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Orlando Magic pick FSU's Jonathan Isaac as 6th overall NBA draft pickNFL player Jah Reid sues former school UCFAnother former Knights pitcher makes Major League Baseball debutFormer UCF pitcher tosses shutout gem against Detroit Tigers in MLB debut

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 20:22:15 GMTTue, 30 May 2017 16:31:49 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 15:36:15 GMTThu, 01 Jun 2017 16:11:12 GMT

The Orlando Magic selected FSU's Jonathan Isaac Thursday as their 6th overall pick in the NBA draft.

The 6-foot-11, 210-pound Isaac averaged 12 points, 7.8 rebounds, while shooting nearly 51 percent from the field in his only season at Florida State.

He was named to the All-ACC Freshman Team earning honorable mention honors.

The versatile Isaac will need to get stronger in his transition to the NBA. However, his build and his game compares favorably to Kevin Durant as Isaac can create his own offense like the lean Golden State Warriors forward. Isaac has also drawn comparisons to New Orleans power forward Anthony Davis.

There were reports that the Magic might take explosive point guard Dennis Smith with their first pick in the draft after the Boston Celtics took Jayson Tatum off the board with the third overall pick. But the Magic's revamped front office went with the longer and athletic Isaac.

It’s the first time in the Magic's history they have this selection spot in the draft.

This was also the first Magic draft pick with new management hires, including the president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman and general manager John Hammond.

The 2017 NBA draft happens this year at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Holman, who played in 32 games over the course of his career, completed 395 passes on 739 attempts, throwing for 4,916 total yards, 31 interceptions and 34 touchdowns. He also rushed for a total of 494 yards on 202 runs, scoring five times.

Holman is the only quarterback invited out of the eight players being hosted by the Jaguars.

In the 2017 draft, defensive back Shaquem Griffin joined the Seattle Seahawks after being selected in the third round.

The Knights saw three other defensive backs entering the league. Drico Johnson joined the Arizona Cardinals, D.J. Killings joined the New England Patriots and T.J. Mutcherson joined the Houston Texans.

Former UCF football player and current Kansas City Chief Jah Reid has decided to sue UCF for using his image and name without compensation or his permission.

Former UCF Knight and current Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Ben Lively goes seven strong innings to earn major league baseball debut.

Former UCF pitcher throws 6 1/3 innings of shutout baseball to help the Kansas City Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 1-0 in his MLB debut.

UCF men's, women's basketball release 2017-18 conference matchupsUCF men's basketball announces home-and-home series with AlabamaUCF men's basketball lands matchup with MissouriJohnny Dawkins hires Vince Taylor as men's basketball assistant coach

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 17:54:48 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 20:20:06 GMTThu, 01 Jun 2017 15:36:44 GMTTue, 30 May 2017 16:39:47 GMT

University of Central Florida basketball fans all gathered at the CFE Arena last year to witness one of the most historic NIT runs by a men's team in program history.

Fans will have the chance to experience UCF basketball sooner than later and the men's and women's teams announced Thursday their 2017-18 American Athletic Conference home opponents. 

Under the leadership of coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, the women's team will play host to East Carolina, Tulane and Wichita State while the Knights travel to Cincinnati, Houston and Tulsa. 

The Knights will also play home-and-away games with UConn, USF, Memphis, SMU and Temple.

Abrahamson-Henderson, who led her team to a 21-12 record and to the program's first ever win over a ranked opponent, also brought the team into the postseason NIT. The Knights will return to action with almost every player from the 2016-17 team, including All-Conference First Team player, Aliyah Gregory.

The men's team shares a similar story. 

Under Johnny Dawkins, the Knights also went to the NIT, making it to the final four while posting an overall record of 24-12.

Now in his second year, after making some staff changes and bringing back Tacko Fall who tested NBA draft waters, Dawkins will look to have similar success.

In addition to playing host to Missouri on November 30 and traveling to Alabama on December 3 for two SEC matchups, the Knights will also battle some of the best teams from last year's AAC.

Along with his now eligible "Grey Squad," Dawkins and the men's team will host Wichita State, Cincinnati, SMU, Houston, Tulane, UConn, Memphis, USF and Temple. 

The Knights will travel to East Carolina and Tulsa for road-only matchups while hosting Houston and Tulane for home-only games.

Under the new formatting for AAC schedules since the addition of the Wichita State Shockers, each team will play seven opponents twice throughout the season while playing only two teams on the road and two teams only at home.

The UCF Knights men's basketball team announced a home-and-home series with the Alabama Crimson Tide Monday afternoon.

The Knights made a big announcement Thursday with news of a home-and-home series being created with SEC team, the Missouri Tigers.

Head Coach Johhny Dawkins hires Vince Taylor to help lead the Knights in upcoming season following their recent NIT run.

How the PGA is trying to fix golf's imageReal winner of 2017 Senior PGA Championship? Trump

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 17:34:06 GMTWed, 24 May 2017 20:19:43 GMT

Golf has a reputation for being elitist and resistant to change.

Augusta National only accepted women as members in 2012, and one recent report found that the face of the sport -- overwhelmingly white -- hasn't changed in decades.

To broaden golf's appeal, the PGA of America is trying to strengthen the women's game, get more children and adults to play, and hold more big tournaments at public courses, not just at exclusive country clubs.

"We know that this game needs more diversity. It needs to be more accessible," PGA CEO Peter Bevacqua told CNNMoney. "We have to put our flag in the ground and say, 'Hey, we're serious about this.'"

The PGA didn't have a tournament for women until 2015, when it took over the LPGA championship and renamed it the Women's PGA Championship. (The LPGA, like the U.S. Golf Association and even the PGA Tour, is separate from the PGA of America. The PGA's main job is to grow the game in the United States and support golf pros at clubs.)

That event includes a networking program that encourages women to use the game to advance their careers. Women can get lessons in leadership from women like former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Bevacqua, who took the job in 2012, said he is most proud of the tournament. He said the magnitude of the change struck him when he walked into headquarters after the first championship.

"You were greeted by all of the pictures of all of our champions, and for the first time we had a woman up there," he said.

Bevacqua said golf will one day be like tennis and have men and women playing the same tournaments at the same time.

To bring new players in, the PGA is trying to publicize the game more -- a break from the usual approach.

"I think we've kind of stood back and said, 'Well, if people want to play golf they're going to come find us,'" Bevacqua said. "We can't do that. We have to be far more aggressive ... and go out and find people."

One obvious way is to attract young fans. Under Bevacqua, the PGA is going into communities and schools to expose more kids to the game. It helped develop Drive, Chip and Putt, a free national tournament for junior golfers.

When the program launched in 2014, there were 110 local events in 19 states. Now there are 268 across the country.

The PGA is also relying on the roughly 29,000 golf pros it represents to attract another key demographic -- adult golfers. The PGA offers a program called Get Golf Ready under which players can get five lessons from a golf pro for just $99.

Bevacqua also hopes his work to get golf into the 2016 Rio Olympics will help attract new players.

To make the sport more inclusive, Bevacqua is committed to hosting more tournaments at public courses.

Under Bevacqua, the 2019 PGA Championship was awarded to Bethpage Black, a public course in New York, and the 2020 PGA Championship will be played at the public TPC Harding Park, a course in San Francisco.

"That's a powerful story because those golf courses are open to everybody. They're very affordable," Bevacqua said. "We think that's a powerful signal for the game."

To change and grow the game, Bevacqua insists, golf needs to focus on what makes it unique.

"If you're home watching the PGA Championship ... later that day or the next day, you can go out there and play that same exact golf course," Bevacqua said. "That's special. Golf is different in that way, and we have to capitalize on those differences."

President Trump's golf club outside Washington will host the Senior PGA Championship this weekend, and the honor doesn't come cheap: The Trump Organization spent millions getting the course ready.

Carli Lloyd still dreaming of Champions League gloryFuture of US soccer on Pulisic's shouldersSaudi team apologizes for snubbing terror victims tributeManchester United tops Forbes' list as most valuable soccer club

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 15:27:42 GMTFri, 09 Jun 2017 15:24:28 GMTFri, 09 Jun 2017 07:54:56 GMTTue, 06 Jun 2017 15:11:00 GMT

United States superstar Carli Lloyd has not ruled out a return to England, after her short-term spell at Manchester City ended at the start of June.The two-time FIFA World Player of the Year temporarily moved over from the Houston Dash as City bolstered its squad with the firm goal of winning the UEFA Women's Champions League tournament this year.The 34-year-old scored three times for the club in 11 games, as she helped boost City in its European campaign that was ultimately halted by French powerhouse Lyon, which eliminated the English club over two legs in the semifinals.To play again on European soil is tempting, Lloyd admits, particularly the chance to lift the continent's holy grail."I would love to win a Champions League final," she tells CNN Sport. "I'm not closing any chapters right now, and [I'm] leaving all doors open. So, we'll see if that dream and opportunity arises again." 'A better player' Even though the US national team has led the way when it comes to women's football, Lloyd feels she's upped her game in England."I'm definitely leaving here a better player, a better person," Lloyd says. "I've taken advantage of it all."That's some statement, and a ringing endorsement to City when you consider she's the reigning World Player of the Year, a double Olympic gold medalist and a World Cup winner.Lloyd joined a City outfit that was dominant domestically, boasting the likes of England captain Steph Houghton and other international stars like Jill Scott and Toni Duggan.Manager Nick Cushing's squad is packed with internationals -- eight from England alone -- ensuring City has set the benchmark in Britain.The Citizens are the reigning Women's Super League champions, and were looking to make an impact in the Champions League.The recruitment of Lloyd was certainly seen as coup, and she played a pivotal role in both the FA Cup and Champions League -- even if a red card in the Women's Super League Spring Series meant she only played four out of a possible eight games in the league.During her time in England, the US captain has been impressed by the standards across the pond."Here, you're playing with more skilful players," she reflects. "Players who are very technical on the ball, who read the game very well.""So, I think for me, it's been a good indication of where the American side is, and where the English side is ... I've learned a good amount from Nick as well, just his style and how he coaches." Wembley glory But Lloyd did not leave the United Kingdom empty-handed.She scored in City's 4-1 FA Cup final victory over Birmingham as City tasted success in front of a record 35,000 fans at Wembley Stadium."Well, not only did I want to come over here and do whatever I could to help this team at City, but I also wanted to help grow the women's game," Lloyd says."For me, to have walked away with an FA Cup final, that was a huge memory here at City."I was happy I was able to be part of it. Not only did we win at Wembley but it was a great memory for me, being in 2012 London Olympics Final, which was really, really special."The American has also enjoyed the cultural experience of living in Manchester -- even if driving on the opposite side of the road has been "very humbling" at times."I've been able to play with some of these fantastic players," she says."I know putting in this work now and having this experience is definitely going to help me later on, for sure." 'Outreach' While Lloyd's overall experience at City has been enjoyable, she was in close proximity to the Manchester Arena when it was attacked during an Ariana Grande concert on May 22. The blast resulted in 22 people being killed."I go back to 9/11 in New York City and I'll never forget where I was that day," Lloyd says when recalling the M[...]

Rafael Nadal: 2017 French Open title 'more special'Rafael Nadal wins historic 10th French Open titleMaria Sharapova pulls out of Wimbledon qualifying with injuryJelena Ostapenko stages huge comeback to beat Simona Halep in French Open finalAbsent stars rob French Open of fashion wowsPetra Kvitova: 'I can't feel two of my fingers'

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 15:22:46 GMTSun, 11 Jun 2017 19:23:03 GMTSun, 11 Jun 2017 09:45:44 GMTSat, 10 Jun 2017 17:47:03 GMTWed, 07 Jun 2017 15:19:52 GMTFri, 02 Jun 2017 12:40:27 GMT

A 15th grand slam title. A 10th French Open title. "La Decima."

But for Rafael Nadal, plagued by injuries and forced out of tennis's limelight over the past few seasons, Sunday's victory at Roland Garros was "unique."

A dominant 6-2 6-3 6-1 win over Stan Wawrinka ended a three-year grand slam drought for the Spaniard and the "King of Clay" is now back on his throne.

"It's something very, very special and unique. A very emotional moment," Nadal, who before Sunday had last won a grand slam title at the 2014 French Open, told CNN Sport's Ravi Ubha.

"I've had some tough moments with injuries, but that's part of my career, too. It makes things a little bit more difficult but when you win after all these things, it's more special.

"I've always loved what I'm doing. I've always been working hard to do the things I really like."

Back from the brink

A lengthy injury list -- including trouble with his knees, wrist, and back -- saw Nadal slip to ninth in the world rankings at the end of last year. But 2017 has seen a resurgence.

After being ousted in five sets by rival Roger Federer at the Australian Open, the Spaniard has been almost unstoppable.

Heading into Roland Garros, he'd lost just one match on clay in 2017. And from the moment he stepped on court in Paris, few dared to bet against him lifting the title.

For the third time in his career, Nadal won every set at a grand slam. He also pulls away from Pete Sampras in the men's all-time grand slam list; only Federer, with 18, has won more.

But numbers aside, there were other reasons for Nadal to be emotional after his most recent victory.

This was the last time the Mallorcan's uncle Toni Nadal -- who was invited on court to present the trophy on Sunday -- will see his nephew lift the French Open title after the pair agreed to end their coaching partnership in late 2016.

Nadal now turns his attention to Wimbledon.

Moving away from his beloved clay courts and with Federer expected to return to the men's draw, tougher tests lie ahead for the Spaniard on the grass.

But for now, at least, Nadal reigns supreme.

Even Stan Wawrinka had to smile before Sunday's French Open final when the stadium announcer listed year-by-year each of the nine previous titles Rafael Nadal had won at Roland Garros.

Maria Sharapova will have to wait until the US Open in August -- at the earliest -- to return to grand slam action after the Russian star pulled out of Wimbledon qualifying due to injury.

Jelena Ostapenko found herself in a huge hole in a first grand slam final but even that didn't unsettle the Latvian as she dazzled with winners from everywhere on the court to defeat Simona Halep at the French Open women's final.

With Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer and Victoria Azarenka all missing from Roland Garros, fashion watchers are wondering: Where's that showstopping moment?

Petra Kvitova says she still can't feel two of her fingers five months after she was stabbed during an attempted burglary at her home.

UCF women's soccer announces 2017-18 scheduleUCF women's soccer player dribbles with Under-19 Belgium National TeamUCF sports host camps throughout coming monthsUCF men's basketball announces home-and-home series with Alabama

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 14:24:55 GMTTue, 06 Jun 2017 17:30:27 GMTTue, 06 Jun 2017 19:02:25 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 20:20:06 GMT

The University of Central Florida announced its 2017-18 women's soccer schedule Thursday, with many teams on the slate having NCAA tournament experience.

Featuring nine home games, the Knights, under the leadership of coach Tiffany Roberts-Sahaydak, will battle six teams who made the NCAA tournament in 2016, including one against Sahaydak's alma mater, the University of North Carolina.

Starting the season on the road against South Carolina on August 18, the Knights will then come home on August 20 for their home-opener against Stetson. 

Playing UNC for the second year in a row, this time at home, the Knights will then battle Arizona and Arizona State on the road before returning home to host LSU on September 8.

Battling FGCU on September 15, the Knights will then begin conference play on the road against Cincinnati before traveling to East Carolina on September 24. The Knights will return back home to host Tulsa and Memphis before heading to Houston and SMU.

The Knights will close out the season and American Athletic Conference regular season play at home when they take on UConn on October 19; Temple on October 22; and War on I-4 rival USF on October 27. 

The AAC tournament will take place during the first week of November, with the Knights, who finished 2016 with a 9-8-2 record and 4-4-1 AAC record, looking to return to the post-season tournament.

The UCF women's soccer team returns in August to prepare for the 2017 campaign, but Zandy Soree has already been training for something else.

UCF will host several camps for athletes around the Orlando area this summer ranging from June to August.

The UCF Knights men's basketball team announced a home-and-home series with the Alabama Crimson Tide Monday afternoon.

Penguins beat Predators to repeat as Stanley Cup champs

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 03:01:43 GMT

The Pittsburgh Penguins captured their second straight Stanley Cup championship Sunday night by beating the Nashville Predators 2-0 on the road in Game 6.

After rushing out to a 2-0 series lead by winning the first two games at home, the Penguins ran into the buzz saw that is the home-ice Predators inside Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. While the Predators won Games 3 and 4 by a combined total of 9-2, the Penguins responded with a 6-0 Game 5 rout back in Pittsburgh.

Going into Sunday's Game 6, the Predators had posted a 9-1 record at home in these playoffs.

While the Predators were making the first Stanley Cup Final appearance in their 19-season franchise history, the title is the fifth for the Penguins, who beat the San Jose Sharks in six games to win their fourth last year.

Canadian GP: Lewis Hamilton cruises to sixth win in MontrealCanadian Grand Prix: Hamilton matches record with blistering pole lapMonaco Grand Prix 2017: Nelson Piquet Jr.'s dream weekend in Principality

Sun, 11 Jun 2017 19:56:14 GMTSat, 10 Jun 2017 22:17:44 GMTFri, 26 May 2017 17:37:53 GMT

Lewis Hamilton has closed the gap on championship leader Sebastian Vettel after a commanding victory at Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver backed up a superlative performance in qualifying, leading from start to finish at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to claim a sixth win at the circuit.

If it was plain sailing for the Briton it was anything but for Vettel who suffered front wing damage on lap one which forced him into an early pit stop and meant the Ferrari driver was playing catch up for the remainder of the race.

The German would eventually battle his way back to fourth place, dramatically passing both Force India cars in the closing laps.

Ahead of him, Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas took second with Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo claiming the final podium spot.

"I had my first pole and I had my first win here 10 years ago," Hamilton said. "To repeat it this weekend is incredible."

Hamilton's record is remarkable in Montreal -- his six wins in 10 races leaves him one shy of Michael Schmacher's record total of seven victories at the circuit.

Sunday's full quota of points sees him claw back vital ground with Vettel in the title fight following Mercedes' poor showing in Monaco two weekends ago -- both Hamilton and Bottas failed to make the podium.

Seven races in, Hamilton now trails Vettel by 12 points with both men having three wins each this season.

Bottas remains third while Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen is fourth -- the Finn could only finish seventh on Sunday.

Chaotic start

Hamilton escaped a chaotic start to the race as the chasing pack converged at the first corner.

Max Verstappen surged from fifth to second, clipping Vettel's front wing on his way past before Felipe Massa was taken out by a spinning Carlos Sainz after the Toro Rosso driver had lost control following contact with Romain Grosjean's Haas car in the approach to Turn 3.

The crash ushered on the Safety Car for three laps before racing resumed with Verstappen vying for the lead with Hamilton -- but not for long.

By lap 11 the Dutchman was throwing his hands in the air in frustration as his car suffered battery failure -- his third retirement in the last five races.

With Hamilton extending his lead, the battle was on for podium places with Ricciardo holding firm in the end from the Force India cars of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, and latterly Vettel, who was left ruing his unfortunate coming together with Verstappen at the start.

"Obviously the beginning of the race didn't go our way, but I was fairly confident I could get a podium -- one lap short," Vettel told reporters.

Further down the field, there was more agony for Fernando Alonso whose Honda engine gave up the ghost in the closing laps of the race.

And things weren't much better for the Spaniard's teammate Stoffel Vandoorne who finished 14th. The British team are still searching for its first points of 2017.

McLaren and Ferrari will hope for better luck in two week's time when the 2017 World Championship resumes with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix on pole after setting a blistering pace in Saturday's qualifying session in Montreal.

Monaco is a home from home for a number of leading motorsport drivers and of course once a year they even get to race around the Principality's racing circuit, either in Formula One or Formula E.

Rafael Nadal wins historic 10th French Open titleFrench Open: Stan Wawrinka battles to final, will play Rafael NadalFrench Open: Novak Djokovic crushed by Dominic Thiem, Rafa Nadal quickly advancesCan Rafael Nadal win a 10th French Open title?Grieving US tennis star plays on at French OpenMargaret Court: Tennis 'full of lesbians'Tennis great Court to boycott Qantas over same-sex marriageMaria Sharapova pulls out of Wimbledon qualifying with injury

Sun, 11 Jun 2017 19:23:03 GMTSat, 10 Jun 2017 09:43:07 GMTWed, 07 Jun 2017 17:32:02 GMTFri, 26 May 2017 17:54:51 GMTThu, 01 Jun 2017 14:51:29 GMTWed, 31 May 2017 15:53:34 GMTThu, 25 May 2017 10:07:36 GMTSun, 11 Jun 2017 09:45:44 GMT

Even Stan Wawrinka had to smile before Sunday's French Open final when the stadium announcer listed year-by-year each of the nine previous titles Rafael Nadal had won at Roland Garros.Another one can now be added to the list -- and it is one for the ages -- after the Spaniard crushed Wawrinka 6-2 6-3 6-1 to become the first man to win the same grand slam on 10 occasions.The 'Decima.'Indeed it is a feat that may never be duplicated.He collapsed to the court when Wawrinka sent a backhand into the net and seconds later an emotional Nadal sunk his head into his towel while in his chair. He was soon cradling the famous trophy like a baby."It's truly incredible," Nadal told the crowd. "In this final, to win the Decima is very, very special. I'm really emotional."The feeling I have here is impossible to describe. Difficult to compare to other places. For me the nerves, the adrenaline I feel when I play on this court is impossible to compare to another feeling. It's the most important event in my career without a doubt."His coach and uncle, Toni, got choked up, too, when he unexpectedly came on court to present Nadal with a special trophy celebrating those 10 titles. Toni won't travel with his nephew next year, as he steps aside to focus on his work at Nadal's new tennis academy in Mallorca.Only twelve months ago a tearful Nadal bailed from his favorite tournament in Paris in the first week with a wrist injury, another in a seemingly endless list of ailments to derail the 31-year-old.Temporarily, that is.Be it his knees, wrist or appendicitis, Nadal has always managed to recover and rediscover some of his finest tennis, despite admitting to having doubts.Those same doubts, he said, prompted him to keep working hard.Agonizingly close to winning a 15th major at the Australian Open in January -- he lost to great rival and Wawrinka's fellow Swiss Roger Federer after holding a break lead in the fifth set -- there was simply no denying Nadal at Roland Garros as he ended a three-year drought at majors.Asked if No. 10 was more special than the others, Nadal said yes."It's true that this one is gonna be one of the more special ones for the number, for what happened on the ceremony after the final, for so many things," he told reporters."And because I am 31 already and not a kid anymore."Because of the level of tennis and accepting that I have had problems, physical problems for the last period of time, it's an important one."Reflecting on his accomplishments at the French Open after a montage showed his converted match points in each of his French Open successes, Nadal added that he never thought he'd be playing the game for so long."In 2005, I thought in 2017 I'd be fishing on my boat in Mallorca," he said.Nadal moved into sole possession of second place in men's majors, pulling away from American Pete Sampras and once again getting to within three of Federer, who skipped Roland Garros to prepare for the grass-court swing. No sets lost And for the third time -- after 2008 and 2010 -- he won the French Open title without conceding a set, dropping a mere 35 games in seven matches. He averaged less than two hours on court.He is not dubbed the 'King of Clay' for no reason.Gustavo Kuerten, the much loved Brazilian who was feted along with other tennis Hall of Famers prior to the finale, insisted last week Nadal could win several more French Opens.If he does so next year, his 11 titles would match what Margaret Court accomplished at the Australian Open in the 1960s and 70s. She is the lone other tennis player to reach double digits at the same major.Certainly Nadal's form suggests he has plenty of good tennis left in him but he'll want those injuries to stay away.Should he continue to pile up vic[...]

Maria Sharapova pulls out of Wimbledon qualifying with injury

Sun, 11 Jun 2017 09:45:44 GMT

Maria Sharapova will have to wait until the US Open in August -- at the earliest -- to return to grand slam action after the Russian star pulled out of Wimbledon qualifying due to injury.

Sharapova came back to the tennis tour in April after a 15-month doping ban but with her ranking not yet good enough to make the main draw needed a wildcard to enter the ongoing French Open.

But after being denied that wildcard by the French tennis federation, the five-time grand slam winner -- and world's richest female athlete for most of the past decade -- decided to enter Wimbledon qualifying in the final week of June instead of requesting a main-draw wildcard.

However the thigh injury she sustained at the Italian Open in May hasn't sufficiently healed.

She will also miss the Aegon Classic in Birmingham in the middle of June -- a tournament where she was given a wildcard -- but plans to be back in Stanford, California in late July.

The US Open will now have to decide whether to hand her a wildcard.

"After an additional scan, the muscle tear that I sustained in Rome will unfortunately not allow me to compete in the grass court tournaments I was scheduled to play," Sharapova said on her Facebook page.

"I want to thank the LTA for their amazing support on my return and providing me with a Birmingham wild card, a tournament which I hope many of you will be able to attend.

"I look forward to meeting you there next year. I will continue to work on my recovery and my next scheduled tournament is in Stanford."

Even if she returns to full health, Sharapova will still need the wildcard to get into the US Open because her current ranking of 178th will be too low to land a direct spot by the time the entry deadline comes in the middle of July, before Stanford starts.

Without Sharapova in the draw, Jelena Ostapenko won the women's title at the French Open on Saturday, becoming the first unseeded women's champion at Roland Garros in the Open Era.

Tapwrit wins Belmont Stakes, rallying past Irish War Cry

Sat, 10 Jun 2017 23:29:03 GMT

Tapwrit, ridden by Jose Ortiz, on Saturday won the Belmont Stakes, the third contest in horse racing's Triple Crown.

For Todd Pletcher, thoroughbred racing's seven-time trainer of the year, it was the second Triple Crown victory of the season. Another of his horses, Always Dreaming, took the Kentucky Derby in May but didn't race Saturday in the 1-1/2 mile event.

Neither was Cloud Computing, which won the Preakness three weeks ago.

Ortiz made it two consecutive Belmont triumphs for his family. Brother Irad Ortiz Jr rode Creator to an upset win last year.

Jose Ortiz said the difference between the Belmont and the Kentucky Derby, in which Tapwrit was sixth, was the longer distance Saturday.

"I was sure that he could handle it. Great training job by Todd," Ortiz told race broadcaster NBC.

Irish War Cry, which led most of the race, finished second by two lengths after being passed in the home stretch. The winning time was 2:30.02, six seconds off the record set by Secretariat in 1973.

"That last sixteenth (of a mile) Tapwrit really dug down deep," Pletcher said.

The race was held in Elmont, New York, at Belmont Park, Tapwrit's home base.

"That's always an advantage," Pletcher said. "And we felt like with the five weeks in between (the Derby and the Belmont), and the way this horse had trained he had a legitimate chance."

One-eyed horse Patch, also trained by Pletcher, was third. Pletcher is the first trainer since D. Wayne Lukas (1996) to have different horses win the Kentucky Derby and Belmont.

Canadian Grand Prix: Hamilton matches record with blistering pole lapMonaco Grand Prix 2017: Nelson Piquet Jr.'s dream weekend in Principality

Sat, 10 Jun 2017 22:17:44 GMTFri, 26 May 2017 17:37:53 GMT

Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix on pole after setting a blistering pace in Saturday's qualifying session in Montreal.

The three-time Formula One world champion set the fastest lap ever seen at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve circuit by an F1 car clocking one minute 11.459 seconds around the 4.361-kilometer (2.709-mile) track.

In doing so, Hamilton equaled the career pole tally of his hero Ayrton Senna who started from the front of the grid 65 times during a glittering F1 career.

Ferrari's Sebatian Vettel pushed the Briton all the way. At one point just four-thousandths of a second separated the pair, before Hamilton found even more speed as the clocked ticked down in the top 10 shootout.

"Montreal been good to me over the years, and it's been a battle with Ferrari -- they've been quick all year," Hamilton said.

"It was a sexy lap. I can't believe it came together so well. The team did a fantastic job. I owe it all to them."

The celebrations didn't end there for Hamilton who was then presented with a race-worn Senna helmet, donated by the late Brazilian driver's family.

"I'm shaking," Hamilton said, gazing at his hero's crash helmet.

"To receive this and match him is a great honor. Ayrton inspired me to be where I am today -- a big thank you to the Senna family."

The 32-year-old is now just three short of the all-time pole record set by seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.

Hamilton will be gunning for a sixth victory in Canada on Sunday with his Mercedes car seemingly over the troubles that dogged him around the streets of Monaco two weekends ago where he finished seventh.

The race around the Principality was dominated by Ferrari, but Vettel, who currently leads Hamilton by 25 points in the F1 Drivers' Championship, will do well to repel what appears to be a resurgent Mercedes team.

Vettel will start with Hamilton ahead of him and Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas directly behind after the Finn qualified third with Kimi Raikkonen joining his compatriot on the second row of the grid.

The third row of the grid is a lockout for the Red Bull pairing of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, with Williams' Felipe Massa finishing seventh and Sergio Perez in eighth for the Force India team.

Elsewhere, Fernando Alonso, returning to F1 after his Indy 500 hiatus, finished qualifying down in 12th while Massa's teammate, rookie Lance Stroll had a disappointing qualifying in front of his home crowd and will start Sunday's grand prix down in 17th place.

Monaco is a home from home for a number of leading motorsport drivers and of course once a year they even get to race around the Principality's racing circuit, either in Formula One or Formula E.

Jelena Ostapenko stages huge comeback to beat Simona Halep in French Open finalFrench Open: Stan Wawrinka battles to final, will play Rafael NadalFrench Open: Birthday girl Jelena Ostapenko to face Simona Halep in finalHalep stages huge comeback to make French Open semisFrench Open: Novak Djokovic crushed by Dominic Thiem, Rafa Nadal quickly advancesAbsent stars rob French Open of fashion wowsFrench Open: No comeback this time for Kristina MladenovicFrench Open: Simona Halep living up to 'favorite' tag after improved attitudeFrench Open: Ons Jabeur making history for Arab women

Sat, 10 Jun 2017 17:47:03 GMTSat, 10 Jun 2017 09:43:07 GMTThu, 08 Jun 2017 20:14:05 GMTWed, 07 Jun 2017 17:22:31 GMTWed, 07 Jun 2017 17:32:02 GMTWed, 07 Jun 2017 15:19:52 GMTTue, 06 Jun 2017 19:58:56 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 19:35:41 GMTFri, 02 Jun 2017 18:29:46 GMT

Jelena Ostapenko found herself in a huge hole in a first grand slam final but even that didn't unsettle the Latvian as she dazzled with winners from everywhere on the court to defeat Simona Halep at the French Open women's final. The newly turned 20-year-old trailed by a set and 3-0 -- she had to fend off three break points to avoid falling behind 4-0 -- before rallying for a 4-6 6-4 6-3 victory Saturday on Philippe Chatrier court. Ostapenko also trailed 3-1 in the third. The world No. 47 became only the second unseeded woman to win the French Open after Margaret Scriven in 1933 and the first player from her nation -- population of about 2 million -- to claim a major. Ostapenko suspected that Saturday's match in sunny, warm conditions in Paris was shown on a big screen in the city center in Riga, Latvia's capital city. "I think it's quite a big deal in Latvia," Ostapenko told reporters. This was her first top-level title of any kind, emulating the accomplishment of the much loved Gustavo Kuerten at Roland Garros on June 8, 1997. The Brazilian, who made an appearance at the French Open this week, won the first of his three titles on the Parisian clay the day Ostapenko was born. "So I think it's kind of maybe a lucky, lucky number or something," Ostapenko told reporters. Ostapenko -- who seemed to be the crowd favorite Saturday -- chose tennis over ballroom dancing only a few years ago. It looks like it was the right decision. Her all-out attacking game ultimately got the better of the steady Halep, who lost her second French Open final -- she fell to Maria Sharapova, also in a three-set thriller, in 2014. Halep said she was deeply affected by nerves leading into the final. "This one hurts a lot maybe because I am more...I realize more what is happening," said the 25-year-old. "Three years ago was something new, so now I know. Hurts a lot and I need time just to, I don't know, to go away."Ostapenko struck 54 winners to Halep's eight, never allowing her rival to settle. "At some point I was like a spectator on court," said Halep. "She deserved to win."No No. 1 ranking just yet for HalepHalep, the third seed and pre-tournament favorite, was denied the No. 1 ranking with the loss in a double blow. The Romanian possesses a counter-punching game and against Ostapenko could do nothing but react to her opponent's booming ground strokes. Ostapenko's average forehand speed topped that of men's No. 1 Andy Murray this fortnight. The problem for the 2014 Wimbledon junior champion, however, was that she was missing too much in the first set. When Halep won the first after hitting one winner and two unforced errors, it indeed told you most of what you needed to know. Ostapenko was too charitable with her unforced errors, striking 23. Her task became much more difficult early in the second. Ostapenko held a 40-0 advantage on the Halep serve but couldn't break, was broken in the ensuing game after holding game point and lost the next game after it went to deuce. A 3-0 deficit resulted and Halep then had three break points to get to 4-0. If she had taken any of them, most likely that would have finished off Ostapenko. Ostapenko though hung on and so began a run of four consecutive games won. "When I was losing 6-4, 3-0, in my mind I was just, 'I'm just going to enjoy the match,' and I will try to fight until the last point," said Ostapenko. A reeling Halep surrendered the set when Ostapenko struck a blazing forehand winner down the line, to the crowd's approval. Her second-set numbers improved drastically: 22 winners and 18 unforced errors. But the question remained in the third -- could Ostapenko maintain the momentum with that high-risk game? She continued to apply the pressure yet on the second of two break points [...]

NBA Finals: Cavaliers stun Warriors to win Game 4

Sat, 10 Jun 2017 08:53:43 GMT

Perfection has been denied. Emphatically.

Thanks to a historic performance, the Cleveland Cavaliers are still alive in the NBA Finals, avoiding the sweep and defeating the Golden State Warriors 137-116 in Game 4 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Friday night. It forces a Game 5 in the best-of-seven series and denies the Warriors -- who lead the series 3-1 -- the chance to become the first team in NBA history to go undefeated throughout the playoffs.

Cleveland put up numbers normally reserved for the NBA All-Star Game. The Cavaliers scored 49 points in the first quarter alone, the most in a quarter in NBA Finals history. They led at the 86-68 at the half, the highest scoring half in an NBA Finals game. Cleveland also set the record for most three-point shots made in an NBA Finals game with 24.

LeBron James finished with a triple double, totaling 31 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. He passes Magic Johnson for the most triple doubles in NBA Finals history with nine. A triple double is notching 10 or more in three different statistical categories -- typically points, rebounds and assists.

James also moved into third place on the all-time NBA Finals career scoring list with 1,206 points, moving past Michael Jordan, who has 1,176. Only Jerry West (1,679) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,317) have more.

Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 40 points. Kevin Love added 23 points.

Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue said he had a feeling at Friday morning's shootaround that, despite being down 3-0 heading into the night, his team would come out and play like this.

"Had a great vibe in the shootaround, and guys were upbeat, wasn't no hanging heads or sad," Lue said. "Guys were into it. Golden State's a tough team. We understand that, but we just felt that we have gotten better each game. And we felt if we played our basketball and make shots and play our brand of basketball, that we could win. So tonight was who we are, we made shots, and defensively I thought we were pretty good."

Said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr of James and Irving: "They were phenomenal. Both guys played tremendous games, really did some amazing things, one-on-one, making shots, and then they got a lot of contributions from others, too. I thought JR (Smith) got going and Richard Jefferson gave them good minutes, and it was a great team effort for Cleveland."

Kevin Durant led Golden State with 35 points. Draymond Green had 16 points and 14 rebounds. Stephen Curry was limited to 14 points on 4-of-13 shooting.

No team in NBA history has come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a best-of-seven series, and Cleveland will try to become the first. The Cavaliers made history a year ago when they won the title: Before they did it in 2016, no team had ever rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Finals.

Golden State became the first team in NBA playoff history to win its first 15 games in a single postseason. Additionally, the Warriors' 15 consecutive playoff wins are a postseason record in the four major professional team sports, breaking the mark set by the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins (14 in a row) from 1992-1993.

Game 5 is Monday at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. Tipoff is scheduled for 9 pm ET.

3-on-3 basketball added to 2020 Tokyo OlympicsFrench Open: Stan Wawrinka battles to final, will play Rafael NadalFuture of US soccer on Pulisic's shouldersFormula E spurred on by Trump's Paris accord withdrawalBelmont Stakes: Why 'Test of the Champion' is the hardest to winSaudi team apologizes for snubbing terror victims tribute

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 17:40:33 GMTSat, 10 Jun 2017 09:43:07 GMTFri, 09 Jun 2017 15:24:28 GMTFri, 09 Jun 2017 15:11:14 GMTFri, 09 Jun 2017 12:35:57 GMTFri, 09 Jun 2017 07:54:56 GMT

The International Olympic Committee added 3-on-3 basketball, BMX Freestyle cycling and more mixed-gender events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic program on Friday.

Overall, the changes represent a net increase of 15 events for a 321-event program in 2020. However, other reductions will end up cutting a total of 285 athlete places, compared to the 2016 Rio Games, with track and field alone losing 105 spots.

The 3-on-3 half-court basketball format will feature eight teams in each of the men's and women's tournaments.

Track cycling will also add men's and women's madison races, and swimming will see the addition of men's 800-meter freestyle and women's 1,500-meter freestyle events.

Some of the mixed-gender events added for Tokyo include a 4x100-meter mixed medley relay in swimming and a 4x400-meter mixed relay in track.

Overall, the number of mixed events will double from nine in Rio 2016 to 18 in Tokyo, and the IOC expects women to account for 48.8 percent of the athletes at the 2020 Games.

The new events announced Friday are in addition to decisions in August 2016 to add sports climbing, skateboarding, surfing, baseball and softball, and karate to the Tokyo program.

"The fascinating new events that we approved today, together with the five new sports that were added to the Tokyo 2020 programme last year, represent a step-change in the Olympic programme," IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement. "I am delighted that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will be more youthful, more urban and will include more women."

"I would prefer 10 over nine, no doubt," Rafael Nadal said matter of factly as he contemplated how close he is to making tennis history after swatting aside Dominic Thiem to reach the French Open final where he will play Stan Wawrinka.

To say Christian Pulisic is US soccer's new hope would be something of an understatement.

Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag says efforts to combat climate change should be redoubled following U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

It is the oldest event in American horse racing's esteemed Triple Crown, and -- with the nickname of "Test of the Champion" -- it is perhaps the hardest to win.

Saudi Arabia men's national football team has apologized "unreservedly" after its players failed to observe a minute's silence for the victims of last week's London terrorist attack.

French Open: Stan Wawrinka battles to final, will play Rafael NadalFrench Open: Birthday girl Jelena Ostapenko to face Simona Halep in finalAbsent stars rob French Open of fashion wowsPetra Kvitova: 'I can't feel two of my fingers'$400M revamp to 'green' up Roland GarrosLove letters to Paris from French Open stars

Sat, 10 Jun 2017 09:43:07 GMTThu, 08 Jun 2017 20:14:05 GMTWed, 07 Jun 2017 15:19:52 GMTFri, 02 Jun 2017 12:40:27 GMTThu, 01 Jun 2017 15:07:24 GMTWed, 31 May 2017 14:36:26 GMT

"I would prefer 10 over nine, no doubt," Rafael Nadal said matter of factly as he contemplated how close he is to making tennis history after swatting aside Dominic Thiem to reach the French Open final where he will play Stan Wawrinka.On men's semifinal day at Roland Garros, most would have considered Nadal's tussle with Thiem to be the one to watch. After all, the duo tallied the most victories on clay this season and Thiem is one of the rare players to have toppled the Spaniard twice on dirt. But it turns out that Wawrinka's match with Andy Murray -- a battle between veterans who've won three majors -- was the standout encounter. And by some distance. While Nadal crushed the young Austrian 6-3 6-4 6-0 in two hours to become the third man in history -- after Bill Tilden and Wawrinka's pal Roger Federer -- to reach the final at one grand slam 10 times, the Swiss prevailed over the world No. 1 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 in a four-and-a-half hour classic. The 32-year-old Wawrinka made some history, too, becoming the oldest man to make a French Open final since Niki Pilic 1973. It was probably sweeter for Wawrinka because he managed to win despite blowing break leads in the first and third sets. The 2015 champion struck a staggering 87 winners -- on the clay, against one of the game's elite defenders and in windy, tricky conditions. He persevered despite Murray's splendid retrieving and variety. There were, as Wawrinka put it, some "crazy rallies." "He's going to do incredible defense, play the right tennis in the right moment," he said. "That's why he's No. 1 in the world."So when you enter in a grand slam against him, you have to accept that. You need to keep trying to focus on what you do, keep trying. I was trying to focus on my game."His task will be even harder in the final, since Nadal hasn't lost a set and conceded a mere 29 games. Getting to No. 10 would make Nadal the first player in the Open Era to win the same grand slam 10 times. Nadal certainly won't be taking Wawrinka lightly Sunday, though: He is a perfect 3-0 in grand slam finals, memorably topping the left-hander to open his account in Melbourne in 2014. Stopping Wawrinka can be difficultWawrinka may have benefited from good fortune in that contest -- Nadal sustained a back injury in the warmup and was far from 100% -- yet there is no doubting Wawrinka's ability to blow winners past anyone. He showed that again Friday. Even if he trails Nadal 15-3 in their head-to-heads, he does possess a victory over him on clay. "It's true that when he hits hard, he hits really hard," said Nadal. "Stopping him can be difficult. I do not want him to play his game, which means I need to make sure I don't let him be in that position where he can hit hard."Besides going for No. 10 in Paris, Nadal -- who pulled out of the 2016 French Open with a wrist injury in the first week -- is attempting to end a three-year drought in majors. He agonizingly lost to Federer in the Australian Open final, blowing a break lead in the fifth set. How Wawrinka holds up physically after such a long duel with Murray will no doubt be something to ponder, but he is extremely strong and last year at the US Open defeated Novak Djokovic in the finale after tough matches along the way. That Wawrinka hadn't dropped a set prior to the semifinals helped him against Murray. He had the momentum after winning the fourth set and also the fresher legs. Crucially for Wawrinka, he didn't waver mentally, after blowing a 5-3 lead in the first set -- and holding a set point on his own serve in the first-set tiebreak -- and 4-2 in the third. The fourth set however is the one Murray will rue. Despite having a[...]

Future of US soccer on Pulisic's shouldersSaudi team apologizes for snubbing terror victims tributeManchester United tops Forbes' list as most valuable soccer clubMemorial service to be held for Ivory Coast star Cheick Tiote

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 15:24:28 GMTFri, 09 Jun 2017 07:54:56 GMTTue, 06 Jun 2017 15:11:00 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 16:54:28 GMT

To say Christian Pulisic is US soccer's new hope would be something of an understatement.Rarely has the weight of one of the world's biggest nations been placed squarely on the shoulders of a teenager -- and such slender shoulders at that.Pulisic is the first American player to break through at a top European club -- Borussia Dortmund -- at such an early age.But it's not just his breakthrough in Europe that has won him plaudits, it's also the manner in which he's done it.One of the main criticisms leveled at US football in recent years has been its insistence on producing athletes, rather than technical and tactically savvy players.The US Men's National Team's (USMNT) youngest ever goalscorer, Pulisic stirs excitement in his homeland like never before. His gangly frame and technical prowess break the mold of the archetypal US soccer player.He also provided both goals in the team's 2-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago in a crucial CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in Commerce City, Colorado, on Thursday.Already with 14 senior caps to his name and over 50 first-team appearance for Bundesliga giants Dortmund, it's easy to forget Pulisic is still only 18-years-old.But rather than viewing the weight of expectation as a burden, Pulisic is relishing every moment of his fledgling career."It's been amazing," he tells CNN Sport anchor Patrick Snell. "Everything has happened so fast. Of course I'm still so young but I wouldn't change a thing. It really is a dream come true to me."You know, people ask me what it's like and I just can't describe it because it's everything I ever wanted. Just being able to play for both club and country is just the biggest honor in the world."I'm just really excited moving forward." Trading cards Pulisic remembers clearly the moment he knew he'd made it as a footballer.It wasn't his debut for the USMNT, nor his first international goal. It wasn't even his first Champions League goal, an impudent chip -- a "truly special" moment -- against Benfica that made him the competition's youngest American scorer.It came during last year's Copa America Centenario, the 100th anniversary of South America's most prestigious tournament, held on home soil.Though the USMNT exceeded expectations on the pitch by reaching the semifinals in impressive fashion, Pulisic's crystallizing moment came when he found out he was immortalized on a Panini trading card."I don't know if I had a particular idol," Pulisic says of his own collection growing up. "But, you know, I always loved collecting cards from all sports and it was a big honor to be part of that Panini family." Mexico rivalry In his brief career so far, Pulisic's experiences have been overwhelmingly positive.He's consistently set records, both at club and international level, and another successful season culminated in him winning a first major trophy, as Dortmund beat Eintracht Frankfurt to lift the German Cup.Though, like any professional athlete, Pulisic has experienced some lows. Arguably the toughest came in the USA's home defeat to bitter rivals Mexico in World Cup qualifying."It was my first time playing against Mexico earlier this year and unfortunately we couldn't come out with a result," Pulisic recalls."But it really does show a rivalry game and it's our biggest match-up, our biggest rival so we're always excited."Rather than dwelling on the past, the teenager is looking forward to avenging that defeat when the sides meet again in [...]

Formula E spurred on by Trump's Paris accord withdrawalHawaii enacts laws adopting Paris climate deal pledgesAl Gore: Trump's Paris decision 'indefensible'World leaders condemn Trump's decision to quit Paris climate dealBloomberg: I'll make sure UN gets $15 million for Paris agreementTop CEOs tell Trump: You're wrong on Paris

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 15:11:14 GMTWed, 07 Jun 2017 11:49:24 GMTSun, 04 Jun 2017 18:48:48 GMTFri, 02 Jun 2017 15:44:02 GMTFri, 02 Jun 2017 19:08:02 GMTFri, 02 Jun 2017 14:20:42 GMT

Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag says efforts to combat climate change should be redoubled following U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.Speaking to CNN's Supercharged show, Agag said Trump's decision announced on June 1 provided "additional motivation" for countries and individuals to continue the switch to renewable energy."It's a very sad decision and a very wrong decision but this is just an additional motivation," Agag said. "The rest of us need to do more now that the President of the United States doesn't want to do his part."Announcing the U.S. was pulling out of the accord earlier this month, Trump was withering in his criticism of the pact, which he cast as a humiliating defeat for American workers that unfairly advantaged foreign countries.However, Trump has faced intense criticism since deciding to pull the U.S. out of the Paris agreement, joining only two other countries who aren't signatories -- Syria and Nicaragua.As well as offering an alternative motorsport series, part of Formula E's ethos is to fight "climate change, by offering a solution to air quality in city centers" as well as wanting to "inspire generations to adopt electric vehicles." 'Pushing the boundaries of electric cars' Agag, who co-created the all-electric race series alongside FIA President Jean Todt, has overseen the growth of Formula E which races on temporary street circuits all over the world.This weekend, Berlin's historic Tempelhof Airport is hosting rounds seven and eight of the 12-race 2016/17 Formula E World Championship.Reigning world champion Sebastien Buemi has dominated the first half of the season winning five of the opening six races. The Swiss currently leads the drivers' championship by 43 points from second-placed Lucas di Grassi.Buemi was also triumphant 12 months ago when Formula E raced on the streets of the German capital."It's great to be back in Berlin -- we were here in the first season, the second season and now the third and the progress has been incredible," Agag said."This is the objective of Formula E -- to push the boundaries of electric cars and Germany and Berlin is going to be one of the places that are going to have to grow more so we are happy to be here."With six races to go, Agag is still hopeful that the championship will go down to the wire but says Buemi, who drives for the Renault eDams driver, deserves his lead."Sebastien has done an incredible job," he said. "He is super quick, has made no mistakes -- he is where he is because he fully deserves it ... but the drivers' championship is not over."We have two races this weekend, then two in New York and then two in Montreal. We will see what happens."Hawaii on Tuesday became the first state in the country with laws that implement portions of the Paris climate deal.Former Vice President Al Gore expressed disappointment Sunday over his failure to persuade President Donald Trump to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate agreement.President Donald Trump faced a chorus of global disapproval Friday in the wake of his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, with allies and rivals uniting to accuse him of failing future generations.Billionaire Michael Bloomberg says he is ready to help foot the bill for the Paris Climate Agreement after President Trump announced his decision to pull the Unites States out of it.[...]General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt is not happy with President Tr[...]

Belmont Stakes: Why 'Test of the Champion' is the hardest to win

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 12:35:57 GMT

It is the oldest event in American horse racing's esteemed Triple Crown, and -- with the nickname of "Test of the Champion" -- it is perhaps the hardest to win.The Belmont Stakes, which takes place on Long Island, New York, Saturday pits three-year-old thoroughbreds over a grueling mile-and-a-half on dirt for perhaps the first time in their lives.Few have experienced a sustained test of stamina and speed. Timing their run is everything.There's no Triple Crown up for grabs this year -- for winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in the same season -- but the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes represents a significant prize in its own right.The winner takes $800,000 from a purse of $1.5 million with $280,00 to the second and $150,000 to the third.The Belmont Stakes was first held at Jerome Park racetrack in the Bronx in 1867 -- six years before the inaugural Preakness, eight years before the Kentucky Derby -- before switching to nearby Morris Park in 1890 and then to Belmont Park, just outside Queens, in 1906.The race -- named after August Belmont I, a New York financier, politician and society figure -- has only missed two editions, when anti-gambling laws in New York forced its cancellation in 1911 and 1912.Running in -- and winning -- all three US Classics in the space of five weeks is a demanding task. Only 12 horses have completed the Triple Crown at Belmont -- the last, and first for 37 years, was American Pharoah in 2015 while California Chrome was the last to be denied in 2014.One of the most celebrated champions was Secretariat, which won by 31 lengths in a record time of 2:24 in 1973. "Big Red," as he was known, became the ninth Triple Crown winner and the first for 25 years.Man O' War is another Belmont legend for his record-breaking 1920 triumph over a shorter distance.This year's Triple Crown bid was scuppered when Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming finished a distant eighth behind Cloud Computing at the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico at the end of May.In the absence of Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing, Preakness second Classic Empire will line up as favorite Saturday but the Derby fourth will have his work cut out to defy history and triumph after such a heavy schedule.Japan's Epicharis is also highly rated but there have been only nine foreign-born winners, the last being Canada's Victory Gallop in 1998.Irish War Cry is another with significant chances after being rested for the Preakness Stakes following an uncharacteristic flat performance in the Kentucky Derby."Having seen him train, having seen the result of the Preakness, I think we need to take a shot," said trainer Graham Motion."It's a classic and, if he's doing well, I think it's a shame if he's sitting in the barn."Another horse likely to be in the frame is Lookin at Lee, which was second at Churchill Downs and fourth in the Preakness Stakes.The Todd Pletcher-trained, one-eyed Patch has Derby-winning jockey John Velazquez onboard after finishing 14th in Kentucky, while Pletcher's best prospect is likely to be Tapwrit, which was sixth in the Derby.The Belmont Stakes is also known as the "Run for the Carnations" after the tradition of draping the winner in a blanket of white carnations.It is a tribute similar to the blanket or roses, and black-eyed Susans awarded to the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness respectively.There may be no Triple Crown at stake this year, but the winner of the Belmont Stakes will certainly have blossomed as one of[...]

Saudi team apologizes for snubbing terror victims tributeThree arrested in London on terror chargesAustralia shootout work of terrorist, PM saysLondon terror attack: Police fired 'unprecedented' number of rounds

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 07:54:56 GMTThu, 08 Jun 2017 07:21:57 GMTTue, 06 Jun 2017 04:54:03 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 01:56:01 GMT

Saudi Arabia men's national football team has apologized "unreservedly" after its players failed to observe a minute's silence for the victims of last week's London terrorist attack.

During a match in Australia Thursday night, the majority of the Saudi Arabian players continued to warm-up as the Socceroos stood arms linked and heads bowed.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation said in a statement Friday their players' behavior had not been intended to offend.

"The players did not intend any disrespect to the memories of the victims or to cause upset to their families, friends or any individual affected by the atrocity," the statement read.

Two Australian nationals, 21-year-old Sara Zelenak and 28-year-old Kirsty Boden, were among the eight killed in the June 3 attack on London Bridge and Borough Market.

The attack began when three men rammed pedestrians with a van on London Bridge, before jumping out and randomly stabbing people. Within 10 minutes they were shot dead by London police.

Football Federation Australia said in a statement Thursday that both the Asian Football Confederation and the Saudi Arabian team had agreed to hold a minute's silence before the match in Adelaide to pay tribute to the victims.

However, the FAA said it was "further advised by Saudi team officials that this tradition was not in keeping with Saudi culture and they would move to their side of the field and respect our custom whilst taking their own positions on the field."

"The local broadcaster, FOXSPORTS, was informed of this prior to the minute's silence taking place," it added.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the Australian national broadcaster, the ABC, that he had not seen the video but had been told about it.

"The whole world, the whole free world is united in condemnation of that terrorist attack and terrorism generally and in sympathy and love for the victims and their families," he said.

In its statement, the Saudi federation said it condemned all acts of terrorism and extremism and extended its condolences to the families of the victims.

Australia eventually won the match by three goals to two.

Three men have been arrested on terror charges after overnight raids on three properties in east London.

A former terror suspect with a "long record of violence" took a sex worker hostage in a suburban Australian apartment building Monday, in what police say may have been an attempt to lure law enforcement to a gunfight.

Armed officers responding to the London Bridge terror attack fired an "unprecedented" number of rounds at the three attackers because they were wearing what appeared to be suicide belts, police said.

Uber driver gets extra bonus from NFL player for 8-hour ride

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 02:30:34 GMT

Uber driver Hadi Abdollahian thought he was signing up for a three-hour drive to suburban Buffalo Grove, Illinois, when he picked up a passenger Sunday night at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.But the Iranian refugee didn't think twice when he found out the actual destination was Buffalo, NEW YORK, some 500 miles and eight hours from Chicago. After all, the passenger told him it was an emergency: He had to work in the morning and he had missed his connecting flight. There was no other way to get there in time."I'm a man of my words and if someone says it's an emergency he really means it," said Abdollahian, 26.He would soon learn the passenger in his Nissan Altima was new Buffalo Bills player Shareece Wright, who was on his way to his first day of voluntary offseason practice.They arrived at 1 Bills Drive with mere minutes to spare before 7 a.m. meetings, Wright said. The defensive cornerback tipped Abdollahian $300 on top of the $632.08 ride in a delightful vignette of the sharing economy bringing people together.But the story didn't end there. The Bills lauded Wright for his dedication to his new team. The former Baltimore Raven was more impressed with his driver's dedication to getting him to Buffalo on a moment's notice.Wright said he had changed his flight from California to give himself extra time to connect. But due to flight delays, he missed it anyway and the next one was not until the morning. He was stressed. He called two Uber drivers and both canceled on him as soon as they found out the final destination (Uber does not reveal the destination until the passenger gets in the car and the driver starts the trip). On the third try, Abdollahian did not skip a beat when Wright told him he meant New York, not Illinois."He didn't complain once. He kept me from stressing out. The only thing he complained about was people driving 50 miles an hour," Wright said. "His focus was to get me there on time and he did."Road trip bonds formThey talked for hours and shared their lives with each other, the two men told CNN. Abdollahian revealed his dream of becoming an astronaut; Wright talked about his family and how he broke into professional football. Wright was struck by Abdollahian's story of his journey to the United States from Iran. He said he left the country in 2011 amid circumstances too painful to share. Abdollahian said he spent two years in Turkey before entering the United States in 2013 as a refugee."The story of his resilience to come to the US alone with no family and learn English, it says a lot," Wright said.Abdollahian landed in Chicago and got a job while he studied computer science at Harold Washington College, he said. He graduated in December with an associate's degree and started driving for Uber after his company laid him off, he said. He applied to Loyola University Chicago and said he was accepted. Now he's just figuring out how to pay for it. An extra tipWhen local company Bluerock Energy heard about the road trip they gave Wright a check to reimburse him for the Uber ride. But Wright thought Abdollahian deserved it more than he did and passed it along."Anyone's who's that passionate and focused about what he's doing, I'm more than willing to help anyone who's putting that foot forward to be successful."Abdollahian confirmed that he received the check and shared a picture of it on Twitter. It's his only proof of the trip -- he didn't ask for a selfie or take a pictures because he didn't "want to be that guy," he said.Cheesy as it may sound, he considers hi[...]

French Open: Birthday girl Jelena Ostapenko to face Simona Halep in finalHalep stages huge comeback to make French Open semisFrench Open: Novak Djokovic crushed by Dominic Thiem, Rafa Nadal quickly advancesAbsent stars rob French Open of fashion wowsPetra Kvitova: 'I can't feel two of my fingers'$400M revamp to 'green' up Roland Garros

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 20:14:05 GMTWed, 07 Jun 2017 17:22:31 GMTWed, 07 Jun 2017 17:32:02 GMTWed, 07 Jun 2017 15:19:52 GMTFri, 02 Jun 2017 12:40:27 GMTThu, 01 Jun 2017 15:07:24 GMT

There has been plenty to celebrate for Jelena Ostapenko at the French Open, but the Latvian's cup will be overflowing if she can get the better of pre-tournament favorite Simona Halep in Saturday's women's final at the French Open.Roland Garros' battle of the birthdays was won by Ostapenko in the first semifinal Thursday in Paris, as the newly turned 20-year-old beat Timea Bacsinskzy -- whose own 28th birthday wasn't quite as good -- 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-3 to become the first unseeded women's finalist in Paris since Mima Jausovec in 1983 and her country's first ever grand slam finalist.Halep later edged Karolina Pliskova 6-4 3-6 6-3 in what was a high-quality tussle between the second and third seeds. Halep denied the Czech the No. 1 ranking.If Ostapenko, the world No. 47, defeats Halep on Saturday, she would become only the second unseeded woman to ever triumph at the clay-court major after Britain's Margaret Scriven in 1933."When I came here, I didn't expect I would be in the final," said Ostapenko. "The first match was a tough one (against Louisa Chirico) and I won it. It gave me confidence."Then every match I was playing better and better."But overcoming Halep could prove to be very difficult.The Romanian entered the French Open as the form women's player on clay and just might have destiny on her side after rallying from a set and 5-1 down -- then saving a match point -- in the quarterfinals against Elina Svitolina on Wednesday.Besides bidding for a first grand slam title herself -- Halep lost a thriller to Maria Sharapova in the 2014 French Open final -- the more experienced 25-year-old will secure the No. 1 ranking by winning Saturday. Halep 'confident' "I said earlier that I will play for two things: My first grand slam and No. 1 in the world," said Halep. "It's a big challenge, a big chance."I think I have the game. I have the mentality to win, but it's gonna be tough. I expect her to give everything she has, to hit all the balls, to play with confidence. But I'm confident as well."I'm ready to face her, and I'm ready to face another final."Ostapenko and Halep have never faced off.Ostapenko may have lost in the first round last year and failed to make it out of qualifying a year earlier in Paris but that was largely down to her inexperience.Ostapenko -- who practiced ballroom dancing when younger -- signaled her promise in tennis by winning the Wimbledon juniors in 2014.She sealed her place in the final with a forehand winner -- her 50th winner of the encounter -- and minutes later "Happy Birthday" was being sung in French, led by interviewer and former Wimbledon winner Marion Bartoli. Ivanovic honored Despite Switzerland's Bacsinszky being a French speaker, Ostapenko was the crowd favorite, perhaps due to her flashy game. She is not one to back down.Her average forehand speed exceeds men's No. 1 Andy Murray's and is only slight slower than 14-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal's."She has amazing timing," said Bacsinszky, born in the same city -- Lausanne -- as 2015 men's winner and this year's men's semifinalist Stan Wawrinka.And she's not one to hide her emotions, either.Bacsinszky -- who took a medical timeout in the middle of the first set for an issue with her right leg -- will rue not winning the opener after leading 5-4, 15-30 on Ostapenko's serve.A sliced forehand, [...]

Ryan Lochte, Kayla Rae Reid welcome baby boyGeorge and Amal Clooney welcome twinsMiranda Kerr and Emmy Rossum both marryAbby Wambach marries Christian writer

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 15:39:28 GMTTue, 06 Jun 2017 16:35:43 GMTMon, 29 May 2017 14:48:25 GMTTue, 16 May 2017 18:08:14 GMT

Ryan Lochte and his fiancée, model Kayla Rae Reid, welcomed a baby boy on Thursday, according to the Olympian's rep.

Caiden Zane Lochte is the first child for both Lochte and Reid, who announced their engagement in October.

Lochte definitely seemed up for the challenge of fatherhood when he spoke to USA Today in January.

"I'm prepared for a lot of stinky diapers," he said. "I have nieces and nephews, so I know what it's going to be like. I'm actually kind of thrilled to be able to change diapers and do all that and go through this process with Kayla, and our whole new family. I'm definitely really excited. I can't wait."

Amal and George Clooney are parents.

Love was in the air for celebs over the holiday weekend, with both model Miranda Kerr and actress Emmy Rossum getting married.

Retired U.S. soccer great Abby Wambach married Christian writer Glennon Doyle Melton on Sunday.

Orlando Magic will host July Mountain Dew Pro Summer League

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 15:32:13 GMT

For the 14th year in a row, the Orlando Magic will host the Mountain Dew Orlando Pro Summer League, starting with a game featuring the Charlotte Hornets and the Miami Heat on July 1 at 11 a.m. 

With eight total teams participating in the summer league events held on the practice courts of the Amway Center, the Magic will see action against the Hornets, Heat, Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder and Detroit Pistons. 

The 20-game, six day event will feature six teams with lottery selections in the June 22 NBA draft. 

The event that starts July 1 and ends July 6 will be closed to the public due to space and security concerns at the arena. Fans can access box scores, game recaps, statistics, and broadcast information by visiting

Each team will play five games with a championship day being played on July 6. A point system will determine the standings with eight points awarded to a team for each game based on the following conditions: Four points for winning the game and one point or winning a quarter. 

In the event that a quarter is tied, each of the two teams will be given .5 points. If a tie happens in the overall seeding heading into the championship day, three tiebreakers will determine the top seed: total point differential, total points allowed and finally a coin flip.

The schedule for the games can be found below:


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Game 1: 11 a.m. Charlotte at Miami

Game 2: 1 p.m. Orlando at Indiana

Game 3: 3 p.m. New York at Dallas

Game 4: 5 p.m. Oklahoma City at Detroit


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Game 1: 1 p.m. New York at Detroit

Game 2: 3 p.m. Orlando at Miami

Game 3: 5 p.m. Indiana at Charlotte


Monday, July 3, 2017

Game 1: 1 p.m. New York at Oklahoma City

Game 2: 3 p.m. Orlando at Dallas

Game 3: 5 p.m. Indiana at Miami


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Game 1: 1 p.m. Charlotte at Oklahoma City

Game 2: 3 p.m. Indiana at Dallas

Game 3: 5 p.m. Miami at Detroit


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Game 1: 1 p.m. Dallas at Oklahoma City

Game 2: 3 p.m. Charlotte at Detroit 

Game 3: 5 p.m. Orlando at New York


Thursday, July 6, 2017 (championship day)

Game 1: 8 a.m. No. 8 at No. 7

Game 2: 10 a.m. No. 6 at No. 5

Game 3: 12 p.m. No. 4 at No. 3

Game 4: 2 p.m. No. 2 at No. 1

Johnny Dawkins hires Kelvin Johnson, completes 2017-18 coaching staff

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 14:32:15 GMT

University of Central Florida coach Johnny Dawkins has hired Kelvin Johnson as his Director of Player Development.

Johnson, who was hired Wednesday and announced as the final member of Dawkins' coaching staff by, came shortly after the announcement of Vince Taylor as assistant coach for the Knights. 

"This is a great opportunity to give back to kids," Johnson said in the story. "I'm excited to teach many of the life lessons that I have learned over the years, and I'm excited to work with a good friend in Johnny Dawkins. We're trying to do something great here at UCF, and I can't wait to get things going."

Johnson comes to the Knights with an abundance of basketball knowledge. He was drafted as a fifth-round pick by the Indiana Pacers in the 1985 NBA draft and was a four-year starter for the Richmond Spiders. 

Johnson, who was inducted into the Richmond Athletics Hall of Fame in the class of 2008-09, was a key part of the Spiders' first-ever appearance in the 1982 NIT and on the 1984 NCAA tournament team, which defeated Auburn in the first round.

"We are thrilled to welcome Kelvin into the UCF Family as a member of our staff," Dawkins said in the story. "With his wealth of basketball experience and knowledge, and his high level of character, I can't think of a better person to help mold our student-athletes. We are looking forward to Kelvin working as an integral member of the Knights in 2017."

Johnson grew up in Washington, D.C., and played against Dawkins as a child and against him in high school where he was a player at DeMatha high school.

The Knights will be led in the coming season by Tacko Fall, B.J. Taylor and A.J. Davis.

Thomas, Sheridan garner All-America Honors as freshmanAnother former Knights pitcher makes Major League Baseball debutKnights eliminated from NCAA regional tournament after 2nd lossUCF women's soccer player dribbles with Under-19 Belgium National Team

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 13:44:25 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 15:36:15 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 14:33:24 GMTTue, 06 Jun 2017 17:30:27 GMT

After helping the University of Central Florida make a historic run throughout the 2017 campaign, first baseman Rylan Thomas and left-handed pitcher Joe Sheridan were given Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America honors Wednesday.

Named by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, Thomas and Sheridan became just the 12th and 13th players in UCF program history to be named. This was also just the fourth time in program history that multiple players from the same season were named together. 

Thomas, who belted 14 home runs, broke the UCF rookie record for most homers in a season. He also led the team in out of the park blasts and drove in 53 runs to support his season. Thomas also hit the most home runs by any UCF player since 2012 and hit 11 doubles and scored 46 runs, batting a .303 average for the season.

Thomas also earned the American Athletic Conference Rookie Position Player of the Year accolade and earned Second Team All-Conference honors.

Sheridan shared the spotlight as well, setting a freshman record himself. The left-handed pitcher won 10 games from the rubber and finished the season with a 3.25 ERA, suffering only four losses while striking out 64 batters in 72 innings of work. 

Sheridan's 10 wins ranked 10th overall among all college freshmen and was tied for the lead in the conference, striking out 44 in 45.1 innings of work while going 6-2 with a 3.18 ERA in AAC play.

The Knights, under the first year leadership of coach Greg Lovelady, finished the 2017 season with a 40-22 record, was crowned co-champions of the AAC regular season title with a conference record of 15-9. The Knights also made its first appearance in the NCAA Regional tournament since 2012 when they attended the Tallahassee tournament.

Former UCF Knight and current Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Ben Lively goes seven strong innings to earn major league baseball debut.

After falling to both Auburn and FSU in the NCAA Tallahassee regional tournament, the UCF Knights were eliminated, but had their best season since 2012.

The UCF women's soccer team returns in August to prepare for the 2017 campaign, but Zandy Soree has already been training for something else.

Halep stages huge comeback to make French Open semisFrench Open: Novak Djokovic crushed by Dominic Thiem, Rafa Nadal quickly advancesAbsent stars rob French Open of fashion wowsPetra Kvitova: 'I can't feel two of my fingers'$400M revamp to 'green' up Roland GarrosLove letters to Paris from French Open stars

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 17:22:31 GMTWed, 07 Jun 2017 17:32:02 GMTWed, 07 Jun 2017 15:19:52 GMTFri, 02 Jun 2017 12:40:27 GMTThu, 01 Jun 2017 15:07:24 GMTWed, 31 May 2017 14:36:26 GMT

In tennis, the feeling is that players who win a grand slam title usually have to get through at least one difficult match during the fortnight.If Simona Halep does go on to win the French Open crown Saturday, it is likely that Wednesday's quarterfinal victory over Elina Svitolina will prove to be the turning point.How could it not be?Halep -- the pre-tournament favorite based on her clay-court performances this year -- looked down and out when she trailed by a set and 5-1 to Svitolina. Having rallied to force a tiebreak in the second set, the third-seed then had to fend off a match point in that tiebreak.But she got through it -- aided by a net-cord winner on her first set point in the tiebreak -- and cruised in the third for a 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-0 win against the Ukrainian who handed Halep her lone defeat in the month of May in the Italian Open final.Like her fellow semifinalists Karolina Pliskova, Timea Bacsinszky and Jelena Ostapenko, the 2014 finalist is two victories away from opening her grand slam account. Feeling more relaxed "I started to feel more relaxed maybe because I thought it's finished, and I changed the rhythm," Halep told reporters. "I put some high balls. I just tried to make her move more, to open the court, and it came."Halep spoke Monday about how she improved her attitude on court after a tough loss to Johanna Konta in the Miami Open quarterfinals.Disappointed with her demeanor between the second and third sets, her coach Darren Cahill -- who used to work with former No. 1s Andre Agassi and Lleyton Hewitt -- decided not to travel with Halep for several weeks.That move prompted Halep to "change pretty fast."With Cahill -- who returned in May -- watching from the stands on Suzanne Lenglen court, Halep indeed maintained her focus to avoid elimination."I showed that I'm stronger mentally," said Halep. "I stayed there until the end, even if I was a little bit upset during the match. But it was all positive."Truth to be told however, any player holding a set and 5-1 lead would expect to close out the encounter. Svitolina admitted that "nerves" were a factor."I started maybe going for too much sometimes and then she was back into the game," said Svitolina. "A little bit of nerves, of course, played the trick. But, yeah ... such a big event. It can happen."It's tennis and everything can turn around in just couple of points."After blowing the 5-1 advantage in the second, the momentum seemed to temporarily revert to Svitolina when she saved four set points while serving at 5-6 in the second. Close tiebreak She led the tiebreak 4-2, only to deliver two return misses to trail 5-4.Reversing the score to earn a match point at 6-5, Halep saved it with audacious hitting from the back of the court, especially on a backhand down the line.Halep suggested in her post-match press conference she didn't know that was when she was match point down.She clinched the set when her forehand rattled the top of the tape and dropped over.An out of sorts Svitolina lost the decider in 23 minutes and Halep set up a clash with second-seed Karolina Pliskova, a 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 winner over France's Caroline Garcia.If Pliskova defeats Halep, she will replace the slumping Angelique Kerber as the world No. 1. Halep will become No. 1 if[...]

Absent stars rob French Open of fashion wowsFrench Open: Novak Djokovic crushed by Dominic Thiem, Rafa Nadal quickly advancesFrench Open: No comeback this time for Kristina MladenovicPetra Kvitova: 'I can't feel two of my fingers'Martina Navratilova: Court a 'racist and a homophobe'$400M revamp to 'green' up Roland Garros

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 15:19:52 GMTWed, 07 Jun 2017 17:32:02 GMTTue, 06 Jun 2017 19:58:56 GMTFri, 02 Jun 2017 12:40:27 GMTThu, 01 Jun 2017 16:08:26 GMTThu, 01 Jun 2017 15:07:24 GMT

With Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer and Victoria Azarenka all missing from Roland Garros, fashion watchers are wondering: Where's that showstopping moment?The outfits of the four tennis stars, who are all sponsored by American clothing giant Nike, usually prompts endless questions in press conferences and debates on social media about who has come up with the best outfit.This year in Paris, things are considerably more muted in the fashion stakes, noted Ben Rothenberg, who wrote the book "The Stylish Life: Tennis.""This is a quieter fashion tournament because we don't have four of the biggest runway-model tennis stars here," Rothenberg, who is also a tennis contributor to The New York Times, told CNN at Roland Garros.Williams, Sharapova, Federer and Azarenka "are all big enough stars to get their own, unique outfits," Rothenberg said.Nike had already made the French Open outfits for Sharapova, who was denied a wild card into the French Open on May 17 after a 15-month doping ban. Fashion icon Since winning Wimbledon in 2004, the Russian has become a fashion icon both on and off the court.Her showstoppers include a stylish black outfit inspired by Audrey Hepburn's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" dress at the 2006 US Open and a classic blue-and-white outfit inspired by 1920s French tennis star Suzanne Lenglen at Roland Garros in 2008."Sharapova had outfits for all five slams she has missed out on, there is a missing era of Sharapova fashion going on now," said Rothenberg. Playing it safe "Everyone has kind of been safe this year," said Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the world No. 1 in doubles who is best known for wearing some of the most memorable creations in recent years, including a tennis ball dress at a pre-Wimbledon party and a cowboy-inspired jacket at Wimbledon.Even Venus Williams played it relatively safe this year in Paris.After sporting perhaps the most Parisian of all tennis outfits when she took to the court of the 2010 French Open with skin toned underwear by her Eleven brand underneath a lacy, Moulin Rouge-like creation, the American opted for a diamond-inspired dress this year.Last year tennis fans visiting Roland Garros may have been forgiven for thinking they had entered a safari park instead of a grand slam event after dozens of players appeared in matching zebra print outfits by Yohji Yamamoto's Y-3 label for Adidas.Although the black-and-white stripes looked striking on the red clay, some fashion watchers on social media wondered if two zebras were on the loose when Austrian star Dominic Thiem and German Alexander Zverev played each other wearing the exact same Adidas outfit."I actually really liked the zebra prints, I know some people hated it but I actually really liked that stuff," said Mattek-Sands, who ended the comeback of two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova at Roland Garros wearing a sleeveless white top covered with cherries by Jofit matched with her trademark long black compression socks."I was wearing the shoes last year and they were amazing. I would say, nothing has impressed me more than that," added the American. Outfit of house painter? This year, Adidas has gone for a more traditional look, according to Rothenberg."They have also done a good job gi[...]

French Open: Novak Djokovic crushed by Dominic Thiem, Rafa Nadal quickly advancesFrench Open: No comeback this time for Kristina MladenovicFrench Open: Simona Halep living up to 'favorite' tag after improved attitudeFrench Open: Ons Jabeur making history for Arab womenJuan Martin del Potro's act of sportsmanship at French Open earns plauditsGrieving US tennis star plays on at French Open

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 17:32:02 GMTTue, 06 Jun 2017 19:58:56 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 19:35:41 GMTFri, 02 Jun 2017 18:29:46 GMTThu, 01 Jun 2017 19:14:02 GMTThu, 01 Jun 2017 14:51:29 GMT

If Novak Djokovic entered the French Open with plenty of question marks hanging over his form he departs Paris still searching for answers after suffering his first straight-set grand slam defeat since the 2013 Wimbledon final. Dominic Thiem crushed Roland Garros' defending champion 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-0 in the quarterfinals on a sunny, blustery Wednesday, a result that means the Serb will also tumble out of the top two in the rankings for the first time since early 2011. Thiem must now upend familiar foe Rafael Nadal -- who progressed when Pablo Carreno Busta retired while trailing 6-2 2-0 -- to make a maiden grand slam final. World No. 1 Andy Murray and 2015 winner Stan Wawrinka will square off in the semifinals for the second straight year after the Scot eliminated Japan's Kei Nishikori 2-6 6-1 7-6 (7-0) 6-1 and the Swiss eased past Croatia's Marin Cilic 6-3 6-3 6-1. Meanwhile, there was drama in the women's quarterfinals, as third-seed Simona Halep rallied from a 5-1 second-set deficit and saved a match point to overcome fifth-seed Elina Svitolina 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-0. Karolina Pliskova, the second seed, claimed a marathon first set on the way to beating the last French player remaining in singles, Caroline Garcia, 7-6 (7-3) 6-4. If Pliskova ousts Halep on Thursday, the Czech will replace Angelique Kerber as the women's No. 1. 'Pretty bad'That Thiem ousted Djokovic wasn't a huge surprise -- after all the seventh-ranked Austrian trails only Nadal in match wins in 2017 and is tied for first with the Spaniard in clay-court victories this season. But the manner in which Djokovic -- who teamed up with new coach Andre Agassi last month -- crumbled in the third set will be particularly worrying for his fans.It's worrying too for Djokovic, who blew a 4-2 lead in the first set. Only 12 months ago he put the exclamation mark on one of the most dominant spells in tennis history, beating Murray in the final in Paris to become the first man in 47 years to claim four consecutive majors. "It's hard to comment on the third set," he told reporters. "Obviously nothing was going my way and everything his way. Just a pretty bad set."It's a fact that I'm not playing close to my best, and I know that."Djokovic's resounding victory over Thiem in the Rome semifinals last month might have been misleading, since the 23-year-old Austrian was coming off an emotional victory over Nadal 24 hours earlier.Yet no one could have predicted Thiem to prevail in Paris so comfortably and one wonders what Agassi, not around for the match due to prior commitments, made of it all. Don't blame Agassi"Don't put Andre in the midst of this," said Djokovic, who slumped to a second-round loss against wildcard Denis Istomin at January's Australian Open. "This final set, of course, that's all me."As I have mentioned before several times when you guys ask me about his influence and impact on my game, it's gonna take time. It's not something that comes out in the first week. We have spent seven days together. We just got to know each other."Djokovic said a break from the game wasn't out of the question yet also said he might change his grass-court plans by playing a Wimbledon warmup. He insisted he was intent on getting things right. "For me, it's a whole new situation that I'm facing, especially in the last seven, eight mon[...]

French Open: No comeback this time for Kristina MladenovicGraf key to Agassi's new role with DjokovicFrench Open: Simona Halep living up to 'favorite' tag after improved attitudeVictorious Novak Djokovic to umpire: 'You're losing your mind'French Open: Ons Jabeur making history for Arab womenPetra Kvitova: 'I can't feel two of my fingers'

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 19:58:56 GMTTue, 06 Jun 2017 14:49:16 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 19:35:41 GMTFri, 02 Jun 2017 19:04:44 GMTFri, 02 Jun 2017 18:29:46 GMTFri, 02 Jun 2017 12:40:27 GMT

It seemed like Mother Nature was doing her utmost to help Kristina Mladenovic at the French Open Tuesday but she just couldn't take advantage.Indeed this time there was no comeback for France's top hope to end a 17-year singles drought at Roland Garros as the 13th seed was defeated by Timea Bacsinszky 6-4 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Bacsinszky's opponent in the last four won't be former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki but rather the 2014 Wimbledon junior champion Jelena Ostapenko. When they battle Thursday, they'll both be celebrating a birthday. "It's pretty funny," Bacsinszky, soon to be 28, told reporters. "I think it's pretty cool, though. I saw her in the gym just right after our matches today and so we both said to each other, 'Well done.'"Even though she is unseeded, Ostapenko's 4-6 6-2 6-2 victory could hardly be classified an upset as the 19-year-old Latvian has now beaten the Dane three times on clay since April, striking a combined 148 winners in the process. She is the first Latvian woman in the Open Era to make a grand slam semifinal and first teen into the semis at Roland Garros since Ana Ivanovic in 2007. On a wet, windy, unseasonably cold day in Paris, rain forced the first two men's quarterfinals to be pushed back to Wednesday. It also halted proceedings with Bacsinszky leading Mladenovic by a set. A three-hour delay ensued -- the French Open is the lone grand slam without a roof, though that will finally change in 2020 -- the type that can so often switch momentum in matches. And sure enough Mladenovic -- who trailed Jennifer Brady 3-0 in the third set in the first round and a second American, Shelby Rogers, 5-2 in the third set in the third round -- temporarily lifted her game to lead 3-1 in the second. But the 30th-seeded Swiss won the next three games to lead by a break, 4-3. That's when the heavens opened up again. This time the evening pause was much shorter. Second rain delayYet given a second opportunity to turn things around, Mladenovic still was unable to capitalize. "I think she managed to play way better than me," Mladenovic said. "Maybe her game suits these kinds of conditions better, so at times when I wanted to be more aggressive, I did too many errors. I still had some opportunities here and there but didn't make it."At the end, it's a quite close scoreboard, 4 and 4, but I feel I'm very far from the game I could have shown."Bacsinszky saved a break point in the final game to move into a second semifinal at the French Open in the last three seasons. She had virtually quit the sport in 2013, tired of the game, and has spoken openly about how her father pushed her into tennis. If the weather gods tried to assist Mladenovic in one way, in another way they did not. The court was hardly full of spectators on the damp, nippy day, unlike on Sunday when the 24-year-old fed off the energy of a packed house and ousted defending champion Garbine Muguruza amid warm sunshine. But Mladenovic said there was nothing wrong with the atmosphere. One Frenchwoman however does remain in the draw: The player Mladenovic won the doubles title with last year in Paris, Caroline Garcia, who will play second-seed Karolina Pliskova in Wednesday's quarterfinals.Clay isn't Wozniacki's preferred surface but without her close friend Serena Williams in th[...]

UCF sports host camps throughout coming months

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 19:02:25 GMT

With the summer here for the University of Central Florida's sport teams and for the Orlando area, kids, teens and young adults now have the chance to improve their own skills while having fun at a variety of UCF camps.From Scott Frost and his 2017 Rise & Conquer Football Camps to the Greg Lovelady Baseball Camps, the Knights have set up camps that can appeal to many in the area looking to fill their summer days.Below, you can find information for many of the UCF camps with links to the camps' website where you can register and find more information.  FootballStarting June 3, the Knights will be hosting camps from 7 on 7 events, lineman camps, quarterback camps and more. Lasting 12 total days with prices per camper ranging from $35 to $150, athletes will have the chance to learn the UCF football coach that took a 2016 winless team and brought them to a 2017 bowl game. The 7 on 7 camps have already been sold out, but many other sections still remain open with kicking camps, team camps and many others still open for registration. Link: BaseballStarting in late June, Lovelady, who just finished leading the Knights in its best year since 2012, will head youth and high school kids on the diamond.Three youth camps will run from June 19-22, June 26-29 and July 10-13 at prices ranging from $180 to $260. Kids from kindergarten up to eight grade should bring a lunch, bat, glove, hat and batting helmet.Lovelady and his staff will also host two high school exposure camps running on July 29 and another from Aug. 26-27. The July 29 camp will cost $190 and the August camp will cost $260.Link: SoftballRenee Luers-Gillispie will enter her 16th year as head coach of the UCF softball team in 2017 and she's using her experience to help teach the new generation of softball athletes.With six total camps running throughout the days of June 13, 19 and 20, kids have the chance to learn from Gillispie how to better hit, pitch, defend and catch.Kids in the third through seventh grade category can attend a camp on the 13th, while kids in eighth grade through junior college can attend camps on any of the other three days.Prices range from $25 to $100 depending on which camp the athlete will attend.Link: Men's and women's basketballTaught by Johnny Dawkins and Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, the Knights will be holding separate camps for both men's and women's basketball.The women's camps open June 11 and will run through June 14, geared specifically toward second through ninth graders.  A one-day elite camp will take place on June 16, and is meant for players in grades eight through 12.Finally, a team camp will be held June 17-18. Teams must have a minimum of three players and can include JV, Varsity and AAU teams.Link: men's camp will run later in June, spanning from the 19-26 and in July from the 17-21. Boys and girls entering first through 12th grade can join the June 19-21 camp, while boys and girls entering first through eighth grade can join the [...]

UCF women's soccer player dribbles with Under-19 Belgium National Team

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 17:30:27 GMT

In the 2016 season, freshman Zandy Soree played 17 games, started in 10, scored one goal, had four assists and was the primary corner kick and set-piece taker. 

It's 2017 and now Soree is assisting more than just the Knights who finished 9-8-2. Now she's across the Atlantic, training and playing with the Under-19 Belgium National team, hoping to go far with a spot on the roster that will compete in the UEFA European Championships.

Earning its first bid ever for the UEFA European Championships, Soree has played in three games within the past month with the team, coming onto the field as a substitute in her first game against Hungary on May 26. 

Then Soree earned a starting role in her next two games. After beating Hungary 3-0 in Game one of the Elite round, Soree and the Belgian Red Flames battled and beat the Russians 3-0. In her most recent game, Soree and her team lost a game to Spain in 3-1 fashion.

The Weston, Florida native who holds dual citizenship because her father was born in Belgium, first appeared for Belgium at the international level of soccer at the age of 15. 

Making her first appearance on the actual fields for Belgium in the 2014 Under-17 UEFA European Championship Qualifiers in Latvia, Soree has since been called to train with the Under-19 and full Belgian National teams.

"This is truly an amazing experience that will help me grow so much as a player," Soree said in a story. "Whether I am playing for my school or playing for my country, I am determined to contribute to the success of each and to give my team everything I have."

Soree and the Knights will return to the fields in August to begin practicing for the 2017-18 campaign. The schedule has yet to be released.




