Daily Briefing

Sport shorts: Tokyo 2020 is a grand opportunity to showcase sumo and Verstappen says Hamilton is good but he’s ‘not God’

Ten things from the world of sport on Tuesday 4 February

1. Sumo’s grand showcase

The Japan Sumo Association (JSA) has announced plans for a two-day Grand Sumo exhibition to be held between the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games this summer in Tokyo. 

Scheduled for 12-13 August, the exhibition will be used to promote Japan’s national sport to a wider audience. 

Quoted by Japan Times, JSA chairman Hakkaku said: “During the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, people from all over the world will be focused on Tokyo and Japanese culture will receive unprecedented interest.

“We hope that Grand Sumo will enhance friendship with the world and contribute to international cultural exchange.”

Toshiaki Endo, vice-president of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, added: “It will be a great opportunity for all people, including those outside Japan, to know the wonderful and exciting aspects of Japan’s national sport, sumo. 

“It will also be a friendly event for those with physical disabilities, and I’m sure it will offer positive momentum heading into the Paralympic Games.”

2. Serena needs to ‘face reality’

Serena Williams’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou believes the American tennis star must “change her strategy” if she is to win a record-equalling 24th grand slam title. 

Mouratoglou told BBC Sport: “Maybe come back with a different angle, a different strategy and different goals so she can make it. She does feel positive, she feels negative too because it is a failure when she doesn’t win a grand slam. 

“We have to face reality, but she is positive that she can make it otherwise she probably wouldn’t be on a tennis court anymore. She believes she can make it and I believe it too. She’s not that far, but we have to change a few things.”

3. Rugby World Cup 2021 dates confirmed

It has been announced that the 2021 Rugby World Cup will be held in New Zealand from 18 September to 16 October 2021. Matches for the women’s rugby tournament will be played across three venues: Waitakere Stadium, Whangarei’s Northland Events Centre and Auckland’s Eden Park.

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4. Sterling should be fit for Real clash

ESPN reports that England striker Raheem Sterling is expected to be fit for Manchester City’s Champions League round of 16 first leg against Real Madrid on 26 February. Sterling suffered a hamstring injury during City’s 2-0 loss at Tottenham on Sunday. 

5. Miami eye Modric and Cavani 

David Beckham’s new Major League Soccer (MLS) side Inter Miami are “preparing big-money bids” for Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and PSG’s Edinson Cavani, says the Daily Mail. Miami are in the process of recruiting new players ahead of their first season in the MLS.

Rugby league legend Shaun Edwards is the defence coach of the French rugby union team

David Rogers/Getty Images

6. Edwards: Jones chose the wrong word

France defence coach Shaun Edwards has criticised England rugby chief Eddie Jones for his pre-match comments last week.

Jones promised to bring “absolute brutality” to Paris for the Six Nations clash with France, but his words backfired as Les Bleus won 24-17. 

Edwards said: “I thought Eddie chose the wrong word there, to be honest. He probably should have said ‘physicality’. ‘Brutality’ brings to mind other things. I just think Eddie picked the wrong word.”

7. Max: Lewis is good, but he’s not God 

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is ready to challenge Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton for the 2020 Formula 1 world championship. 

Verstappen said: “Lewis is very good. He is definitely one of the best out there, but he’s not God. We really want to mount a challenge to especially Mercedes and I think we can do that.”

Meanwhile, Red Bull have announced they will launch their new car, the RB16, on 12 February. 

F1: a Vettel-Verstappen partnership at Red Bull? It’s not likely...

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8. Aitken named Williams reserve driver

ROKiT Williams Racing F1 have confirmed that Jack Aitken will be their official reserve driver for the 2020 season.

The 24-year-old was previously a test and reserve driver for Renault and also raced in Formula 2. He said: “Williams is a team with strong heritage, and continued longevity, and I’m looking forward to directly contributing to their development through my simulator and testing work.” 

9. Morgan not looking too far ahead

England are today playing their first one-day international (ODI) since winning the Cricket World Cup last summer. 

Speaking ahead of the first ODI against South Africa at Newlands, captain Eoin Morgan was asked if will lead England in their title defence in 2023. 

Morgan said: “I haven’t looked that far ahead. I’ve looked at the next two T20 World Cups and I feel in a good enough space right here and now to be able to say I’m hoping to be here for both of them.”

10. Back pages: Shrews out of pocket 

The Daily Express and the Daily Star both report on the cost to Shrewsbury Town of Liverpool fielding only a second-string team in their FA Cup fourth-round replay at Anfield. 

Tonight’s game (7.45pm) is not on TV and with the first-team players enjoying a winter break, the Reds have slashed ticket prices. This means that Shrewsbury’s 45% of the gate revenue will be smaller than it might have been with normal-priced tickets. 

It’s reported that Shrewsbury will miss out on a £500,000 pay-day from their trip to Merseyside.

Today’s back pages

Liverpool boss Klopp has cost Shrewsbury £500,000 and world champions England return to ODIs

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