Monthly Archives: September 2019

Australian Open is already spruiking highlights

Up-and-comer Thanasi Kokkinakis says Nick Kyrgios yelling and smashing racquets is good for tennis.

When players showed anger on court it made matches more entertaining to watch, he said.

The 19-year-old was at the launch of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Tuesday morning, where organisers announced that retiring Australian tennis legend Lleyton Hewitt would be awarded a wildcard entry to the tournament and that prizemoney would increase by 10 per cent to $44 million.

The Open aims to expand its presence in 2016, holding a free festival at Birrarung Marr, behind Federation Square.

Kokkinakis was inadvertently drawn into a minor tennis scandal earlier this year, when fellow Australian player and long-time friend Kyrgios sledged opponent Stan Wawrinka, making a sexually suggestive remark about  Kokkinakis and Wawrinka’s partner Donna Vekic.

Asked whether the attention paid to the behaviour of players was taking away from young Australians’ achievements, Kokkinakis said tennis should be entertaining.

“People want to watch you, and I don’t think they mind that stuff to be honest, even though it makes headlines it makes it fun for the fans to watch,” he said.

“I think it doesn’t really hurt the game too much.”

Kyrgios was in trouble again recently for swearing in China and hitting a ball into the roof of a Japanese stadium, but Kokkinakis said when they spoke it was just to catch up, not to discuss his friend’s code violations.

“I’ve been watching him the last couple of matches and he seems to be playing well, and he’s probably a bit more switched on than I’ve seen him before, which is good,” he said.

“He’s not just going to change completely and he’s not going to just not get frustrated, so I think he’s toning it down a little bit.

“The fans love watching him play, if he yells, if he breaks racquets, the fans love watching that so I think it’s good for the game.”

In the style of the recent grand final festival, held in the gardens outside the MCG this year, the Australian Open’s latest add-on will offer the public a chance to have a hit of tennis and will show matches on the big screen.

The cost will be covered by Tennis Australia and event sponsors, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said.

Tiley made it clear he was not impressed by Kyrgios’ recent violations, but said he had seen improvements.

“We all want to have a player up there like Nick that we’re proud of, and we’ll get there.”

Rafael Nadal and Rod Laver were guests on Tuesday at the “symbolic” Shanghai launch of the Open,  held simultaneously with the function in Melbourne.

Nadal plans to tread a familiar path to next year’s Australian Open, while carrying renewed optimism that a return to past glories is within closer reach.

The 14-time major winner, who has slipped to No.7 in the world rankings after failing to win a grand slam title this season for the first time in a decade, reached the Japan Open final last week to continue what has been a more positive finish to a difficult year.

The Spaniard, who received a first-round bye at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, claims to be injury-free despite requiring treatment on a foot complaint during his finals loss to top seed Novak Djokovic in Tokyo. .    “I will have probably the same schedule as every year before the tournament starts, and obviously the Australian Open is the first very big event of the year and I want to be ready for it again,” said Nadal, the 2009 champion at Melbourne Park.

“During this season I have been improving in terms of level of tennis – it’s true that sometimes the results have been not the ones that I wanted, but I had a very tough first six months of the year and I feel that this second part of the year I am playing better, I am enjoying more the tennis in general, I have the control of my emotions again and that is so important for me, and I am working so hard.

“So I really believe that I am working the right way to try to start the next year [in] good shape.”

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AFL trade period 2015: Scott Selwood to undergo surgery on Wednesday

Scott Selwood arrived at Simonds Stadium on Tuesday, but it won’t be until January that he takes to Simonds Stadium and joins in training with the rest of the Geelong list.

Selwood, 25, became a Cat on Monday after West Coast failed to match Geelong’s bid for Selwood, who had been a restricted free agent after eight years at the Eagles. Yet on Wednesday he will go under the knife, requiring further surgery on the ankle that has troubled him for much of the past two seasons.

The midfielder said that he wasn’t entirely sure how the surgery would pan out, as what is done will be dependent on what is found once the ankle is assessed, but he confirmed a reconstruction was likely.

It was his injury troubles that Selwood claimed had been his focus for most of 2015, with a call to request a move to Geelong made “only recently”.

“I’d sort of been focused on the season and trying to get my ankle right,” Selwood said alongside a beaming Cats coach Chris Scott on Tuesday.

“As it was we couldn’t really get the ankle right so it sort of dragged out the decision making process as well.”

The Eagles were furious with the AFL’s decision to hand them only a second-round pick – No. 37 overall – as compensation for their vice-captain, but Selwood was playing a straight bat about the matter. “I’d love for them to be compensated fairly, whatever that is, but I don’t understand the whole process, so I can’t really get involved.”

