Ammon News, Sports

Tennis: What the revised rankings mean for top five men champions

[7/7/2020 4:51:54 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Men’s governing body ATP on Monday unveiled a revised system for calculating world rankings when the season resumes in August following a five-month suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally the ATP rankings operates on a formula of 18 best results over 52 weeks but will now cover a 22-month period from March 2019 through December 2020. For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page. While the new model provides impetus for players to improve results from their 2019 performance, it will also provide stability to those who choose not to play due to the pandemic as they would not need to defend points. The ATP’s rejigged calendar for the year includes two Grand Slam events in the US Open and the French Open and three Masters 1000 events. Novak Djokovic, world number one The Serb will be favorite to keep his number one ranking at the end of year as he retains the points he earned from his 2019 Wimbledon win till 2021 with the grass court Grand Slam cancelled due to the pandemic in 2020. Djokovic will also keep points from his Madrid and Paris Masters wins even if he decides to skip the events in 2020 or fares badly in them. He could also strengthen his position at the top of the rankings by improving on his fourth round exit at the US Open and defeats in the semi-finals of the French Open and the Cincinnati Masters. Rafa Nadal, world number two The Spaniard had to previously defend more than 5,000 points over six weeks, having won the Grand Slams in New York and Paris in 2019 and also the Rome Masters. But he will now get to keep all those points even if he does not hit a ball. *Reuters

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UFC Fight Island: Abu Dhabi event set to launch as world wrestles with coronavirus

[7/6/2020 4:48:07 PM]

AMMONNEWS - UFC Fight Island is set to host fighters from across the world on an island in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, despite a range of challenges thrown up by the global coronavirus pandemic. The mixed martial arts (MMA) competition will take place on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island between July 11-26, with four nights of fighting including UFC 251 featuring a headline welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman versus Jorge Masvidal. The event’s island location has allowed organizers to implement unique regulations aimed at protecting the safety of staff, personnel, and employees from COVID-19. For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app The Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) for Abu Dhabi has implemented an 11-kilometer “bubble” around Yas Island, with all individuals on the island required to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel and take a coronavirus test. This island location has helped organizers create the “perfect place” to hold a fighting event protected from coronavirus, said Ali Al Shaiba, executive director of tourism and marketing at DCT, in an Al Arabiya English interview. “[Yas Island] is the place I think that suits Fight Island because we can control it very well, the borders to the other islands are controlled, we know that if we create a bubble there will be the perfect place,” he said. Sports in the age of coronavirus The coronavirus pandemic has shut down most major global sporting events over the last few months, with some only now restarting – such as the much-delayed start of the Formula 1 season on Sunday. The importance of a global sporting event to bring fans together is something that the organizers of Fight Island have been keen to highlight. “I think it’s bringing back hope you know, that things will come back … audiences are happy to see things happening. It’s a matter of time for them now, they are excited,” Shaiba said. This excitement has also extended to the competitors involved, who are likely grateful for the opportunity to fight despite the challenges caused by the coronavirus, one competitor, Mounir “Sniper” Lazzez, explained. “This is our duty as a fighter to put a show and entertainment on, it’s a very good opportunity for us … Many people have lost their jobs so for us we are glad for the UFC finding a way to create Fight Island with Abu Dhabi,” said Lazzez, who is the only fighter in the tournament based in the UAE. Four events will be held at Fight Island, one Pay Per View, UFC 251, and three fight nights, on July 12, July 16, July 19, and July 26. *Al Arabiya

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First Formula 1 race sponsored by Saudi Arabia’s Aramco takes place in Austria

[7/6/2020 4:46:33 PM]

