Tag

Australian

Browsing

British number one Emma Raducanu has been drawn against Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck in the Wimbledon first round.

The 19-year-old, who is seeded 10th, practised at the All England Club on Friday but missed a second session planned later on Court One.

Two-time champion Andy Murray, who is trying to overcome an abdominal injury, faces Australia’s James Duckworth.

Serena Williams starts her return to singles action after a year out against French debutant Harmony Tan.

The 40-year-old American made her comeback in the Eastbourne doubles this week but has not played singles since she was injured at Wimbledon last year.

Top seed Iga Swiatek plays Croatian qualifier Jana Fett as she aims to continue her dominance of the WTA Tour.

The world number one, who won the recent French Open for a sixth title in a row, has been handed the honour of opening Tuesday’s play on Centre Court.

Usually that is traditionally given to the defending women’s champion, but Australia’s Ashleigh Barty retired earlier this year.

Poland’s Swiatek, 21, is aiming for a 36th straight win and could face British wildcard Sonay Kartal, who starts against Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic, in the second round.

Tunisian third seed Ons Jabeur, who played with Williams at Eastbourne before pulling out with a knee injury, faces Swedish qualifier Mirjam Bjorklund.

Romanian 16th seed Simona Halep, who has not played at Wimbledon since winning the 2019 title and was another candidate to start Tuesday’s play on Centre Court, has a tough opener against Czech Karolina Muchova.

Andy Murray

Emma Raducanu

How has the draw panned out for Emma Raducanu and Murray?

Emma Raducanu is set for her first Wimbledon since winning the US Open, but has seen her preparations hampered by a side injury in recent weeks.

The teenager has won eight of the 19 matches she has played so far this season and experienced a string of minor injuries.

World number 46 Van Uytvanck has won two grass-court titles already this month and is one of the toughest opponents Emma Raducanu could have drawn.

Raducanu could face another British player, wildcard Yuriko Miyazaki, in the second round, with Katie Swan also drawn in the same section.

American 19th seed Madison Keys is a potential third-round opponent.

Unseeded Murray, 35, avoided a seeded player in the first round and will meet Duckworth for a second time in his opening match at a major after beating him in the 2018 US Open.

He could face big-serving American John Isner in the second round, with Italian 10th seed Jannik Sinner – who faces Swiss wildcard Stan Wawrinka in a far-from-ideal opener – potentially waiting in round three.

Both Emma Raducanu and Murray will play on Monday.

British men’s number one Cameron Norrie, seeded ninth, starts against Spain’s Pablo Andujar as he aims to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time.

The 26-year-old left-hander has faced some tough draws at the majors recently and could meet Bulgaria’s 18th seed Grigor Dimitrov in the third round.

Dan Evans, the only other British seed, plays Australian qualifier Jason Kubler.

Fourteen other British players are in the main draws of the singles and not one faces a seeded player in the first round.

However, British wildcard Paul Jubb plays Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in one of the most eye-catching matches.

What else happened in the men’s singles draw?

Defending champion Novak Djokovic, who starts against Kwon Soon-woo, has been drawn in the opposite half to Queen’s champion Matteo Berrettini.

That means Berrettini, seeded eighth, is a potential semi-final opponent for Spain’s Rafael Nadal, who starts against Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo.

Nadal, 36, is playing Wimbledon for the first time since 2019 as he looks to follow his victories at the Australian Open and French Open with a first title at SW19 since 2010.

Mercedes believe the extra weight added to Lewis Hamilton’s car in the form of data sensors at the Australian Grand Prix was worthwhile.

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton’s W13 ran without the additional sensors in the Bahrain and Saudi Arabia races as a way of lightening the load on a car the team admit is “overweight”.

But they found the information to be gleaned from those sensors a big miss, so they were added to the seven-time former World Champion’s car for the grand prix in Melbourne.

Twitter

Ultimately, Hamilton finished fourth to winner Charles Leclerc, one place behind his team-mate George Russell, in a car Mercedes are still struggling to make anywhere near as competitive as they would like.

Asked during the team’s debrief of the Albert Park race whether good data had been obtained from the sensors on Hamilton’s car, James Vowles, their motorsport strategy director, said: “The answer is yes. We always need to have a good understanding and be data-driven as an organisation.

“And it was painful, because taking sensors off the car because the car is too heavy means we are losing out on information, and what we concluded from the first two races is we had too many questions without answers as a result of doing so.

Lewis Hamilton

“In a normal year, you wouldn’t even consider not having sensors on the car. You would add what you need to, to make sure you understand what’s going on. But obviously this isn’t a normal year and the car is overweight.

“In terms of how it worked between the two cars, there are thousands of components that make up the racing car for George and for Lewis.

“And those components don’t weigh exactly the same amount, there is variability of a few grams here and there and the actual car weight as mentioned on the FIA scales between the two cars in the race was within a few grams of each other, so Lewis did a fantastic job by carrying these extra sensors.

“Ultimately, the cost was small, it was a matter of grams between the two, which is what we wanted.

“To answer the bulk of the question though, have we got good data? Absolutely. It’s not that, from this, you can suddenly find something that will turn everything on its head and will find a solution in one race, but it provides clues and understanding of what we need to do to move forwards.”

LEWIS HAMILTON was caught out by a safety car once again and three other things you missed from the Australian Grand Prix.

Express Sport takes a look at four talking points that slipped under the radar during the Australian Grand Prix, in which Charles Leclerc emerged victorious to move 34 points clear at the top of the Drivers’ Championship.

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton loses out on safety car rule – again!

After the heartbreak of Abu Dhabi where Lewis Hamilton was denied the title after a late-race safety car it seems similar incidents have followed the Briton. Hamilton could have scored more points in Jeddah but was unable to pit under the virtual safety car as the pit lane was closed.

The seven-time champion was caught out again in Melbourne after he lost positions behind the safety car to his own team-mate. George Russell had stayed out later than many of the cars around him as the safety car was called.

As all the other cars were going slowly he could pit in just 12 seconds instead of 19 and come out in third. Hamilton was shocked on team radio and joked that he seemed cursed when it came to losing out on positions.

He said: “Does that mean I have lost a position? Jeez, I am unlucky with safety cars.”

Lewis Hamilton

Safety car drama almost leads to shunt

Lewis Hamilton

Mick Schumacher was almost caught out at the safety car restart in Melbourne, coming within inches of crashing into the back of Yuki Tsunoda. The Japanese driver slowed on the main straight just as the German accelerated to warm up his tyres.

It caught the Haas star unaware and he needed lighting reactions to ensure the Haas and AlphaTauri pair did not come together. Schumacher jumped on the radio seconds later stressing how dangerous the move was.

He said: “Holy cow, that was close.”

DON’T MISS

Hamilton Verstappen usurped by Leclerc domination

Magnussen almost caught out by track changes

Australia’s new track changes definitely increased the number of overtakes at Albert Park. However, the Haas of Kevin Magnussen took too much speed down the re-profiled back straight and almost collided with an AlphaTauri into turn nine.

When asked if he was ok, he said: “Yeah, my bad, sorry.”

Ted does a shoey

Sky Sports F1 host Ted Kravitz is well known for his wild antics behind the scenes of a race paddock. To celebrate Daniel Ricciardo’s home race, the popular presenter was handed a show filled with alcohol.

He duly delivered, sipping the beer from the shoe before claiming it was “quite tasty”.

Charles Leclerc dominated the Australian Grand Prix to extend his championship advantage after just three rounds of the F1 season.

The Ferrari driver was rarely threatened at Melbourne’s Albert Park on his way to a commanding victory, his second of the season and fourth of his F1 career.

With Max Verstappen retiring for the second time in three races, George Russell has surprisingly jumped to second in the drivers’ standings courtesy of his first Mercedes podium.

Without further ado, here are the best stats and facts from Down Under.

Leclerc scored his maiden F1 grand slam [pole, win, fastest lap, leading every lap], which was also the first for a Ferrari driver since Fernando Alonso achieved the feat in Singapore 2010.

Drivers to record a grand slam since 2011 have always gone on to win the title that year.

Ferrari had not registered a single race win or fastest lap in the last two years, but via Leclerc, it already has two victories and three fastest laps to its name this season.

Ferrari’s big win

Leclerc took his fourth career win, all of which have come from pole position.

The Monégasque finished 20.524s ahead of Sergio Perez when the chequered flag dropped, making it the biggest winning margin for Ferrari since Spain 2002.

Michael Schumacher won that race by 35.629s from Juan Pablo Montoya.

The result also means the Scuderia has taken the spoils in three of the last four Australian Grands Prix.

Leclerc usurps Hamilton and Verstappen

Leclerc’s lead of 34 points is the second-biggest championship gap after the opening three rounds of a season since 2010.

The margin is also greater than the gap achieved at any point last season between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who were separated by 32 points at its widest difference.

To finish first, first you must finish

Verstappen now has the most retirements in F1 [25] since he moved to Red Bull in 2016.

The reigning world champion sits lower than his team-mate in the drivers’ standings for the first time since Hungary 2018.

Coming in second, team-mate Perez recorded his best result at Melbourne, after never finishing higher than P7 before.

Sainz’s streak ends

Carlos Sainz beached his car on the second lap of the race, bringing an end to his 31-race finishing streak, the fifth-longest in F1 history.

The Spaniard also lost his 17-race scoring streak, with both the longest active in F1 before the weekend.

Hamilton’s team-mates and a flavour of Williams

Fourth is Hamilton’s lowest race finish in Melbourne in the hybrid era.

Team-mate Russell now has a podium with both Williams and Mercedes, making him the third driver, after Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas, to stand on the rostrum for both teams.

Points in the midfield

Both McLarens made it into the top-six for the first time since Italy 2021, when Daniel Ricciardo led home Lando Norris for a one-two finish.

Pierre Gasly scored his first points in Australia in the AlphaTauri, whilst Alex Albon’s heroic effort to finish 10th from the back of the grid for Williams ensures Aston Martin is now the only team not to score so far this year.

Lewis Hamilton has revealed his pointed radio message with race engineer Pete Bonnington was the result of an overheating issue at the Australian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver experienced an up-and-down third round of the F1 season after making his way from fifth to third at the start of the race, only to drop behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

Hamilton managed to jump Perez at a pit stop although the Mexican’s warmer tyres allowed him to easily pass again, though he ran wide in doing so.

Just as the seven-time champion fought back, though, the safety car was deployed, handing team-mate George Russell a free pit stop and Perez keeping his position.

As Hamilton closed in on Russell later in the race, he came onto the team radio and said “you guys put me in a really difficult position.”

Addressing the message, Hamilton said: “Well I couldn’t fight with them because the engine was overheating, I had to back off.

“So I just had to sit behind but we bagged as many points as we can as a team and that is great.”

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton hails “great” result for Mercedes

With Russell finishing third and Hamilton fourth, Mercedes finished ahead of what team principal Toto Wolff described as a “best case” scenario of fifth and sixth, whilst also leaving the race with more points this weekend than any other team.

“It is a great result for us as a team,” added Hamilton.

“Honestly, this weekend we have had so many difficult moments with the car so to get ourselves fifth and sixth in qualifying, to have progressed as we have and to have the reliability, we definitely didn’t expect to have a third and fourth.

“George did a brilliant job today. I saw a bit of the battle of him racing Perez, I wish I could have been in it but nonetheless, we will take these points and keep pushing.”

Lewis Hamilton

Formula One drivers have been served a reminder that they are banned from wearing jewellery while racing ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

The ruling was included in the Melbourne event notes that was issued by new F1 race director Niels Wittich, who will share the position with Eduardo Freitas following the sacking of Michael Masi.