Scott was glad to have another player in the middle of his career join the club, after the club landed Patrick Dangerfield, also on Monday.

“We’ve obviously watched Scott closely for a number of years due to his association with Joel, but not only that, we’ve really admired the way he’s gone about his business with West Coast,” the coach said.

“The last couple of years have been really tough for Scott with injury, but we know he’s really driven to move past and contribute to our team as best he can.

“With Scott’s age profile as well, we think that’s a really positive thing, not only for our existing leaders but also for our emerging players as well.”

Selwood was also thrilled to be joining the club at which two of his brothers (captain Joel and administrator Troy) work. “It was quite freaky. I was driving in with my brother and I sort of said ‘I had butterflies.’

“I feel like I’ve been drafted again for the first time. I feel like a little kid at Christmas, it’s a great feeling.”

The surgery means, though, that he will only train after Christmas.

“Probably right to train early in the new year.”

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The gesture that reflects what Wallabies captain Stephen Moore is about

Top bloke: Wallabies captain Stephen Moore will play his 100th Test in the World Cup quarter-final against Scotland. Photo: Chris HydeWallabies captain Stephen Moore and teammate Matt Giteau will become Test centurions in Australia’s World Cup quarter-final against Scotland on Monday morning (AEDT). A lot more will be said and written about both in the coming days. But with regards to Moore, 32, who played his first Test against Samoa in Sydney in June 2005, we learned of this story from the 2010 spring tour that truly reflects his character – and that of the Wallabies. After the captain’s run for the Test against England at Twickenham on November 13, the team’s former media unit producer for 14 years and 185 Tests, Anthony George, received a call with news that his father Neville had died. After the Test and midweek game against Munster, George returned for the funeral in Brisbane. He missed the Test against Italy on November 20, but was back for the Test against France at Stade de France in Paris on November 27. Before the match, George was on the field filming the Rocky Elsom-captained Wallabies as they warmed-up and returned to the locker room to switch into game kit. Unbeknown to him, the Wallabies leadership group, led by Nathan Sharpe and Moore, had decided, with the approval of coach Robbie Deans, to wear black arm bands in memory of George’s father – something he only learned of after they ran out for the game when a bench player told him. George was understandably taken aback by the moving gesture; but even then was still unaware of what was to come after the Wallabies ran away 59-16 winners. Back in the locker room amid the fanfare of celebration, one by one the Australian players came up to George and hugged him … the last of whom was Moore who in a quiet moment away from the mayhem gave him his Wallabies Test jersey.

The jersey Wallabies hooker Stephen Moore gave to Anthony George. Photo: supplied

What’s in a name

The Wallabies quarter-final against Scotland presents prop Scott Sio with a unique opportunity 24 years after the rugby god’s decided his name, reports our man in London, Chris Dutton. Sio’s dad David was part of Manu Samoa’s 1991 World Cup team which made the quarter-final against Scotland. Had Samoa won, David was going to name his son Manu. If they lost, he was going to name him Scott. Now Sio has a chance at family revenge. He has been instrumental in making the Wallabies’ scrum a weapon. “Realising the importance of one to eight in the scrum has been huge for us. Knowing that we’re going to get the most out of each other has been great so far,” Sio said. “In the past, people looked at scrums and thought, ‘Awww, scrum sessions’ but we really enjoy it now. “He’s [scrum coach Mario Ledesma] brought a great vibe to the unit session as a whole and everyone’s buying into it.”

What’s doing Wallabies

Training before a day-off on Thursday, so probably the last chance to press for selection. But barring injury concerns, this far into the World Cup coach Michael Cheika probably has an idea of what that line-up will be.

Making news

‘Rugby World Cup to rethink man of match awards,’ – From … although some may ask if any thought was put into the voting system to start with.

‘Sayonara or see you in Japan? Which of England’s Rugby World Cup flops will make it to the 2019 tournament?’ – With the World Cup quarter-finals without England, the host team continues to be pulled through the coals in

They said it

“When we look at concussion, which has been a huge area of priority for us as a sport, we are actually seeing a tracking of less than the average for international Test rugby. We think we are making some progress in these areas,” World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper in irishtimes老域名 on a World Cup trend we hope remains.

What to watch

Sunday: Quarter-finals: South Africa v Wales – London (2am AEDT), New Zealand v France – Cardiff (6am AEDT), Ireland v Argentina – Cardiff (11pm AEDT)

Monday: Quarter-final: Australia v Scotland – London (2am AEDT)

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Uber takes swipe at Queensland government over a lack of dialogue

Uber’s general manager in Australia, David Rohrsheim, has given up on meeting with senior Queensland government political leaders. Photo: Louise KennerleyUber has given up hope of meeting with Queensland government political leaders since the Palaszczuk government announced its review into the ride-sharing industry.

