F1’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix Canceled Because of Deadly Floods in Italy

General view of the start of the Formula One Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari racetrack in Imola, Italy, 24 April 2022. (EPA)
General view of the start of the Formula One Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari racetrack in Imola, Italy, 24 April 2022. (EPA)
TT

F1’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix Canceled Because of Deadly Floods in Italy

General view of the start of the Formula One Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari racetrack in Imola, Italy, 24 April 2022. (EPA)
General view of the start of the Formula One Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari racetrack in Imola, Italy, 24 April 2022. (EPA)

This weekend's Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in northern Italy was canceled Wednesday because of deadly floods in the region.

Formula One said it made the decision for safety reasons and to avoid any extra burden on the emergency services, after consulting with Italian political figures.

"The decision has been taken because it is not possible to safely hold the event for our fans, the teams and our personnel and it is the right and responsible thing to do given the situation faced by the towns and cities in the region," F1 said in a statement. "It would not be right to put further pressure on the local authorities and emergency services at this difficult time."

Formula One personnel had earlier been told to stay away from the track after floods affected large parts of the Emilia-Romagna region. Some residents of the nearby city of Imola were warned to move to higher floors of their homes. The Santerno River runs right next to the track.

Matteo Salvini, the infrastructure minister in Italy’s government, had requested that the race be canceled to favor the flow of resources and aid to the hardest hit areas of the flooding.

It is the second race on the 2023 calendar to be canceled. The Chinese Grand Prix was scheduled for April but was canceled in December amid concerns about pandemic-related restrictions.

If the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix is not rescheduled — something which appears unlikely given F1’s packed calendar — the season will have 22 races, the same as last year, rather than setting a record for most F1 races in a year with 23.

The AlphaTauri team, which is based in nearby Faenza and is the closest team to the circuit, issued an appeal for donations to help local people Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, our town of Faenza has once again experienced significant rainfall and subsequent flooding," the team said on Twitter.

The Emilia-Romagna GP was meant to be the start of three weeks of back-to-back-to-back races. The Monaco Grand Prix is on May 28 and the Spanish GP is a week later.



Saudi National Handball Team in UAE to Participate in First GCC Youth Games

The delegation of the Saudi handball team arrived in the United Arab Emirates to take part in the first edition of the GCC Youth Games.
The delegation of the Saudi handball team arrived in the United Arab Emirates to take part in the first edition of the GCC Youth Games.
TT

Saudi National Handball Team in UAE to Participate in First GCC Youth Games

The delegation of the Saudi handball team arrived in the United Arab Emirates to take part in the first edition of the GCC Youth Games.
The delegation of the Saudi handball team arrived in the United Arab Emirates to take part in the first edition of the GCC Youth Games.

The delegation of the Saudi handball team arrived on Thursday in the United Arab Emirates to take part in the first edition of the GCC Youth Games, said the Saudi Press Agency.
The games will be held from 20 to 26 April 2024, at the Bataeh Club hall in the Emirate of Sharjah.
The list of the national team participating in the tournament included 18 players.
Six teams will participate in the tournament: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain.


Verstappen Wins Again. This Time He Takes First Formula 1 Sprint Race of the Season

Formula One F1 - Chinese Grand Prix - Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China - April 18, 2024 Red Bull's Max Verstappen ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Chinese Grand Prix - Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China - April 18, 2024 Red Bull's Max Verstappen ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix REUTERS/Edgar Su
TT

Verstappen Wins Again. This Time He Takes First Formula 1 Sprint Race of the Season

Formula One F1 - Chinese Grand Prix - Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China - April 18, 2024 Red Bull's Max Verstappen ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Chinese Grand Prix - Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China - April 18, 2024 Red Bull's Max Verstappen ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix REUTERS/Edgar Su

