Djokovic credits Becker for spectacular achievements during past 14 months

Novak Djokovic

Johannesburg, Feb 24 - While previewing his defence of the Dubai Open title, world number one tennis player Novak Djokovic has paid a tribute to the role of his head coach Boris Becker in the amazing advances he has made in the 14 months they have been working together.

Under Becker's guidance the Serb has won two Grand Slam titles, taking his total to eight, and built an overwhelming lead as world number one, now nearly 4,000 ranking points.

Djokovic has claimed that Becker should be given some of the credit for the same, as the German's experience in winning six Grand Slam titles and two Davis Cups with Germany has helped the Serb cope with the psychological stress of continuously playing at the very highest level of the game, Sport24 reported.

Skipper Holder says 'misfiring' Gayle 'perfectly primed' to fire at WC

Jason Holder

Johannesburg, Feb 24 - West Indies skipper Jason Holder has backed out-of-form Chris Gayle to regain form during their World Cup tie against Zimbabwe on Tuesday at Canberra.

The swashbuckling batsman scored an unimpressive 36 runs off 65 balls in the opening loss to Ireland and got out for mere four runs in Saturday's big win over Pakistan.

Backing Gayle to regain form, Holder said that Chris was awake, claiming that he was awake from the beginning of the tournament, Sport24 reported.

The right-arm medium fast bowler said that every time he sees Chris Gayle, he expect to see a positive Chris Gayle, adding that although he hadn't been getting runs, they still had a lot of confidence in him, who could take it as deep as possible for them. (ANI)

'Shunned' Akram eager to help salvage Pak's WC campaign post debacle against India

Wasim Akram

Johannesburg, Feb 18 - Former Pakistan pace spearhead Wasim Akram has expressed his willingness to help Misbah-ul-Haq's side rescue their World Cup campaign after the team's defeat against India in Adelaide.

India extended their unbeaten streak against Pakistan in World Cup to 6-0 after Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men claimed a 76-run win over neighbors.

Speaking on a local news channel, Akram said that neither the Pakistan cricket authorities nor anyone in the team had approached him to help or advise them, Sport24 reported.

Expressing his willingness to help Pakistan team, Akram said that he was there in the World Cup and he wanted to go and help their players adjust and do well in the tournament in those conditions, but he couldn't do that without an invitation, the report added.

Sourav Ganguly awarded honorary life membership by Lord's based MCC

Sourav Ganguly awarded honorary life membership by Lord's based MCC

Johannesburg, Feb 16 : The celebrated Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) awarded former India cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly on Sunday with an honorary life membership to the club.

Following Ganguly's Test debut in 1996 he played a combined 424 Test and ODI matches for India, averaging over 40 with the bat and taking 132 wickets.

Ganguly, who captained India 195 times, claimed that he has got some fantastic memories of playing at Lord's that he carries with him forever, from the hundred on his debut to the amazing NatWest Trophy Final in 2002, Sport24 reported.

Federer likely to skip Davis Cup fixture against Belgium

Roger Federer

Johannesburg, Feb 14 - World number two Roger Federer is reportedly planning to skip Swizerland's Davis Cup tie to be played in March as the 17-time Grand Slam champion made no mention of it in his spring-to-summer playing schedule.

As per the schedule, Federer would play in Dubai (from February 23), the Indian Wells Masters in March (no Miami event), plus clay-court Masters 1000 events in Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome before playing Roland Garros , Sport24 reported.

Federer handed Switzerland a historic first Davis Cup title after a 6-4 6-2 6-2 demolition of Richard Gasquet in the first reverse singles sealed a 3-1 victory for the visitors against France in the 2014 Davis Cup. (ANI)

Nadal eager to witness 'incredible' carnival ahead of Rio title defence

Rafael Nadal

Johannesburg, Feb 13 - 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has said that he is eager to experience the incredible energy of Brazilian carnival before gearing up to defend his title at the Rio Open, which starts on Monday.

The Spaniard said that he really wanted to learn about the carnival in Rio as it had an incredible energy, adding that carnival was like a religion there, Sport24 reported.

