Friday, 23 September 2011

Costa del Sol’s oldest magazine shuts its doors

 

The Costa del Sol’s oldest magazine is reported to have closed down after running its final edition on Friday. The Friday-Ad – which continues to run a UK operation boasting over 1 million readers a week – had produced a Costa del Sol edition out of its Gibraltar offices since 1975. The reason behind the decision to close remains unclear. When the Olive Press attempted to contact the publication’s office, the number failed to connect. However, a member of staff in the UK office confirmed that it was their understanding that the Costa del Sol edition had closed. “As far as I am aware that was the plan (to close on Friday) but you will need to call back in 10 minutes to speak to someone who can confirm that,” she said.

Barcelona's last bullfight marks end of an era in Spain

 

When Spanish bullfighter Serafin Marin plunges his sword into the back of a bull's neck in Barcelona on Sunday, he will be marking the end of an era. The bull will not only be the last of six killed in the bullfight, but the last-ever to be killed in Barcelona's Monumental bullring, which is nearly a century old. The closure of the Monumental - in keeping with a bullfighting ban in the north-eastern region of Catalonia - reflects the decline of bullfighting in Spain, though fans of the country's 'national fiesta' vow to fight on. 'We have lost a battle, but not the war,' Marin told the daily El Mundo. But animal rights campaigner Aida Gascon said, 'Now that we have achieved (the end of bullfights) in Catalonia, we shall try to finish with them in the rest of Spain.' Catalonia, a wealthy region of 7.5 million people, has spearheaded the campaign against bullfights, or 'corridas,' in a country where animal rights activism is on the rise. The Catalan capital of Barcelona declared itself an 'anti-bullfight' city in 2004. Dozens of other municipalities followed suit, and finally in July 2010 the regional parliament outlawed bullfights from January 1, 2012. The Canary Islands had already done so in 1991, as part of a more general animal protection law, but that decision had gone largely unnoticed. The Catalan opposition to bullfights is explained not only by animal rights activism, but also by Catalan nationalism, many of whose representatives see 'corridas' as an expression of Spanishness. The region with separatist currents 'wants to eliminate everything that represents Spain,' Marin said. Bullfighting remains an important industry in Spain with an annual turnover of more than 2.5 billion euros (3.5 billion dollars), contributing to 0.25 per cent of gross domestic product. It provides direct employment to 200,000 people, including bullfighters, or 'toreros,' bull breeders, managers and others. Yet gradually the spectacle that once inspired artists and writers such as Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway is losing its appeal. Only 37 per cent of Spaniards are interested in bullfights, while 60 per cent dislike them, according to a 2010 poll. 'Corridas' are least popular among young people. Animal rights campaigners see the event, in which darts are stuck into the back of the animal's neck before the 'torero' kills it with his sword, as torture. Some observers attribute the decline also to other causes, ranging from Spain's economic crisis to an alleged deterioration of the race of the Iberian 'brave bull.' Not only are bulls' horns 'shaved' to make them less dangerous, but they are also losing their fighting spirit, some bullfighting commentators complain. Another important reason for the decline of 'corridas' is their image as an old-fashioned form of entertainment. 'Young people do not choose an anachronistic spectacle,' anti-bullfight campaigner Helena Escoda said. Even Catalonia, however, has not outlawed other bull spectacles, such as bull runs. Some Spanish regions have come out in defence of the 'corrida,' describing it as a part of their cultural heritage. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government placed bullfights under the responsibility of the Culture Ministry, instead of the Interior Ministry. The opposition conservative People's Party, which is expected to win the November 20 parliamentary elections, has taken legal action against the Catalan bullfighting ban at the Constitutional Court. Catalan bullfighting enthusiasts have also collected 300,000 signatures in defence of the fiesta. Yet it is far from certain that such initiatives will stop what many see as an inevitable social development. Catalan bullfighters, in the meantime, are planning to face the bull elsewhere in Spain or in the south of France.

Spain fears pain as Ratón the killer bull prepares to enter ring for last time

Raton the bull at a festival in Sueca,near Valencia, Spain
Ratón the bull at a festival in Sueca, Spain. Photograph: Alberto Saiz/AP

It is the end of a long career, deemed venerable by those who admire Spanish fighting bulls.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, the half-tonne 11-year-old killer bull known as Ratón, or Mouse, will feel a bullring's sand under his hooves and sniff the scent of commingled human adrenaline and fear for the last time.

Those who pay their €2.50 (£2.20) in Canals, eastern Spain, will witness the final chapter of a life spent chasing, and occasionally goring, people. Fans are expected to arrive from around the country.

