Sports – News Net Daily an integrated news site covering all the news from all over the world, with a new vision that covers all the news as it happens from our different sources. Sat, 05 Sep 2020 12:05:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ferrari Learns to Start Them Off Young Sat, 05 Sep 2020 12:05:07 +0000

When Charles Leclerc won last year’s Belgian Grand Prix, it was the 235th victory for Ferrari in Formula 1. That also made him the first graduate of the Ferrari Driver Academy to win a race in Formula 1.

Leclerc’s promotion to Ferrari in 2019 at 21, after racing for Sauber in 2018, was a gamble by a team that has historically used experienced drivers. Leclerc replaced Kimi Raikkonen, 18 years his senior, and was rewarded with a revised five-year deal last year. The four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, 33, was not offered a new contract beyond 2020.

“He is the concrete example,” Laurent Mekies, the head of the academy, said of Leclerc. “It is a great incentive for all the boys and the girls.”

Ferrari was slower than many other teams to start developing its own young talent. The team started the academy in 2009, when Lewis Hamilton, the product of a McLaren youth program that embraced him when he was 13, was already defending his first world title. A year later, Red Bull’s protégé Vettel won his first crown. Between them, they have 10 titles.

There are 16 drivers, including Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, in Formula 1 who have come up in youth programs run by teams, which also include Renault, Honda, Williams, Sauber and Mercedes.

The Ferrari academy has graduated 10 students, and there are nine, ages 16 to 21, in the class of 2020. They include the Formula 2 race winner Callum Ilott, last year’s Formula 3 champion Robert Shwartzman, and Mick Schumacher, who won that championship in 2018 and is the son of the retired Ferrari championship driver Michael Schumacher, who sustained a traumatic head injury in a skiing accident in 2013. Five of the students compete in Formula 2, the Formula 1 feeder championship that Leclerc won in 2017.

“I have been a member of the F.D.A. for three years, and I have made a lot of progress over this period of time,” Shwartzman said. “We focus our work on continuously making progress. We do a lot of training — physical, mental, with the simulator. We have also started working with Formula 1 engineers recently, who are helping us and explaining how the Formula 1 car works from a technical perspective.”

The academy had high hopes for its first recruit, Jules Bianchi, but he died in 2015 from injuries he received in a crash during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix while driving for the Ferrari-powered Marussia team. Bianchi was Leclerc’s godfather.

“In terms of raw talent and potential, Charles was ticking all the boxes straight away,” Mekies said. “Then after that, he was also ticking all the boxes in terms of how he was growing within Ferrari and the F.D.A. environment.”

Leclerc, whose first visit to Ferrari was with Bianchi as a teenager, has said that the academy was a vital part of his development.

“I remember watching the Ferrari facilities from the outside and being very impressed and dreaming of being in there one day,” he said in a Ferrari video this year. “I was very shy, very afraid when I went in 2016.”

The drivers spend their days in Maranello, Italy, where Ferrari has its headquarters, enhancing the familial feel that the academy promotes.

“It is similar to being in a large family,” Ilott said. “I have spent the majority of the last two or three years in Italy with the other drivers. Obviously we are all pretty good friends, but with a strong competitive nature.”

Schumacher said it was a prestigious team with an incredible history in motorsports.

“We have regular meetings and workshops where we get to understand better what it takes to be an F1 driver and how to get there,” he said. “Plus, it’s very motivating to feel the support of Ferrari for my career.”

The aim is to train a driver who will eventually not only win, but also win for Ferrari.

“Ultimately, the goal is that he is in the red car,” Mekies said. “Otherwise, it will be effectively a waste of energy.”

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Leilani Mitchell sparks Mystics over Sky, snapping a five-game losing streak Sat, 05 Sep 2020 10:50:23 +0000

“My shots were going in, so it’s a little easier to shoot every time when you see one go in,” Mitchell said. “From the start, we really pushed the tempo. We went back to playing how we were early in the season. A lot of easy looks. We had a lot of movement on offense. It shouldn’t be that way, but when we’re playing well on offense, usually our defense picks up as well, and it did tonight.

“Tonight was fun. … Everybody was moving, so it was easy to find people open.”

The Mystics’ starters struggled to score in a loss to the Storm on Wednesday, but that was not an issue against the Sky (11-8). Myisha Hines-Allen bounced back from a season-low two points to score 19 and grab 10 rebounds. Emma Meesseman added 15 points and five assists, while Ariel Atkins finished with 13 points, making 3 of 6 shots from beyond the arc.