Nadal, who will join a parade on Sunday with compatriot David Ferrer, further said that he was always fascinated by the carnival and was eager to see it live, the report added. (ANI)

De Villiers claims Proteas will try to shun 'losers' tag and win 2015 CWC

AB De Villiers

Johannesburg, Feb 08 - South Africa cricket team captain AB De Villiers has claimed that being told not to return home as 'losers' by their country's sports minister merely reflects the passionate desire of all the people in their nation for a maiden Cricket World Cup triumph.

South Africa's Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula created a stir earlier this week when he said at the team's official departure that they did not want them to be at the World Cup to add numbers and just become a bunch of losers.

De Villiers said that their country of South Africa expects a lot from their sports people, and added that they are expected to come there and win the tournament, Sport24 reported.

Lee hoping for 'traditional' Oz pitches with 'bouncy, fast' wickets at WC

Brett Lee

Johannesburg, Feb 07 - Former Australia paceman Brett Lee is hoping that the pitches during the World Cup would be their traditional Australian pitches with real bouncy and fast wickets, and has claimed that his country's bowling is very balanced for the tournament.

Speculations are rife that the Australian pitches for the February 14-March 29 tournament might be better suited to batting after a record number of runs were scored during India's recent four-Test series Down Under.

Domingo claims public hating Parnell's inclusion in Proteas' WC squad unfair

Russell DomingoJohannesburg, Feb 04 - South Africa cricket team coach Russell Domingo has branded all the public hating all-rounder Wayne Parnell's inclusion in South Africa's Cricket World Cup squad as unfair.

Domingo said that he doesn't know why some people hate Parnell so much, adding that maybe it's because of the paceman's hairstyle. He insisted that the left-armer is a wonderful guy and really works hard.

Domingo claimed that people's perceptions about a cricket player, about a person, are often very different to what that person is actually like, Sport24 reported.

Dhoni claims India will come back stronger for WC title defence post disastrous Oz tour

Mahendra Singh DhoniJohannesburg, Jan 31 - India cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has insisted that his team would be ready and come back stronger for the defence of their World Cup title, despite ending a miserable tour of Australia without securing a single win.

India bowed out of the ODI tri-series with another poor batting effort, which fated them to defeat in their clash with England at the WACA Ground in Perth. Sent in to bat, India were dismissed for 200 and although England stumbled early, they recovered to edge their way to 201 for seven and win with 19 balls to spare.

England would now face Australia in Sunday's final at the same venue.

McIlroy fires three birdies in last three holes to take one shot lead at Dubai Desert Classic

Johannesburg, Jan 31 - World number one Rory McIlroy was firing in the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic, as he hit three birdies in his last three holes on Friday to take sole possession of the lead in the tournament.

McIlroy calmly rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th hole on the Majlis course to finish a sensational bogey-free round of eight-under par 64 as he moved to 14-under par 130 for the tournament.

The Northern Irishman is currently in the lead with a shot over Scotland's in-form Marc Warren, who made nine birdies and two bogies in a round of seven-under par 65, the BBC reported.

Miller replaces Narine in Windies WC squad

Johannesburg, Jan 30 - Left-arm spinner Nikita Miller has been roped into the West Indies squad for the upcoming World Cup in place of Sunil Narine, who backed out of the squad.

Earlier in the week, Narine withdrew from the squad citing that he needs more time to rectify his bowling actions and confidently bowl for sustained period with his new action.

The off-spin wizard has undergone intense remedial work after being suspended from last year's Champions League Twenty20 due to an illegal action.

Miller has played 45 one-day internationals, with having the best bowling figure of 4-43 against Zimbabwe, Sport24 reported.

Bouchard says she is ready to twirl if guys are asked to flex their muscles

Eugenie BouchardJohannesburg, Jan 24 - Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard has played down the ' Twirlgate' controversy at the Australian Open, saying that she was fine with it and trying to focus on her tennis.

The Canadian tennis ace was asked by a male interviewer to twirl and show off her outfit for the crowd after second-round win in Melbourne.

Responding to the controversy, she said that it was just kind of funny and she was fine with being asked to twirl if they ask the guys to flex their muscles , Sport24 reported.