Many will be secretly hoping Ratón, who has killed two and reportedly gored five others in his career, will draw blood at his valedictory outing in the small town near Valencia. A fiesta poster promises "a show with the presence of the famous Ratón" starting at 12.30am. It does not mention that Ratón killed a spectator in nearby Xátiva last month and another man in 2008.

Canals mayor, Ricardo Cardona, claims to have been unaware of Ratón's bloody past when hiring him. He has asked the bull's owner, Gregorio de Jesús, to prevent members of the public coming face to face with the beast.

Four professional recortadores, or bull-taunters, will instead dodge in front of him in the bullring, encouraging him to chase them over obstacles for up to half an hour.

"It is when someone jumps in spontaneously that things inevitably happen," De Jesús said this month.

Police and security staff will try to prevent enthusiastic amateurs jumping into the ring with Spain's most infamous bull.

The future of Ratón, who is past retirement age, remains uncertain. De Jesús wants to clone the bull but is waiting to hear if he will receive local government funds to pay for it.

 

 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Ojai's Beth Allen posts career best finish

 

Former Ojai resident Beth Allen posted her best career finish on the Ladies European Tour, tying for second at the Open de España Femenino tournament last week at the La Quinta Golf Resort on the Costa del Sol. The 29-year-old Allen, who played at Nordhoff High and at Cal State Northridge, went into the final round with a one-shot lead. She posted a even-par 72 on Sunday, but England's Melissa Reid fired a 2-under 70 to win by a stroke. The strong finish allowed Allen to earn her biggest paycheck as a professional, winning 23,308 Euros ($31,879 U.S. dollars). In addition, Allen jumped up 17 places in the LET's money list, putting her at 24th for the season. This is her fourth season playing in Europe after competing for several seasons on the LPGA Tour.

Bullfighting to end in Spain's Catalonia,

 

Bullfighting fans will shout "Ole" for the last time in Barcelona's Monumental bullring on Sunday before a ban on the sport takes effect across the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia. The regional legislature banned the centuries-old tradition -- which pits a sword-wielding matador in a skin-tight shiny suit and red cape against an enraged bull -- last year after Catalans signed a petition against it. The bullfighting industry is still convinced it has a chance to overturn the ban and bring back the "toros" next season to Catalonia, the only mainland region in Spain that has blocked the sport -- or the art as its fans see it. "I think the politicians will think twice about the ban and bullfighting will live on. And thank God because Catalonia has plenty of serious bullfighting fans and in a democratic country they should be able to go to a bullfight," said Moises Fraile, 64, owner of El Pilar, the breeder supplying bulls for Sunday's spectacle. Some 20,000 spectators are expected to fill a sold-out Monumental -- the only bullring still operating in Catalonia -- for Sunday's blockbuster corrida starring celebrated Madrid "torero" Jose Tomas. Tomas retired in 2002, but came back in 2007 at a bullfight in Monumental, his favorite ring. Since then he has made sporadic appearances and is the only bullfighter who can still sell out Monumental.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Silva reveals Spain frustration

 

David Silva feels as though he has fallen by the wayside in Spain coach Vicente del Bosque's plans since last year's World Cup, describing himself as a "supporting actor". The 25-year-old midfielder has won a half-century of caps for his country since debuting in 2006 but has struggled to claim a first-team berth since Spain's opening game in South Africa against Switzerland last summer. The Manchester City playmaker told AS: "I feel that I don't have the confidence of the coach. When I was the only victim of the defeat against Switzerland, I thought that it could be to do with fitness, but afterwards, the critics towards my performances have always been good, although that isn't enough for the coach to trust in me." He added: "Before that game (against Switzerland) I felt confident. I played regularly, I had a place in the team, but after that defeat everything started to change. As such over time I've thought that I was the victim of that bad start that we had in the World Cup." Silva is well aware that competition is tough for berths in the Spain midfield, though. "My team-mates are very good and it's not up to me to decide if I have to be part of the starting XI. The only thing I say is that whilst Luis (Aragones) had confidence in me, Del Bosque thinks differently," he said. Looking ahead to the Euro 2012 finals, which reigning champions Spain have already qualified for, Silva added: "The decision of who goes or not will be the coach's. I'm going to work hard to maintain this level I'm at now, but even still I doubt I'm going to have a leading role in the European Championships.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Stoner makes statement in Spain

 

Casey Stoner took another significant step towards his second MotoGP world title after easing to a crushing victory at the Aragon Grand Prix in Spain. The Repsol Honda rider was the class of the field in practice and qualifying and backed up that pace as he finished over eight seconds clear of team-mate Dani Pedrosa to register his eighth win in 14 races this season. The Australian, whose first championship came with Ducati in 2007, now leads the riders' standings by 44 points from Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo with four rounds remaining. Stoner failed to make the most of his pole-position start off the line, out-dragged first by Pedrosa and then by Ben Spies as the Yamaha man took the lead into the first corner. But Stoner was not be be denied, and overhauled both Pedrosa and Spies by the end of the opening tour en route to a victory by a commanding margin. "We're pretty much back to our best," Stoner told BBC Sport. "It felt good all weekend. The bike has been fantastic and the only problem was the wind - it was changing direction and speed every lap so that was a challenge but I just had to bring it home. "It was my race to lose today and I did the job." Pedrosa clung to his team-mate's coat-tails as best he could as he came in a distant second, but Spies could not maintain the pace and faded to an eventual fifth-placed finish. Spies' demise allowed team-mate and reigning champion Lorenzo to come through for the final podium berth, the Spaniard finishing well clear of Italy's Marco Simoncelli (Gresini Honda), who ran third early on but dropped back after on off on lap 10. Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista took a strong sixth place from Hector Barbera (Aspar Ducati) and Nicky Hayden (Ducati), while Britain's Cal Crutchlow took ninth for Tech 3 Yamaha, ahead of Valentino Rossi, who continued his struggles on the factory Ducati. The race saw a number of riders crash out in the windy conditions, the most notable coming when Honda's Andrea Dovizioso, currently lying third in the riders' standings, lost control on the first lap to register his first retirement of the campaign.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

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Reid wins Spanish Open, Pace joint second

 

England’s Melissa Reid gave herself an early 24th birthday present by nailing her third Ladies European Tour victory at the Spanish Open. The 23-year-old, who celebrates her birthday on Monday, fired a two under par 70 at La Quinta Golf Resort in the Costa del Sol on Sunday to end eight under, one stroke clear of Lee-Anne Pace, Tania Elosegui and overnight leader Beth Allen. It was Reid’s second win this season, following victory at the Deloitte Ladies Open in the Netherlands and she will be full of confidence as she heads straight to The Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle in Ireland. A par on the 18th was enough to seal the win after Pace bogeyed the hole

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Pace one shot behind Spanish Open leader

 

