Daily Archives: April 20, 2016

Djokovic less concerned about tennis doping than Murray

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Djokovic less concerned about tennis doping than Murray

Novak Djokovic had revealed that he was not as concerned as fellow tennis ace Andy Murray on tennis drug issues.

He was speaking at the prestigious event of the Laureus sports awards. The Serb was crowned sportsman of the year there for his dominating performance that won him three grand slams last year, and the Serb had added that the world number two did not mean anything personal.

“As long as we don’t have proof that the game isn’t clean, then it is clean,” 28- year-old Djokovic claimed.

“I’ve read what he said, I have a great relationship with Andy, I’ve spoken to him and he didn’t mean specific individuals.”

“It’s tricky for tennis, there are many stories that go round [with] betting, doping, and it seems the weight has come down on tennis.”

Murray, who was recently defeated by Rafael Nadal in the Monte Carlo Masters, has been outspoken on drug use in tennis and welcomed the ban imposed on Maria Sharapova following her failed drug test. He had also discussed suspicion about opponents who do not seem to tire in matches.

But Djokovic’s coach Boris Becker was more critical on Murray’s comments suspicions that some of his opponents may have used performance-enhancing drugs.

The six-time major singles champion accused that Murray was “out of order” with his comments, but was also adamant that the top players of tennis were not guilty either.

“We have random drug-testing and unless it’s proven, they are 100% innocent,” Becker said, echoing his student at Laureus. “So to assume something because somebody has won a grand slam or is fitter is totally out of order.”

“Andy is one of the fittest players on the tour – he often outlasts players and nobody is questioning his ethics. I believe 100% Andy is clean. Roger (Federer) is clean, Rafa (Nadal) is clean, all these guys are clean. Novak gets tested a lot. That can mean twice in a grand slam.”

Luis Enrique remain confident on Barca title chances

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Luis Enrique remain confident on Barca title chances

It does not matter to Barcelona boss Luis Enrique that the team has been experiencing one of their worst winless runs in near history – the Spaniard boss remains confident that they can retain the La Liga title.

Barca took just 3 weeks since their defeat at the hands of Real Madrid to drop from “treble” to “troubled” as they were left with just one point above their eternal rivals. A team that seemed unbeatable throughout the season then lost to lesser teams such as Real Sociedad and Valencia.

To add insult to injury, their Champions League defense had also been ended by Atletico Madrid, who is also level on points with the Catalonians in the La Liga. Their position in the La Liga is second only due to Barca’s stronger head-to-head record.

But Enrique stayed positive before an away trip to Deportivo La Coruna mid-week, and after which they would only have just four games left in the title race.

“I’m convinced we’re going to win the league, if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be sat here,” he said. “I like adversity, that’s how I am. I want to turn this around, win tomorrow and put on a show. I want to delight the fans who are behind us and can’t explain this situation.”

Still, Enrique did not provide a reason to their dramatic loss of form, as Barca went from 39 games unbeaten to a four-game losing streak. He was also unapologetic about deriding a journalist after the defeat against Valencia.

He was asked if the team’s slump in form could be attributed to problems with the players’ physical preparation, and the former Celta boss immediately fired back with a question of his own, “What’s your surname?”

Slightly puzzled, the Diario Gol journalist replied “Malo”, to which Lucho sardonically stated “Correct, next question”.

‘Malo’ of course means bad in Spanish.

“I have nothing to apologise for. I didn’t show anyone a lack of respect,” he said. “Journalists have also shown me a lack of respect. This is my style, I don’t care if you don’t like it.”

Napoli demolishes Bologna to keep Serie A hopes alive

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Napoli demolishes Bologna to keep Serie A hopes alive

As their first title hopes in two decades begin to win, Napoli upped and overcompensated in the Serie A, routing Bologna by 6-0.

With a 9-point difference between second-placed Napoli and first placed Juventus, the Old Lady of Turin could have won a fifth straight domestic title if Napoli were defeated. And so, Napoli lives to fight another day as they trimmed the gap to six, for 24 hours at least.

But Dries Mertens and Manolo Gabbiadini kept the competition going as the former scores a hat-trick while the latter took a brace in the demolition. David Lopez rounded of by netting a lucky one by the end of the game.

Gabbiadini fired home from the centre of the box from Mertens’s pass after just 10 minutes. He doubled Napoli’s advantage form the penalty spot 10 minutes before the break after Kevin Constant had brought down Jose Callejon.

Any chance of a Bologna comeback was snuffed out just before the hour mark when Marek Hamsik teed up Mertens to fire home from the left side of the box.

Omar El Kaddouri teed up Mertens for his second and the Belgian scored his hat-trick two minutes from the end with a rasping drive into the top corner form outside the box.

Lopez had set up Mertens for his third and the Belgian winger returned the favour in the final minute.

Given that the last 3 goals were let in within the space of the last 10 minutes of the game, Bologna boss Roberto Donadoni claimed accountability for the embarrassment.

“We played terribly, I’m the first one who’s responsible. I apologise to the fans and now I want the reaction of men,” he said.

It is even more impressive when considering the fact that Napoli’s top scorer Gonzalo Higuain was still absent as he sits out the last of his three-game ban. So far, Gabbiadini had proved himself a competent replacement for the Argentine while Mertens handled himself just as well in the match.

The win also puts Napoli eight points clear of third-placed Roma, who in turn will be playing Torino mid-week before a cruncher against Napoli next Monday. But it is clear there will be a fight for the second spot and the two teams will not relent easily, since the winner would acquire automatic qualification to the Champions League.