Federer will face Alexander Zverev in Montreal final

Roger Federer has booked a place with Alexander Zverev in the Rogers Cup final after a comfortable victory over Robin Haase in the Semi’s.

The win meant Federer took his current win streak to 16, having won the match 6-3 7-6 (7-5) in straight-sets.

The Swiss will now compete for his third Canadian Masters title when he faces Zverev.

When asked about the final, the 36-year-old said he was delighted with his current physique.

“I’m happy – most happy that I’m actually really healthy going into the finals.

“I haven’t wasted too much energy. I’ve been able to keep points short. I’ve been really clean at net. I think my concentration and just my playing has gone up a notch. I’m just playing better.”

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Federer’s opponent in the final was humble in victory, as he praised the 18-year-old semi finalist he defeated, Denis Shapovalov.

“I told him he had a great run. Well done to him, to not worry too much that he lost today.

“I also told him that this is just the first match of very, very many that we will play against him.

“Hopefully a lot of other big matches, maybe in Grand Slams, maybe in finals of tournaments. I just told him that this is the beginning for him.”

The final will take place at 21:00 tonight.

Manu Tuilagi named in Eddie Jones’ England squad for training camp

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Manu Tuilagi has been named as one of the 37 man squad that Eddie Jones will take for a three-day training camp, which begins this weekend.

The Leicester centre hasn’t represented England on an international stage since 2016, as continuous injury setbacks threatened to hamper the 26-year-old’s career.

Seven of the chosen 37 – Dan Cole, Owen Farrell, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Jack Nowell, Kyle Sinckler and Anthony Watson – will spend only one day at the camp, to undergo medical check-ups.

The England head coach said:

“We are at an incredibly important stage with two years to go to the Rugby World Cup in Japan, and there is still a big step to make if we want to be the number one team in the world.

“We are going to have to be meticulous in preparation in everything we do as we build towards Tokyo, and that is why this camp is vital ahead of this season.

“The players, coaches and staff will use these three days to reconnect and ensure we are all clear on what our priorities and expectations are ahead of the Premiership season, as well as the upcoming Old Mutual Wealth Series (in November).”

England training squad: Backs – M Brown (Harlequins), D Care (Harlequins), N Earle (Saracens), O Farrell (Saracens), G Ford (Leicester), P Francis (Northampton), A Lozowski (Saracens), H Mallinder (Northampton), J Marchant (Harlequins), J Maunder (Exeter), J May (Gloucester), J Nowell (Exeter), R Wigglesworth (Saracens), H Slade (Exeter), M Smith (Harlequins), D Solomona (Sale Sharks), M Tuilagi (Leicester), A Watson (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester).

Forwards – D Cole (Leicester), L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), T Curry (Sale Sharks), T Dunn (Bath), C Ewels (Bath), E Genge (Leicester), J George (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton), N Hughes (Wasps), N Isiekwe (Saracens), M Itoje (Saracens), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Robshaw (Harlequins), K Sinckler (Harlequins), S Underhill (Bath), H Williams (Exeter), M Wilson (Newcastle), B Vunipola (Saracens).

Klitschko announces his retirement

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Former heavy weight world champion Wladimir Klitschko has today announced his retirement from boxing, after 17 years as a pro.

The announcement ruled out the possibility of the proposed rematch with Anthony Joshua, which had been touted since Joshua’s defeat of Klitschko on April 29.

The fight with Joshua could have gone either way, which was great credit to the 41-year-old, who was only defeated in the 11th round.

Joshua was hopeful of Klitschko signing a rematch clause for a proposed fight in Las Vegas on November 11.

When officially announcing his retirement, the Ukrainian said: “I have achieved everything I dreamed of, and now I want to start my second career after sports.

“I would have never imagined that I would have such a long and incredibly successful boxing career.

“Twenty-seven years ago I started my journey in sport. It was the best choice of a profession I could have made. Because of this choice I have travelled the world, learned new languages, created business, built intellectual properties, helped people in need.

“At some point in our lives we need to switch our careers and get ourselves ready for the next chapter – obviously I am not an exception to this.

“I am expecting and hoping my next career, which I have already been planning and working on for some years, will be at least as successful as the previous one, if not more successful.”

Klitschko retires on the back of a 64 wins and 5 defeats, and was the heavyweight champion for 11 years straight between 2006-2015.