American Beth Allen will chase her debut Ladies European Tour victory at the Spanish Open. The 29 year-old Californian finished the third day at the head of affairs after a round of level par 72 at La Quinta Golf Resort on the Costa del Sol. She ended at seven under par, one stroke clear of England’s Melissa Reid (70) Finland’s Ursula (70) Wikstrom and South African Lee-Anne Pace (73). Allen held steady with three birdies against three bogeys on another scorching day in Marbella, making up her score on the par fives. There will be a friendly European-US rivalry in the last group on Sunday ahead of next week’s Solheim Cup, which pits the best 12 European players against their rivals from the United States. Allen and a group of friends will celebrate Reid’s birthday tonight, as she turns 24 on Monday, just prior to making her Cup debut at Killeen Castle in Ireland. Reid will be in pursuit of her third LET title following a second win at the Deloitte Ladies Open in Holland in June. Her card contained an eagle, a double, three birdies and one bogey. Wikstrom also had a colourful scorecard, with an eagle on the 14th. Italian duo Veronica Zorzi and Stefania Croce are currently tied for fifth place on five under par, while overnight leader Tania Elósegui from Spain shot 79 to slip back into a share of seventh alongside Sweden’s Carin Koch and Italian Diana Luna. Thai LET rookie Nontaya Srisawang recorded her second hole in one of the season at the 186-yard 6th hole, but after winning a Skoda in Slovakia, there was no prize this time. There would have been a Seat car for an ace at the 11th. THIRD-ROUND SCORES 209 - Beth Allen (USA) 69 68 72 210 - Melissa Reid (ENG) 71 69 70, Ursula Wikstrom (FIN) 72 68 70, Lee-Anne Pace (SA) 68 69 73 211 - Veronica Zorzi (ITA) 71 71 69, Stefania Croce (ITA) 72 68 71 212 - Carin Koch (SWE) 70 73 69, Diana Luna (ITA) 71 70 71, Tania Elosegui (ESP) 68 65 79 213 - Laura Cabanillas (ESP) 72 71 70, Carlota Ciganda (ESP) 76 67 70, Frances Bondad (AUS) 70 72 71, Stacey Keating (AUS) 69 69 75 214 - Louise Stahle (SWE) 72 71 71 215 - Cassandra Kirkland (FRA) 71 71 73 216 - Ashleigh Simon (SA) 73 72 71, Raquel Carriedo (ESP) 73 71 72, Nontaya Srisawang (THA) 72 71 73, Rebecca Hudson (ENG) 72 70 74, Louise Larsson (SWE) 71 70 75, Becky Brewerton (WAL) 67 72 77 217 - Anne-Lise Caudal (FRA) 75 68 74, Caroline Westrup (SWE) 71 76 70 218 - Emma Cabrera-Bello (ESP) 76 69 73, Stefanie Michl (AUT) 74 72 72, Marianne Skarpnord (NOR) 78 68 72, Caroline Masson (GER) 73 71 74, Rebecca Codd (IRE) 73 74 71, Melodie Bourdy (FRA) 72 70 76 219 - Line Vedel (DEN) 70 75 74, Joanna Klatten (FRA) 72 73 74, Caroline Hedwall (SWE) 71 73 75, Tara Davies (WAL) 74 72 73, Liebelei Elena Lawrence (LU) 68 73 78, Mianne Bagger (DEN) 73 76 70 220 - Danielle Montgomery (ENG) 73 72 75, Anna Rossi (ITA) 75 71 74, Marjet van der Graaff (NL) 74 70 76, Lynn Kenny (SCO) 71 73 76, Elizabeth Bennett (ENG) 76 71 73, Trish Johnson (ENG) 71 72 77, Julie Tvede (DEN) 73 74 73, Charlie Douglass (ENG) 72 76 72 221 - Bree Arthur (AUS) 72 75 74, Lisa Holm Sorensen (DEN) 73 70 78, Teresa Caballer (Am) (ESP) 74 73 74, Jenni Kuosa (FIN) 75 74 72 222 - Kim Welch (USA) 72 73 77, Garrett Phillips (USA) 74 72 76, Karen Lunn (AUS) 73 73 76, Klara Spilkova (CZE) 77 72 73, Nikki Garrett (AUS) 77 72 73 223 - Laura Davies (ENG) 74 72 77, Sahra Hassan (WAL) 73 71 79, Marina Arruti (ESP) 73 75 75, Rebecca Flood (AUS) 77 71 75, Georgina Simpson (ENG) 74 75 74, Carly Booth (SCO) 76 73 74, Henrietta Zuel (ENG) 77 72 74 224 - Lucie Andre (FRA) 73 73 78, Mireia Prat (Am) (ESP) 76 70 78, Adriana Zwanck (ESP) 76 71 77, Lynnette Brooky (NZ) 76 72 76, Kate Combes (AUS) 75 73 76, Rachel Bell (ENG) 76 73 75 225 - Malene Jorgensen (DEN) 75 73 77, Stacy Lee Bregman (SA) 74 75 76 226 - Morgana Robbertze (SA) 75 73 78, Kyra van Leeuwen (NL) 74 75 77, Zuzana Kamasova (SVK) 72 77 77 228 - Caroline Martens (NOR) 74 74 80 229 - Kym Larratt (ENG) 78 71 80

APPLE MEGASTORE IN MARBELLA

Tourists come to know Marbella as one of the most sought after holiday destinations not only in Spain but throughout the European continent; now Apple choose the charming mediterranean town with the highest Millionaires concentration to host its most ambitious project in the Iberian Peninsula.

apple store

A series of rumors speak of the future opening of an Apple store in Marbella, something which has been discussed for months, but now with an added extra, since it would be the largest Apple store in Spain.

Recently, Apple opened two of its famous stores in Madrid and Barcelona and everything indicates that the next one will be located on the Costa del Sol, specifically in the shopping center La Cañada in Marbella.

The Apple Store in Marbella would have an area of 1700 square meters, which would make it the largest in the Spanish territory. Its inauguration is expected in November. Thus, Marbella will host the third Apple store in Spain. 

 

 

Polo Experience at Tres Rosas Polo

 

Tres Rosas Polo offered the chance to try some horse riding as well as the opportunity to play a very popular sport called Polo. Polo is a team sport played on horseback and the players score by driving a small white plastic or wooden ball into the opposing team's goal using a long-handled mallet. The traditional sport of polo is played at speed on a large grass field up to 300 yards in length, and each polo team consists of four riders and their mounts.    Personally, I must admit I was a bit intimidated by the whole thing, since my only(and very brief) experience with horses was more than 10 years ago. Getting up the horse and heading to the field already raised a fair amount of adrenaline in me, but the peak was reached once my horse started to gallop. Let's just say it isn't as easy at it looks and for me the fear of falling was the biggest!    Thankfully my horse, Todo, let my first experience be totally positive, even though I was not sure at all what I was doing. What they told me was that the horse can sense if the rider is insecure and totally in charge. That is the reason also why she didn't obey 100%. Nevertheless, riding the horse with the mallet in the right and leading the horse with my left hand made me feel like a polo player, even if it was for only 15 minutes!    I definitely suggest this type of sport to anybody who loves to try something different and Tres Rosas Polo club is the right place to take up this interesting hobby that is played professionally in 16 countries!

