Nov 30, 2017

Andy Murray sets to train future sports stars

Source: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Andy Murray has announced that he will mentor a 17 years old tennis player from Scotland as part of his new management agency.

The Scottish who is also a former world no. 1 has selected the first batch of three promising future sports stars to join 77 Sports Management, an organisation he set up just last year. They are Aidan McHugh from Glasgow and will be joined by 20-year-old twin sprinters Shannon and Cheriece Hylton from Nottingham.

McHugh is currently British junior no. 2 and has six junior titles to his name.

He made his debut at the Wimbledon Boys Championships earlier this year and has been training on court with both Andy and Jamie Murray. While we wait for the future tennis champ to emerge, do spend some time to play the most popular table games online.

In this new role, Murray will work with his team to plan and manage all aspects of the young prospects' careers as they work to establish themselves in their respective sports.

In his interview with BBC Sports, he said he would use his own experience to mentor the trio and guide their professional decisions.

They will also have access to the same facilities, personnel, nutrition, sports science and commercial opportunities.

Murray said, "I signed with a management company for the first time when I was 12, 13 years old, which to me is ridiculous."

"It's way, way too young. You don't need that pressure. You're trying to become a professional and certainly my parents were not experienced in dealing with those situations."

"You can get yourself into trouble by signing long-term contracts that might not be in your best interests. Things like that you can avoid if you've got the right people around you."

Murray started playing tennis at the age of three.

This is the first time Murray has spoken about his new venture in sports management.

In the exclusive interview with BBC Sport, Murray explains his plan to recruit and mentor top prospects, while still competing at the highest level himself.

Murray says he decided to kick start his own management company after his maiden Wimbledon triumph in 2013.

Murray set up 77 Sports Management, a spinoff  from the group that took care of him. It intends to provide recruits with access to the player himself as well as much of the set-up around him - personnel, sports science, nutrition, facilities, commercial opportunities and more.

"If there's anything they, their family, or anyone around them wants to ask or talk to me about, then that's what I'll do," he adds.

"I don't want to be imposing my views or ideas on anyone. But I think that's one of the nice things about having an athlete as part of the management company."

"Often the people in management companies haven't played the sport or been athletes themselves, so hopefully that's a little extra thing I can add."

Meanwhile, Murray is still hopeful of returning to the tennis tour in Brisbane in 2018, months after limping off the Wimbledon's Centre Court with a painful hip. However, he refused to guarantee he will recover in time for the tour.

Murray’s last match was that Wimbledon defeat at the hands of Sam Querrey,

Currently he is doing plenty of rehab but has taken the risk and took part in a fundraising event to play against Roger Federer recently.

Shenzhen Open boasts stunning line-up

The Shenzhen Open will celebrate its sixth anniversary and has promised to deliver an exciting US$750,000 International Series WTA tournament set to be played December 30, 2017 to January 6, 2018.

The tournament has announced that world no.1 Simona Halep will lead the charge. Joining her will be the phenomenal Maria Sharapova as well as the reigning French Open champion and breakout star in women’s tennis for 2017, Jelena Ostapenko. And joining this illustrious trio of stars will be China’s youngest player in the top 50, Wang Qiang.

Through the 2017 season, Halep, who has collected a total of 15 career titles, came close to wresting the world no.1 ranking for the first time on a number of occasions. A winner in Madrid and a finalist at Roland Garros, she finally achieved her lifelong dream at the end of the season when the cards fell her way and she became the first Romanian woman to crowned year-end world no.1. It is a title all tennis players strive for because it means you have reached the pinnacle of your profession.

Simona Halep
(Source: Julian Finney/Getty Images AsiaPac)

The return of Sharapova to the Tour this year provided another level of excitement for the tennis world. The legendary Russian continued to be one of the most talked about women in all sport. Sharapova is a winner of 36 career titles including five majors and she is one of a handful of active players to have played more than 750 matches (768).

At the start of the French Open in May not many knew too much about the Latvian teenager Jelena Ostapenko but as the year’s second major progressed the chatter became louder. She turned 20 during those two weeks in Paris and incredibly, unseeded, she became the French Open champion coming back from a service break down in the final set to defeat Simona Halep. She continued to produce great tennis and qualified for the year-end Championship for the first time and ended the season as world no.7.

Jelena Ostapenka
(Source: Julian Finney/Getty Images AsiaPac)

China’s Wang Qiang enjoyed the best year of her career and reached a career high year-end ranking of 45. Through 2017 the 25-year-old from Tianjin, won Zhengzhou made the semis in Hong Kong and besides the Shenzhen Open also made the quarters in Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai.

The Shenzhen Open continues to be the richest International Series tournament on the WTA Tour. The 2018 singles champion will earn US$163,260 while the finalist will collect US$81,251.

Similarly to the 2017 event, every single match will be filmed for broadcast – this continues to be a massive boost to the global broadcast footprint of the tournament. Live stream of the tournament will also be available online. While you're enjoying live streaming tennis matches online, feel free to also play instant casino games at Euro Palace.

The final days of the tournament will again be broadcast on CCTV 5 in China along with Guangdong TV. It is estimated that the global broadcast reach of the event will exceed 225 million households.