Hull will face Wigan in Australia next year

Hull FC will take on Wigan in Australia in 2018 for the first Super League game to ever take place outside of Europe.

Important details:

Date: 10 February 2018

Venue: WIN Stadium in Wollongong

A week after the game, both sides will then take on Australian opponents. Wigan will face the South Sydney Rabbitohs, whilst Hull will face St George Illawarra Dragons. Both games will be in Sydney.

If either side qualifies, it will open the door for them to take part in the World Club Challenge or Series, which starts on the 24th of February.

Shane Wane’s Wigan side have previously played in Australia, when they were defeated 36-14 by the Sydney Roosters in 2014 during the World Club Challenge, but the Warriors will be hoping for a sweeter outcome this time around.

Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan said:

“We firmly believe that the Wigan and Hull fans will be as excited about this venture as we are and we have announced early to allow fans the chance to plan their trip to Australia.”

Whilst Hull chairman Adam Pearson also spoke:

“There will be a great deal of excitement from fans of both clubs and we’re sure many will want to travel to New South Wales for such an historic occasion, support their team and help showcase all that is good about rugby league in the UK.”

Leicester back Ranieri despite relegation threat

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 With their recent defeat at home to Manchester United leaving them just a point above the relegation zone, manager Claudio Ranieri is coming under severe pressure from supporters as the Foxes look to rediscover their form of last season. However, despite their recent struggles, the Italian boss has received the backing from the club, with the club set to fight in both the Champions League and Premier League over the coming weeks.

Just over six months ago, Leicester were celebrating the biggest day in their history, with Captain Wes Morgan lifting the Premier League trophy for the first time after a remarkable campaign. However, with the likes of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez failing to rediscover their form from last year, as well as N’Golo Kante continuing to show just how much of an asset he is with league leaders Chelsea, the Foxes are now among the favourites for relegation. For those of you wishing to back Ranieri’s men to steer clear of the drop zone, you can find all football competitions at one place including UK, International, European and other Leagues.

 Wins for fellow strugglers Hull City and Sunderland last time around only compounded Leicester’s misery, with just two points separating the bottom six in the Premier League table. Relegation for the Foxes would make them the first club to drop down to the Championship having won the title the previous year, with Rainieri keen to justify his winning of the FIFA Coach of the Year Award in 2016.

With a Champions League Round of 16 tie against Spanish La Liga side Sevilla to look forward to, Claudio Ranieri would likely trade wins against Swansea City and Liverpool in the coming weeks with European progression. Leicester’s players have been criticised widely in the press, with Arsenal’s legendary striker Ian Wright calling them “lazy”. Other reports suggest that the Italian boss has lost the support of his dressing room, with a reported ban on chicken burgers upsetting some of the players.

The former Chelsea boss, previously known as the “tinkerman”, will be hoping that his latest idea will get the players motivated, with boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr set to meet the Leicester squad during his time in the UK. With just five wins from their 24 Premier League fixtures to date, the presence of the unbeaten American can certainly not have a negative effect on the team.

Denis Shapovalov receives fine for umpire incident

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Umpire Arnaud Gabas after the hit. Photo Credit: Dailymail.co.uk

Canadian tennis star Denis Shapovalov has been fined £5,600, after he hit the umpire in the eye with a ball during his Davis Cup match against Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund.

Shapovalov was losing 6-3, 6-4, 2-1 when he sensationally hit the ball in anger. The 17-year-old had no intention of hitting umpire Arnaud Gabas, and has since stated that he was attempting to hit the ball out of court in frustration.

The moment of madness meant that GB were awarded a default win, prompting the youngster to release a statement apologising for “letting his country down”.

The fine is broken down into two different disciplinary sections: $2,000 is for the default, and $5,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct. Shapovalov will feel lucky, as he escaped the maximum fine of $12,000, because the incident was deemed to be unintentional.

The default handed GB the progression in the Cup, after Vasek Pospisil had beaten Dan Evans to make it 2-2 overall, setting up the decider between Shapovalov and Edmund.

The video of the incident happening quickly went viral on social media, and can be seen below:

In happier news, Tickets for Roland Garros are now available for purchase, and with the tournament now just a few months away it’s definitely time to consider making your purchase.

Novak Djokovic is the early favourite at 9/5, with Rafael Nadal at 11/4 and world number one Andy Murray 4/1.