Brewerton edges ahead

 

Becky Brewerton of Wales established a one-stroke lead over the chasing pack at the end of the first round of the Open de Espana Femenino at the La Quinta Resort in Marbella. The 28-year-old shot a five-under-par 67 to lead from a group of three players, South Africa's Lee-Anne Pace, Luxembourg's Liebelei Lawrence and home favourite Tania Elosegui. Brewerton covered the back nine in just 32 shots to make an excellent start and she said: "I decided to try to commit to all the shots. I played quite well in Prague last week and I think the confidence carried over, so I'm obviously delighted to start five under." She added: "Today it was a little bit different. I wasn't feeling quite as comfortable on the long game but as we all know, it doesn't matter how you hit it, if you're putting well you'll shoot good scores." Scotland's Lynn Kenny and England's Melissa Reid stand four shots behind Brewerton after shooting rounds of 71, while defending champion Laura Davies was off the pace with a two-over round of 74.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Stoner feels pace of long MotoGP season

 

Casey Stoner admits he's feeling the pace of a long, gruelling season as he prepares for the Aragon Grand Prix in Spain. It's the 14th race of an 18-event season which comes just a week after he was defeated in San Marino. Last weekend, Stoner started on pole position at Misano but was beaten into second place by world champion Jorge Lorenzo who cut the gap at the top of the standings to just 35 points on the Australian with five races remaining.  Stoner said he has spent the past week relaxing to recharge batteries being sapped by a championship which started in the Middle East, came back to Europe, took two separate trips to the United States before heading off to Asia and Australia. The series will finish back in Valencia on November 4. "I've managed to rest since the hard race in Misano, where I was totally worn out," said Stoner. "The hectic schedule we follow had drained me completely and I had no energy, nothing left to give, so I've enjoyed relaxing this past week and getting back to some training. "The Aragon track is ok, it's not one of my favourite circuits, I feel it could be a little faster. We ran well there last year, mainly due to the fact we took a big step in the set up on the bike." "It's still going to be very tight. Every time we talk about the Championship I say there's no way Jorge is going to give up, and he'll take every point he can." Last year, Lorenzo started in second spot on the grid but finished in fourth. "I am very happy to be riding at home again and for a second time in Aragon," said Lorenzo of a race which was drafted into the calendar last year to replace the scheduled race in Hungary. "Last year I couldn't get the podium which was a big shame. I wanted it because I was competing in Spain and the season had been perfect." Meanwhile, nine-time champion Valentino Rossi confirmed he will race in next month's Japanese Grand Prix despite fears expressed by other riders over safety at the Motegi track in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. "I will go to Japan for the race. All the tests are negative, it looks quite safe so yes, I will go to race at Motegi," said Rossi

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Real Madrid do the business in Zagreb

 

Argentinean player Di María scored the single goal which separated the teams in Zagreb last night, to give Real Madrid the three points against Dinamo de Zagreb. Marcelo was sent off for a harsh tackle and for faking a penalty. Cristiano Ronaldo launched an attack on TV after the game, with his right ankle covered in blood. ‘They are envious of me. This is shameful’, he said. ‘I hope never get any more referees like this one’. In the other game to feature a Spanish team Villarreal were outclassed by Bayern 2-0. The trainer, Juan Carlos Garrido, admitted that the team were killed by the first goal and described the game as ‘a complicated defeat’.

Why some Harley Davidson bikes are 'too American' for Spain

 

The Spanish traffic authorities have impounded hundreds of second hand Harley Davidson motorbikes which had been imported from the United States as they are ‘too American’. Hundreds of Spanish owners of the bikes are angry that they cannot remove them from the Guardia Civil barracks where they are being stored as it has been determined that the bikes do meet the Spanish official approval level. Only the Harleys which are sold via official dealers in Spain are being considered to meet the homologación official. An association has been formed by those affected says most of the bikes have passed the ITV test and are identical to those being sold by dealers. Their lawyer, Francisco Gualda, says that as many as 5000 bikes could be affected. Many bikers have opted for imported bikes to save money; quite how much is not clear. One report that it is 800 € has been dismissed by the lawyer who told El País, ‘Nobody would risk losing their bike for such an amount’. The Guardia Civil says the vehicles need to have the official approval sign assigned on an individual basis, but the bikes owners say it is impossible for individuals to obtain the documents. The DGT traffic authority has denied that there is any campaign against Harvey Davidson’s, saying that when a driver is stopped and his documents are not in order, then the bike is impounded. Josep Grañó, the Managing Director of Harley Davidson in Spain has told El País that the imported bikes are different as they have different engines. ‘That’s why we cannot repair them as they require different tools’. He also says the imported bikes do not meet many standards including CO emission, and noise.

