Australian Open: Novak Djokovic wins his 22nd Grand Slam title and equals Nadal’s record

He’s back on top. By winning his tenth Australian Open on Sunday January 29 in Melbourne, Novak Djokovic will once again be world number one in tennis on Monday. Above all, he equals the record of 22 Grand Slam titles held by Rafael Nadal.

The 35-year-old Serb beat Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/5) in the final. The latter will become 3 againe Monday, behind Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz who was absent in Melbourne due to injury. Once the victory was assured on a final fault of his opponent, Djokovic went up to his box to kiss his team including his coach Goran Ivanisevic and his mother Dijana and collapsed there in tears.

Dominating the whole match, Novak Djokovic did not seem at all bothered by his thigh injury. He also played for the first time in the tournament without his huge bandage. Like Rafael Nadal at Roland-Garros, he has never lost in the final in Melbourne where he now holds the record of ten titles.

A victorious return

Expelled from Australia last year before the start of the tournament, Novak Djokovic could only observe, powerless, the comeback of Rafael Nadal who had taken a step ahead in the race for Grand Slam titles with a 21st major title (20 for Djokovic and Federer). A few months later, the Spaniard pushed his advantage at Roland-Garros.

Winner then at Wimbledon but banned from entering the United States for the US Open, the Serb therefore had to wait for the Australian Major to come back up to Rafael Nadal on Sunday. These impossibilities to play and the absence of points distributed at Wimbledon made him lose his place of number 1 last year.

He recovered it on Sunday and will begin his 374th week on Monday at the top of the world hierarchy, a new record. Since 2021, he has also held the record for the number of seasons finished in number 1. For his part, Stefanos Tsitsipas was playing his second Grand Slam final after Roland-Garros in 2021 where he had already been beaten by Djokovic, but in five rounds and after winning the first two.



Tennis: Richard Gasquet wins his sixteenth tournament at 36

The Frenchman Richard Gasquet hangs, at 36, a sixteenth title in his long career. The native of Béziers had not won an ATP tournament since his victory on grass in June 2018 in Bois-le-Duc, in the Netherlands.

It was in New Zealand that the right-hander won the Auckland tournament on Saturday January 14 (around 4 a.m. French time) by defeating world number 12, Briton Cameron Norrie (4-6, 6-4, 6-4).

“It’s an incredible feeling. I played my best tennis all week, but especially today”, said the Biterrois after a crazy match. He had lost the first set and then trailed 4-1 in the final before turning things around to claim his second outdoor hard-court title.

42e global

With this new victory, Richard Gasquet seizes several records. He becomes the oldest Frenchman to win an ATP tournament, and becomes the highest ranked tricolor – which had not happened to him since July 2016 – the oldest in the history of French tennis.

Current 67th in the world, Richard Gasquet will start the Australian Open on Monday January 16, in 42nd place in the rankings, returning to the top 50 of the ATP from which he left in April 2021.

Throughout his twenty years on the circuit, Richard Gasquet has reached three Grand Slam semi-finals but has never passed eighth in Melbourne.



World Cup 2022: Tunisia wins over sluggish Blues

The qualification being acquired, this last meeting of the group stage between France and Tunisia, this Wednesday, November 30, fueled many discussions in the great game of “who would do what”. With the understanding that a third game is then used to rotate the workforce, it was a question of who would get on the carousel, with a small chance of catching the pompom. That is to say to sit at the very end of the bench of substitutes in the future.

Deschamps turns everything upside down

But at kick-off, the main surprise came from the extent of the change proposed by Didier Deschamps: nine entrants, with some truly unpredictable like Randal Kolo Muani at the forefront of the attack, and Axel Disasi for a first start to the right of the defense in place of Benjamin Pavard. In 2014 in Brazil and in 2018 in Russia, the boss of the Blues was content to launch six new players on the meadow. At a press conference the day before, the coach had warned: “In no case should this third match be overused. The dynamic is important internally. » A way to motivate future fresh troops.

Except that there, it was a completely different team from France which found itself asked not to damage the beautiful work woven until then by the previous one. The only ones to put the blue heater on, Raphaël Varane, lacking rhythm after his injury, and Aurélien Tchouaméni, in other words barely the base of the usual spine of the Blues. Deschamps turns it all upside down, here is an additional novelty.

Few alternatives

More than a third match, an experimental match? The best way to concern absolutely everyone or almost, to further perfect group life? The risk of the formula is to reveal only a draft that is difficult to judge. And in fact, on the meadow, the case resulted in a very painful first half, with a team necessarily without great benchmarks but also individuals with very measured commitment. Tunisia at least showed more intensity, if not much more skill. The draw at the break is not only on the scoreboard, only the permanent fear inspired by a trembling French team allowing them to escape boredom.

