Sports News Roundup: Tennis-Quick healer Osaka allays fitness fears ahead of Australian Open; Denmark to join diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics over human rights and more
Playing her first tournament in four months in Melbourne, the 24-year-old won three matches in the WTA 250 event but then withdrew ahead of her semi-final, raising doubts about her preparations for her title defence at Melbourne Park. Denmark to join diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics over human rights Denmark will not send an official diplomatic delegation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics due to human rights issues in the host country, Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said on Friday.
Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Australian Open defending champion Naomi Osaka on Saturday allayed fears about an abdominal injury that forced the Japanese former world number one to withdraw from a tune-up event last week. Playing her first tournament in four months in Melbourne, the 24-year-old won three matches in the WTA 250 event but then withdrew ahead of her semi-final, raising doubts about her preparations for her title defence at Melbourne Park.
Denmark to join diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics over human rights
Denmark will not send an official diplomatic delegation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics due to human rights issues in the host country, Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said on Friday. "It is no secret that we from the Danish side are very concerned about the human rights situation in China," Kofod said. "The government has decided that we will not attend the Winter Olympics in China."
Emma Raducanu has struggled to live up to sky-high expectations since winning her maiden Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows last year but the Briton says she is not worried about her poor form and will play without pressure at the Australian Open. Raducanu, who faces American Sloane Stephens in the first round at Melbourne Park, became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam in the Open era when she defeated Leylah Fernandez in New York last September.
Tennis-Barty feels weight of home hopes at Australian Open
World number one Ash Barty will once again bear the brunt of her nation's hopes for a home champion at the Australian Open, promising only she will give her "best crack" at ending the 44-year drought. Having claimed her second major title at Wimbledon last year, Barty will be under huge pressure to deliver at the year's first Grand Slam, where no Australian has won since Chris O'Neil claimed the women's title in 1978 at Kooyong.
Garbine Muguruza's defeat in the 2020 Australian Open final left the Spaniard heartbroken but while she still feels that pain and emotion every time she walks onto Rod Laver Arena it has not dented her belief she can become a Melbourne Park champion. The former world number one, beaten by Sofia Kenin in the final two years ago, comes into the first Grand Slam of the year as one of the favourites having won the season-ending WTA Finals in Mexico in November.
Tennis-Nadal wants clarity in Djokovic case, players tired of saga
Rafa Nadal said on Saturday "too many questions" still needed to be answered concerning Novak Djokovic's bid to play at the Australian Open, while other leading players lamented how the saga had overshadowed the year's first Grand Slam. The lead-up to the tournament has been completely dominated by world number one Djokovic's battle to compete at Melbourne Park in the face of a government trying to deport him after cancelling his visa twice.
Tennis-Chris Evert reveals ovarian cancer diagnosis
Former world number one Chris Evert said on Friday she was diagnosed with stage 1 ovarian cancer last month. "I wanted to share my stage 1 ovarian cancer diagnosis and the story behind it as a way to help others," the 67-year-old wrote on Twitter.
Soccer-Haaland says being pressed by Dortmund to make decision on future
Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland said the club have been pressing him to make a decision about his future and therefore "things will happen now", as the Norwegian continues to attract interest from several top European sides. The 21-year-old, who has scored 21 goals this season, joined Dortmund from RB Salzburg in 2020 and has gone on to establish himself as one of the continent's hottest properties.
Djokovic faces another night in Australia detention before court hearing
Novak Djokovic will spend Saturday night in immigration detention before the world's tennis number one seeks a court ruling to stop his deportation and keep alive his bid for a record 21st major title at the Australian Open. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke decided to cancel the Serbian superstar's visa because his presence could foster opposition to COVID-19 vaccination in Australia, court documents released after an initial hearing in the Federal Court on Saturday showed.
Tennis-Nadal happy to be back competing again after setbacks
Rafa Nadal said on Saturday he is delighted to be free of injury and illness and is excited about competing at the Australian Open where he will bid for a record 21st Grand Slam title. Returning to the Tour after recovering from a foot issue that sidelined him for nearly four months, the 35-year-old Spaniard won his 89th career title last week at an ATP 250 tune-up event in Melbourne.
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