NADAL FATIGUED AHEAD OF DAVIS CUP

 

Rafael Nadal is ready to lead Spain into Davis Cup battle this weekend despite the disappointment of losing his US Open title on Monday. Nadal will get the semi-final tie against France under way on Friday when he faces off against Richard Gasquet in Cordoba. Not only is Gasquet a tricky opponent but Nadal also has the added issue of a quick transition back to his favoured clay surface after weeks on the hard courts of North America. The world number two, beaten in four sets by Novak Djokovic in the title match at Flushing Meadows, flew by private jet back to Spain on Tuesday and is pulling out the stops to ensure his country progress to the final. He said: "I am tired for sure. "I played a very long match on Monday and it is a challenge for me to be here. I am trying for my country, but it's tough. "For me it's not a mental problem (playing Davis Cup), it's more of a physical problem. If we talk about the mental part, I am ready to play. "It's very hot here and that makes the court conditions quicker. "I haven't spent much time training but if I can play a good game on Friday, then by Sunday I should be back on track and my game more reliable." Nadal and Gasquet will be followed on court by David Ferrer and Gilles Simon. Djokovic has the chance to cap an excellent few days by leading defending champions Serbia past Argentina in Belgrade. The world number one, who added the US Open crown to his victories at the Australian Open and Wimbledon earlier this year in what has been a remarkable season, is slated to open the tie against David Nalbandian. Nalbandian is a dangerous opponent and not one to be fazed by reputation. The South American told www.daviscup.com: "I feel good. I am the kind of guy who doesn't care about the ranking. I believe in myself and my chances. "Playing Davis Cup is always a pleasure and we will do our best for the weekend." Argentina captain Tito Vazquez backed the 29-year-old to cause Djokovic problems. "He has been a main feature for the Argentinian team in Davis Cup over the past few years and played an excellent set against Nadal at the US open. He is capable of playing anyone. "They are favourites, having the number one player in the world, but we know that every match counts." The second rubber in the tie features Janko Tipsarevic and Juan Martin Del Porto. Del Potro is still finding his form after a long injury lay-off but Tipsarevic remains wary of his talent. "I wouldn't say that I am favourite even though he is ranked lower than me. He is still a very big player," Tipsarevic said. "He didn't play great the past couple of weeks but players like him can raise their level. "I am playing good tennis, I know the court and I will have the backing of the crowd. I would say it is a 50/50 match."

There’s a mini revolution going on in Spain

 

There’s a mini revolution going on in Spain and it’s not at Barcelona or Real Madrid. Qatar based Sheikh Al Thani’s buyout and investment in players saw the Costa Del Sol outfit finish in 11th – hardly earth-shattering but a big improvement on the previous year’s 17th under the stewardship of ex Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini. The manager was able to bring in some eye-catching players in last January’s transfer window, including Sergio Asenjo, Martin Demichelis, Enzo Maresca and Julio Baptista – the latter responding with nine goals in 11 matches as Malaga moved smoothly up the table from the start of February. And the cash has been splashed again in the summer, with Al Thani’s millions resulting in the arrival of Santi Cazorla, Ruud Van Nistelroy, Joaquin, Nacho Monreal, Sergio Sanchez, Isco, Jeremy Toulalan, Diego Buonanotte and Joris Mathijsen. It’s resulted in the club being backed into joint favouritism to finish top of the league without the ‘big two’. If the money is right they will have too much class for Grenada , who were the third team promoted from the Spanish second division last season, 15 points behind the champions.

Boxer Scott Harrison released from Spanish jail

 

SHAMED Scottish boxer Scott Harrison is a free man after being released from a Costa del Sol prison. Harrison, 34, walked free from the notorious Botafuego jail near Algeciras after serving two and a half years for assaulting a policeman, and factory worker Jose Manuel Ortega in 2006. The former WBO title holder was jailed in 2009 for the assault – which took place in Alhaurin el Grande – but could still face extra jail time for another alleged attack in a Costa del Sol brothel in May 2007. He and cousins David McGill, 37, and Edward McGill, 39, were accused of battering bar boss Rafael Sainz Maza, 31, with Harrison facing three counts of assault. Following his release on Saturday, the Glaswegian spent time with his family at an apartment in Estepona’s Albayt Resort before strolling along Bermuda Beach with his fiancee Stacey Gardner, 27, and two-year-old son Jack. The father-of-three returned to the UK on Sunday, flying from Gibraltar in a possible bid to avoid the Spanish airport authorities. In 2009, Harrison told the Olive Press of his determination to rebuild his career once he was released. “I can tell you now that Scott Harrison will be back. I want to repay the fans for the faith they have shown in me,” he said. “I have never been so focussed and determined in my entire life. Being locked up helps develop that. “I’ll have a clean slate – a new start and the determination to show everyone I’m back.”

