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Wawrinka bags the Chennai Open title


Chennai: Swiss star Stan Wawrinka successfully defended his men’s singles title once again at the 20th edition of the $425,535 Chennai Open with comprehensive straight sets win over Borna Coric of Croatia at the SDAT Tennis Stadium here on Sunday evening.

The reigning French Open champion took barely an hour and 27 minutes to drub World No. 44 Coric in the final with the scoreline reading 6-3, 7-5 on the outdoor hard court. This is World No.4 Wawrinka’s third win in as many meetings over the 19-year-old Croat.

This is also the top seed’s fourth title here, having won in 2011, 2014 and 2015 apart from the men’s doubles crown he clinched with Frenchman Benoit Paire in 2013.

Wawrinka had a clear and easy journey in the first set, managing to win all his service games despite giving away five breakpoint opportunities, which Coric failed to convert.

In exchange, the Swiss got one breakpoint chance in the sixth game which he converted — enough to take the lead by sealing the set in his favour.

The 30-year-old’s serve came in very handy in the first set of the summit clash as Wawrinka fired in as many as 10 aces to none of his World No. 44 opponents. Overall, Wawrinka won 40 of the 70 points played in the set.

The teenager gave tougher competition to Wawrinka in the second set by not losing his serve till the 10th game. But Wawrinka’s experience helped him convert a breakpoint chance in the 11th game.

Serving for the set and match, the defending champion eased to victory to claim another title here and prepare himself for the first Major of the year — Australian Open — due to start in a week from now.

(Inputs from IANS)

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Hindu American Olympic Medal Winner Rajeev Ram says Hinduism taught him control on the court

Rajeev attributes his success to his parents who taught him the Hindu values that translated onto the tennis court

Representative set of the Olympic medals. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Rajeev attributes his success to his parents who taught him the Hindu values that translated onto the tennis court
  • His parents, who are involved in the local Hindu community didn’t care whether he won or lost his tennis matches as a child but ensured that he controlled his temper
  • In time, he found out that keeping calm could not only make him morally better but could also improve his scores

August 23, 2016: When people from a tiny community that exist in a massive land distinguish themselves and reach the zenith of success, they become role models, symbols of hope to all those who aspire to make history. A small Hindu community of the US has brought out prodigies in every field, creating a name for themselves. The Hindu Americans have produced successful entrepreneurs, and scholars and also those who excel in the professional realms of sports.

There have been many Hindu Americans who have represented the US and become Olympic champions. Mohini Bhardwaj, the silver medal winner gymnast in 2004, and Raj Bhavsar who won bronze in 2008 in the same field are a few to name. When Rajeev Ram stood on the Olympic podium to receive his silver medal in tennis doubles in Rio 2016, not only did he become a new role model for the Hindu American children, but he also became the new face of a local Hindu community he belongs to, mentioned the Washington Post.

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Rajeev attributes his success to his parents who taught him the Hindu values that translated onto the tennis court. The Washington Post quotes Ram, “Part of the Hindu religion teaches- more so than anything else, your control of your mind — your self-control, basically. Obviously, your body’s going to do what your mind tells it to do. If you can have that inner control, a sense of peace, your body’s going to follow.” This self-control generally refers to one’s mastery over his moral and ethical choices. Ram has taken his practice to the next level by achieving mastery of his body.

Rajeev Ram, Image source: Twitter
Rajeev Ram, Image source: Twitter

Rajeev’s parents, who are involved in the local Hindu community didn’t care whether he won or lost his tennis matches as a child but ensured that he controlled his temper. In time, he found out that keeping calm could not only make him morally better but could also improve his scores.

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So when the people abroad are able to inculcate the principles of Hinduism and transform themselves into amazing personalities, it is sad that back home in India which is the motherland of Hinduism, people are unable to harness the best athletes and send them to the Olympic Games.

– prepared by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14


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Tennis Star Maria Sharapova Suspended for Failing Drug Test

In March, Maria admitted that she tested positive for 'Meldonium', a drug that was banned only earlier this year, in 2016

Maria Sharapova 2008 B&L Championship trophy. Image source:Wikimedia Commons
  • Maria Sharapova failed the Drug Test and will be banned from playing Tennis for two years
  • The drug ‘Mildonium’ was abused, the tribunal report said
  • Maria asserted that the drug abuse was unintentional, and she will appeal the CAS for support

Russian Tennis Star Maria Sharapova has been suspended for a period of two years by an independent tribunal for failing the drug test, says the International Tennis Federation.

This unfortunate development will mean that she will have to forfeit her title as the Quarter Finalist in the Australian Open this year, along with the prize money.

The ITF tribunal stated that Sharapova’s 2 year ban on playing the sport will be backdated to January 2016, thanks to her “prompt admission”. She had admitted in March that she tested positive for ‘Meldonium’, a drug that was banned only earlier this year.

