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US Open: Medvedev salutes ‘great’ Djokovic after winning 24th Grand Slam title

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Daniil Medvedev lavished praise on Novak Djokovic after the Serbian star defeated the Russian at the US Open on Sunday for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam crown.

Medvedev, who joined the exclusive club of players to have beaten Djokovic in a Grand Slam final with his victory at the US Open in 2021, was unable to repeat the feat on Sunday.

Speaking after Djokovic completed a 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 victory to capture his fourth US Open crown, Medvedev revealed how the Serbian great had treated him earlier in his career.

“When we first played I was probably 500th in the world. And he was super kind to me,” Medvedev said.
“Nothing special, but he treated me like a normal person. And he still does. Nothing changed: 24, 30, 12 Grand Slams? Nothing changes.

“And I think that’s something great about a person you can say.”

Medvedev said that beating Djokovic at the US Open final was the greatest achievement of his career to date.

“From one side I can say, and really I find this amazing, that I beat Novak in a Grand Slam final, which probably at this moment is the pinnacle of my career,” he said.

“At the same time, maybe if he and Rafa (Nadal) didn’t exist … I played five finals against them and I only managed to win one. I don’t know if it’s good or bad. But you know, [Djokovic] pushes me to be better.”

Medvedev meanwhile was left ruing his inability to level Sunday’s final at one set apiece after holding a set point in a gripping, 104-minute second set.

Instead, Djokovic saved the set point and forced a tie-break which he would go on to win to take a stranglehold on the match.

“Should have won it,” Medvedev said of the second set. “Should have won it, but sometimes tennis is not that easy.

“Second set was the best set I played and I didn’t win it. So that’s why it’s kind of normal that the match went that way.

“Because first and third he was kind of better and not much to say. If I’d won the second, it maybe could have been a different game.

“If I wanted to win the match, I had to win that set.”

Medvedev had produced a scintillating display to upset defending champion Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals.

But he acknowledged that trying to replicate that quality of performance 48 hours later had been a bridge too far.

“It’s not easy to repeat, because against Carlos I played one of best matches of my life,” Medvedev said.

“I mean, against Novak here two years ago it’s kind of in the same category. It’s not that easy to repeat it day in, day out.”

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Nigerian League

Dreams FC land in Uyo for crunch clash with Rivers United

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Ghanaian club, Dreams FC have arrived Uyo for their CAF Confederation Cup clash with Rivers United.

Abdul Karim Zito’s side top the Group C table with 12 points from five games.

The Ghanaian FA Cup champions need just a point from the game to secure a place in the quarter-finals.

Rivers United occupy third position in the group with nine points from same number of matches and just 1-0 win will be enough for the Port Harcourt club to qualify for the knockout round.

The encounter is slated for the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo on Sunday.

Tunisia’s Club Africain and Academica do Lobito of Angola will clash in the other group game.

 

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Nigerian League

StarTimes to air four NPFL games weekly

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StarTimes has increased its weekly live broadcast of Nigeria Professional Football League matches to four from February, instead of the usual two live matches per week.

The Pay-TV firm said fans should brace themselves for an electrifying weekend as the NPFL serves scintillating fixtures on Beta Sports channel 244 on StarTimes.

As the sun sets on Saturday (today) at 5:30pm, Remo Stars take on Bayelsa United. Remo, renowned for their attacking flair, aim to extend their winning streak, while Bayelsa, hungry for points, will be out to play party spoilers.

Also, Doma United square off against Sporting Lagos on Monday. The stakes are high as both teams jostle for mid-table supremacy.

Midweek, two matches were already aired live. Some of the other matches scheduled for this weekend like the Gombe United vs Shooting Stars match have been rescheduled to Tuesday.

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Nigerian League

NPFL U-17 Youth League: Elegbeleye Reveals Major Reason Behind Programme Creation

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The Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) has revealed that the major reason for making inroads into the NPFL Youth League is to have a pool of players the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) can consider for international youth tournaments.

At a media parley in Benin, venue of the maiden edition of NPFL Youth League Playoff, NFF 2nd Vice-Chairman and NPFL Chairman, Gbenga Elegbeleye also said the league body has picked some former Super Eagles players whose recommendation would be relied upon to assemble a solid structure for the junior national teams.

“Nigeria have an enviable record of winning the U-16 World Cup on five occasions. However, we couldn’t even qualify from Africa the last time the competition was held due to our lack of planning.

Now that we know that without good planning, you can’t get result, we decided to come up with the idea of the NPFL Youth League exclusively for players in the elite league.

With that, we hope to have a pool of talented players where NFF can pick for U-17 Africa Cup of Nations or FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

He insisted that NPFL should be the main focus of such players.

Four ex-Nigeria International players were unveiled as brand ambassadors.

They are current Super Eagles coordinator Patrick Paschal; Nigeria’s third highest scorer of all time, Yakubu Aiyegbeni; Seyi Olofinjana, a chemical engineer and NFF technical director, Augustine Eguavoen.

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