to Success
During 2017, St. Louis had a bid to be included in MLS, but what it meant at that stage was a $60 million expense, paid out of tax revenue to be able to build a stadium. Using a referendum, the voters denied the payment. This was terrible news for the investment group which was at that stage in the process of getting a soccer club in St. Louis, Paul Edgerley. They ended up giving up on efforts, and the bid went cold.
Recently Carolyn Kindle Betz in her capacity as president of Enterprise Holdings Foundation started working with Jim Kavanaugh, the new CEO of World Wide Technology, to make this dream a reality. Kavanaugh is no newbie to the process since he was already involved during 2017 when he was still at Paul Edgerley. St. Louis is a town with a high soccer culture and getting their stadium would make sense. Therefore Betz and Kavanaugh as well as Andy Taylor, the executive chairman at the Enterprise Group, worked over many weeks with the rest of the Taylor family as owners of the club and the MLS, to achieve success. The main difference between now and 2017 is that the group has secure the majority of the funds needed for the construction of the stadium, from private funding.
The Future of St. Louis
The stadium is set to be built in Downtown St. Louis and the club will be based at this soccer-specific stadium. The stadium will also bring along some residential development with a new real estate development to be built surrounding the stadium. Even though the club of St.Louis will only join the MLS ranks in 2022, they are immediately set to work on a name, logo and team colours.
Regularly women are making a more and more impressive mark on the front of international professional sports. This is such a moment. The club of St. Louis’s ownership belongs to Betz, Kavanaugh and the Taylor family. Six women are in the Taylor family, and including Betz, this is the first club to join MLS which is predominantly female-owned.
The Change in the US Soccer Scene
Over time the increase in MLS expansion fee has risen dramatically. From when New York City FC joined MLS in 2013 for a $90 million payment, it now is estimated at $240 million. This is due to the increasing popularity of the sport in the US. Crowds are growing, and sponsorships are getting more profitable. It is indeed an era in US soccer history where it has become a lucrative investment to own a club.