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Sharapova at the Western & Southern Open, August 2011. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Sharapova at the Western & Southern Open, August 2011. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

However, she also asserts that she was doing so unintentionally. In a press conference in a downtown Los Angeles Hotel, she said:

“I did fail the test, and I take full responsibility for it. … It’s very important for you to understand that for 10 years, this medicine was not on WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency]’s banned list and I had been legally taking the medicine for the past 10 years. But on Jan. 1, the rules had changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance, which I did not know. … I was given this medicine by my doctor for several health issues I was having in 2006.”

The tribunal did understand that Sharapova’s breach “was unintentional” because she “did not appreciate that Mildronate contained a substance prohibited from 1 January 2016.” Meldonium is the active ingredient in Mildronate. However, the decision read:

“[S]he does bear sole responsibility for the contravention, and very significant fault, in failing to take any steps to check whether the continued use of this medicine was permissible. If she had not had not concealed her use of Mildronate from the anti-doping authorities, members of her own support team and the doctors whom she consulted, but had sought advice, then the contravention would have been avoided.”

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It concluded: “She is the sole author of her own misfortune.”

In a Facebook post following the tribunal’s decision, Sharapova described the two-year suspension as “unfairly harsh.” Here’s more:

“While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension. The tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that I did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years. I will immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling to CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

The Facebook Post has collected over 52,000 likes  (as of now) with very loyal and supporting comments from thousands of people all over the world. Trending Twitter hashtags like #BringMariaBack and #IStandForMaria also did their rounds on Twitter.

-by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: saurabhbodas96


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Fixing charges wont affect integrity of tennis-ex-England Davis Cup captain


England: Paul Hutchins, a former Davis Cup captain believes that fixing in tennis can never be completely eliminated due to the “human nature” of yielding to temptation, but it’s great that the condition will not ruin the game’s integrity and credibility.

Tennis is winding from the destruction caused thorough the investigative reports that coincided with the beginning of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year which suggest the prevalence of rampant match-fixing, even in the Majors.

Hutchins, however, wasn’t distressed by its threat to the sport’s future.

“I don’t think it’s anything serious. You are talking about human nature aren’t you? So I don’t know if there’s anything to worry about it. I don’t think it’s as serious as people making it out to be”.

“I think it’s just stupid people you know benefiting from it. Very small section of people. I don’t think it will affect the top end of the game.”

Even Wimbledon wasn’t exempted from suspicion as the expose questioned the outcome of at least three dodgy matches at the All England Club, which were utilised by gambling syndicates in Russia and Italy to make big amounts by placing bets on scores of matches.

The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC), which controls the operations of Wimbledon, has strongly denied that it hosted a corrupt match.

Hutchins, director of “Road to Wimbledon” programmer, a tournament for Under-14 players, speak out that without supporting evidence, such question marks about matches shouldn’t be raised.

“Yeah. But I don’t know. There’s no proof, is it ?,” he questioned back when asked if Wimbledon’s pristine status, exemplified by its “all-white” players clothing rule, has been sullied.

More than 16 players, including a US Open champion and doubles winners were under suspicion for intentionally throwing away their matches. Eight players, including a top-50 ranker, took to the court at the Australian Open.

World No 1 Novak Djokovic and Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis, admitted receiving fixing offers early in their careers but declined accepting them, as these allegationsgives an indirect approval.

Kokkinakis, 19, added it is common for young players to be propositioned ahead of big matches. Fixers usually tempt the players by social media and didn’t require to meet the the players personally.

Britsh star Andy Murray and Swiss legend Roger Federer claimed an elevated education system and identification of the offenders to stem the malpractice.

But Hutchins said he has faith in existing methods of the Tennis Integrity Unit(TIU) and won’t going to take any separate precautions.

“There is a TIU that would be upgraded. The chairman of Wimbledon is also the chairman of the group of people ATP, WTA, ITF. They have met and spoken about it and are going to improve things,” the right-hand player said confidently.

He expressed satisfaction in the work of the four governing bodies — Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), Grand Slam Board and International Tennis Federation (ITF), who are partners in the TIU, to stem the rot if a complete eradication isn’t feasible.

He said too much was being made of the findings of the reports that was blowing the issue. TIU’s long-lasting investigations didn’t found any confirming evidence of fixing.

TIU’s efforts had also resulted in 18 successful disciplinary cases including five players and one official who had been banned from the sport for life.

“My first reaction was that it was old news. Yeah I was aware of it that fixing happens in tennis, since 2008-09,” the 70-year-old, however, conceded.

“My second reaction was yeah it happens.”

“And it has brought (everyone) together to make the integrity unit better. And you always gonna have those people who are going to be stupid but I don’t think it is as serious as the most of the headlines.”(IANS)(image: