In Brief

Sport shorts: Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Roger Federer will play in Australian bushfire fundraising event

Ten things from the world of sport on Wednesday 8 January

1. Tennis stars to play in Rally for Relief event

World tennis stars have confirmed they will play in a charity event to raise money for the Australian bushfire relief cause.

The “Rally for Relief” exhibition match will be held in Melbourne on Wednesday 15 January - five days before the start of the Australian Open grand slam

Men’s world No.1 Rafael Nadal will be joined in the charity event by 20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer and Australian star Nick Kyrgios. 

American 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams and Australian Open women’s singles defending champion Naomi Osaka will also play. 

Craig Tiley, Tennis Australia CEO and Australian Open tournament director, said: “We felt it was vital we use all our events across the summer to make a meaningful contribution to help these people and communities rebuild their lives.

“The players are keen to be involved - we’ve had a tremendous response from them and they are keen to help.” 

Aussie cricket legend Shane Warne auctions Test cap for bushfire appeal 

2. F1 monitoring Australia fires

Formula 1 bosses are “monitoring” the Australian bushfire crisis ahead of the 2020 season opener in Melbourne on 15 March. BBC Sport reports that F1 is in “constant contact with the race organisers on the issue”.

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3. Man City take control of semi-final  

Holders Manchester City silenced their noisy neighbours in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final after a dominant performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford. City’s 3-1 victory has put more pressure on under-fire United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The other semi-final first leg takes place tonight with Leicester City hosting Aston Villa at the King Power Stadium (8pm, live on Sky Sports).

#OleOut: Man Utd fans call for Solskjaer sacking after humiliation by Man City

4. Nike shoe may ‘threaten’ Bolt’s sprint records

The Times reports that World Athletics is being pressed to stop the spread of new running shoes that could transform the sport. 

The paper says that Nike’s controversial Vaporfly shoe has benefited distance runners, including Eliud Kipchoge, who wore them when he became the first man to run a sub-two hour marathon, and something similar could happen for sprinters.

Such are the technological advances being developed by Nike in running shoes they “could allow inferior sprinters to break Usain Bolt’s world records”.  

5. Malaga boss suspended over explicit video

BBC Sport reports that Malaga head coach Victor Sanchez has been suspended by the Spanish football club after an explicit video of the 43-year-old was posted on social media.

Malaga are investigating the matter but Sanchez says he is the victim of a blackmail attempt. He said: “I am being subjected to a crime against my privacy with harassment and extortion. The matter is in the hands of the police and I entrust myself to follow their instructions.”

6. Morgan urges FA to rethink deal

Nicky Morgan, the secretary of state for culture, media and sport, has urged the English Football Association to “reconsider” its deal to sell FA Cup broadcasting rights to betting site Bet365. The Daily Mail says the deal is a “slap in the face” to Prince William’s mental health campaign.

7. McCarthy named Cowboys head coach

Mike McCarthy has been confirmed as the new head coach of NFL franchise Dallas Cowboys. The 56-year-old, who previously coached the Green Bay Packers, replaces Jason Garrett who was sacked on Sunday.

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8. Young set for Inter deal

Manchester United defender Ashley Young is on the verge of signing a pre-contract agreement with Italian side Inter Milan. The 34-year-old is out of contract at Old Trafford this summer and will be free to join Inter ahead of next season. Young would join former United striker Romelu Lukaku and ex-Chelsea boss Antonio Conte at the Serie A club. 

9. Lammers: Mercedes could quit F1

Jan Lammers, the ex-Formula 1 driver and Dutch Grand Prix sporting director, believes Mercedes’s long-term future in the sport is uncertain. 

Lammers said: “It is somewhat uncertain what they will do in the long term. I certainly don’t think it’s unthinkable that they’ll say ‘it was fantastic, but it’s time to do something else’. Although they are still impressive, you can perhaps say that Mercedes has now reached the peak.”

F1: Marko was ‘worried’ Max would join Mercedes 

10. Today’s back pages 

England’s victory over South Africa in the second cricket Test dominates most back pages as the tourists celebrated their first win in Cape Town for 63 years. 

The Daily Express describes Ben Stokes as England’s “superhero” after the all-rounder followed up his five catches and quickfire 72 with a brilliant bowling display. It was “Cape crusader” Stokes who finally wore down the valiant South Africa resistance, taking three late wickets on the fifth and final day.

Today’s newspaper back pages 

Stokes is England’s superhero and it’s blue murder at Old Trafford

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