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Andy Murray finds an appropriate word to describe Alcaraz’s brand of tennis

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Some have described Carlos Alcaraz’s brand of tennis as “fun”, others say he is “a breath of fresh air” and now Andy Murray has added a few more adjectives to the list as he likes the Spaniard’s “Kamikaze” approach to tennis.

Alcaraz took the tennis world by storm last year as he surged up the rankings and went on to win his maiden Grand Slam when he defeated Casper Ruud in the US Open final. That result helped him to become the youngest world No 1 as he was just 19 years old at the time.

And he has continued his remarkable rise this year as he won a second major by beating Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final in July to take his singles trophy tally to 12.

Naturally, the tennis world is excited about the 20-year-old’s potential as it is not only the results that have turned him into one of the biggest stars, but also his style of tennis and his happy demeanour.

Former world No 1 Murray was asked about Alcaraz’s game and he told the official ATP Tour website: “The thing that I love about watching him is just the freedom that he plays with and part of that is youth I think. I just hope he doesn’t lose that.

“That’s the one thing I would love to just see him continue to play that sort of style of tennis that he plays with. The drop shots or serve-volleys. Sometimes it looks a little bit Kamikaze, but he just is totally instinctive. And I love that.”

Alcaraz’s rise hasn’t come as a complete surprise to Murray though as back in February 2022 he took his crystal ball out and predicted that the Spaniard would become No 1.

At that point, Alcaraz hadn’t reached the top 50 in the world yet, but the three-time Grand Slam winner had spoken to the youngster’s coach, former world No 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, and was left in no doubt that he would rise up the rankings.

“I asked Ferrero, ‘Does he love tennis? Does he work hard?’” Murray revealed, but Ferrero assured him that the youngster was “really good with that stuff”.

“That was sort of enough for me having seen his game and then hearing from his coach and someone who knows what hard work is like that he was going to go on potentially to have a great career,” the two-time Wimbledon champion added.

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They still bully me after 14 years – Aiyegbeni on missing tap-in for Nigeria

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Former Super Eagles striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni has cried out over the bullying he suffers in the hands of Nigerians over the goal he missed 13 to 14 years ago.

Nigerian football fanatics are finding it difficult to forget the events of June 22, 2010 when Aiyegbeni missed a tap-in during a World Cup game between Nigeria and South Korea.

The miss came when Nigeria was trailing the Koreans 2-1 in their final Group A match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, South Africa.

The ‘Yak’ would later score from the penalty spot but Super Eagles fans were, at the time, unable to move past the unbelievable miss.

In a recent interview, the video was shared on social media platform, X, and he cried out that he is still getting messages from angry fans who are demanding an explanation of how he missed the tap-in with the goalkeeper and defenders out of the way.

“I still get messages from people. Different messages. I remember one was sending a message last week and he was like ‘how do you explain that goal missed to you daughter Kayla’ he mentioned my daughter’s name ‘Kayla’. I was like 13 to 14 years ago and people still think about that,” he said.

“I got a message today and someone was like ‘you’re the worst Super Eagles striker’ because of that particular goal I missed. They never think about all the other goals I’ve scored.

“They never think about when I scored goals in Sudan when nobody thought we’d qualify for Korea Japan 2002. We went to Sudan. Nobody ever thought we’d qualify because the weather there was crazy. If we get a draw or lose we’re out.

“There I scored 2 goals. Julius Aghahowa scored one and Jay Jay Okocha, ‘pa Jay’ scored another one. We won 4-0. That gave us the ticket and went to Korea-Japan 2000.

“But people in Nigeria never speak about how I made them qualify but didn’t go to the World Cup. I was shocked. I played 99.9% of every game to qualify Nigeria for Japan/Korea and I was dropped.”

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Inter Miami making Messi work too hard – Coach, Martino

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Inter Miami are expecting too much work from their Argentine star Lionel Messi, coach Gerardo Martino said on Friday, ahead of the team’s Florida derby clash with Orlando City.

Miami are unbeaten in their opening two games, with a home win over Real Salt Lake followed by a draw at the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday.

But with a busy run of fixtures for club and country coming up for Messi this month, Martino says the team need to find a way to reduce the eight-times Ballon d’Or winner’s workload.

“I feel that in these last two matches, he has expended too much energy, and that is also my responsibility to make sure the team operates in a way that we can use him in the best way,” Martino told reporters.

Messi has been playing in a relatively free role, behind former Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez, often floating deep to find the ball and then seeking to drive his team up the field.

It was Messi’s stoppage time goal that earned Miami a point at the Galaxy but Martino says the performance took a lot out of the 36-year-old.

“I’ve been discussing some things with him and what concerns me the most is the day-to-day and how he is recovering game by game. I feel that in these first two matches, we have relied on him too much, which has caused him significant fatigue in both games,” he said.

The former Argentina and Mexico national team coach said the team have to re-find a way to provide Messi service closer to goal.

“In the Leagues Cup game against Orlando (last season), he often found the ball in the final quarter of the field and was able to finish the play, he scored from inside the area. That’s what we need to get back to, the team finding him to make plays and sometimes finding him for the finishes,” he said.

Miami are hoping their latest Argentine signing, midfielder Federico Redondo will have his paperwork resolved in order to make his debut on Saturday.

 

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Lagos FA Cup Kicks Off With No Sponsor, 80 Clubs Eye Star Prize

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Chairman Lagos State Football Association, LSFA, Ogboni Fouad Oki says this year’s Lagos State Challenge Cup popularly known as Lagos FA Cup would go ahead without sponsor.

The much awaited Lagos FA Cup would kick off on Saturday 2 March 2024 across the designated centers.

No fewer than 80 clubs are expected to participate in this year’s edition.

Although Winners Golden Bet, a well known Betting Company has been sponsoring the Lagos FA Cup more than six years, but the company is not part of this year’s edition which gives football stakeholders a lot of concerns.

Oki explained that he is not disturbed that no company or individual has partnered with the association for FA Cup but remained optimistic that the competition would get a sponsor before it gets to the quarter final stage.

“I am not too bothered about the sponsorship of the competition.If you look at the country presently, many companies are still struggling to survive but i want to assure the participating teams and football fans before the tournament reaches quarter final, sponsor would surely come.

“We the organising committee are still working on the possibility to get one or two sponsors on board.Like i said i am not really worried and the most important things is that the competition would kick off on Saturday,”he said.

The Lagos FA boss expressed satisfaction with the number of teams that are participating in this year’s edition.

He disclosed that the state has largest number of entries among the states in the country and charged the teams that would represent the the state to do well in the Federation Cup and possibly win the trophy.

“Lagos has number of entries compare to other states that have less than 10 teams in their state’s FA Cup.If we have such numbers of teams registered and i expect any team that would represent Lagos should make us proud and bring the Federation Cup back to the state,”he said.

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