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Swiatek seeking to stay grounded after 'life-changing' victory – WTA Tennis

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With a historic triumph now behind her, Iga Swiatek is keeping perspective and hoping that the lessons which took her to the French Open title will serve her well moving forward as she adjusts to life as a Grand Slam champion, on and off the court.

By WTA Staff

PARIS, France – In the aftermath of a ‘life-changing’ fortnight in Paris, newly-crowned French Open champion Iga Swiatek is aiming to keep her feet firmly on the ground. 

While a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Australian Open Sofia Kenin in Saturday’s final marked a whole host of milestones for the 19-year-old — from making her the first Polish woman to win a Grand Slam singles title, to assuring her of a Top 20 debut — the teenager is hoping that the unflappable mentality she showed on the terre battue will serve her well moving forward into a new reality.

Read the match report: Swiatek seals Kenin, surges to maiden major title in Paris

“I’m just proud of myself. I’ve done a great job past two weeks. I wasn’t expecting to win this trophy. It’s obviously amazing for me. It’s a life-changing experience,” the 19-year-old said after Saturday’s final.

“It’s hard to comment on that right now because I need to come back home first, see what’s going on in Poland. I know it’s going to be crazy. I think I’m going to get used to that, it’s not going to be a problem for me. I didn’t have problem with getting attention, with people surrounding me. I think it’s going to be okay for me.

“I really appreciate all the support I got during whole two weeks. Even though I wasn’t on my phone and I wasn’t answering every person, I know that the whole country was behind me and they all believed in me. I’m going to be happy and proud.” 

Speaking openly and candidly over the course of the Paris two weeks about the work she does with her traveling sports psychologist Daria Abramowicz, Swiatek also revealed in her post-championship press conference how the recent success of other young players on the game’s biggest stages helped set the stage for her. 

Read more: How Swiatek’s sports psychologist honed her mental game

“Even though you’re really young and you’re an underdog, you can do a lot in a sport like tennis,” she said. “On one hand, it’s [the wins of other young players] pretty inspiring.

“Sometimes, I caught myself visualizing that I’m also winning a Grand Slam. But on the other hand it was also really far away. Right now, when I’m here and I’m a Grand Slam champion, it’s crazy.

“You believe in things, but in the back of your head you know that there’s going to be a huge amount of work that you have to do to win that. Then after two weeks of great playing, you already have it. It’s just overwhelming.

“I use everything that my psychologist taught me during a match. For sure, I’m doing the biggest work on the court… I think there is a huge role. I can see the difference when I’m mentally prepared and I’m ready to handle the stress, the pressure. I can see the difference where I can’t. That’s why I’m sometimes losing in first round and sometimes I can win a tournament.”

By capturing a Grand Slam title, something never done by Poland’s previous standard-bearer Agnieszka Radwanska, Swiatek has already written herself into both tennis’ history books and those for sport in her country overall.

Read more: ‘A star is born’ – History-making Swiatek lauded after French Open win

Despite that, the Raszyn resident says that it’s only the beginning, and that she has a long way to go to match the career résumé of her country’s best player, who ranked in the world’s Top 10 for nearly a decade and peaked at World No.2.

“I just feel like I kind of made history. But I still think that Radwanska, she achieved a lot because she played on the top level of WTA for, I don’t know, 12 years. I don’t even know the number,” she added.

“I know there’s going to be a lot of people who are going to compare us. But I think I have to be really consistent for the next couple years to everybody to name me the best player in Poland, because still I have a lot to do. Still I think that’s kind of her place.”

“Really, I feel like I can do progress in most of the things because I’m only 19. I know my game isn’t developed perfectly. I think the biggest change for me is going to be to be consistent.

“That’s why my goal is going to be to be consistent. It’s going to be really hard to achieve that. Right now, I’m just going to enjoy the moment. I’m going to think about my future goals later.”

2020 Roland Garros presser: Swiatek – ‘It’s a dream come true’

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Toronto FC thrashed by Union – TSN

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CHESTER, Pa. — A top-of-the-table showdown turned into a lopsided loss Saturday for an understrength Toronto FC that saw its nine-game undefeated run snapped in a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of the Philadelphia Union.

It was one-way traffic all night long, a night to forget for a Toronto franchise used to being the hammer rather than the nail. Philadelphia took advantage of TFC’s shambolic defending and non-existent attack, bullying a team that had been on a 7-0-2 run.