The second half started on the same basis, and what had to happen happened, after a loss of ball, the blue defense letting itself be pierced (1-0, goal by Wahbi Khazri). The sequel was more decent with the entry of a few executives to avoid a correction, but without the Blues managing to equalize, a goal from Antoine Griezmann in extremis being finally refused for offside.

What lesson can we draw from such a meeting? That the Blues do not have a remarkable bench depth, only among the substitutes the defender Ibrahima Konaté having proved convincing.

Can’t wait for Sunday? It is indeed the feeling that emerged after such a spectacle. The Blues are done with their first round, and almost everyone (except third goalkeeper Alphonse Areola) has come for a lap. It wasn’t for the best.



Tennis Masters: Caroline Garcia wins a major title, which completes a high-flying season

The tennis world can no longer ignore Caroline Garcia. The player who has just celebrated her 29th birthday won the WTA Masters in Fort Worth, Texas, on Monday, November 7 (7-6, 6-4).

Against the Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka (world number 8), the native of Saint-Germain-en-Laye was disarmingly solid, especially in service, not leaving the slightest opportunity to break her rival. A battle rarely exceeding four strokes per rally then ensued, with the two players maintaining their face-off with authority.

The decision was made during the decisive game of the first set: if the Frenchwoman continued to excel on her serve (68% of first serves passed) with a tenth ace, Sabalenka ended up cracking by committing two double faults, including that of who offered the sleeve to his rival.

The second run was faster. After a short stint in the Belarusian’s locker room, the latter was breakered from the start, on the very first opportunity from the Frenchwoman. It will be the only time of the game. Enough to complete a hoped-for victory for the French number 1.

In the footsteps of Mauresmo

The unexpected departure of his coach, Bertrand Perret, just before the tournament, for reasons “extra-sports”, was not right about the course of the Habs. The one who was called “precocious talent” by many observers at the start of his career now seems to have found the way to maturity.

In her game, aggressive but thoughtful, and in her mind, she now seems rid of the heavy weight of tricolor hope, becoming the second Frenchwoman to add her name to the list of winners of this end-of-season meeting bringing together the eight best players. of the world. Amélie Mauresmo won in 2005, at the expense of Mary Pierce, in a 100% tricolor final.

At the end of the meeting, the Frenchwoman, in tears, did not fail to greet her opponent of the day: “First thing, congratulations to you and your team, Aryna for being such a big fighter. “You gave it your all on every point. You put so much energy into every point, it’s a great pleasure to play against you but also to watch.”she praised.

“Fantastic tennis”

Speaking to the public and those around her, Caroline Garcia could not contain her emotion: “I thank my team for this trophy. Those who have helped me become a great player since I was twelve. You have made me a better person. The atmosphere this week has been extraordinary. There weren’t many rallies, but that’s our style of play and you liked it. »

A good player, her rival greeted the Frenchwoman, not without a touch of irony: “Caroline, as I speak, I hate you”, she carried away in a mixture of laughter and emotions. “You played fantastic tennis. Congratulations on your results and I hope to play new finals against you. Right, well done. »

Grand slam, Garcia’s next dream

This forceps victory rewards a prosperous 2022 year. Already semi-finalist of the last US Open and winner of the women’s doubles at Roland-Garros with her compatriot Kristina Mladenovic, Caroline Garcia thus writes the most beautiful line of her personal record.

Passed from the 75e 6th place in the worlde during a sparkling summer (4 titles since the end of June), the one who will be 4th in the WTA ranking published next Monday is now aiming for a Grand Slam title, to definitively enter the pantheon of great French players. Fleeing the tricolor prize list for nine years, and the consecration of Marion Bartoli at Wimbledon (2013), women’s tennis begins to dream of a new victory in one of the four major tournaments of world tennis.

Building on this success at the Masters, the French number 1 will now aim to win her first Grand Slam title on January 16 at the Australian Open.



Image rights, World Cup… How much do the Blues earn with the French football team

The French Football Federation (FFF) finally gave in to pressure from star striker Kylian Mbappé. In a press release published on the evening of Monday, September 19, the institution which governs French football undertook to “revise as soon as possible” the agreement governing the image rights of the Blues.

“The FFF is delighted to work on the outlines of a new agreement which will enable it to ensure its interests while taking into consideration the concerns and legitimate convictions unanimously expressed by its players”, indicates the FFF. This turnaround comes a few hours after Kylian Mbappé refused to participate in the photo session scheduled for Tuesday, a second episode in the conflict between the Paris Saint-Germain striker and the FFF.