AMMONNEWS - The first Formula 1 race sponsored by Saudi Aramco took place on Sunday at the Austrian Grand Prix track. Mercedes racing driver Valtteri Bottas took home the first win of the season after a dramatic race that saw nearly half of the competitors fail to complete the circuit. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc took second, while McLaren's Lando Norris took third place and secured his first Formula One podium. Aramco, the world’s most valuable company, announced the partnership in March, which is the company’s first global partnership with a major sporting event. “We are thrilled to be sponsoring Formula 1. Millions of people around the world saw Aramco’s branding along the racing circuit today for the first time. As the world’s largest energy supplier and an innovation leader, our ambition is to find game-changing solutions for better, more efficiently performing engines and cleaner energy. Partnerships such as this are important to help us to deliver this goal,” a spokesperson for Saudi Aramco told Al Arabiya English. For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app The sponsorship agreement will see Aramco’s branding featured trackside on events throughout 2020. Aramco will also become a title sponsor for several races throughout the season, the sixth such sponsor. “We are excited to partner with Formula 1, a strong global sports brand with millions of fans around the world. As the world’s largest energy supplier and an innovation leader, we have the ambition to find game-changing solutions for better-performing engines and cleaner energy. Partnerships like these are important to help us to deliver on our ambitions,” Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said at the time of the announcement. The long-awaited F1 2020 season kicked off with qualifying on Saturday. The season had been postponed due to the global lockdown in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and is the latest a F1 season has ever started in a year. Some races have already been cancelled as a result of the pandemic, including events in Australia, Azerbaijan, and Monaco, among others. The title race took place Sunday with competitors from 10 different teams from around the world all fighting to take top place. German manufacturer Mercedes has dominated the championship since 2014, returning in 2020 to defend their title for the sixth time in a row. *Al Arabiya

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China’s two-time Olympic badminton champion Lin Dan announces retirement

[7/5/2020 4:46:18 AM]

AMMONNEWS - China’s two-time Olympic badminton champion Lin Dan, one of the sport’s greatest singles players, announced his retirement on Saturday. The 37-year-old, who won the Olympics singles titles in Beijing in 2008 and the 2012 London Games, has won all the sport’s major titles, including five world championships’ gold medals. “I’ve dedicated everything to the sport I love. My family, coaches, team mates and fans have accompanied me through many happy times and difficult moments,” Chinese media quoted Lin Dan as saying in the retirement announcement. “Now I’m 37 years old, and my physical fitness and pain no longer allow me to fight side by side with my team mates,” Lin added. Lin also won all the sport’s major titles, including five gold medals at the world championships between 2006 and 2013 and six All England crowns. The left-handed shuttler also helped China to six gold medals in the Thomas Cup men’s team event and five titles in the mixed Sudirman Cup. He also helped the national side to three gold medals in team event and two individual singles titles at the Asian Games. “From 2000 to 2020, after 20 years, I have to say goodbye to the national team. It is very difficult to speak it out,” said Lin. Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei, who lost to Lin in both the Olympic finals in Beijing and London, hung up his racquet last year due to prolonged health issues. The rivalry between Chong Wei and Lin was considered legendary and the Malaysian paid rich tribute to his on-court nemesis through a poem on social media, accompanied by pictures of them together as children and adults. “We knew this day would arrive, Heavy moment of our lives; You pulled down the curtain gracefully, You were king where we fought so proudly; Your final wave all four disappear, Within the hush of silent tear,” Chong Wei wrote on Twitter with the hashtag #lindan. *Reuters

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Coronavirus: Miami Heat close practice facility after second player tests positive

[7/5/2020 4:44:38 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The Miami Heat closed their practice facility for training after a second player tested positive for the coronavirus, multiple media outlets reported Friday. For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page. Derrick Jones Jr. was identified as testing positive last week, but the name of the latest player to contract COVID-19 was not reported. According to the Miami Herald, the latest player to test positive was placed in quarantine but is still expected to be ready to join the team for the season’s restart. The newspaper also reported that a Heat staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week. The Heat reportedly will not train again in Miami before heading to the Orlando area next week ahead of the resumption of NBA action, but they will continue to test players at their South Florida facility. Play is due to begin July 30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex with 22 teams vying for playoff berths. Miami’s first game will be on Aug. 1 against the Denver Nuggets. The Heat joined a list of NBA teams that reportedly have shut down practice facilities due to coronavirus cases in the past few weeks, along with the Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets. *Reuters

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Prosecutor to examine charges against FIFA‘s Infantino, Swiss Attorney General