“Oooohhh!” Hines-Allen exclaimed when asked about Mitchell. “When your point guard is on like that and she was getting hyped, it was perfect. It was perfect.”

The Mystics came out strong, outscoring Chicago 32-21 in the first quarter. A 14-4 run in the period included baskets from seven players, highlighted by a pair of fast-break layups off pretty assists from Mitchell that gave Washington a 28-16 lead. Mitchell had eight assists in the first quarter alone.

The second quarter was another story. The Mystics’ shooting cooled — they scored just two points in the first six minutes of the period — and the Sky rallied with a 10-2 run to get within three points. Washington led 45-40 at halftime after shooting 63.6 percent from the field in the first quarter but just 33.3 percent in the second quarter.

“In the past, when we had lapses like that, we might have given up a little on ourselves a little bit,” Hines-Allen said.

The Mystics regained their poise after halftime, played stout defense and got timely baskets. Washington put the game away late in the fourth quarter with a 12-4 run highlighted by a pair of three-pointers from Atkins. Chicago never led and scored just 29 points in the second half.

Mitchell, who has been playing through some foot pain, refused to come out of the game in the fourth quarter. She said it was finally fun to play again.

“We were just enjoying it out there,” Mitchell said. “There was not a lot of games where we actually were having fun. Most of the games just feel like a struggle. . . . Hopefully this carries over. If we play like this, we can win more games, and we definitely need to win the next game if we want to have a good chance at the playoffs.”

The Mystics face Dallas on Sunday afternoon in a game with enormous playoff implications. The Wings are 6-12 and have the inside track on the final playoff spot.

“Obviously, winning is thrilling for these guys,” Coach Mike Thibault said. “They worked so hard for it. … When we most needed to, our defense picked up in the second half.

“I just think they’re all sick of losing. We’ve had some close games while we were figuring it out, but tonight we got over the hump.”

Hines-Allen added, “It felt good, oh, my God. After the game [Atkins] just took like a deep breath. . . . We’re just happy to win a game.”

Courtney Vandersloot led the Sky with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Cheyenne Parker scored 17 off the bench.

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The Best Part of Layshia Clarendon’s Game? ‘Fearlessness’ Sat, 05 Sep 2020 09:35:15 +0000

On the court, Layshia Clarendon has become the leader of a young Liberty team coursing through a season with many unexpected challenges. As an executive committee member of the W.N.B.A.’s players’ union, Clarendon has also become a voice for social justice for the league this year.

Clarendon is averaging a career-high 11.7 points a game, but the Liberty are 2-15 and in last place in the Eastern Conference. The team is playing this season without several key players who decided to opt out of this season because of concerns over the coronavirus. Sabrina Ionescu, their star No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft, has been out since she sprained her ankle in the third game of the season.

Clarendon, who is in their eighth season, missed all but nine games last year, with the Connecticut Sun, because of a right ankle injury. The ankle “gets stiff every now and then,” Clarendon said, but they have still been able to serve as a critical veteran presence for a young Liberty team that began the year with seven rookies.

But this year is about more than just statistics for Clarendon. The W.N.B.A. has dedicated its season to Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed by the police in Louisville, Ky., and the Say Her Name campaign, which focuses on Black women and girls affected by police brutality and violence. Clarendon is one of the players leading the W.N.B.A.’s social justice initiatives.

The New York Times talked to Clarendon about playing fearlessly, the challenges of the tight game schedule this season and how, they said, social justice movements often overlook Black women.

Q: What has life in the bubble been like for you?

Clarendon: It’s up and down, depending on the moment. The schedule is really hectic. I don’t think I expected it to be this challenging to consistently play three games a week, so that’s been really tough from a purely recovery standpoint.

There’s just not a lot of downtime or time off just because we are playing so often.

How do you cope with the busy schedule?

Normal ice baths and recovery stuff that I do every season. It’s definitely been a more mentally challenging season. Obviously, with Covid going on, the state of the world and police murdering people left and right, it’s been more emotional and spiritual than physical most of the time. You can sleep for nine hours and still wake up and feel the weight of the world on your shoulders.

What do you think is the best part of your game?

I would say tenacity and fearlessness. It doesn’t matter if I get blocked, I’m going to go right back in the paint again against the same player who blocked me on the previous play.

How did you develop that tenacity and fearlessness?

Practice finishing a lot, trying to get into people’s bodies and create contact. I think it’s a mind-set, too. If you are really early on in the league and you get your stuff thrown into the stands, it’s embarrassing. But if you don’t get crossed-up in this league or your shot blocked in a game or something really bad in game, then you probably aren’t playing hard enough and you really don’t have your heart in it.