Schumacher: 'Phenomenal talent' Button can be champion again

 

Jenson Button has been praised as 'a phenomenal talent' who 'can fight for the world championship again in the right car' by Mercedes GP rival Michael Schumacher – as the McLaren-Mercedes star has explained that 'feeling the team around me' and having them 'listen' to him more has been the key to his strong performances in F1 2011. With six races left to run, Button currently sits third in the drivers' standings – ahead of team-mate and compatriot Lewis Hamilton, widely-perceived to be out-and-out the faster of the pair but a man who has been routinely shown up by his fellow title-winner in recent weeks, to the extent that it is the 2009 F1 World Champion who is now being talked about as the team leader at McLaren. Second place in last weekend's Italian Grand Prix marked Button's third podium finish in swift succession, and indeed, over the last seven races, only Red Bull Racing's runaway world championship leader Sebastian Vettel has triumphed more. Schumacher – who found himself on the receiving end of some criticism from Button for his on-track etiquette during his fierce scrap with Hamilton at Monza contends that another title for the eleven-time grand prix-winner cannot be ruled out. “Even if maybe he is two per cent below the level of his peak, he is still a phenomenal talent,” the German legend told news agency SID, adding in an interview with fashion magazine Vogue: “He can fight for the world championship again in the right car.” Meanwhile, as he increasingly asserts himself inside the Woking-based outfit, Button has reflected that he is enjoying the significant contribution he is making towards the development of McLaren's 2012 challenger, and that he is driving better even than he did en route to the laurels with Brawn GP two years ago – not bad for a man who many feared had stepped straight into the lion's den in boldly taking on Hamilton in his own backyard. “It is to do with confidence after winning the world championship, feeling the team around me and being in a good place off the circuit,” the 31-year-old told the Daily Telegraph. “I took my engineers and mechanics out for dinner on Saturday night in Italy. It is not for a competitive edge over Lewis' side of the garage; it was to pay them back for all the hard work they have done. “[The team] are really listening to what I have to say; every time I drive the simulator, we test something that I specifically want. I don't think I am having more of a say, but I think they are listening more, which is nice.”

Ricky Hatton has been successful in applying to the British Boxing Board of Control for his seconds and trainers licences.


The former two-weight world champion is now looking forward to training a successful stable of boxers based at the Hatton Health and Fitness gym in Hyde.
Ricky, 32, who passed a battery of tests to win back his seconds licence at the weekend will now be allowed to work in corners again.
He said: "The Board have shown great faith in me by handing back my seconds licence and giving me a trainers licence for the first time.
"It means they are putting their trust in me to go in a corner with a boxer and look after his welfare."
Hatton's seconds and managers licences were taken from him last year while he was treated for depression, but the BBB of C are now satisfied that he has returned to full health.
Ricky has been working with Bob Shannon's fighters in the gym and he will continue assisting the experienced trainer in the near future.
Hatton explained: "I have been in the gym helping Bob's fighters and that was the whole purpose of deciding to take a trainers licence.
"I left school when I was 16-years-old and apart from fitting a few carpets badly for my dad, the only job I have had is boxing.
"I am dedicated to being a trainer as much as I was being a fighter because boxing is a hard game and you only get once chance.
"I have got that little spring in my step and I hope it won't be long before future champions start knocking on my door asking me to train them.
"I am fully on board running my businesses, but my office has always been the boxing gym and that is where I give my best advice.
"It makes sense to go into coaching because I am involved in the game I love.
"It was hard to come to terms with retirement, and boxing is the best feeling in the world, but the next best thing is throwing punches for one of your fighters."
The most popular fighter in British boxing history recently took complete control of his business empire, and has delayed re-applying for his managers licence because of the busy schedule.
He added: "I am promoting, training and taken charge of the Hatton group which keeps me busy right now.
"I will eventually manage fighters, but there won't be an abundance of them because I have so many irons in the fire at the minute."