Causing a stir in the sphere of social media, tennis legend Billie Jean King had earlier branded the question as truly sexist.

Barca boss heaps praise on 'World Class' Messi

Lionel MessiJohannesburg, Jan 20 - Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has lavished praise on team's talisman Lionel Messi, describing the Argentine as a world class player after the forward took his tally to 28 goals in 27 games with a hat-trick in a 4-0 win away to Deportivo la Coruna.

Quashing reports of a dressing room rift between two, Enrique said that Messi had been at an extraordinarily high level all season, adding that he hadn't dipped at any point and had been world class, Sport24 reported.

The win over Coruna has lifted Barcelona back to within a point of league leaders Real Madrid. (ANI)

Cricket fraternity lauds 'superhuman' De Villiers' fastest ODI ton against Windies

AB de VilliersJohannesburg, Jan 19 : South Africa ODI captain AB de Villiers' swashbuckling fastest every one-day ton in 31 balls against the West Indies at The Wanderers on Sunday has been on the receiving end of an overwhelming response from the cricketing fraternity.

De Villiers' batting partner Hashim Amla, who hit 153 not out, said that the skipper said he was going to have a look for one over but hit his first six balls for 24, adding that he is an amazing player.

KP believes new skipper Morgan would 'love' to have him in England squad

Kevin PietersenJohannesburg, Jan 14 - Axed England batsman Kevin Pietersen is of the opinion that there is a way back for him in the national squad as he claimed that the current captain Eoin Morgan would love to have him in the team.

Morgan replaced Alastair Cook in December and would lead the England squad at the World Cup in Australia.

Pietersen's international career was ended by England last year but the former skipper has been in fine form playing in Australia's Big Bash League for Melbourne Stars, Sport24 reported.

Pietersen said that he knows that the current captain would love to have him in the England team, adding that he wants to play for England.

Chelsea monitoring `worsening` relationship between Messi, Enrique at Barca: Reports

Lionel MessiJohannesburg, Jan 06 : Current Premier League leaders Chelsea are monitoring the relationship between Argentina captain Lionel Messi and Barcelona coach Luis Enrique, which continues to worsen at the Catalan club.

A Spanish newspaper has reported that Messi is unhappy with coach Enrique's way of running the dressing room at Barca and in light of the same 2015 might prove to be the year Chelsea makes their move for the Argentine.

It has been revealed that the club's first training session of 2015 was marred by a war of words between the two when Enrique failed to award a free kick to Messi during a 5-a-side game, Sport24 reported.

Federer, Wawrinka raise 1.3 million dollars for helping disadvantaged children

Roger FedererJohannesburg, Dec 23 : In an attempt to aid disadvantaged children in Africa and Switzerland, 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka has raised over a million dollars in a blockbuster fund-raising tennis exhibition held in Zurich.

The Davis Cup champions raised 1.3 million dollars for the Roger Federer Foundation, which aids disadvantaged children in Africa and Switzerland.

Steyn, Amla reveals Proteas not worried about Test rankings

Hashim AmlaJohannesburg, Dec 22 : South Africa's pace spearhead Dale Steyn and batsman Hashim Amla have revealed that they are not focused on the Test rankings, post their recent innings and 220-run win over a beleaguered West Indies team in Centurion on Saturday.

South African squad is in little danger of losing their number one ranking in Tests, as a series victory by any margin against the West Indies, who are plagued by pay disputes, player withdrawals, injuries and poor form, would maintain their position at the top of the ratings.

Ronaldo unveils statue sculpted in his honour in hometown

Cristiano RonaldoJohannesburg, Dec 22 - Portugal football team captain Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly returned to his hometown Funchal in Madeira on Sunday in order to attend the unveiling of a statue that has been sculpted in his honour.

The World Player of the Year footballer travelled back home to the Portuguese island from Marrakech where he helped Real Madrid lift the Club World Cup, their fourth trophy, on Saturday.

An emotional Ronaldo, who was joined by family members and thousands of fans at the ceremony, said that this is a very special moment, to have a statue of himself, Sport24 reported.

Ronaldo's mother Dolores Aveiro said that her son has never forgotten his origins.

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