€25,000 match bonus

The quarrel over image rights in the national team does not originate from the remuneration of players in the Blues but is more related to the control of the player’s image. The Parisian player thus claims a right of scrutiny over the brands with which his image could be associated.

Compared to the salaries received in their respective clubs, income from image rights (referred to as “match bonuses”) in the national team remains marginal. They amount to €25,000 per match, which is the only remuneration for players in selection, at least outside of international competitions. By way of comparison, Kylian Mbappé would receive at Paris Saint-Germain around 85 million euros per year, according to revelations from the New York Times in May.

Half a million euros in the event of victory at the World Cup

To these match bonuses can be added “victory bonuses” during international competitions such as the Euro or the World Cup. Unlike the first, paid by the French Football Federation, the second are not taken from the budget of the FFF but distributed by the organizing bodies.

In the case of the World Cup, for example, FIFA pays each federation participating in the World Cup a variable sum depending on the number of victories and the course in the competition. An envelope of some 417 million euros is planned for the World Cup in Qatar this winter. Of this sum, approximately 40 million euros will be distributed by Fifa to the selection which will leave with the trophy.

According to the agreement in force at the FFF, 30% of this sum will then be donated to the players and to part of the technical staff, the coach and his assistants. Or €446,000 per person (in the case of a list with 23 players selected) or €402,000 (in the case of a list extended to 26 players). A larger endowment than during the World Cup in Russia won by the Blues in 2018 during which each player received around €350,000.

Wage inequality

During the Euro last year, UEFA had distributed nearly 331 million euros to the federations. Eliminated in the round of 16 by Switzerland, Didier Deschamps’ men still left with almost €173,000 each, against just over €300,000 allocated to the Italian winners.

These amounts are far higher than those received by women. During the Women’s Euro 2022, which saw the France team fail in the semi-finals, barely two million euros were made available to the federations by UEFA. Even in the event of a coronation, the French women would have received only €60,000, despite a gesture made by the FFF.



US Open 2022: Iga Swiatek wins her third Grand Slam

First imperial then resistant, the world number 1 Iga Swiatek won her first US Open on Saturday September 10 in New York, taking the best of the Tunisian Ons Jabeur (5th) 6-2, 7-5 in the final.

At 21, the Pole adds a third Grand Slam title to her collection, after her two coronations at Roland-Garros in 2020 and in June this year. She succeeds the New York winners of the Briton Emma Raducanu, who created the sensation in 2021, by winning after leaving the qualifications.

Faced with Ons Jabeur, who was playing her second consecutive Major final after the one lost two months ago at Wimbledon, she held her rank as favorite. Aggressive and sharp, Iga Swiatek quickly chained the winning blows, overtaking her rival, who appeared borrowed from the heart of Arthur-Ashe where she entered much more tense than usual.

Turn of the ninth game

The Pole broke her from the start, then two more times in this one-way first set, at the end of which she passed 90% of the first ball and attacked the net with great success (eight points scored out of 9 climbs ).

The Tunisian, who had managed to unbreak to respond to the loss of her first game of service by releasing beautiful uncrossed forehands, could not confirm this burst on her following commitments, betrayed by a first ball, yet one of her points strong, broken down.

At the start of the second set, after drawing on her concentration in her chair, closing her eyes and breathing deeply, Iga Swiatek resumed with a bang, with effective placed attacks and broke away 3-0.

Advantage that Ons Jabeur immediately set about erasing, finally letting go of his shots. Debreak followed by another because the Pole again took her service behind, after exchanges showing that a completely different match was then being played.

The ninth game was a turning point, during which Ons Jabeur cornered Iga Swiatek, who only owed his salvation to the unforced errors of the Tunisian. The latter thus wasted three break points and blamed herself for it by shouting her frustration. But, she breathed relief at 6-5 against her when her rival missed a match point. A short reprieve since in the tie-break, Iga Swiatek did not miss the opportunity to end on his second decisive opportunity in 1:51.

Great season

In New York, the world number 1 showed that she was not just a clay court player. Her victory on the cement of Flushing Meadows where she had, until this fourth participation, never passed the stage of the round of 16 demonstrates her dazzling progress, already glimpsed at the very beginning of the year at the Australian Open where she had reached the semi-finals.

US Open 2022: Iga Swiatek wins her third Grand Slam

A success which comes a little more to crown a formidable season, since between February 20 and June 22, she chained no less than 37 victories which offered her six titles in a row, in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart, Rome then Roland-Garros.