Seve Trophy 2011: Miguel Angel Jimenez to honour Ballesteros

 

Miguel Angel Jimenez will honour his late friend Seve Ballesteros by hitting the first shot in the Seve Trophy. Jimenez will lead Continental Europe into action as he and Pablo Larrazabal take on Great Britain & Ireland's Simon Dyson and Jamie Donaldson in fourballs. Europe captain Jean van de Velde said ahead of Thursday's start: "Seve is the reason this tournament exists. "After his passing away a few months ago, we felt that paying a tribute to the man would be very important." He added: "We decided there would be a Spaniard hitting the first shot of the tournament. GB & IRELAND TEAM Continue reading the main story Paul McGinley (capt), Darren Clarke, Jamie Donaldson, Simon Dyson, Ross Fisher, Mark Foster, David Horsey, Scott Jamieson, Ian Poulter, Robert Rock, Lee Westwood "Who better than his good friend Miguel Angel Jimenez?" Meanwhile, GB&I captain Paul McGinley believes his team are underdogs in Paris. McGinley's side contains world number two Lee Westwood, Open champion Darren Clarke and Simon Dyson, who won the KLM Open in the Netherlands on Sunday. Van de Velde's team includes Thomas Bjorn, Jimenez and Francesco Molinari. McGinley said: "There is no doubt Continental Europe are favourites. They are a stronger team on paper." McGinley is without world number one Luke Donald and third-ranked Rory McIlroy for the four-day matchplay competition. CONTINENTAL EUROPE TEAM Jean van de Velde (capt), Thomas Bjorn, Nicolas Colsaerts, Anders Hansen, Peter Hanson, Raphael Jacquelin, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Pablo Larrazabal, Matteo Manassero, Francesco Molinari, Alexander Noren He conceded: "I'm disappointed not to have Luke and Rory because I'm competitive - I want to win. I wanted my best team available. "But I understand the top players in the world are playing a different schedule in which ranking points are very important to them. Everyone makes decisions on what is best for their career. "I certainly wouldn't criticise them. I'd love them to be playing but that's not the case." The match is being played at Golf de Saint-Nom-la-Breteche in Paris and McGinley believes the location also favours the Continental Europe team. He said: "They have a French captain and that's going to mean a vociferous crowd. We're under no illusions we're the underdogs, but we have been before - and come out on top." Despite that, McGinley is confident in the team he has available. He said: "I'll be looking for input from the experienced men - Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke and Ian Poulter. I'll be consulting them all the way through. "I've played Ryder Cups with all three of them, and Seve Trophy matches, so I know them all well personally and professionally." Continue reading the main story Thomas Bjorn is in incredible form. He comes into this match with first-first to his name. He doesn't like to be beaten Jean van de Velde Van de Velde insists his side will be motivated by five straight defeats in the event. The Frenchman commented: "We've played this match six times and [GB&I] have won the last five; that will be the inspiration for my team. "I have a couple of leaders. Thomas Bjorn is in incredible form. He comes into this match with first-first to his name. It's his sixth Seve Trophy and he knows how many times we have lost in a row. He doesn't like to be beaten. "Miguel Angel Jimenez never knows when he is beaten and he has played in three Ryder Cups and all six Seve Trophy matches. "I have 10 players who feel that way too. They are all champions and, if there is one thing they hate more than anything, it's losing."

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I'm rich, handsome and a great player - Cristiano Ronaldo

 

Cristiano Ronaldo believes opposition fans dislike him because he is "rich, handsome and a great player". The Real Madrid star was jeered by Dinamo Zagreb supporters during his side's 1-0 victory in the Champions League on Wednesday. The Portugal winger also came in for some rough treatment from the Croatian side's defenders, prompting Ronaldo to offer his own assessment. "People are envious of me," he said. "I don't have any other explanation." WHAT OTHERS THINK OF RONALDO Continue reading the main story "He's six-foot two, brave as a lion, strong as an ox and quick as lightning. If he was good looking, you'd say he has everything." Paul Jewell "The kid makes you sick. He looks the part, he walks the part, he is the part. He's six-foot something, fit as a flea and good-looking." Ian Holloway While the former Manchester United star was happy to brush off the abuse from supporters, he was less than happy with the protection he was afforded by referee Svein Oddvar Moen. Ronaldo needed stitches in his ankle after one particularly robust tackle, and called on the officials to get tough with over-physical markers. "We are very happy with three points we took, but I'm not so satisfied with the refereeing," he said. "I hope we never have this referee again. People talk of fair-play, of protecting good players, but I never get any of that. I don't understand a thing. "I'm sad because I hear referees saying they will protect skilful players but, while some are untouchable, it seems I can be mauled."

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