It was a costly defeat, given a win would have put TFC six points ahead of its nearest challenger. Instead, the Union moved into first place in both the league and Eastern Conference on goal difference over Toronto with the two teams at 12-3-5.

Toronto had gone unbeaten since suffering a pair of losses Sept. 1 and 5, against Montreal and Vancouver respectively.

Toronto coach Greg Vanney called it a “hard lesson,” the kind of performance he had not see for “a long, long time.”

“What went wrong? It was wrong from start to finish,” he said. “We weren’t close to them the entire night, really…We couldn’t put passes together and they were just at a different speed than we were on the night, that’s for sure.”

The decision matched Philadelphia’s largest margin of victory and Toronto’s largest margin of defeat in MLS play, according to Opta. TFC lost 6-0 to the Montreal Impact in a Canadian Championship semifinal second-match in 2013.

Philadelphia outshot Toronto 27-3 (12-1 in shots on target) and had 11 corners to TFC’s three.

“There’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves and nobody’s panicking, I can promise you that,” said captain Michael Bradley, who marked his 200th career MLS start.

Sergio Santos scored three goals, Mark McKenzie and Jamiro Monteiro added singles with Kacper Przybylko contributed three assists for a rampant Philadelphia side. The margin of victory could have been higher had it not been for some fine saves by overworked Toronto ‘keeeper Quentin Westberg.

“The way that we play represents, I think, (Philadelphia) in a lot of ways,” said Union coach Jim Curtin “We don’t fear anyone. We’ll go toe to toe with any superstars and our guys stick together and really fight for each other.”

It marked the first time Toronto had given up five goals since a 5-1 loss to Houston in April 2018. That day, Toronto fielded a second-string lineup in advance of a CONCACAF Champions League game.

Vanney and Bradley were singing off the same hymn sheet after the game, saying it was a reminder for some of the intensity of play in the run-up to the post-season and the playoffs themselves.

Bradley, who came off the bench last week in his return from a knee injury, made his first start since Sept. 1. Fullback Justin Morrow, who had missed the last four matches with a calf strain, returned to action off the bench.

But Vanney had plenty of other injury concerns including designated player Pablo Piatti who sat out with calf tightness.

Centre back Chris Mavinga and striker Ayo Akinola missed their second straight game with hamstring issues. Midfielder Jonathan Osorio, who left last week’s 1-0 win over Atlanta after just 20 minutes with a hamstring injury, did not dress.

Star forward Jozy Altidore, another Toronto DP, is a long-term casualty with a Grade 2 hamstring strain.

“Yeah, we were missing some guys but guys had the opportunity to step in and try to show that this time of year they might be able to help us” said Vanney.

Akinola could be back for Wednesday’s game against New York City FC. Osorio is being pencilled in for either NYFC or next weekend’s game against Inter Miami, TFC’s penultimate regular season match. Vanney is awaiting a final verdict on Piatti from club doctors.

Richie Laryea, Nick DeLeon and Gallardo came into the starting 11. Gallardo had played just 62 minutes in two substitute appearances since March 7, when he started the second game of the season.

The Venezuelan lasted just 35 minutes before Vanney brought on Patrick Mullins in a bid to find someone to boost an impotent attack

Philadelphia ran its undefeated streak to five (4-0-1) since a 2-1 loss to Toronto on Oct 3 in East Hartford. The Union also improved to 7-0-0 in league play this season at Subaru Park, which has opened its door with local authorities allowing 15 per cent capacity or approximately 2,775 spectators.

“They’re making a lot of noise, really pushing the players on,” said Curtin.

Philadelphia wasted little time taking it to a Toronto lineup missing some big names through injury.

The Union outshot Toronto 15-1 (6-0 in shots on target) in the first half alone, with 60 per cent possession and nine corners to TFCs one.

The Union went ahead in the 27th minute on a rapid-fire counter attack after Brazilian fullback Auro and Gallardo both lost possession for Toronto in the Philadelphia end. Jose Martinez swept the ball wide to Kai Wagner, who made a run down the left flank and floated in a perfect cross that Santos headed in as defender Omar Gonzalez lunged in vain at the ball.