Max Verstappen, continuing his dominance in Formula 1, took Saturday's first sprint race of the season — the prelude to the full-blown Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.
Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes on the ninth of 19 laps and stretched out his lead to win by 13 seconds ahead of Hamilton. Sergio Perez of Red Bull was third and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari was fourth, The Associated Press said.
“The first few laps were quite hectic," Verstappen said. “Once I got in the lead the car was handling pretty well.”
It was his eighth victory in an F1 sprint.
Red Bull's Verstappen is the three-time defending F1 champion and is almost unbeatable in any format.
He now has 85 points to lead of the overall season standings. Perez is second with 70 followed by Leclerc with 64 and Carlos Sainz of Ferrari with 59.
Second place was like a consolation victory for Hamilton. The seven-time champion has not been a factor the last several seasons. His last GP win was in 2021 in Saudi Arabia in the second-last race of the season.
“I forgot what he felt like to be out ahead,” Hamilton said. “It felt good for the short while that I had it. I was grateful for the moment.”
Verstappen will be the favorite to win Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix, which is the fifth race of the season. Verstappen has won three of the first four GP races and 22 of the last 26.
Lando Norris of McLaren and Hamilton of Mercedes started on the front row with Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin and Verstappen on the second row.
The sprint — F1 will run six this season — is about one-third the distance of a full race. The winner gets eight points with seven for second, six for third and so forth.
Saturday's race was run on a dry track, unlike the wet and slippery qualifying session on Friday.
Verstappen likened the sprint qualifying on Friday to “driving on ice.” Verstappen was among several drivers who ran off the track in a chaotic, wet session exacerbated by the track, itself.
The track is the great unknown going into Sunday's race. This is the first Formula 1 race in China in five years. The circuit has had a thin “seal coating” applied, described as liquid asphalt. F1 tire supplier Pirelli said it was not fully aware of the changes heading into the race.
Two small grass fires broke out on at the edge of the track in Friday practice. The circuit was built on a marshy area, and a methane gas leak is suspected.


Germany Coach Nagelsmann Extends Contract Through 2026 World Cup, Leaves Bayern Still Searching 

Germany's head coach Julian Nagelsmann gives a press conference at the Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu, near Lyon, on March 22, 2024, on the eve of the friendly football match between France and Germany. (AFP)
Germany's head coach Julian Nagelsmann gives a press conference at the Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu, near Lyon, on March 22, 2024, on the eve of the friendly football match between France and Germany. (AFP)
TT

Germany Coach Nagelsmann Extends Contract Through 2026 World Cup, Leaves Bayern Still Searching 

Germany's head coach Julian Nagelsmann gives a press conference at the Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu, near Lyon, on March 22, 2024, on the eve of the friendly football match between France and Germany. (AFP)
Germany's head coach Julian Nagelsmann gives a press conference at the Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu, near Lyon, on March 22, 2024, on the eve of the friendly football match between France and Germany. (AFP)

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann has extended his contract by two years, taking him beyond the upcoming European Championship and through the 2026 World Cup.

It also ends the possibility of Nagelsmann returning to Bayern Munich, which is looking for a new coach for next season after deciding to part ways with Thomas Tuchel at the end of this season. Nagelsmann was the reported favorite following Xabi Alonso’s decision to stay with Bayer Leverkusen, but now Bayern will need to look elsewhere after two high-profile rejections.

The German soccer federation announced Friday that its supervisory board and shareholders decided unanimously to keep Nagelsmann in charge of the national team after Euro 2024, which Germany is hosting.

“He's on the wish list of many big clubs across Europe,” federation president Bernd Neuendorf said of Nagelsmann.

The 36-year-old Nagelsmann has overseen a change in mood in Germany after wins over France and the Netherlands following a shakeup of the team last month.

Bayern fired Nagelsmann in favor of Tuchel in March 2023. Bayern went on to win the Bundesliga.

This season, Bayern failed to win the title for the first time since 2012 after Bayer Leverkusen won last weekend.

Nagelsmann said staying with Germany was “a decision of the heart. It’s a great honor to be able to train the national team and work with the best players in the country.”


