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Sports shorts: Federer and Nadal branded ‘selfish’, Ben Stokes wins cricket award

Rafa Nadal takes part in a bushfire relief fundraiser ahead of the Australian Open
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Rafa Nadal takes part in a bushfire relief fundraiser ahead of the Australian Open
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Rafa Nadal takes part in a bushfire relief fundraiser ahead of the Australian Open

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William West/AFP
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Rafa Nadal takes part in a bushfire relief fundraiser ahead of the Australian Open

Ten things from the world of sport on Wednesday 15 January

Daily Briefing
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 10:16am

1. Federer and Nadal ‘selfish’ over bushfires

“Very poor” air quality caused by bushfires has again affected preparations for the Australian Open tennis tournament.  Qualifying matches were delayed for three hours on Wednesday in Melbourne before heavy rain put and end to play for the day. Earlier German Dustin Brown became the latest player to call for medical assistance and was given an asthma inhaler during his defeat to Dennis Novak of Austria. Canadian tennis player Brayden Schnur even labelled Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal “selfish” for not speaking out against playing conditions reports The Age.

2. Ben Stokes is player of the year

All-rounder Ben Stokes has been named the ICC Player of the Year for 2019. Stokes single-handedly dragged England over the line in the Cricket World Cup final and scored a remarkable match-winning century in the Ashes Test at Headingly. “Stokes was impressive with bat and ball throughout the voting period, scoring 719 runs and taking 12 wickets in 20 one-day internationals, as well as 821 runs and 22 wickets in 11 Test matches,” says Sky Sports. “The Durham player also pulled off several memorable catches, including his one-handed leaping effort in the World Cup.” In December Stokes was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

3. Everton plunge to record loss

Everton posted a record loss of £111.8m in the year to June 2019. The Guardian calls it an “an alarming plunge after the club made a £30m profit in 2017 and reported a more manageable deficit of £13.1m the following year”. That means that over three years the club has made an overall loss of £94.9m, the Premier League only permits a £105m loss in any three-year period. The club’s AGM also heard that Everton’s wages-to-revenue ratio had reached 85 per cent. There was a the promise of a cash injection after Alisher Usmanov agreed to pay £30m for naming rights for Everton’s new stadium.

4. Spurs and Newcastle win FA Cup replays

See related 
Australian Open 2020: preview, predictions, betting odds, TV and live stream details Back pages: Man Utd cancel winter break over security fears, Australian Open hit by bushfires

Spurs made it to the fourth round of the FA Cup at the second time of asking with a 2-1 win over Championship Middlesbrough in their replay at White Hart Lane. Spurs face Southampton later this month. Newcastle also saw off lower league opposition beating Rochdale 4-1. League One Shrewsbury booked a dream showdown with Liverpool in the fourth round after beating Bristol City, and Coventry will host local rivals and landlords Birmingham City in the next round after seeing off Bristol Rovers. In the other replay, Reading beat Blackpool.

5. Gambling commission probes FA Cup deal

A controversial deal to show FA Cup matches on gambling websites sites is under investigation by the Gambling Commission, the industry watchdog. The Football Association has faced mounting criticism over the deal. The six-year contract was negotiated through sports agency IMG, which bought the right to sell live FA Cup matches in 2017. Football’s governing body is “attempting to quell attacks on its credibility from anti-gambling campaigners, and is in talks with the BBC and BT Sport over ensuring that every tie that could be made available for live broadcast is made available,” reports the Daily Telegraph.

6. Awards for Henderson and Bronze

Jordan Henderson and Lucy Bronze have been named England’s football players of the year for 2019. ​Liverpool captain Henderson won the men’s award ahead of Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane. Bronze, who plays for Lyon in France, beat Ellen White and Beth Mead. Both players won the Champions League in 2019 and were impressive on England duty. Fans voted for their favourite players in an online poll.

7. Judd Trump out of Masters

Defending champion Judd Trump lost in the first round of this year’s Masters snooker tournament, losing 6-3 to Shaun Murphy. “The world number one rolled in three centuries and looked superb in the contest, but Murphy did enough to pinch six frames from him and book a quarter-final spot,” reports Metro. “It is the fifth straight victory for the lower-ranked player at this year’s tournament as the shocks continue at Alexandra Palace.”

8. India thrashed in ODI

After it was reported that India opposed plans for four-day Test matches, Australia dished out a 10-wicket thrashing in the first one-day international in Mumbai. David Warner and Aaron Finch both hit unbeaten centuries as they chased down their target of 256 inside 38 overs. Earlier India collapsed from 134-1 to 244 all out. “It is the first time Australia have beaten India by 10 wickets in an ODI and the first time India have been on the receiving end of such a defeat since 2005,” reports the BBC.

9. Ings and Grealish on radar

Southampton striker Danny Ings is emerging as a late candidate to lead the line for England at Euro 2020 this summer. With Harry Kane now a doubt for the tournament, Ings could be in line to replace him, while Aston Villa youngster Jack Grealish is also pushing for a call-up.  England coach Gareth Southgate could hand both players “auditions” as he “considers late changes to his squad”, reports the Daily Telegraph. “Both Ings and Grealish are now rated as having a realistic chance of gatecrashing Southgate’s squad,” it says.

10. Man Utd cancel winter break

Manchester United have abandoned plans for a winter training camp in Doha next month amid fears over the players’ safety. Rising tensions between the US and Iran following the assassination of a key Iranian commander and the downing of a passenger jet have scuppered Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s plans. Foreign Office advice to visitors to Qatar is to “remain vigilant”, but it also warns there is a “heightened threat of terrorist attacks globally against UK interests and British nationals”. United have a 16-day break next month and will look at alternative venues.

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