Tickets to see, Simona Halep, Jelena Ostapenko, Maria Sharapova, Wang Qiang and the other stars of the WTA Tour will be on sale through the official website:

Nov 24, 2017

My top 10 FREE tennis apps on iPhone

As a tennis fan, phone apps are very important to keep me updated on all the latest news about my favourite tennis stars, the access to real-time scores, offerings in the upcoming tournaments, etc.

In this post, I would like to share the list of my favourite apps. This does not take into consideration of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which are highly essential in keeping me updated with breaking news and amazing photos of the tennis players usually created and shared by the tennis fans in the community. I spend a lot of time on the web because many nice tennis contents are still not available on mobile applications such as Menstennisforums, TennisForum or most of the men's tennis players like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Here's a list of my top 10 FREE tennis apps, must-haves for any enthusiasts.

1. ATP/WTA Live
Any tennis fan needs to have this on their phone. This is the official live scoring app provided by the ATP World Tour and WTA. So that means, you get to follow your favourite tennis players and all the tennis tournaments throughout the entire season, including the ATP Challenger Tour events. What I find most helpful are some of the important features such as OOP (order of play), live match statistic (so that I can use the data to complement with my discussion with fellow tennis Twitter friends from around the world during an ongoing match), tournament draws and head to head records.

2. Australian Open Tennis Championships
Each year I'd be looking forward to this Grand Slam tournament because of the amazing efforts done by their social media team. There are so many information available about the tournament and they never failed in engaging with their audiences online. I particularly love the official colour and the newly designed AO logo. They have the push alerts function so it's great for any avid fans to receive breaking news and special offers be it purchases at the Melbourne Park or online.

3. Wimbledon Championships
Just like the historical tournament itself, this is the mother of all tennis apps. It has a sleek yet elegant layout design. I particularly love the live commentary, 360 degree video from the practice courts and their daily live coverage on podcast. If you're visiting the tournament, you can enable push messages to be delivered to your mobile. Love this app a lot!

4. US Open Tennis Championships
This is another important app built for a Grand Slam tournament, which every tennis enthusiast needs to have on their phone. It has all the features offered by other GS tournaments but this is my least favourite app among the 4 of them. I did not mention about the Roland Garros French Open app because it has been taken off iTunes.

5. MyATP
Since the individual men's tennis players don't usually have their own apps, this is the best app you could have. You can subscribe to your favourite tennis players and watch out for trending updates. There are a lot of Q&As with featured tennis players, which you can comment, like and share, so that's a plus point for this app. You can also send and receive direct messages with the people that you follow or follow you, so you can image the interactivity going on with the tennis fans around the world. This is an awesome app!

6. WTA Finals
WTA doesn't have an app that can be used all year long like MyATP. However they do have an app for the WTA Finals. It's extremely useful if you're using this at the venue. They have an interaction fan zone where tennis enthusiasts can answer tennis trivia questions. You can also take your Singapore Selfie which you can use to share on your social media and help promote the beautiful country at the same time.

7. Tennis TV
This is an extremely important app if you needed access to live tennis matches on the go. The app is free and you can watch snippets of videos on the Freeplay tab. However, in order to watch live or replay old matches, you need to be ready to fork out some money to pay for the subscription fee. It's quite hefty considering you need to pay RM62.90 per month (USD15) or RM519.90 annually (USD126). Highly recommended any tennis fans to subscribe to this instead of using those illegal streaming online.

8. Maria Sharapova Official App
Updates are pretty slow on these app due to lack of content. I downloaded this app just for the sake of downloading it. I would prefer to read about her updates on her Instagram account.

9. Garbiñe Muguruza Official App
I love Garbine but I don't really fancy this app because updates are also extremely slow due to lack of content. Again, I recommend to follow her on social media platforms instead for the latest updates.

10. Virtua Tennis Challenge
I don't play online games that much but I thought it'll be really nice to mention about this game as one of my favourite tennis apps. I have played this game many years back and I still think SEGA produced the best tennis game. Great visuals as always, you can save your game progress and the ability to adjust your control on different surfaces including clay, indoor hard court and grass. Simply the best tennis mobile game.

Meanwhile, if you're interested in adult gaming, be sure to visit RB88 to access to betting sites that covers your favourite tennis matches and other sports of your preference.

Do let me know if there are other really cool tennis apps which I don't mention here. Or apps which are available on Android and not on iOS.

Nov 23, 2017

Former world no. 1 Ana Ivanovic expecting first child with Bastian Schweinsteiger

Schweinsteiger accompanied by Ivanovic at the Bambi awards where he received the Special Jury prize.

Sporting power couple Ana Ivanovic and Bastian Schweinsteiger are expecting their first child together. Reports in Germany claim that the 30 years old former world no.1 woman tennis player is already five months pregnant.

Ivanovic revealed the pregnancy news on her social media platform by sharing a picture of three sets of Adidad Yeezy trainers - including a tiny pair.

The retired ace captioned the image: "A little extension to our family."

"Couldn’t be more happy!"

Serbian Ivanovic tied the knot with former Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder Scheweinsteiger in a stunning ceremony in Venice last year.

They currently live in the United States, where Schweinsteiger, 33, plays for Chicago Fire in the Major League Soccer (MLS).

Ivanovic retired last December following a string of injuries.

Schweinsteiger, who won eight German league titles, the Champions League and the 2014 World Cup, has a contract with Chicago Fire until March next year.

Schweinsteiger and Ivanovic out and about in Italy before they travelled to England recently. 

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