Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic (R) shakes hands with Swiss opponent Roger Federer after their mens semi-final singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, 25 January 2008. Djokovic won 7-5.6-3.7-6
THE tennis world has been yearning for someone to challenge Roger Federer's record-breaking domination and Novak Djokovic is being touted as the one in today's Australian Open semi-final.
The peerless Swiss rules his contemporaries like no other. He secured the No 1 ranking for an unprecedented 209th week after sweeping into a record 15th consecutive grand slam semi-final.
Federer is approaching the all-time grand slam record of 14 titles held by Pete Sampras and if he wins here it will be his 13th major.
But all eras must end eventually.
Some believe there are signs that Federer's grip on men's tennis is loosening and the 20-year-old Serb may be the one to inflict his first defeat in a hardcourt grand slam in three years.
Djokovic hasn't dropped a set in reaching his showdown with Federer for his fourth consecutive grand slam semi-final appearance.
The third seed gave promise of things to come when he diced with Federer at last year's US Open final, squandering seven set points only to lose two tiebreakers on the way to a straight sets loss.
Djokovic did beat Federer in the ATP Masters Series final in Montreal last year and trails 5-1 overall in their matches.
The confident youngster has talked up his chances of preventing Federer from carrying off his fourth Australian crown, especially after compatriot Janko Tipsarevic took the top seed to 10-8 in the fifth in a third round fright.
"I'm feeling really, really good at the moment, physically and mentally," said Djokovic.
"I'm showing all my strength and I've made some changes. I have been working on my skills in the past couple weeks. I'm playing with a lot of confidence."
Federer has seen it all before and says he is not put out by Djokovic's confidence.
"It's like reliving this whole thing, but this is the way you're supposed to think out there," he said.
"You are not coming here to lose in the first round. You're coming here to do well and then win the tournament if you're one of the top 10 guys.
"That's reality. That's nothing new. That's not cocky. That's confidence. That's just a normal tennis player." - AFP
posted by Abu71 @ 8:01 AM, ,
Manchester United profit doubles
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Manchester United Plc said its annual pre-tax profit doubled on increased sponsorship and after it expanded its stadium and won the League title.
Pre-tax profit in the 12 months to June 30 rose to 59.6 million pounds from 30.8 million pounds in the year-earlier period, the club said on Friday.
The 2006-2007 Premiership winning club, owned by U.S. billionaire Malcolm Glazer, said annual revenue surged 27 percent to 210 million pounds from 165 million pounds.
Interest in the world's richest soccer League and new sponsorship will keep pushing income higher, Chief Executive David Gill said.
"I am confident that the uplift in the Premier League television deal, together with our new sponsorship sales structure will enable the club to continue to increase its revenues and profitability," Gill said in a statement.
Britain's Barclays Premier League is followed in more than 200 countries as fans in Africa or Asia want to see stars such as Wayne Rooney or Christiano Ronaldo, both at United.
More seats at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium helped the club lift its match day revenue by 30 percent to 92.6 million pounds, the club said.
Reaching the semi-finals of the lucrative UEFA Champions League competition and the final of the domestic FA Cup helped the Reds increase their media revenues by more than a third to 61.5 million pounds, the club said.
Replica shirts, shirt sponsorship by American International Group and other commercial revenues rose 15 percent to 56 million pounds. The club said it has about 333 million followers around the world.
At a time of soaring players' salaries, the club managed to cut its wages-to-turnover ratio to 43.6 percent from 51.6 percent.
By contrast, players' agents were paid more: 2.1 million pounds last season from 1.8 million pounds during the previous one, Manchester United said.
posted by Abu71 @ 7:51 PM, ,