Red Bull Won't Rush to Announce 2025 Driver Lineup, Horner Says 

Red Bull Racing's British team principal Christian Horner arrives ahead of the first practice session for the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai on April 19, 2024. (AFP)
Red Bull Racing's British team principal Christian Horner arrives ahead of the first practice session for the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai on April 19, 2024. (AFP)
TT

Red Bull Won't Rush to Announce 2025 Driver Lineup, Horner Says 

Red Bull Racing's British team principal Christian Horner arrives ahead of the first practice session for the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai on April 19, 2024. (AFP)
Red Bull Racing's British team principal Christian Horner arrives ahead of the first practice session for the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai on April 19, 2024. (AFP)

Red Bull is not in a rush to announce its driver line-up for 2025, team boss Christian Horner said on Friday ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, following reports that the champions are in talks with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz.

While three-times world champion Max Verstappen has a long-term contract with Red Bull until the end of 2028, Mexican driver Sergio Perez is only contracted with the team until the end of this year.

Perez told reporters on Thursday that he hoped to be able to announce his plans for next season in the coming weeks, prompting questions at Friday's managers' press conference over whether that meant he would be leaving the Red Bull stable.

The energy drink brand's motorsport consultant Helmut Marko on Thursday told Austria's Kleine Zeitung newspaper that Red Bull had been talking to Sainz about a drive but Audi had made him an offer that the Thai-Austrian company could not match.

"We as a team aren't in a particular rush. We're in a fortunate position where many drivers would obviously like to drive for the team," Horner told a press conference for team managers ahead of Sunday's Grand Prix.

"We're happy with the pairing we have, we just want to make sure that the level of consistency that (Perez) started with this season is maintained," he added.

Perez has oftentimes struggled to get the same performance out of the Red Bull car as his teammate, who won 19 out of 22 races last season.

He currently sits second in the championship, 13 points behind his teammate but only nine points ahead of Sainz, who missed an opportunity to score at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after contracting appendicitis.

Horner said on Friday that "it's only natural that there's going to be significant interest (around Sainz), and I'm sure Audi would be foolish not to consider a driver of his quality."


Man City Must Use Champions League Pain to Fuel FA Cup, League Title Chase, Walker Says 

Manchester City's English defender #02 Kyle Walker reacts at the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second-leg football match between Manchester City and Real Madrid, at the Etihad Stadium, in Manchester, north-west England, on April 17, 2024. (AFP)
Manchester City's English defender #02 Kyle Walker reacts at the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second-leg football match between Manchester City and Real Madrid, at the Etihad Stadium, in Manchester, north-west England, on April 17, 2024. (AFP)
TT

Man City Must Use Champions League Pain to Fuel FA Cup, League Title Chase, Walker Says 

Manchester City's English defender #02 Kyle Walker reacts at the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second-leg football match between Manchester City and Real Madrid, at the Etihad Stadium, in Manchester, north-west England, on April 17, 2024. (AFP)
Manchester City's English defender #02 Kyle Walker reacts at the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second-leg football match between Manchester City and Real Madrid, at the Etihad Stadium, in Manchester, north-west England, on April 17, 2024. (AFP)

Manchester City must use the pain of their Champions League exit as motivation to achieve something special in the final weeks of the season, defender Kyle Walker said.

Last season's treble winners suffered a 4-3 penalty shootout loss to Real Madrid in their Champions League quarter-final at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola's side are two points ahead of Arsenal and Liverpool in the league with six games remaining and play Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday.

"It hurts and we've got to feel the pain," Walker told reporters.

"We've got a massive run-in for the Premier League, a really big game against Chelsea and we have to take this as motivation to go on and do something special.

"It is a great opportunity to take this hurt and fire from our belly ... We owe it to the fans and as a group of players we've worked too hard to throw it away now."


Chinese Grand Prix Could Deliver Drama to F1 and Slow Verstappen’s Victory March 

Ferrari's Spanish driver Carlos Sainz Jr drives during the sprint qualifying session ahead of the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai on April 19, 2024. (AFP)
Ferrari's Spanish driver Carlos Sainz Jr drives during the sprint qualifying session ahead of the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai on April 19, 2024. (AFP)
TT

Chinese Grand Prix Could Deliver Drama to F1 and Slow Verstappen’s Victory March 

Ferrari's Spanish driver Carlos Sainz Jr drives during the sprint qualifying session ahead of the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai on April 19, 2024. (AFP)
Ferrari's Spanish driver Carlos Sainz Jr drives during the sprint qualifying session ahead of the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai on April 19, 2024. (AFP)

The Chinese Grand Prix could deliver some much-needed drama to Formula One, meaning Red Bull's Max Verstappen can't be penciled in as the almost-certain winner on Sunday.

The three-time world champion has won 22 of the last 26 GPs and three of the first four this season. Only brake failure in Australia kept him from possibly sweeping the first four races.

"It's got the probability of throwing up quite a few variables and, perhaps, some unexpected results," Red Bull principal Christian Horner said Friday. "I think it's going to be all action."

Here's why.

The track is a slight unknown. This is the first F1 race in China in five years, scratched from the calendar by the COVID-19 pandemic. The last was won in 2019 by Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

It's also the season's first with a Saturday sprint race, which means Friday's practice session was the only one of the weekend.

But the biggest unknown is the state of the racing surface, which has had a thin "seal coating" applied — described as liquid asphalt. Drivers have repeatedly said it looks like it's been painted. And tire supplier Pirelli said it wasn't fully aware of the changes heading into the race.

Though hard to draw any firm conclusion, Friday's practice kicked up some unusual names at the top.

Lance Stroll of Aston Martin had the quickest time (1 minute, 36.302 seconds), followed by Oscar Piastri of McClaren. Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez were Nos. 3-4 followed by two Haas drivers — Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.

China’s first F1 driver Zhou Guanyu was 11th in practice in a Sauber.

Charles Leclerc hinted on Thursday about Ferrari closing the gap on Red Bull.

They didn't in Friday’s practice. Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz were 13th and 14th.

"Everything we expected in terms of uncertainty is happening and hopefully this will mean that we have an entertaining event here in China with some action and some opportunities," McLaren team principal Andrea Stella said.

He said there was reduced tire grip in the practice session, and tires showed heavy wear from the unfamiliar surface.

Drivers spoke two weeks ago at the Japanese GP about their disquiet over the sprint in China. The track is located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of central Shanghai, visible on the distant horizon through a hazy smog on Friday.

Horner accepted the concern but noted the Shanghai circuit is a known quantity, hosting races since 2004.

"We have a lot of historic data from this circuit," he said. "It’s not like turning up at a brand new venue and having to learn all over again."

SPRINT QUALIFYING Lando Norris of McLaren won the pole for Saturday’s sprint race, running in a rainy session with drivers struggling to control their cars.

Norris’ qualifying lap in the third session was 1 minute, 57.940 seconds. The times in the rain on Friday were about 20 seconds slower than when qualifying began under dry conditions.

Norris will start from the pole with Hamilton alongside. Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin will start on the second row with Verstappen. Row 3 has Sainz and Perez.

Asked what the race conditions would be on Saturday, Norris replied: "No clue."

"It was getting wetter and wetter," Norris said. "I was aquaplaning quite a bit."

The F1 sprints are about one-third the length of the regular GP. The top eight drivers earn points — eight for first place, seven for second, six for third, and so on.

Qualifying was slowed by off-and-on rain that got more persistent as the session went on. Leclerc went off and hit a retaining wall and appeared to damage a front wing during one of his laps.

Many of the cars struggled for grip including Verstappen, who went off the track on one of his laps.

The sprint will be followed later Saturday with qualifying for Sunday's race.

DRIVERS' SHUFFLE Horner was asked Friday if Red Bull was close to confirming its driver lineup for next season. Verstappen, of course, is on a long-term contract. The question is over Perez, whose contract expires after this season.

Reports persist that Ferrari's Sainz is a possibility. His seat at Ferrari will be taken next year by Hamilton who is leaving Merdeces. Sainz is also reportedly in talks with Audi, which will take over Sauber for the 2026 season,

"We’re in a situation where we’re very happy with our two drivers," Horner said. "We don't need to make a final decision about the lineup until pretty much later in the year."


Liverpool Out of Europa League as Leverkusen Advance to Semis

Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp reacts as his team is knocked out by Atalanta. Isabella BONOTTO / AFP
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp reacts as his team is knocked out by Atalanta. Isabella BONOTTO / AFP
TT

Liverpool Out of Europa League as Leverkusen Advance to Semis

Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp reacts as his team is knocked out by Atalanta. Isabella BONOTTO / AFP
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp reacts as his team is knocked out by Atalanta. Isabella BONOTTO / AFP

Liverpool crashed out of the Europa League after a 1-0 win against Atalanta that wasn't enough to overturn their quarter-final deficit, while Bayer Leverkusen's 1-1 draw at West Ham took the German champions into the last four on Thursday.
In Jurgen Klopp's last season as Liverpool boss, the Reds were hoping to give the German a memorable farewell in the final in Dublin, AFP said.
But Liverpool had suffered a stunning 3-0 loss in the first leg against Atalanta at Anfield last week.
And although Liverpool have authored some of European football's greatest comebacks down the years against the likes of St Etienne, AC Milan and Barcelona, there would be no miracle escape this time.
Mohamed Salah converted a seventh minute penalty in the second leg in Bergamo after Trent Alexander-Arnold's cross hit Matteo Ruggeri's arm.
However, Klopp's men couldn't breach the stubborn Atalanta defense again.
It has been a brutal week for Liverpool, whose Premier League title challenge was damaged by a shock home defeat against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
"It's mixed emotions. We are out but I'm happy with the game," Klopp said.
"It was clear we gave ourselves a massive hurdle. We wished we could have gone to Dublin but that hasn't happened."
While Klopp contemplates his failure to land the one major trophy to elude him during nine years with Liverpool, Atalanta can dream of winning the second silverware in their 116-year history after the 1963 Coppa Italia.
Bidding to reach their maiden European final, Gian Piero Gasperini's team will face Marseille in their first European semi-final since the 1988 Cup Winners' Cup.
Fresh from clinching their first Bundesliga title last weekend, Leverkusen survived a scare from West Ham before advancing 3-1 on aggregate.
In the semi-finals, Xabi Alonso's side will play Roma, who saw off Italian rivals AC Milan 3-1 on aggregate.
Leverkusen won the first leg 2-0 but West Ham made the perfect start in east London when Michail Antonio met Jarrod Bowen's pin-point cross with a close-range header in the 13th minute.
West Ham eventually ran out of steam and Jeremie Frimpong struck in the 89th minute with a shot that deflected in off Aaron Cresswell.
"The momentum was with West Ham. To be honest, we were not at our best in the first half. I'm happy to go through. In the Europa League you always have tough moments," Alonso said.
Treble-chasing Leverkusen
Leverkusen are into their second successive Europa League semi-final, while West Ham's exit means for only the third time in the 21st century, England will have no teams in the Champions League and Europa League last four.
Leverkusen's 44-game unbeaten run in all competitions has taken them to the brink of an incredible treble, finally ridding the club of the 'Neverkusen' tag that mocked their decades of underachievement.
Alonso's team, who face second tier Kaiserslautern in the German Cup final on May 25, beat Werder Bremen 5-0 on Sunday to win the Bundesliga title.
At the Stadio Olimpico, Gianluca Mancini put Roma head from close-range in the 12th minute and Paulo Dybala doubled their advantage in the 22nd minute with a blistering strike.
Daniele De Rossi's side were reduced to 10 men in the 31st minute when Zeki Celik was dismissed for a foul on Milan forward Rafael Leao.
Matteo Gabbia got one back in the 85th minute, but his header was little consolation for Milan.
After losing last season's Europa League final against Sevilla, Roma are one step closer to finally winning the competition for the first time.
Roma, who won the Europa Conference League in 2022, are into their fifth European semi-final in the last seven seasons.
In the south of France, Marseille were 4-2 winners in a penalty shoot-out against Benfica following the French side's 1-0 victory in a tie that finished 2-2 on aggregate.
Faris Moumbagna struck in the 79th minute, heading in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's cross to force extra-time.
In the shoot-out, Luis Henrique scored the winner for Jean-Louis Gasset's side after Benfica duo Angel Di Maria and Antonio Silva missed their kicks.


Israeli Football Facing Palestinian Calls for Action by FIFA

FILE PHOTO: The FIFA logo is seen outside the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The FIFA logo is seen outside the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/File Photo
TT

Israeli Football Facing Palestinian Calls for Action by FIFA

FILE PHOTO: The FIFA logo is seen outside the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The FIFA logo is seen outside the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/File Photo

Calls for action against Israel in international football because of the conflict with Hamas will be stepped up by Palestinian officials at the annual FIFA congress next month.

The Palestine Football Association proposal to 211 member federations in Thailand calls for “appropriate sanctions, with immediate effect, against Israeli teams,” according to FIFA documents released late Wednesday, one month before the May 17 meeting.

The motion notes “international law violations committed by the Israeli occupation in Palestine, particularly in Gaza” and cites FIFA statutory commitments on human rights and against discrimination.

“All the football infrastructure in Gaza has been either destroyed, or seriously damaged, including the historic stadium of Al-Yarmuk,” the Palestine FA wrote, claiming support for the congress motion from the federations of Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Yemen.

The latest call to punish Israel soccer will not be supported by FIFA and is unlikely to make progress because Israel can expect global backing including from the 55-member European soccer body UEFA it joined 30 years ago, The Associated Press reported. A cooperation deal also was signed last week between Israeli officials and the South American soccer body CONMEBOL.

Palestinian soccer cites the example of Russian teams being banned from international competitions by FIFA and UEFA during the military invasion of Ukraine that started in February 2022.

Russia’s exclusion was supported by FIFA because several UEFA members refused to play games against Russian opponents. They included all three men’s national teams – Poland, Sweden, Czech Republic – who were in a qualifying playoffs bracket in March 2022 for the men’s World Cup that year. Russia did not play and Poland advanced to the tournament in Qatar.

Russian officials continue to take part in international soccer meetings, including the executive committee of UEFA, and should have a delegation with FIFA in Bangkok next month.

Israeli national and club teams have continued to play in UEFA competitions since the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas, though home games were played in neutral Hungary and Cyprus for security reasons.


Nadal Loses to De Minaur in 2nd Round at Barcelona

Spain's Rafael Nadal gestures as he leaves the court after losing against Australia's Alex De Minaur during the ATP Barcelona Open "Conde de Godo" tennis tournament singles match at the Real Club de Tenis in Barcelona, on April 17, 2024. (Photo by PAU BARRENA / AFP)
Spain's Rafael Nadal gestures as he leaves the court after losing against Australia's Alex De Minaur during the ATP Barcelona Open "Conde de Godo" tennis tournament singles match at the Real Club de Tenis in Barcelona, on April 17, 2024. (Photo by PAU BARRENA / AFP)
TT

Nadal Loses to De Minaur in 2nd Round at Barcelona

Spain's Rafael Nadal gestures as he leaves the court after losing against Australia's Alex De Minaur during the ATP Barcelona Open "Conde de Godo" tennis tournament singles match at the Real Club de Tenis in Barcelona, on April 17, 2024. (Photo by PAU BARRENA / AFP)
Spain's Rafael Nadal gestures as he leaves the court after losing against Australia's Alex De Minaur during the ATP Barcelona Open "Conde de Godo" tennis tournament singles match at the Real Club de Tenis in Barcelona, on April 17, 2024. (Photo by PAU BARRENA / AFP)