An irresistible momentum finally stopped in the third round of Wimbledon by the French Alizé Cornet, which preceded a difficult start to the American summer, with early eliminations in Toronto then Cincinnati. But as the champion she has become, it didn’t take her long to resume her royal path.



Tour de France: Christophe Laporte, first Frenchman to win a stage

The 19th stage of the Tour de France ends (finally) with a French victory. Christophe Laporte (Jumbo Visma) is the first rider to cross the finish line on Friday July 22 in Cahors, during a flat stage serving as a transition between the Pyrenean triptych and the time trial scheduled for Saturday July 23 in Rocamadour.

The Belgian Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceunick), and the Italian Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) then came to complete the podium.

While the Tour de France ends on Sunday July 24, the general classification has not changed: Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo Visma) retains the yellow jersey (and the polka dot jersey), more than three minutes ahead of Tadej Pogacar and eight minutes on Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadier).

The 188 kilometers separating Castelnau-Magnoac and Cahors were not very lively and the rest of the general classification was not shaken either: the Frenchman David Gaudu retained fourth place, ahead of Nairo Quintana, whom he had passed the day before. .

An interruption was however marked 157 kilometers from the finish due to a demonstration on the road, as during the Megève stage. The gap between peloton and the breakaway was calculated and the riders left in the same positions.

A Frenchman in place of another

The breakaway did not survive for long and only the American Quinn Simmons (first in the intermediate sprint) tried to hold on. The youngest of the competition finally abdicated, 35 kilometers from the finish. His solitary getaway nevertheless earned him the bib of the most combative runner of the day.

The white jersey Tadej Pogacar attempted a small attack a few kilometers further, taking advantage of the aspiration of Alexis Gougeard. The hope of victory quickly vanished on this ground not conducive to widening gaps and the Slovenian was quickly overtaken by the great Wout van Aert, assured of keeping the green jersey.

Alexis Gougeard stayed ahead of the race alongside Briton Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Belgian Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo). But the teams wishing to see their sprinter go for the victory worked together at the front of the peloton to close the gap with the leading trio.

The Lotto-Soudal, QuickStep-AlphaVinyl and TotalEnergies teams thus took turns before catching up with the three riders, destroying Alexis Gougeard’s chances of victory. He will be fortunately replaced by another Frenchman, who escaped victoriously from the peloton 1.5 kilometers from the finish.



Tour de France: Canadian Hugo Houle wins the 16th stage, Vingegaard retains the yellow jersey

After an eventful stage, on uneven ground, it was Hugo Houle who won in Foix on Tuesday July 19 during the sixteenth stage of the Tour de France. The Canadian from the Israel Premier Tech team crossed the finish line almost six minutes before the yellow jersey group, after 178 kilometers of racing from Carcassonne. As he passes, he grabs the bib of the most combative runner of the day.

Less than 40 km from the finish, he managed to outrun the breakaways in a descent, never to be caught again. One of his direct competitors, Jorgensen, indeed fell in a badly calculated turn, 12 km from the finish, leaving second place to Frenchman Valentin Madouas and third to compatriot and teammate of the winner, Michael Woods, victorious of a final sprint.

On the first day of the third and last week of racing, the Pyrenees put many runners in difficulty, especially in the last two passes of 1D category. Within the (skinny) group of favorites, then more than seven minutes from the breakaway, the white jersey and second in the general classification Tadej Pogacar took the opportunity to challenge the yellow jersey Jonas Vingegaard by attacking him several times from in a row 50 kilometers from the finish.

Romain Bardet, loser of the day

This was without taking into account the good form of the rider of the Jumbo Visma. With a 2-minute lead in the general classification, Jonas Vingegaard managed to keep the gap. When the group of contenders for the general classification arrived, this time it was the yellow jersey who tried to surprise his Slovenian rival. The disputed sprint between the two men will finally be won by the Dane. The virtual podium still does not evolve and the British Geraint Thomas retains his third place, 2 minutes 43 from the yellow jersey.

The last two passes, on the other hand, saw the Frenchman Romain Bardet weaken (4th overall at the start). Despite dancer positions and supportive teammates, he slipped from 4th to 9th place. Also in difficulty, the second Frenchman in the general classification, David Gaudu, for his part managed to limit the damage and return alone to the yellow jersey group. He moved up to fifth place, just behind Nairo Quintana, and passed first among the French riders, 4 minutes 24 behind Jonas Vingegaard.