Graf key to Agassi's new role with DjokovicFrench Open: Simona Halep living up to 'favorite' tag after improved attitudeVictorious Novak Djokovic to umpire: 'You're losing your mind'French Open: Ons Jabeur making history for Arab womenPetra Kvitova: 'I can't feel two of my fingers'$400M revamp to 'green' up Roland Garros

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 14:49:16 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 19:35:41 GMTFri, 02 Jun 2017 19:04:44 GMTFri, 02 Jun 2017 18:29:46 GMTFri, 02 Jun 2017 12:40:27 GMTThu, 01 Jun 2017 15:07:24 GMT

Tennis' latest pairing of current and former men's grand slam champions owes a debt of gratitude to one of the greatest female players in history: Steffi Graf.It was the 22-time grand slam winner who convinced husband Andre Agassi to try and steer Novak Djokovic back into top form."It was a surprise for me," Agassi tells Pat Cash for CNN's Open Court of his appointment, which Djokovic had been mulling over for weeks.Since retiring in 2006, the Las Vegas native has been heavily involved in several charities, while mostly staying out of the limelight."I did say no a couple of times," Agassi admits, while explaining Graf's perseverance. "She said 'Gosh, I hear you talking to (Djokovic), and I hear you talking about him. Why don't you go spend a little time and get to know him?'"So, either she wants me out of the house, or she really cares and knows me." No payment In an unusual move, Agassi says that he is not accepting payment for his coaching role."I'm interested in helping him on terms that work for both of us," he explains. "I'm not doing this (to get paid) nor do I want to get paid. That's not what I'm interested in."I'm inspired because of inspiration itself. I'm at a very blessed time in my life and I don't really need anything. It's not something I'm worried about."Although Agassi is unable to remain in Paris for the tournament's duration because of a prior commitment, he watched attentively from the player's box as Djokovic advanced during the first week.The current world No. 2 meets Dominic Thiem of Austria in the quarterfinals Tuesday. A loss of form Only a year ago coaching Djokovic appeared to be one of sports' cushiest jobs.The Serbian had just won the French Open, completing the first calendar grand slam in men's singles tennis in 47 years, and was playing with an air of invincibility.But not much has gone right since.In his Wimbledon title defense, Djokovic suffered a third-round defeat to unseeded American Sam Querrey, and was knocked out of the 2016 Olympics in the first round by a resurgent Juan Martín del Potro.By the end of the year, Djokovic had lost his world No. 1 ranking to Andy Murray, ushering a parting of ways with his mentor of three seasons Boris Becker.This year began with an embarrassing second-round exit at the 2017 Australian Open to the hands of then-world No. 117 Denis Istomin. In May, the 30-year-old dropped longtime coach Marian Vajda along with his trainer and physiotherapist.What Agassi -- an eight-time grand slam winner, and the oldest man ever to hold the world No. 1 ranking at age 33 -- can offer as Djokovic's new coach remains to be seen."Understanding him has been my top priority; understanding his processes and how he sees his own game," Agassi says."One of the first thing I asked him is, 'What do you think makes you so good?'"The 47-year-old Agassi has never coached on a professional level, and his appointment was announced only eight days before the start of the French Open."We are both excited to work together and see where it takes u[...]

Manchester United tops Forbes' list as most valuable soccer clubGulf crisis is latest strain on 2022 World Cup in QatarMemorial service to be held for Ivory Coast star Cheick TioteRonaldo scores twice as Real Madrid win historic Champions League titleManchester United win Europa League

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 15:11:00 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 16:46:22 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 16:54:28 GMTSat, 03 Jun 2017 21:46:10 GMTThu, 25 May 2017 18:24:54 GMT

It's been a stellar season for Real Madrid after winning La Liga and the Champions League, but the Spanish club suffered a rare defeat Tuesday -- off the pitch.Manchester United is now officially the world's most valuable football club, usurping Real at the top of the Forbes annual rich list for the first time in five years.Jose Mourinho's men might have recorded a lowly sixth place finish in the Premier League, but the club is valued at $3.69 billion, up 11% on last year.United generated record revenues of $765 million -- over $75 million more than Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid -- aided by an unprecedented domestic television deal, global commercial reach and an Adidas uniform sponsorship arrangement worth a reported $90 million per year.The club, owned by the American Glazer family, is also substantially the most profitable, posting operating income of $288 million -- more than fellow English clubs Arsenal ($122 million), Chelsea ($52 million, Liverpool ($29 million) and Tottenham Hotspur ($68 million) combined."Manchester United's return to the top spot is testament to their powerful brand and marketing acumen," commented Mike Ozanian, assistant managing editor at Forbes Media.The Red Devils gained automatic entry to the 2017/18 Champions League courtesy of their Europa League win. Premier League hegemony Though Zinedine Zidane guided Real to one of its greatest seasons in recent memory, the Spanish club's overall value has dropped 2% from $3.64 billion to $3.58 billion in the past year.Los Blancos accordingly fall to third in the Forbes list behind domestic rival, Barcelona.The La Liga top two generated identical revenues ($688M), but the Catalan club, now coached by Ernesto Valverde, saw its overall value rise by 2% to $3.64 billion.Bundelisga champion Bayern Munich ($2.71 billion) remains the fourth most valuable club in the world for the fourth successive year, with English clubs dominating the rest of the top 10.Sheik Mansour's Manchester City rise one place to fifth with a value of $2.08 billion -- up 8% on last year -- followed by Stan Kroenke's Arsenal ($1.93 billion), Roman Abramovich's Chelsea ($1.85 billion) and Liverpool ($1.49 billion), owned by Americans John Henry and Tom Werner.Juventus, owned by the Agnelli family, is ninth on the list with a value at $1.26 billion.With a new 61,000-seater stadium under construction, Tottenham Hotspur ($1.06 billion) rounds off the top 10. Reduced debts, increased disparity Financial fair play (FFP) rulings have helped teams reduce debt and record larger operating profits, with European club revenues now over six times what they were just two decades ago.That has allowed player contracts and transfer fees to soar beyond all recognition, but it has also widened the gap between the European elite and the chasing pack.As UEFA's Club Licensing Benchmarking Report highlights, a select group have morphed into "global super clubs" in this new digital age.This, the report states, is enabling the top teams to "monetize their huge supporter bases."The likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Manchester United and[...]

War Machine gets life in prison for assault

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 05:18:53 GMT

Mixed martial arts fighter Jonathan Paul Koppenhaver, 35, also known as War Machine, was sentenced Monday to 36 years to life for kidnapping, beating and sexually assaulting his ex-girlfriend and attacking her male friend in Las Vegas in 2014, according to The Associated Press, CBS News and other news outlets.

Koppenhaver was sentenced on 29 felony and misdemeanor charges in the attacks on Christy Mack and Corey Thomas. Koppenhaver will be 71 before he's eligible for parole, the AP reports.

His lawyer, Jay Leiderman, said Koppenhaver suffered brain injuries from his fighting career and his emotions were inflamed from steroids and non-prescription stimulant and antidepressant drugs, the AP reports.

Thomas testified he suffered a broken nose, dislocated shoulder, scrapes, bruises and bite marks. Mack whose legal name is Christine Mackinday, testified that she sustained a broken nose, missing teeth, fractured eye socket, leg injuries and a lacerated liver.

Koppenhaver faced 34 charges. A jury remained deadlocked on two attempted murder charges and acquitted Koppenhaver of burglary with a deadly weapon, sexually motivated coercion and battery with intent to commit sexual assault, CBS reports.

Leiderman said Koppenhaver tried to hang himself in jail in January, but that he has turned to religion and wants to become a role model behind bars, according to The Associated Press.

UCF men's basketball announces home-and-home series with Alabama

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 20:20:06 GMT

The Missouri Tigers aren't the only SEC team that the University of Central Florida will play in the 2017 season.

The Knights announced a home-and-home series with the Alabama Crimson Tide Monday afternoon.

The Knights will travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on December 3 to battle the Crimson Tide before a home game against the team the next year on a date to be determined.

In the 2016 campaign, the Crimson Tide went 19-15 under the leadership of a former NBA Coach of the Year, Avery Johnson. In Johnson's third year at Alabama, the team earned the No. 3 seed in the National Invitational Tournament before losing to Richmond in the first round. 

The Crimson Tide have four starters returning and a top-10 recruiting class in the nation.  Alabama was ranked by CBS Sports in its 2017-18 preseason poll at No. 20.  NBC Sports has the team at No. 21.

The Knights  will be no easy competition as the Central Florida squad is fresh off a run into the final four of the NIT tournament. The 2017 season for UCF will be a challenging one as the Knights face off against the Tigers and the nation's top-ranked recruit, Michael Porter Jr. 

The Knights went 24-12 in their first year under Johnny Dawkins. The team doubled its number of wins from the 2015 season and posted the second most wins by a men's basketball team in the program's 33 years spent in Division I of the NCAA.

UCF and Alabama have met only three times, with the Crimson Tide earning wins in every matchup, in 1987, 1988 and 1994. The Knights will look for different results this year with the help of key players including Tacko Fall, B.J. Taylor and A.J. Davis.

Memorial service to be held for Ivory Coast star Cheick TioteGulf crisis is latest strain on 2022 World Cup in QatarRonaldo scores twice as Real Madrid win historic Champions League titleManchester United win Europa LeagueAbby Wambach marries Christian writer

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 16:54:28 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 16:46:22 GMTSat, 03 Jun 2017 21:46:10 GMTThu, 25 May 2017 18:24:54 GMTTue, 16 May 2017 18:08:14 GMT

Chinese club Beijing Enterprises FC is set to hold a memorial service on Tuesday for former Ivory Coast and Newcastle footballer Cheick Tiote.

Family members as well as teammates past and present will attend, including compatriot Gervinho and ex-Newcastle striker Papiss Cissé, according to Tiote's representative Emauele Palladino.

Tiote, who played in England between 2010 and 2017, will then be flown home to the Ivorian capital of Yamoussoukro.

The cause of death of the 30-year-old, who collapsed in training on June 5 and passed away having been rushed to hospital, is still unknown.

'A true professional, a great man'

"Mr Tiote has made outstanding contributions to the club since joining, and has won over the club, coaching staff and teammates with his superb skills and professionalism," said Beijing Enterprises in a statement.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez described Tioté as a "true professional."

"It is with great sadness that I have learned of Cheick's death," Benitez told the Newcastle website.

"In the all the time that I have known him, he was a true professional, dedicated and above all, a great man. Our hearts go out to his family and friends at such a sad time."

AFCON triumph

The midfielder represented his country on over 50 occasions, winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015.

He was also part of the Ivorian squads at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

Senegal striker Demba Ba, who was a teammate of Tiote's at Newcastle, offered his condolences on social media.

"May Allah gives grant you jannah brother Tiote (sic)," tweeted Ba, who now plays in Turkey with Besiktas.

"Very sad to hear about the pass away of tiote. Rip my friend (sic)," posted Jonas Gutierrez, an Argentine who played for Newcastle alongside Tiote.

"Goodnight brother, you will be missed," said Papiss Cissé, another former teammate on Tyneside. "My heart goes out to his family. Gone too soon"

Tiote is best remembered for scoring a spectacular, last-gasp equalizer when Newcastle came from 4-0 to draw 4-4 with Arsenal in 2011.

A diplomatic crisis is only the latest complication as Qatar prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.

No team collects European trophies as ruthlessly as Real Madrid.

Manchester is a city in mourning and so the meaning of Manchester United's Europa League final against Ajax Wednesday changed significantly in the two days since the suicide bombing which killed 22 people and injured many more.

Retired U.S. soccer great Abby Wambach married Christian writer Glennon Doyle Melton on Sunday.

Gulf crisis is latest strain on 2022 World Cup in QatarQatar rift: Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt cut diplomatic tiesMideast airlines halt Qatar flights as Gulf crisis escalatesMiddle East split: The allies isolating QatarRonaldo scores twice as Real Madrid win historic Champions League title

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 16:46:22 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 17:50:02 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 11:47:02 GMTMon, 05 Jun 2017 13:14:04 GMTSat, 03 Jun 2017 21:46:10 GMT

A diplomatic crisis is only the latest complication as Qatar prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.

The country is already facing allegations of worker misconduct, and it had to slash the budget for the soccer tournament by more than 40% because of the falling price of oil.

FIFA has fended off allegations of corruption in awarding the World Cup to Qatar and has faced an outcry over anti-homosexuality laws there. The tournament has already been moved to November and December 2022 because of the dangerous summer heat.

Now other Middle Eastern countries are cutting ties with Qatar, isolating the country by suspending flights and closing access to seaports. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Egypt said they took that step because Qatar supports terrorism and destabilizes the region.

If the travel restrictions remain in place for years, they could keep supplies, workers and eventually fans from moving freely in and out of the country.

FIFA said Monday that it was "in regular contact" with the Qatari organizing committee but did not address questions about how the diplomatic break might affect the tournament.

Qatar's World Cup organizing committee declined to comment.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates broke off relations with Qatar in the worst diplomatic crisis to hit Gulf Arab states in decades.

The Middle East's biggest airlines are suspending flights to Qatar as a major diplomatic crisis roils the region.

Nine countries have cut ties with Qatar, one of the richest states in the Middle East, calling into question the future of a powerful 36-year-old Gulf states union.

No team collects European trophies as ruthlessly as Real Madrid.