Ivanovic leaves Chelsea after nine years

Бранислав Иванович продолжит карьеру в «Зените»
Credit: Zenit St Petersburg

Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic has left Chelsea after nine years with the Blues, having signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with Russian side Zenit St Petersburg for an undisclosed fee.

Ivanovic joined Chelsea in 2008 from Lokomotiv Moscow, and went on to feature in over 350 first team games for the team.

Chelsea fans can look back fondly on his impressive career with the club, which included an medals list of the following: Champions League winners, Premier League title x2, FA Cup winners x3, League Cup winners, Community Shield and their Europa League success in 2013.

First team opportunities had become increasingly sparse, and the 32-year-old had only made six starts for table-topping Chelsea so far this season.

Ivanovic managed mark what was his final appearance for the Blues with a goal, as he scored in the 4-0 victory over Brentford in the FA Cup at the weekend.

Another club stalwart in John Terry was one of the first players to make a tribute to ‘Brana’, who he described as a ‘legend’.

Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Tuesday night, but should have taken all three points if not for a missed penalty by Diego Costa.

The Blues host Arsenal this Saturday at 12:30, and this along with the rest of the Premier League scores are available to be followed at popular site SBAT.com.

Bruce: “I left for the sake of the club.”

Photo credit: Mirror.co.uk

Former-Hull City manager Steve Bruce has claimed he left his position at the Tigers for the “sake of the club”, and proclaimed his delight at the “unwavering” support the fans have given him since he took up the difficult decision to resign.

Bruce will go down as one of the, if not the, most successful manager in Hull’s history, after he twice led them to the Premier League, including a Championship Play Off final victory over Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the summer.

The 55-year-old also led the Tigers to their first ever FA Cup final back in May 2014, but despite taking a two-goal lead their opponents on the day, Arsenal, fought back to eventually take a 3-2 victory in extra-time.

It has been reported that his decision to leave the club despite having just gotten them back into the Premier League was due to a ‘break-down in relations’ with the clubs vice-chairman Ehab Allam.

The latest statements from Bruce himself have come in an open letter he penned for the Hull Daily Mail.

“It was a decision I had to make for the sake of the club.

“The last 12 months have been very tough and it felt like the right step for the club to move forward in a different direction and with someone else in charge.

“It is rare for a manager to have the backing I’ve had from fans. It’s been unwavering. One of the abiding memories was the reaction of supporters the day we were relegated on the final day of the 2014-15 season.

“They applauded us off the pitch when you’d expect them to have been ripping the roof off.” He concluded.

Hull City stepped up their preparations for the upcoming Premier League campaign when they defeated local rivals Scunthorpe United 2-0 at Glanford Park on Saturday, with Shaun Maloney and Mo Diame the goal scorers.

Despite an impressive pre-season so far, the club are heavily backed to be in a relegation battle once the season begins. You can get the best football betting advice from football-bookmakers.com to help you decide who you will be making you bets for the season with.

Danny Welbeck suffers yet more injury heartache

Photo credit: @Arsenal on Twitter

Poor Danny Welbeck will once again disappear under the radar for a substantial amount of time, after the striker was ruled out for around nine months following a knee injury suffered during Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Arsenal today announced that tests following the injury showed “significant cartilage damage”, and the 25-year-old has now had surgery too.

However, the injury is not the same that the unlucky former-Manchester United star suffered earlier in the season, which saw him miss a total of seven months of this campaign.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger had admitted after Sunday’s game that he was “worried” by the injury, and his fears have become a reality sadly.

There had been calls for Welbeck to be chosen by Roy Hodgson for the 23-man England squad in France this summer, after he came back from his previous injury to score five times in the second half of the season.

Due to the length of his previous knee injury, many had forgotten just how lethal he can be, but he showed his worth to the Arsenal side as his goal saw his side on their way to a 2-1 defeat of eventual champions Leicester City back in February on his return.

The good news though, is that Welbeck seems to be in good spirits and confident that he can bounce back from this huge set as he posted this update to his 20,000 Twitter followers:

Arsenal’s Alex Oxelade-Chamberlain was also ruled out last week with a knee injury, and like Welbeck, will miss England’s Euro 2016 campaign.

All the best for your recovery Danny.

Sexism in football is still there; but we’ve come a long way

Football has had its horns locked in a fierce battle with its sexist prejudices for decades, with the sport keen to be able to tell the world that it does not mind that women want to be involved, nor does it mind that they want their opinions aired. But in the cases of Shelley Kerr and Sarah Winterburn it has highlighted that although sexism cases are less frequent, they are still occurring – but not all females in football experience this negativity, as proved by Irish international Stephanie Roche.

BT Sport presenter Lynsey Hipgrave was lambasted with sexist abuse for expressing her thoughts on a football incident during a La Liga match between Barcelona and Celta Viga in February 2016. She gave her opinion like many other followers of the sport did, but because she was a woman, she was told to “get back in the kitchen” and “make some sandwiches”. The case only managed to highlight the fact that football still has a sexism problem, whether the sport as a whole believes it has moved forward or not, it is still there.

A survey conducted by Women in football indicated that of the 661 women who were interviewed, and were involved in football in roles such as coaching or being a match official, 35% believed they were underpaid in comparison to males conducting a similar job, whilst 28% thought women were unfairly treated in the organisations they worked in.

Shelley Kerr is largely a success story for women in football. She became a pioneer for women in football in August 2014 by becoming the first female in Britain to manage a men’s senior team. Capped 59 times by Scotland during her playing career, she was appointed as the head coach of Stirling University’s football programme, who play their matches in the Scottish Lowland League.

Kerr said she had the utmost respect from her players from day one, which shows the strides that football as a sport has made in exiling sexism, but mentioned that for all of the positives, there have still been the negatives.

“There was a lot of profile around my appointment and I even had some photographers come and ask me if I’d wear high heels for pictures, which was just ridiculous.

“There have been a few occasions where from the touchline there has been sexist chants made, but I have to say it hasn’t been from football supporters, but more so from other sports teams that have been watching at the University. On the whole though, I have to say it’s been very good.”

Football needs more high profile cases where women are accepted and judged on nothing more than the credentials they possess, the way they want their team to play, and not the gender they are, just like Kerr has experienced.

“That was the one area that I would say was extremely positive from the first morning that I was introduced to the guys. The players were very receptive to me as a coach and to my philosophies, so my gender has never been a problem.”

In 2015 the Women’s World Cup took place in Canada, and the hype centred on the English team in this country helped to raise the profile of the ladies’ side of the game. Then, on the back of the World Cup, women’s football took another step forward as FIFA 16 was released with 12 of the women’s national sides included in the game for the first time ever. Although on the larger scheme of things it may not be seen as something that shows victory for the girls and the end to sexism, what it does do is help to show the sport is moving in the right direction.

It’s not uncommon to hear a female voice on match highlights these days, but when Sarah Winterburn first took an interest in reporting on the sport 20 years ago, she was seriously outnumbered in the press boxes at games, and experienced first hand what is frankly frowned upon today.

“In press conferences it was quite common to have managers dismissing questions from women, or answering the question and putting ‘darling’ on the end. But if that happened now it would be on Twitter in five minutes, and there would be an uproar.”

Within five minutes on the phone with the editor of the hugely successful Football365 website, you got a sense of her relief at the way the attitudes towards women have changed since she first started in the industry. But one thing she did stress was that the amount of females taking an interest in reporting on football is still fairly low in comparison to males.

“You get used to there being maybe one other woman there now, but I’m still probably outnumbered by 10/1 at least.”

Sunderland-forward and Irish international Stephanie Roche was in good company at the FIFA Puskas award ceremony in 2014, when she was nominated alongside James Rodriguez and Robin van Persie to have scored one of the top three goals in that year. The 26-year-old even received compliments on her finish at the dinner table from legendary Italian Allesandro Del Piero, who’d “recognised her from the video of the goal.”.

Roche eventually came second, but her experiences at the event prove that sexism is slowly being banished from the association of football.

“In Ireland it was a huge thing, because not only was I the first woman to be nominated for the award, I was the first Irish national to do so, too. I think everybody was proud so that made me proud to represent Ireland and women’s football.”

Roche admits she may be one of the luckier females to play the sport, as she struggled to recollect any negative experiences from her career to date.

“Women are doing a lot of things that they wouldn’t have been doing 30-odd years ago, so it just shows how altered things are now. I’m happy it’s now accepted that women are going to play football, and generally do all the things that men can do.”

After hearing from three credible voices associated with women’s football, it’s easy to see that the positive experiences the ladies are enduring out shadow the negative, misogynistic views of the minority, and that football should be proud that together it is doing a good job of silencing sexism.