Tour de France: Michael Matthews wins the 14th stage

Two days the same scenario. Like the previous one, the 14e stage of the Tour de France between Saint-Étienne and Mende returned to the strongest of the breakaway. Present throughout the afternoon at the heart of a breakaway of 23 riders, Michael Matthews quickly appeared as the strongest of the group.

50 km from the finish, it was the Australian who accelerated to create a quartet in the lead. At the foot of the Côte de la Croix-Neuve, the last difficulty (2.9 km at more than 10%) and judge of the peace of the stage, it was he again who let go of his companions. The Italian Alberto Bettiol joined him well in the “Jalabert climb”, and even a time slightly behind. But with a final thrust, Michael Matthews got the better of his competitor, and won alone at the Mende aerodrome.

New duel between Pogacar and Vingegaard

Finishing more than twelve minutes behind him, the favorites of the Tour also explained themselves in the Côte de la Croix-Neuve. Already turbulent at the start of the stage, the second overall and double title holder Tadej Pogacar did not manage to get away from the yellow jersey Jonas Vingegaard; the two taking a little more distance from the other leaders.

In the general classification, Louis Meintjes, the best ranked of the 23 breakaways, achieved the breakthrough of the day. The South African passes from the 13e at the 7e place, now less than five minutes behind Jonas Vingegaard. The Dane still dominates two former Tour winners, Tadej Pogacar and Geraint Thomas, by more than two minutes.

Calvary by Caleb Ewan

The French Romain Bardet (4e) and David Gaudu (8e) are firmly in the top-10, more than four minutes away. The green jersey seems definitively acquired by the Belgian Wout Van Aert, more precarious, the polka dot tunic remains on the German Simon Geschke.

Far, very far from the breakaway and even from the whole peloton, Caleb Ewan crossed the line more than 39 minutes behind Michael Matthews. The pocket sprinter, winner of five stages in the Tour de France, was unclamped from the first kilometers, in pain after his fall on Friday in a bend. Alone and without the help of three team members, who volunteered to accompany him for a good part of the 192 km of the day, the Australian would not even have reached the finish on time on Saturday.



Tour de France: Dane Cort Nielsen wins the stage, Pogacar retains the yellow jersey

It was Magnus Cort Nielsen, from the EF Education-Easypost team, who crossed the finish line first, at the end of a 100% Savoyard stage, in the end unbridled. After four medium-difficulty climbs, the Dane won by a few millimeters ahead of the Australian Nicolas Schultz (Team Bikeexchange-Jayco), after 150 km in the Alps between Morzine Les Portes du Soleil and Megève. The Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez (Bahrain Victorious), who rode alone in the lead during the last kilometers, finished in third place.

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) keeps the yellow jersey of this Tour de France, as well as the white of best young person. The Slovenian however lost two teammates (including George Bennett, diagnosed positive for Covid the same day) and was particularly threatened by the German Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), member of a breakaway who managed to dig up to ten minutes ahead of the peloton. The latter, however, climbed to second place in the general classification, only eleven seconds behind the leader and ahead of Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo Visma). The French David Gaudu (Groupama FDJ) and Romain Bardet (Team DSM) also lost a place and are now in 6e and 7e positions in the provisional general classification.

The different jerseys do not change shoulders either: the Belgian Wout Van Art will present himself in green (best sprinter) during the eleventh stage, and the German Simon Geschke will always be dressed in the best climber’s polka dot jersey.

A stage disrupted by climate activists

Sunscreen on the neck, jerseys open, the riders set a steady pace from the start of the race and it took 64 kilometers before a real breakaway formed, made up of 25 riders. While the Italian Alberto Bettiol was trying to outrun the breakaway, an unexpected event disrupted the stage.

The race was indeed interrupted for nearly a quarter of an hour, 36 km from the finish, due to a demonstration on the track. A handful of climate protesters blocked the road by sitting on the pavement and the runners were stopped. The gaps have been raised to respect the positions before the suspension of the race.

A similar event occurred during the Roland Garros tournament, when an activist tied herself to the net in the middle of the semi-final to warn of the climate emergency. The Tour de France had not been interrupted since 2019, when a snowslide blocked the road.

This interruption did not prevent the leading Italian from continuing his effort and maintaining the gap with the breakaway, before being caught by a group of pursuers and distanced 7 kilometers from the finish. Despite everything, his efforts were hailed as he won the prize for the most combative runner.

The difficulties will really begin during the next stage, in the high mountains. After starting from Albertville, the riders will have 150 kilometers to cover to reach the finish line at the top of the Granon Serre Chevalier pass, at an altitude of 2,400 meters. This will be the second non-category pass of the stage, after the famous Col du Galibier.

(Archive – Video of 07/17/2019)