[7/5/2020 4:42:36 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Switzerland named a special prosecutor to review criminal complaints against FIFA chief Gianni Infantino and Attorney General Michael Lauber after the men held undocumented meetings while Lauber’s office was investigating suspected graft surrounding the global soccer body. Lauber last month became the subject of an impeachment process relating to his handling of the soccer inquiry. The watchdog overseeing Swiss federal prosecutors - Lauber’s office - placed him under investigation last year after he held three closed-door meetings with FIFA President Infantino regarding the status of the corruption inquiry. Lauber and Infantino both previously denied any wrongdoing. Read more: FIFA bribe allegations raise more questions over Qatar 2022 World Cup On Friday, the watchdog announced that lawmakers conducting the impeachment process had asked it to review Infantino’s conduct too in the investigation after three criminal complaints were filed against both men and other unnamed persons with prosecutors in the capital Bern. Stefan Keller, a presiding judge at a Swiss cantonal court, had been appointed as “extraordinary prosecutor” on June 29 to review the complaints and determine whether criminal charges should be brought against Lauber. FIFA said it welcomed the appointment and was cooperating fully. Previous complaints against Infantino had been dismissed by various authorities, it said. For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app “There was a mountain of questions,” Infantino said in a statement provided by FIFA, referring to the investigations in which world soccer was involved at the time of the meetings. “So it’s legitimate to offer to contribute to the Swiss Attorney General about the clarification of these events, hoping that those who have done criminal acts and damaged FIFA will be held to account for that,” he said. Lauber’s office said it had taken note of the special prosecutor’s appointment, declining further comment. A Swiss court last year ordered Lauber to recuse himself from world soccer investigations, ruling that his meetings with Infantino raised the appearance of bias. Other federal prosecutors are now running the investigations. The investigations against Swiss-based FIFA involve allegations of breach of trust, fraud, embezzlement and money laundering. Lauber’s office is conducting around 25 criminal investigations alongside 15 foreign law enforcement agencies. A fourth criminal complaint has been filed, the watchdog said. No details of the complaints have been released. *Reuters

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Men’s world number one tennis player Djokovic tests positive for coronavirus

[6/24/2020 4:35:38 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Novak Djokovic, the men’s world number one tennis player, has tested positive for COVID-19, the Serbian said in a statement on Tuesday. Croatia’s Borna Coric, Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and Viktor Troicki have previously tested positive after playing in Djokovic’s Adria Tour exhibition tournament in the Balkan region. Croatia’s Borna Coric, Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and Viktor Troicki have previously tested positive after playing in Djokovic’s Adria Tour exhibition tournament in the Balkan region. “The moment we arrived in Belgrade we went to be tested,” the 33-year-old said in a statement, adding that he was not showing any symptoms. “My result is positive, just as Jelena’s (wife), while the results of our children are negative. “I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection. I hope that it will not complicate anyone’s health situation and that everyone will be fine. I will remain in self-isolation for the next 14 days, and repeat the test in five days.” The tournament witnessed packed stands during the opening leg in Belgrade, players hugging at the net, playing basketball, posing for pictures and attending press conferences together. Djokovic organized nights out in Belgrade for the players and pictures and videos of him dancing with the other participants at his event were posted on social media. With both Serbia and Croatia easing lockdown measures weeks before the event, players were not obliged to observe social distancing rules in either country. Djokovic said the idea behind his tournament was noble and he wanted to raise funds for players in need. For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app “Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions,” said Djokovic, who is also the head of the players council of the men’s ATP Tour. “Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region. “The Tour has been designed to help both established and up and coming tennis players from South-Eastern Europe to gain access to some competitive tennis while the various tours are on hold due to the COVID-19 situation.” “We are extremely disappointed to have to cancel the events in Banja Luka and Sarajevo,” said Novak’s brother Djordje Djokovic, the director of the Adria Tour. “We were looking forward to treating fans in these two cities to watching Novak Djokovic and other top players. Unfortunately, the recent events make everyone’s speedy recovery a top priority.” *Reuters

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