In Brief

Sport shorts: Novak Djokovic praises ‘role model’ Roger Federer and Raheem Sterling defends Joe Gomez from England boo boys

Ten things from the world of sport on Friday 15 November

1. Djokovic: Federer is a role model 

Novak Djokovic has heaped praise on Roger Federer after being beaten by the Swiss maestro in last night’s ATP Finals clash in London.

Federer advanced to the semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Djokovic, who is now out of the season-ending tournament. 

Speaking at The O2, Serbian star Djokovic said: “He was the better player in all aspects and absolutely deserved to win. He served great, moved well, returned my serve very well. 

“From his end, I think he did everything right. From my end, I was just playing too neutral. I couldn’t read his serve well. Just a pretty bad match from my side. 

“[But] I have the utmost admiration for him and everything he’s doing on the court. What he has achieved over the years and what he’s still showing on the court is phenomenal. 

“He’s a role model, even for me, and one of the toughest opponents I’ve had in my career. Looking at his career and what he’s still doing just inspires you.”

Djokovic vs. Nadal vs. Federer: the ‘GOAT’ debate, grand slam wins, career titles

2. Hamilton can’t wait for Rossi machine swap

Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton admits it will be “very surreal” to swap machines and share a track with MotoGP icon Valentino Rossi. 

The duo will take part in a swap next month with Hamilton riding a Yamaha and Rossi driving an older Mercedes F1 car. Crash.net reports that because of F1 testing regulations the car will need to be at least two years old. 

Hamilton said: “I’m super excited about it. Just being on the same track at the same time as Valentino is going to be very, very surreal, and a real honour, because he’s such an icon in the sport, and he’s done so much. It’ll be cool to see him in my car as well. 

“I’ve been riding bikes for the last couple of years. I’ve only done three days on them on the track, but they have been incredible, and I’m always watching MotoGP.”

3. BT Sport retains Champions League rights 

Uefa Champions League and Europa League UK TV coverage will remain on BT Sport after the broadcaster announced a new deal until 2024. 

The company said in a statement: “BT Sport saw a 26% increase in Champions League viewer hours, with the Champions League final between Liverpool and Spurs available for all to watch in the UK on social media, and a record breaking 11.3m people tuning in across all platforms.”

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4. Matthew to captain Europe in Solheim defence

Catriona Matthew will get the chance to lead Team Europe in their defence of the Solheim Cup after being confirmed as captain again for the 2021 event. 

Matthew’s European squad beat the United States 14½-13½ at Gleneagles in September and she said: “Winning the Solheim Cup in Scotland was a dream come true, but backing that up with a win in America would be even better. 

“It’s always harder to win on US soil, but I’m honoured to be tasked with the mission. I was lucky enough to be part of the first European team to win on US soil at Colorado Golf Club in 2013 and so know what’s possible.”

5. Zara Tindall made a director at Cheltenham 

Cheltenham Racecourse has announced that Zara Tindall will become a director at the iconic horse racing venue. 

Tindall, the Queen’s eldest granddaughter, said: “Racing is simply the most exciting sport and it’s open to all. I’m passionate about horse racing, particularly on the jumps side, and the absolute pinnacle is Cheltenham. 

“It’s an honour to have been asked by Martin St Quinton [the new chairman] on behalf of the Jockey Club to get involved in a more formal capacity and I look forward to doing my bit to support the executive team.”

6. Garrett ‘could have killed’ Rudolph 

Cleveland Browns’s Myles Garrett was ejected from last night’s NFL match against the Pittsburgh Steelers after hitting Mason Rudolph with the quarterback’s own helmet.

Browns beat the Steelers 21-7 but Garrett’s actions have drawn widespread criticism from around the NFL, Sky Sports reports.  

Steelers’s Maurkice Pouncey, who was also ejected after the fight, said that Garrett “could have killed” Rudolph. The Steelers centre added: “What if he’d hit in him the temple?”

Garrett apologised after the match and said: “I made a mistake, I lost my cool and I regret it. It’s gonna come back to hurt our team. The guys who jumped in to the scrum... I appreciate my team having my back but it should never get to that, it’s on me.” 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Get your first six issues for £6–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

7. Root aiming for ‘big runs’ against NZ

England captain Joe Root is confident he will be able to notch some big scores in the two-Test series in New Zealand. Root, who will bat at No.4, said: “I’ve done a lot of work on my batting and feel there’s been quite a significant shift in certain areas. 

“When you’re not concerned about areas of your game, that unlocks a lot of things as well. You have the clarity and clear mind to just go and play. So hopefully that’ll play a big part, starting from this series, and then I can go and get some big runs.”

The first Test starts on Wednesday 20 November in Mount Maunganui. 

2019 sports events calendar and TV guide: what’s on in November?

8. Solskjaer targets Haaland

TalkSPORT reports that Manchester United are the “frontrunners” to land highly-rated striker Erling Braut Haaland. 

The Red Bull Salzburg star has been in wondrous form this season, netting 26 times in just 18 appearances, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is desperate to bring the 19-year-old Norwegian to Old Trafford. 

The two crossed paths at Molde and talkSPORT says that connection could well help United beat off competition from Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona. 

Man Utd could bag Haaland but may miss out on Mandzukic 

9. Ronaldo now on 98 international goals 

Cristiano Ronaldo has taken his international goals tally to 98 in 163 games after hitting a hat-trick in Portugal’s 6-0 victory over Lithuania last night. 

In the Euro 2020 group B qualifier the Juventus striker opened the scoring with a seventh-minute penalty and added goals on 22 and 65 minutes. 

Should the Portugal skipper net two against Luxembourg on Sunday he would become only the second male footballer to score 100 international goals.

Ronaldo, 34, is second on the all-time list of international goalscorers. He is 11 goals behind Iran legend Ali Daei who scored 109. 

The treble against Lithuania was also Ronaldo’s ninth international hat-trick for Portugal and 55th in his career.

10. Sterling defends Gomez from boo boys 

Raheem Sterling has rallied to the defence of Joe Gomez after the defender was booed by England fans when coming on as a substitute in last night’s 7-0 win over Montenegro. 

Sterling, who was dropped from the squad after his incident with Gomez, tweeted: “It was hard for me to see my team-mate get booed for something that was my fault. 

“Joe hasn’t done anything wrong and for me to see someone who keeps his head down and works hard, especially after a difficult week for him, to be booed when he came on tonight was wrong. I’ve taken full responsibility and accepted the consequence.”

The victory means England have qualified for next summer’s European Championships. 

Today’s back pages

Grand master Harry Kane fires England to the Euros

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Get your first six issues for £6–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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