This league is so good, it’s just going to happen. Part of that is a mind-set of knowing that when you go up against Sue Bird or A’ja Wilson, they are going to block you. You are also going to get them. It’s about looking at it as a challenge and an opportunity rather than a: ‘Oh, I got blocked. That’s so embarrassing.’ No one wants to be on the wrong side of “SportsCenter.”

As a member of the executive committee, you helped lead the day of reflection last week. What went into the decision to call it a day of reflection instead of a boycott or strike? (The league missed two days of games last week after its players joined an N.B.A. work stoppage to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot in the back multiple times by the police in Kenosha, Wis. )

After we had a players meeting we realized just how exhausted everyone was. It was more like we needed that day. I think very much of it was standing in solidarity with our N.B.A. brothers. You could see it in people’s faces that day on TV how exhausted and heartbroken everyone was.

Yes, we were striking. Yes, we were fighting injustice, but we are exhausted and we are tired. We are calling it for a day of reflection and a day of mourning. We needed the time to take a step back.

What would you like to see the W.N.B.A. do next?

Voting is going to be a big one that we are trying to figure out a strategy around it right now. We could wear a ‘vote’ mask, which would be great awareness, but there has to be some longer game strategy behind how we are going to engage people. We are going to really focus on voting and the work we have been doing with Say Her Name, which I think can’t be understated.

At a time when Black women continue to be erased from the larger conversation of police brutality and violence, that’s why our work is particularly important. While, yes, we also stand with Jacob Blake and his family and all of the men who have been murdered in this movement, it is a constant reminder of how women have to choose between erasing themselves to stand up for their race or standing up for women, standing up for their own women.

That’s the constant struggle I feel like we are always in. I don’t want us to get away from Saying Her Name because that’s the whole point of the movement and why we came here. It’s sad that we always have to choose between standing up for our men and standing up for ourselves, because who stands up for us? No one.

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U.S. Open Match Delayed as Health Officials Debate Virus Rules Sat, 05 Sep 2020 08:20:06 +0000

The players were initially told they would be able to continue training in New York under the stricter guidelines, with the possibility of practicing on clay before returning to Europe to play in clay-court tournaments, including the French Open, which begins in Paris on Sept. 27.

But on Friday, Flipkens said on social media that the group had been informed by the Nassau County Department of Public Health that they were no longer permitted to leave their hotel rooms.

“While just last night we got the bad news that we had to stay here until next weekend, at least they told us we still had the same protocols (practice, special gym area, separate room on site),” Flipkens wrote on Instagram. “And now all of the sudden we have to quarantine in the room?”

Djokovic, a former president of the ATP Player Council who just led the creation of a new player group, said he was not happy with the way “the situation with the French players was managed.”

He said he understood that the ATP, WTA and U.S.T.A. did not have the final word on some decisions.

“Sometimes they have to just execute what the department of New York and the City of New York orders them to do, otherwise the tournament might be compromised and canceled,” he said. “It’s not easy. I mean, sometimes I don’t want to be in the skin of people who were in the midst of this. At the same time, players I think are left with very little very information, very little power to express themselves, or fight for their own right to play and travel back home. It’s very, very strange, I must say.”

Mannarino said he only signed the new, stricter protocol on Sunday evening, on the eve of his first-round singles match.

“I didn’t sleep much,” he said after winning it against Lorenzo Sonego. “I am drained mentally.”

But he recovered sufficiently to defeat the American Jack Sock in straight sets in the second round to set up the match with Zverev.

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Kentucky Derby 2020 Guide: Start Time, Streaming, Positions and More Sat, 05 Sep 2020 07:05:05 +0000

LOUISVILLE — The 146th running of the Kentucky Derby is going to be one of the strangest editions of America’s most famous race, beginning with the date of the race: The first Saturday in September rather than its traditional place on the calendar in May.

Like many other sporting events this year, the Derby will not have its usual crowd buzz or pageantry. No swells with pocket squares, or dressed up women in fancy hats. There will be no spectators present because of the coronavirus pandemic — or not many, at least, as horse owners will be allowed on the grounds.

The upended calendar, however, did open the door to some new trainers and horses with unusual credentials. The trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., for example, is here for the first time with a colt named Ny Traffic, who tuned up by running second in the Matt Winn and Haskell Stakes.

“The Derby means everything to me,” said Joseph, 33, a native of Barbados. “That’s why we came here. We hoped to one day win the Kentucky Derby, and now, to be in the position where we have a chance, we are very fortunate and blessed. We are just trying to take it all in.”

With the Derby running in the city where Breonna Taylor was killed in her apartment by the police in March, it has become a focus of the Black Lives Matter movement. A coalition of activist groups has called for a boycott of the race and its sponsors. They have promised to conduct a peaceful protest in a park near Churchill Downs on Saturday.

The racetrack’s leadership released a statement Thursday to explain their decision to hold the races.

“We know there are some who disagree with our decision to run the Kentucky Derby this year,” the statement said. “We respect that point of view but made our decision in the belief that traditions can remind us of what binds us together as Americans, even as we seek to acknowledge and repair the terrible pain that rends us apart.

“Our sport shares a disconcerting history that led to the exclusion of Black jockey participation through the years,” the statement continued. “The legacy of the Kentucky Derby begins with the incredible success of Black jockeys. We feel it is imperative to acknowledge the painful truths that led to their exclusion. Churchill Downs strongly believes in preserving and sharing the stories of the Black jockeys who are a critical part of this tradition. This is not a new commitment, but we continue to seek ways to share these stories and honor these athletes.”

An African-American jockey, Oliver Lewis, won the inaugural Kentucky Derby in 1875. He claimed victory aboard Aristides, a horse trained by Ansel Williamson, who was born into slavery. In the years after the Civil War, Black jockeys dominated horse racing, winning 15 of the first 28 Kentucky Derbys and becoming celebrities, much like today’s N.B.A. stars.

In their statement, Churchill Downs officials hinted at changes.

“We recognize that people in our community and across our nation are hurting right now,” it said. “The atmosphere of the Kentucky Derby will be different this year as we respond to those calls for change. This will be a Derby unlike any other. As it should be.”

There was some speculation as to whether or not “My Old Kentucky Home” would be played as the horses come on to the track, as has been tradition since 1921. The song, written by Stephen Foster, has a complicated history. The original lyrics, according to Smithsonian Magazine, were not a tribute to the Old South but a condemnation of Kentucky slave owners “who sold husbands away from their wives and mothers away from their children.”

In a tweet Friday, the Churchill spokesman Darren Rogers said the song, indeed, would be part of the pre-race pageantry. But moment of silence will take place before the playing of the song.

“After careful consideration, My Old Kentucky Home will be played this year prior to the @KentuckyDerby,” Rogers posted on the racetrack’s official public relations account. “However, the 100-year tradition of singing the state song of Kentucky has been thoughtfully & appropriately modified & will be preceded by a moment of silence and reflection.”

Tiz the Law, the Belmont Stakes champion, was made the prohibitive 3-5 morning-line favorite to win what is this year the second leg of the Triple Crown. The New York-bred colt has won six of his seven races in dominant fashion, but his only defeat came here, beneath Churchill’s iconic twin spires, last year.

At 82, Barclay Tagg would become the oldest trainer to win a Derby. He likes how Tiz the Law is training.

“He had a very nice gallop,” Tagg said on Friday. “Right speed. Everything was comfortable. He pulled up nicely and came back nicely. We’re all good.”

He also knows how he wants his jockey, Manny Franco, to ride the son of Constitution, who won three starts in 2014.

“I’d like for us to be laying third all the way around until we get down for business,” Tagg said. “I’m very confident in our horse. He’s a very nice colt. I hope he wins it. He’s a good horse, good horses do good things.”

A new 20-horse starting gate will be used, a change that track officials hoped would ensure a clean and fair break in what usually is a roughly ridden race, especially into the first turn. The gate is 65 feet, and the stalls are two inches wider than the stalls of its predecessor.

“The most important part of this is eliminating that gap between the 14 and 15 of the auxiliary gate,” Ben Huffman, the Churchill Downs racing secretary, told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “It’s farther away from the inside rail and the outside goes closer to the inside, and it’s better for everybody.”

Unfortunately, no matter what happens on Saturday, expect the evidence to be inconclusive. With the late scratches of King Guillermo on Thursday and Finnick the Fierce on Friday morning, the 16-horse field will be compact by Derby standards.

Looking for a horse to upset Tiz the Law? Then keep an eye on three horses surrounding him in the gate. Inside him in the No. 15 hole is Ny Traffic (20-1) and No. 16 Honor A. P. (5-1), and to his outside in the No. 18 hole is Authentic (8-1). Like Tiz the Law, each will try to break sharply and establish themselves in the front of the pack.

Looking for a good karma bet with a feel-good back story? Try Necker Island at 50-1.

He is partly owned by Greg Harbut, a rare African-American owner in horse racing. His grandfather Tom Harbut bred and owned a horse that ran in the 1962 Derby, and his great-grandfather Will once graced the cover of The Saturday Evening Post alongside the magnificent athlete he cared for, the great Man o’ War.

He, along with his fellow Black owner Ray Daniels, heard calls to boycott America’s most famous race in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Instead, Necker Island is running, and they are going to do something Tom Harbut was prohibited from doing: take their place in the owner’s box.

“This is a different kind of Kentucky Derby — one held in September, not May, with no fans instead of 170,000 of them,” Harbut said. “But we are here, and people will know my family’s contributions to the sport. They will know how African-Americans built horse racing. And, hopefully, more of us will return to it.”

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Orioles split doubleheader, end 19-game skid vs. Yankees Sat, 05 Sep 2020 05:50:23 +0000

The win also was the Orioles’ first over the Yankees at Camden Yards in 19 games, keeping New York one victory shy of matching the major league record for consecutive wins at an opponent’s venue.

In Friday’s first game, New York scored twice in the ninth inning on singles by Miguel Andújar and Clint Frazier and held on for a 6-5 victory.

Facing Deivi García, the Yankees’ No. 3 prospect per Baseball America who pitched six one-run innings in his debut Sunday, Mountcastle put the Orioles ahead in the second inning with a two-run homer, his first at Camden Yards.

After the Yankees took the lead with three unearned runs, Mountcastle came up in the fifth. Yankees Manager Aaron Boone pulled García and brought in Clarke Schmidt, New York’s No. 2 prospect, for his major league debut with two on and two out. Mountcastle lined an 0-1 slider into center for a game-tying single, and Rio Ruiz, who homered in the night’s earlier game, followed with a go-ahead single into left. Pat Valaika completed the Orioles’ spoiling efforts against Schmidt with a two-run double.

César Valdez earned his first major league save.

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2020 U.S. Open: What to Watch on Saturday Sat, 05 Sep 2020 04:45:03 +0000

Arthur Ashe Stadium | NOON

Medvedev, the runner-up at the 2019 U.S. Open, has cruised to the third round, spending just over four hours on the court through his first two rounds. Wolf, in his first main draw at a Grand Slam event, has spent about the same time on the court, upsetting the 29th-seeded Guido Pella in the process.

Medvedev, one of the favorites for this year’s title, especially with Roger Federer out recovering from a knee surgery, is a counterpuncher, using his movement to evade opponents’ onslaughts. Wolf’s compact, punchy groundstrokes are almost perfect for him to prey on. Even if Wolf does not pose a serious threat in this match, it would be unwise to overlook him. Whatever lessons Wolf, 21, learns today could be fodder for his future on the tour.

Louis Armstrong | 7 p.m.

Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champion, has looked dominant in her first two rounds. Her aggressive style of play can overwhelm players, especially on a quicker surface. Her excellent backhand, which she can lean into for pace or deftly disguise to pull her opponents around the court, is just the tip of the iceberg. With her current run of form, there’s no reason Kenin, 21, shouldn’t feel confident in not only making a deep run, but also going for her second Grand Slam title in a row.

Jabeur, the 27th seed from Tunisia, has needed a tiebreaker in each of her two-set matches on the way to the third round. Jabeur has a tendency to throw off opponents by mixing up her shots, and not always going for a predictable, effective shot that she could hit. For Jabeur to pull out the upset, she will need to dig through her entire bag of “crazy shots,” as she enjoys referring to them, and find the ones Kenin just can’t quite handle.

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Sebastian Vettel Looks Beyond Ferrari Sat, 05 Sep 2020 03:30:05 +0000

When Sebastian Vettel moved from Red Bull to Ferrari in 2015, his hope was to add to his four Formula 1 championships.

But five years later, Vettel is set to leave the team without achieving any of the success he had imagined after an exit that took the German driver by surprise.

Ferrari announced in May that it had “jointly decided” with Vettel not to extend his contract beyond the end of this season. Mattia Binotto, the team principal, said at the time that it was a decision that “both parties feel is for the best.”

Vettel, however, said he had received a phone call from Binotto shortly before Ferrari’s announcement informing him the team was not renewing his contract.

“It was obviously a surprise to me when I got the call from Mattia, when he told me that there was no further intention from the team to continue,” Vettel said.

“We never got into any discussions. There was never an offer on the table.”

Binotto explained that while Vettel had been Ferrari’s “first choice” in the winter, the pandemic had “changed the entire world, not only motorsport and Formula 1.”

The introduction of a budget cap that starts for 2021 and the decision to postpone the new car rules until 2022 also played a part in Ferrari’s decision.

“The entire situation has changed,” he said.

Ferrari had already been considering plans for Vettel’s departure over the winter, when it opened talks with Carlos Sainz Jr. of McLaren. His signing was announced two days after Vettel’s exit was confirmed.

Vettel is the youngest world champion in Formula 1 history, winning his first title at 23 in 2010, then driving for Red Bull. In joining Ferrari, Vettel hoped to emulate his hero, Michael Schumacher, who won five world championships for the team in the early 2000s.

Vettel was in the hunt for the world championship in 2017 and 2018, but lost to Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.

“We’ve tried everything together to fight for the championship, which we have done on several occasions,” Vettel said.

“We did not win the championship. So in that regard, you could say that I have failed, and we have failed.

“We got close until I was halfway in some years. We then got defeated quite clearly by Mercedes and Lewis. We were not quick enough.”

Vettel has been overshadowed by his younger teammate, Charles Leclerc, who joined the team in 2019. Leclerc, a product of the Ferrari Driver Academy, won two races and outscored Vettel in the championship last year in just his second Formula 1 season.

Ferrari rewarded Leclerc for his season with a five-year contract, a clear signal that he was the driver the team’s future would be built around.

Vettel and Leclerc also had some tense moments together, notably at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix, when they crashed while fighting for position. They crashed again at this year’s Styrian Grand Prix, forcing both of them to retire from the race.

Ferrari’s 2020 season has been difficult, its car underperforming compared with last year. But while Leclerc has managed to finish on the podium twice, Vettel has finished no higher than sixth. It is his worst start to a season since 2008.

But Vettel did not call it his worst season in Formula 1. “I don’t think it is fair to label seasons or races,” he said. “It is quite difficult to make that statement, because there has only been so many races.”

The poor results had put growing pressure on Vettel, something Kimi Raikkonen, his former teammate, experienced before he was replaced by Leclerc.

“Sometimes we had bad times, and the Italians can be harsh on you on the media side, but that’s how it is,” Raikkonen said.

“But I doubt it will affect how he does his job there,” he said, referring to Vettel. “He’s been in the sport long enough to know that sometimes it’s like that, and find a way to turn it around.”

Hamilton said he was impressed by Vettel’s commitment to helping Ferrari improve its performance.

“It can never be a great feeling, to be told that you’re not wanted to continue within the team, especially when you join a team and you give your all, you give your heart,” Hamilton said.

“The way he is pushing and continuing to try to help the team shows the great character he has” and his commitment to racing.

Hamilton added that he hoped “something really positive comes up” for Vettel to keep him in Formula 1 for 2021.

At 33, Vettel is not near typical retirement age in Formula 1. Many drivers continue to race into their late 30s or early 40s.

He said he was in “loose talks” with Racing Point, which will become Aston Martin’s new Formula 1 team next year.

Otmar Szafnauer, the team principal, would say only that the driver lineup of Lance Stroll and Sergio Pérez was “still status quo” for 2021.

The team is owned by Lawrence Stroll, a billionaire whose funding helped save the team from bankruptcy and improve its on-track performance. Racing Point is currently beating Ferrari in the championship.

Vettel is weighing whether to stay in Formula 1 or take a break from racing, one that would allow him to spend more time with his family.

“I’m not in a rush,” he said. “I want to make sure that I make the right decision for myself. As much as I can, I would like to control and make sure that the conclusion for me is the right decision.”

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Best bets for the Kentucky Derby Sat, 05 Sep 2020 02:15:21 +0000

Over the past seven years, every Kentucky Derby winner but two — Orb in 2013 and Country House in 2019 — was classified as having a stalking running style. The demoted winner of last year’s race, Maximum Security, was designated as a stalker, too. Of the first four horses to cross the finish line over the past seven years, 21 of the 28 were either stalkers or pressers, horses sitting just off the leaders at the first call. If you toss out last year’s results, that improves to 19 out of 24 horses that were close to the early pace finishing first, second third or fourth. In this year’s Kentucky Derby, one horse can be considered a need-to-lead type, with seven as stalkers, five as pressers and five as closers, who make their move from further back.

Tiz the Law has a perfect running style for this race. He’s never been farther back than fourth at the second call (three-quarter mile mark) during his 3-year-old career and never more than 2½ lengths behind the leader at any call in any of his seven career races. The only knock against him in this race is his post position. Tiz the Law drew post No. 17, which is 0 for 145 in the Derby. However, Churchill Downs will debut a new 20-horse starting gate this year, specifically designed to accommodate the Kentucky Derby field. The track previously used two gates for the big race, relying on a main gate for the first 14 runners and an auxiliary gate for the remaining horses. Now that gap between the 14th and 15th horses will be eliminated.

“I like it being on the outside,” Barclay Tagg, trainer of Tiz the Law, said of the draw. “I didn’t particularly want to be out that far, but we have been. He seems to handle everything that gets thrown at him. It gives you a chance if you have any speed at all.”

Singling Tiz the Law at the top of a superfecta ticket makes a lot of sense and allows you to use more horses underneath. Two horses that should be a part of your exotics are Max Player and Honor A. P.

Max Player will have to navigate the No. 2 post position early and avoid trouble, but he and jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. showed that ability to some degree in the Belmont, breaking from Post No. 9 in a field of 10. Max Player got caught seven-wide in the upper stretch but still managed to pass two horses on his way to the wire. Honor A. P. will be on the outside with Tiz the Law (Post No. 16) and should be able to stay close enough to the early pace to make a late move. Honor A. P.’s rider, Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, is also no stranger to the Kentucky Derby, having won with Giacomo in 2005 and Justify in 2018.

Authentic will expend a lot of energy making his way to the front from post No. 18 but that doesn’t mean he should completely cave in toward the end. Jockey John Velazquez is well suited for this type of runner. He has won 22 percent of his 245 races with front-runners this year and has finished in the money more than half the time (53 percent, per Brisnet). Plus, there was a speed bias at Churchill Downs earlier this year. Almost 73 percent of all winners in dirt routes during that meet (61 of 84 races) were front-runners or stalkers, giving Authentic a slight edge to hit the board despite aiming for the lead at the start.

Churchill Downs (May 16 to June 28)

Won 28 percent more than expected

Won 46 percent more than expected

Won 37 percent less than expected

Won 52 percent less than expected

One other horse to keep in mind is Ny Traffic. He surged late in the Haskell Stakes and ended up second by a nose, with a career-high Brisnet speed figure (107). He could do something similar on Saturday from post No. 15.

Here is how you could use those horses to construct a superfecta ticket.

$2 super: 17 with 16 with 2 with 15, 18

$1 super: 17 with 2, 15, 16 with 2, 15, 16, 18 with 2, 15, 16, 18

$1 super: 17 with 16 with 2, 15, 18 with ALL

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With More Black Women, U.S. Open Shows Serena and Venus Legacy Sat, 05 Sep 2020 01:00:04 +0000

The main event of the United States Open on Saturday will be Serena Williams playing Sloane Stephens: a third-round duel between Williams, the greatest women’s tennis player of her era, and Stephens, the last American to win a U.S. Open singles title.

It will be their first match in more than five years, and although both players have had their struggles since the restart of the tour, it could be quite a tussle.

It will also be a timely reminder of how many Black players have flowed into tennis in the age of the Williams sisters, a wave of growth that has been more evident in the women’s game than in the men’s game.

In this year’s women’s singles tournament, there were 12 American players who are Black, some of them multiracial and four of them recipients of wild cards from the United States Tennis Association.

“I can’t imagine we’ve been even close to that, ever,” said Martin Blackman, the general manager of player development at the U.S.T.A.

That official tally does not include Naomi Osaka, who was born in Japan but spent most of her childhood in the United States and whose family used the Williamses’ story and success as a template. Osaka’s father is Haitian and her mother is Japanese, and Osaka seriously considered representing the United States before choosing to play for Japan.

The Black players from the U.S. represent nearly one-tenth of the field of 128 women. The sport relies heavily on players from outside the United States, and some leading Europeans and Australians have been absent from this tournament because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s awesome,” Stephens, 27, said. “I think it’s an amazing opportunity for right now to get more people of color in this sport, because you can see there are so many amazing players playing.”

The 25-year age gap is no coincidence. It corresponds to the length of the Williams sisters’ professional careers. Though there are legitimate concerns about the dwindling numbers of junior tennis players in the United States, the Williamses have clearly inspired more diversity within the sport.

“It all starts with Venus and Serena,” said Blackman, who is Black. “That demonstration effect. The power of seeing two African-American girls with braids in the finals of the biggest tournaments in the world in a predominantly white sport. Just a huge impact that really can’t be overstated. That attracted thousands of girls into the sport, not just African-American but all backgrounds and races.”

Consider that at the 2010 U.S. Open, which Serena missed because of injury, Venus was the only Black player in the women’s singles draw.

“That’s crazy,” said Hailey Baptiste, 18, who received a U.S. Open wild card and is one of the brightest Black prospects. “I feel like it’s amazing to see so many girls that look like me playing in the tournament and the main draw.”

Blackman said the Williams story also spoke to parents because it proved that great financial means were not a prerequisite for great success in an expensive, international sport.

“There’s a certain type of pragmatism among a lot of the parents of the African-American girls that are coming into the pathway,” he said. “It’s a feeling they can do it without having to do everything that people with money do; a willingness to do whatever it takes with the means folks have that I can really see is part of the demonstration effect the Williams have.”

Blackman said at U.S.T.A. training camps at various levels, there were an average of “about 15 percent African-American girls” with those initiatives partly designed to increase outreach to minority groups.

That is slightly higher than the percentage of people in the U.S. population who identify as African-American or Black, either alone or in combination with other races, according to U.S. census estimates.

There has yet to be a similar trend in the boy’s game or on the men’s tour. Blackman said at the equivalent U.S.T.A. boys camps, the Black participation rate was “about 5 to 7 percent.”

Frances Tiafoe, who is into the third round in men’s singles at the U.S. Open, is, at No. 82, the only Black men’s player ranked in the top 100; Michael Mmoh the only other in the top 200.

That is quite a contrast with the 10 Black women in the top 200: approximately one-third of the world-leading 31 Americans in the WTA’s top 200.

“Tennis is one of those sports that has the most opportunities for women,” said Chanda Rubin, a former top-10 player who was part of a generation of Black players who preceded the Williamses on tour. “The challenge is to put rackets in the hands of kids. It’s always a bit tricky, but it certainly was a big factor to have these two women who have completely changed the sport over the last 15, 20 years.”

Tiafoe, 22, who reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in 2019, is the son of immigrants from Sierra Leone. He began playing tennis because his father was a maintenance worker at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., which has helped develop a number of other talented players, including Montgomery, Baptiste and Denis Kudla.

Tiafoe said he believes a new wave of Black men could enter the game if he makes a major impact.

“It will take a guy like me doing something abnormal or doing something big, where it goes beyond the sport of tennis,” he said in an interview.

Blackman was 5 years old when Arthur Ashe defeated Jimmy Connors in 1975 to win the men’s singles title at Wimbledon. In the 1980s, there was a significant rise in the number of Black men in the top 200 in the rankings, with players like Chip Hooper and Rodney Harmon making an impact.

“That’s the Arthur Ashe effect,” Blackman said.

In essence, there are cycles of effect.

More Black players is only one component of the success. There were 11 American women of any race in the third round in singles at the U.S. Open, including No. 4-ranked Sofia Kenin. That is the most since 1989 and the most at any Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon in 1994.

The American depth is in line with a clear trend that would be a fitting tribute to the Williamses, who at this late stage of their careers, are not certain to play another U.S. Open together.

“When I started, I didn’t really know what tennis was about,” said Baptiste, who began by hitting with her father, Quasim. “Once I started to play more, I started watching Venus and Serena. I had somebody to look up to, somebody I wanted to play like, and then I got to meet them at the Washington Kastles team tennis event, and that just pushed me even more.”

Now, she has practiced several times with Venus Williams since they both played World Team Tennis earlier this year.

“Venus has been going out of her way to extend herself to show Hailey, ‘You can do this too,’” Quasim Baptiste said. “We are beyond appreciative.”

Stephens also has reached out, and practiced with Baptiste at the National Tennis Center on Friday in preparation for her match with Serena Williams.

What is exciting about the next wave of Black players is not just the quantity but the quality. “We’re lifting each other up; pushing each other,” Baptiste said.

Gauff is already ranked 51 at age 16 and has won a tour title in Linz, Austria, and reached the fourth round of Wimbledon and the Australian Open, where she beat Osaka in January.

Montgomery and Scott were part of the United States team that won the Junior Fed Cup last year. Clervie Ngounoue, a powerful 14-year-old, reached the final of the prestigious international junior event, Les Petits As, in France in January and is already receiving some financial backing from Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’s coach, who is French.

“Clervie is a special talent,” Blackman said.

But potential is no guarantee of success in a sport as Darwinian as tennis. The Williamses’ story is so powerful in part because it is so improbable: two sisters training in Compton, Calif., with a father with no formal background in the sport both reaching No. 1 and becoming great and enduring champions.

“I think it’s important not to kind of limit the thesis of Venus and Serena bringing more girls into the sport to just African-American girls,” Blackman said. “I think they’ve been just as compelling for girls of every race and background.”

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