Lewis Hamilton

This will affect drivers including Lewis Hamilton who has been seen sporting a nose stud while behind the wheel of his Mercedes.

It has been part of the sporting regulations since 2005, though drivers who have worn jewellery behind the wheel have not been penalised.

The new race directors though are set to take a sterner stance and fine those who are caught wearing any form of body piercing or metal neck chains.

It’s said the reminder is not aimed at any one person and that multiple drivers up and down the grid have been spotted wearing jewellery – also including rings and bracelets.

Lewis Hamilton

There is a risk the stricter approach could spark a new row with seven-time champion Hamilton.

Hamilton was seen wearing a nose stud at both last year’s season-ending Abu Dhabi GP and this year’s opener in Bahrain, where it was clearly visible through his open visor.

The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) confirmed a nose stud would fall foul of the ban, raising the prospect of Hamilton being forced to remove it.

The rule prohibiting the wearing of jewellery is Article 5 of the third chapter of Appendix L of the governing body’s International Sporting Code (ISC).

The full wording of the rule states: ‘The wearing of jewellery in the form of body piercing or metal neck chains is prohibited during the competition and may therefore be checked before the start.’

The FIA first instigated in 2005 what was then described as ‘an immediate ban on the wearing of jewellery (body piercing and heavy chains) by race and rally competitors’, with the rule later adopted into the ISC.

It was brought in to prevent piercings and chains injuring the driver in the event of a collision, and the FIA said it also applied to the wearing of rings and bracelets.

There was also concern jewellery could slow drivers getting out of the car after a heavy crash.

Wittrich is one of two new F1 race directors, in an alternating arrangement with Freitas, following the ousting of Masi in the wake of the controversial climax to last season, which saw Hamilton denied a record-breaking eighth world title.

Lewis Hamilton

Masi’s controversial call to only allow drivers between Hamilton and Max Verstappen to unlap themselves, led to the Dutchman passing his rival on the last lap on much fresher tyres and claim his maiden championship.

This led to appeals from Mercedes in the aftermath of the race in which they eventually dropped.

Hamilton has already been cast 29 points adrift in the championship race after he finished only 10th at the second round in Saudi Arabia a fortnight ago.

Mercedes have dominated the sport since 2014 – carrying Hamilton to six titles and winning an unprecedented eight constructors’ championships in succession.

However, they have failed to get the best of the new regulations for this season so far, with Red Bull and Ferrari leaving the Brackley based outfit playing catch-up.

Don’t miss

Mercedes: What’s gone wrong for Lewis Hamilton and F1 champions and is there a ‘quick fix’ for 2022?

Lewis Hamilton warned not to break bizarre F1 rule at Australian Grand Prix

There was an “atmosphere like you’ve never seen before” at Augusta National on Monday as thousands of fans swarmed after Tiger Woods, eager for a glimpse of the five-time Masters champion who is trying to prove his fitness to play this week.

The 46-year-old surprised many when he announced last week that he was hoping to compete at the first men’s major of 2022 – just 14 months after suffering life-threatening injuries after crashing his car while speeding.

He played 18 holes last Tuesday, a few on Sunday and then nine more on Monday in the company of good friends Justin Thomas and 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples.

“I’m sure he’s going to tee it up on Thursday,” said Couples, who added that Woods looked “phenomenal” and “very impressive”.

“He’ll never let you know if he’s in pain. He was bombing it. He didn’t miss many shots, drove it great. He’s just unreal.

“Now it’s just the walking part. If he can walk around here for 72 holes, he’ll contend.”

Tiger woods

Woods, whose last professional tournament was the rescheduled Masters in November 2020, when he was defending champion, is scheduled to speak to the media at 16:00 BST on Tuesday.

It is unclear if he will confirm whether he will play at this stage but with storms forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday he may not be able to get too much more time on the course.

His emergence from the clubhouse on Monday was greeted with cheers loud enough to distract Bryson DeChambeau.

“From the driving range, we could hear the loud roar when he came out of the clubhouse up to that first tee,” said the 2020 US Open winner. “That was pretty special to hear.”

And England’s three-time champion Nick Faldo tweeted: “Tiger just walked out of the clubhouse to scenes and atmosphere like you’ve never seen before. Patrons cheering and flocking to cram around the putting green. And it’s only Monday at the Masters.”

In February, Woods made it clear that he thought the hilly terrain at Augusta National would come too soon in his recovery.

He spent several months of last year in hospital after sustaining a number of serious injuries in the single vehicle car crash near Los Angeles – caused by him driving at close to double the 45mph speed limit. Woods has said he could have died in the crash, with the need to have a leg amputated another fear at the time.

Regardless of his misdemeanours off the course, Woods has remained the most popular player in the world.

Despite playing just once last year, in an exhibition event with his son Charlie in December, the 15-time major winner won the PGA Tour’s ‘Player Impact Programme’ – one tweet in November of him hitting balls for the first time since his accident, was watched by millions.

So it was no surprise to see crowds lining every fairway and standing 10-deep around the greens at Augusta National on Monday.

And his fellow professionals are delighted to see him at Augusta National.

“It’s exciting there’s the possibility he’s going to play this week,” said Australia’s 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott.

“I really hope he does. No matter what, it would just be epic.”

Scott also said if Woods plays he will be looking to match Jack Nicklaus’ record of six Masters titles, which would also take him just two behind his fellow American’s 18 major wins.

“I’ve learned long ago never doubt the guy,” Scott said. “If he can get around, which seems to be the question, you can’t doubt his golf.”

Fellow Australian Cameron Davis, who won last month’s Players Championship, played five holes with Woods on Sunday.

Smith said Woods was “still a little slow going up a couple of hills on 17 and 18” but added: “He’s striking it well. He’s hitting it far enough to play the holes the way you need to play them.

“I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be able to put rounds together out here.”

Rafael Nadal announced he would be unable to play at the Miami Open a day after he competed in the final of the BNP Paribas Open when he was beaten by Taylor Fritz due to a rib injury he picked up during his semi final tie with Carlos Alcaraz, and tennis legend Mats Wilander believes he pushed his body too much.

The Australian Open champion is now out of action for four to six weeks and it could be a doubt whether he’ll be ready and available for the French Open in May.

Wilander believes Nadal should have taken a month break after he won the Mexican Open but he also conceded that’s not the 21 time Grand Slam winner’s style.

Hola todos, quería anunciaros que he vuelto a España y fui enseguida a visitar a mi equipo médico para hacerme las pruebas tras la final de Indian Wells que jugué con molestias.

— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) March 22, 2022

“In a perfect world I would have thought that after he won the tournament in Acapulco, Mexico playing as well as he did, beating Medvedev again in two sets, beating Cameron Norrie in the finals in two sets, I was 100% sure that he was not going to go and play in Indian Wells or Miami,” the 57-year-old told Eurosport.

“I thought that he would take a month off from tournaments and then go to his normal schedule which is play the clay courts, I think maybe he pushed his body a little bit too much.

Rafael Nadal

“But with Rafa Nadal he loves tennis and competing so much that when he’s feeling good he’s going to go out there and he’s going to run as hard as he can.”

The 13 time French Open winner is the only player in history to have won 21 Grand Slam titles, but the road to success hasn’t been easy given Nadal’s style is to carry on playing until he breaks.

“People are saying Rafa Nadal will not last a long time because of injuries, I’ve always said kind of the opposite,” the three time Australian Open champion added.

“Rafa Nadal will last until he gets injured and then he will go home and he will do rehab and then he will play again and he will push himself so hard physically and mentally and emotionally that he will get injured again and then he will go home, he will rehab and he will start again.

“This is his career and it’s not easy, he keeps saying that himself but he’s had a pretty decent career and he’s the best player of all time on paper for the men so I think that maybe what he’s done is actually better than if you play for 18 years in a row and never take a break.”

Nadal is set to miss out on the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open but he could return for the Madrid Open which gets underway from May 2.