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Serena Williams Shuts Down Reporter at Australian Open 2020

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The American legend Serena Williams steamrolled over her first-round opponent 6-0, 6-3 and recorded her 350th Grand Slam victory. Williams slammed two dozen winners which include her nine aces. She wrapped up her opening round match in 58 minutes at Australian Open 2020. 

Serena Williams on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s split with the royal family 

After her quick win in Melbourne, Serena Williams was asked about her thoughts on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle giving up royal duties. Markle and Williams have been good friends, the Duchess of Sussex was also seen cheering for Serena during Wimbledon and US Open 2019 finals.

The journalist asked: “Your good friend Meghan Markle, who attended your last two grand slams, and Harry, have taken a move, a stance that many people think is extraordinary and historic. What are your feelings about that? Have you spoken to her?”

Williams did not share her opinion on their decision to become financially independent and splitting up with the royal family. Rather, she simply derailed the question and shut down the reporter. “Yeah, I have absolutely no comments on anything to do with that,” Serena Williams said. “Good try. You tried! You did good,” she said in a condescending tone.

I can still improve and get better throughout this tournament” – Serena

World Number nine Williams is now 12 sets away from her long-awaited 24th major crown. She has been coming to Melbourne since 1998. Also, Serena won her last slam in Australia while she was eight weeks pregnant with her daughter Olympia. “I felt like I started out really well,” Williams said. “I played really strong in the first set, and just built on that. I feel like I can still improve and get better throughout this tournament, for sure. This is a good stepping stone for right now.”

Two weeks ago Serena won her first title since 2017 in Auckland and spoke about her victory there. “I think, so to say, a monkey off my back, kind of. It was very important for me to get a win in the final. It felt like a relief. Yeah, like I could move forward now,” she said.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams

The 23-time major champion Serena Williams will next play Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia in the second round.

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Raptors’ Powell to return vs. Hornets; Ibaka, VanVleet out with injury – Sportsnet.ca

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The Toronto Raptors will be without Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet when they take on the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, however Norman Powell will make his return from injury, Raptors coach Nick Nurse said before the game.

Nurse also stated that Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Powell will start in place of VanVleet and Ibaka.

Ibaka was previously listed as doubtful due to right knee soreness. He struggled in Toronto’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, finishing with five points on an abysmal 2-for-15 shooting, including a 1-for-10 mark from three-point range.

Overall, the 30-year-old has enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career in 2019-20. He’s averaging a career-best 15.9 points to go along with 8.0 rebounds per game.

VanVleet had not previously been on the injury report, however he is also listed as out due to left shoulder pain.

The 26-year-old is averaging 17.6 points and 6.6 assists per game in 48 appearances this year.

Powell, who hasn’t played since Jan. 31 due to a fractured fourth metacarpal on his left hand, figures to shoulder a heavy minutes load right off the bat due to VanVleet’s absence.

Earlier this season, Powell also missed a stretch of 11 games after dislocating his shoulder.

Through 38 games this year, the 26-year-old is averaging a career-high 15.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.

The Raptors will also be without Marc Gasol, who continues to be sidelined with a left hamstring injury.

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Zamboni driver turned NHL goalie David Ayres given his own hockey card – CTV News

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TORONTO —
The Toronto-area Zamboni driver who became famous after suiting up at the last minute for the Carolina Hurricanes has now been awarded a hockey card in his honour.

David Ayres, a 42-year-old from Whitby, Ont., joined the Hurricanes as an emergency goalie on Saturday after both their regular goalies left the game due to injury. Ayres went on to make eight saves on 10 shots to help the Hurricanes beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3.

Since the win, Ayres has become an internet sensation, leading to appearances on the TODAY show and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, to name a few. He was went to Raleigh, N.C., where he celebrated “David Ayres Day” in the city by signing autographs from Hurricanes fans and ringing the “siren sounder” before the game.

The stick Ayres used in the game has also been sent to the Hockey Hall of Fame, due to the fact he is now the oldest goalie to win in their NHL debut and the only emergency goalie to ever record an official win in the league.

Ayres’ 15 minutes of fame is not yet over, however, as the trading card company Upper Deck has created a hockey card in his name.

“When we saw the moment, we were blown away by how special it was,” Chris Carlin, head of customer experience at Upper Deck, said in a phone interview with CTVNews.ca.

Ayers is featured in Upper Deck’s “Game Dated Moments” collection, which are cards unveiled on a weekly-basis that highlight notable performances from the past week. Ayres’ card features him standing in the Hurricanes’ net, wearing the team’s jersey and Maple Leafs equipment, while the back of the card tells the story of the game.

Other cards in Ayres’ pack include an Alexander Ovechkin card highlighting his 700th career goal and one about Los Angeles Kings forward Gabriel Vilardi, who scored his first NHL goal just 10 seconds into his first shift.

Carlin said the cards for each week are chosen based on fan requests and that calls for an Ayers card were “like something we’ve never seen before.” It’s already one of their top-performing weekly designs.

“We knew it was a special moment, so it was important for us to dedicate all the resources we had to acquiesce to our fans,” he said.

“There is surprisingly huge demand for a 42-year-old rookie.”

Creating the card didn’t come without its own challenges, however. Because Ayres is not a member of the NHL Players Association, Upper Deck had to secure a deal with Ayres directly for permission to make the card.

“I was surprised myself that we were able to get this done in three days,” Carlin said. “Our window is so tight on these ‘Game Dated Moments’ cards that it’s really a tough one to get done. It’s not the hardest thing to go out and get an image rights deal with someone, but to get it done within three days is pretty much unheard of.”

Carlin said Ayres will also have a “Young Guns” rookie card in his name, which is set for release in mid-May and some autographed cards at a later date.

“We disputed perhaps calling it an ‘old guns’ given his age, because typically the players are anywhere from 18 to 20,” he joked.

Carlin added certain versions of Ayers’ rookie card will only be printed 10 or 100 times, meaning they could hold some serious value.

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Oilers' Green (sprained MCL) out 3-4 weeks – TSN

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EDMONTON — Newly acquired Edmonton Oilers defenceman Mike Green will miss three to four weeks with a knee injury.

The Oilers announced Friday that Green has a sprained MCL. He was hurt in a loss against Vegas on Wednesday.

The Oilers acquired Green in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings early Monday, hours before the NHL’s trade deadline.

Green was playing his second game with the Oilers when he suffered the injury.

The 34-year-old Calgary native has three goals and eight assists in 50 combined games with Detroit and Edmonton this season.

According to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, Kailer Yamamoto and Kris Russell will be game-time decisions tomorrow after being re-evaluated. Both players took regular reps in practice.

Trade deadline acquisition Andreas Athanasiou, who left last game with a lower-body injury, is good to go. James Neal skated but is still a ways away from playing and defenceman Oscar Klefbom didn’t skate with the main group. 

Zack Kassian returns tomorrow from a seven-game suspension and Mike Smith is expected to start on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets. 

The Oilers (33-23-8) entered Friday night’s action holding the third and final playoff spot in the Pacific Division.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2020.

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