Rafael Nadal's first tournament since January lasted only two matches with the Spaniard losing 7-5, 6-1 to Alex de Minaur at the clay-court Barcelona Open on Wednesday.
Nadal, back from an injury layoff, looked like his old self for brief moments in the second-round match but couldn't keep up with the 11th-ranked De Minaur.
“The moment I lost the first set, the match was over,” Nadal said. “I can't play a three-hour match right now. This wasn't the place for me to give everything I have. We'll see what happens in Paris. I want to be competitive there, that's where I have to give it all.”
Nadal is a 14-time winner at the French Open, which begins next month. According to The Associated Press, he said he will try to play at the Madrid Open next week but didn't fully commit.
“I didn't want to take any risks,” Nadal said. “The important thing here was to play and I played. To be on the court is great news.”
The 22-time Grand Slam champion had comfortably defeated 62nd-ranked Flavio Cobolli in straight sets in the first round on Tuesday in what was his first competitive match in more than three months.
Nadal again looked injury-free on Wednesday but was never in control against the in-form De Minaur, who picked up his second career win over Nadal.
It was only his fifth defeat at the Barcelona Open, a tournament he has won a record 12 times.
“It's natural that this was probably my last match here,” Nadal said. “I really enjoyed playing here. It was unimaginable to win it 12 times.”
Nadal is returning from yet another injury layoff and hadn't played since an exhibition match against Carlos Alcaraz in March. Before this week, he had played only three competitive matches this year — all in Brisbane in January — before skipping the Australian Open.
Nadal also withdrew from Monte Carlo, saying he his body wasn't ready.
The 37-year old Nadal had hip surgery last summer and said 2024 will probably be his last year playing on tour.


De Rossi's Contract at Roma is Extended Just 3 Months after Replacing Mourinho

Roma's head coach Daniele De Rossi, center, celebrates at the end of the Europa League quarterfinal first leg soccer match between AC Milan and Roma at the San Siro Stadium, in Milan, Italy, Thursday, April 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Roma's head coach Daniele De Rossi, center, celebrates at the end of the Europa League quarterfinal first leg soccer match between AC Milan and Roma at the San Siro Stadium, in Milan, Italy, Thursday, April 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
TT

De Rossi's Contract at Roma is Extended Just 3 Months after Replacing Mourinho

Roma's head coach Daniele De Rossi, center, celebrates at the end of the Europa League quarterfinal first leg soccer match between AC Milan and Roma at the San Siro Stadium, in Milan, Italy, Thursday, April 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Roma's head coach Daniele De Rossi, center, celebrates at the end of the Europa League quarterfinal first leg soccer match between AC Milan and Roma at the San Siro Stadium, in Milan, Italy, Thursday, April 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Daniele De Rossi’s contract at Roma has been extended after just three months on the job, club owners Dan and Ryan Friedkin announced Thursday.
“After meeting yesterday afternoon with Daniele De Rossi, we are delighted to announce he will continue as head coach of AS Roma after this season and for the foreseeable future,” the Friedkins said in a statement. “In his short tenure as head coach, the positive impact that his leadership has brought to the entire club has told its own story.”
When De Rossi, a former Roma captain, took over for the fired Jose Mourinho in January with a contract through the end of the season, Roma was languishing in ninth place and at risk of missing out on qualifying for Europe. Under De Rossi, Roma has surged to fifth place and is in contention for a Champions League spot, The Associated Press reported.
In 16 games across all competitions under De Rossi, Roma has won 11, drawn three and lost two. The only defeat under De Rossi in Serie A came against Italian leader Inter Milan, with the other loss being a 1-0 defeat to Brighton in the second leg of the Europa League round of 16 after Roma had virtually secured advancement with a 4-0 victory in the opening leg.
The owners' announcement comes ahead of a Europa League quarterfinal second leg against AC Milan later Thursday — with Roma holding a 1-0 lead from the first leg.
“We couldn’t be happier to build a long-term project with Daniele,” the Friedkins said. “Further details to follow in the coming days.”