The Union doubled the lead off a corner in the 33rd minute, taking advantage of some dreadful defending. Monteiro’s corner found Przybylko alone beyond the back post and he floated a header to an unmarked McKenzie to head it in from close range as a half-dozen defenders looked on.

Monteiro made it 3-0 in the 56th minute with a booming shot off that cracked in off the cross bar after a giveaway by Liam Fraser. Santos scored his second on the night in the 63rd minute, knocking in a cross from Wagner with little opposition from Toronto. A dummy run by Brenden Aaronson added some sizzle to the goal.

Santos’ hat trick came in the 68th minute, with the unmarked Brazilian knocking in an Aaronson cross over Westberg. It raised Santos’ season goals total to seven

Alejandro Pozuelo played up front with Tsubasa Endoh, Gallardo and DeLeon trying to offer support. But the Toronto attack offered nothing and Pozuelo, usually a game-changer, was rarely seen.

Morrow and Fraser replaced Auro and Marky Delgado at halftime.

Midfielder Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, who turned 16 on June 16, became the youngest player to appear for TFC when he came in the 72nd minute — four minutes after Santos exited to applause. Raph Priso, an 18-year-old midfielder just signed as a homegrown player, also made his Toronto debut in the 64th minute.

Coming into the contest, Toronto had lost just two of 29 regular-season games (16-2-11) since a 2-0 defeat at the New York Red Bulls on Aug. 3, 2019.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2020.

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Khabib Nurmagomedov pays tribute to father after emotional UFC 254 win – MMA Fighting

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UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov shocked the MMA world when he suddenly retired in the octagon after submitting Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.

Just as soon as he upped his record to 29-0, Nurmagomedov left the arena in Abu Dhabi and went on his way. But on Instagram, he posted another tribute to his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who passed away in July from complications of COVID-19.

“When ALLAH with you, nobody can broke you, nobody,” he wrote. “Thanks Father for everything, you teach all my life, may ALLAH grant you the highest Paradise.”

The 32-year-old Dagestan native dropped to the canvas after his win and wept uncontrollably. As he fought back tears, he explained his reason for hanging up his gloves after his teammates cut them off and he placed them on the floor.

Here is Nurmagomedov’s full retirement statement:

“Thank you for these guys, these guys with me, been with my father for more than 10 years. All my team, AKA with coach Javier, I love him so much, all my team. Today, I want to say, this was my last fight. No way am I going to come here without my father. It was first time, after what happened with my father, when UFC called me about Justin. I talk with my mother three days, she don’t want that I go fight without father. I promised her, it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here.

“I know only one thing I want from UFC, you guys have to be me on No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, because I deserve this. UFC undisputed, undefeated lightweight champion, 13-0, 13 in UFC, 29 in all pro MMA career. I think I deserve it. One more thing, I want to say thank you Lorenzo Fertitta, thank you Dana, Hunter, all guys. Thank you so much, and of course I don’t forget about Joe Silva who signed me here in UFC. Joe Silva, thank you. All this UFC team, everybody around the world, this whole pandemic stuff, they are doing great show. Thank you so much Justin. Justin, 2016 I remember when I cut weight, you helped me a lot. Thank you brother. I know you are a great man, I know how you take care of your people. I know a lot of things about of you, because of your parents, because one day, it’s going to happen something. You never know what is going to happen tomorrow, you never know.”

Nurmagomedov’s exit from the sport leaves the UFC with some hard decisions to make. Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler are all gunning for the No. 1 spot. So far, only Poirier and McGregor are loosely tied to a matchup on Jan. 23, but that could change now that the belt is up for grabs.

As far as competition for the pound-for-pound No. 1 spot, many fighters believe the lightweight champ locked up the top spot on Saturday. When it comes to the sport’s GOAT, Nurmagomedov’s run is up against all-time greats Georges St-Pierre and Jon Jones.

Check out Khabib’s retirement speech:

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NBA Missed Revenue Projections By $1.5 Billion – RealGM.com

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The NBA missed its revenue projections this season by $1.5 billion, sources told Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

The losses were due to a combination of the shutdown due to the pandemic, the cancellation of 171 regular-season games, completing the season without fans, and losing $200 million in a rift with the Chinese government.

There have been no decisions on finalizing the start of next season’s schedule, though beginning the season in December as opposed to January or later could generate the league an extra $500 million in revenue.

The NBA is currently targeting a December 22nd start date, with a 72-game season. 

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