Uber Australia and New Zealand general manager David Rohrsheim told a business lunch in Brisbane on Tuesday the government needed to embrace new technology if it was to remain competitive.

Mr Rohrsheim said the company had discovered through Right to Information legislation that Queensland Transport staff had devoted 6000 hours on “enforcement activities” targeting Uber drivers.

“But no-one in that department has found one hour to come down to the Uber office to ask us ‘what are your safety procedures’?,” he told the audience.

“So if safety was their top priority, why hasn’t that meeting happened?

“When they do come to our office, they will find out that every single driver hold a Queensland government commercial driver accreditation, they’ll find that every vehicle’s been inspected by a third party, they’ll find there’s insurance in place and they’ll find there’s GPS traffic on every trip.

“But that meeting hasn’t happened.”

After the lunch, Mr Rohrsheim said he had given up on meeting with senior politicians in Queensland following the Palaszczuk government’s announcement of a review into the ride-sharing industry.

Instead, he expected Uber to liaise with the review team.

That review was not due to come back with recommendations until August 2016, which Mr Rohrsheim said was simply too long.

“Across Australia, we’ve seen reviews started and finished in the ACT and almost finished in New South Wales and, just last week, the Queensland government announced the beginning of their review with no plan to complete that before August 2016,” he said.

“In our opinion, that’s just far too long for Queensland to wait. That’ll be more than two years since we launched our service.

“If you want to have a reputation as supporting innovation and being open to new business, start-ups can’t afford to wait two years for a response from the government.

“So I’m up here certainly calling on the government to expedite that review, come down to our office and have a look at what we do.

“I think they’d be very satisfied with our procedures.”

Mr Rohrsheim said there were about 4000 Uber drivers active in Queensland.

“This took one year for the team to build and it’s a huge opportunity if the state says ‘yes’,” he said.

That would be a firm ‘no’ if Katter’s Australian Party had its way.

The KAP’s two Queensland MPs have proposed legislation that would see Uber drivers, who could already be fined under existing legislation, penalised through demerit points.

Predictably, that had the support of the Taxi Council of Queensland.

“Uber are an illegal taxi service, and are spawning copycats across Queensland,” TCQ chief executive Benjamin Wash said last month.

“Right now anyone, anywhere can start to drive their private cars and transport the public and the government is letting it happen.

“This will become a nightmare.

“We’ve already seen assaults with no camera evidence by Uber drivers across Australia, and without enforcement of regulations nothing will be able to stop any sexual predator or person with the wrong motives starting their own illegal taxi service.”

Last week, two taxi drivers faced court charged with assaulting Uber drivers on Brisbane streets.

Mr Rohrsheim said the alleged assaults on Uber drivers were “rare, unusual and very disappointing”.

“I’m happy to say that there were more Uber partners out on the road this weekend (following the assaults) than there was last weekend,” he said.

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Baby rhino born at Australia Zoo

Caballe watching over her new son at Australia Zoo on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Photo: Ben Beaden Caballe has given birth to her sixth baby – a healthy 45 kilograms, sure on his feet, and reportedly thriving.

The newest addition to Australia Zoo is a Southern White Rhino who arrived about 6am on Sunday after a two-hour labour, capping off a 17-month pregnancy.

It’s the fourth Southern White Rhino born at the zoo in as many years.

And he is the sixth calf for Caballe, 21, who was born in South Africa’s Kruger National Park before becoming a resident of Hamilton Zoo in New Zealand from 1999 to July 2010.

She was pregnant when she arrived at Australia Zoo on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in August 2010.

Australia Zoo’s Head Keeper for “‘Africa” Manu Ludden said the new arrival was doing well.

“We are so happy to announce the birth of another healthy baby rhinoceros. The calf weighs approximately 45kg and is doing extremely well. He’s big and strong and is already suckling very well!” she said in a statement.

“Caballe is an amazing mother, she’s very attentive and protective of her new baby boy.”   Woo-hoo! We are so excited and proud to welcome a brand new baby white #rhino to the #AustraliaZoo family! This gorgeous boy was born on Sunday morning around 6am to mum Caballe. Both mum and calf are well and are spending time together bonding behind the scenes. What a little beauty!A video posted by Australia Zoo (@australiazoo) on Oct 12, 2015 at 7:59pm PDT

Southern White Rhinos were believed to be extinct in the late 19th century until less than 100 were discovered in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa in 1895, according to the World Wildlife Fund..

This subspecies was now classified as “near threatened”, with more than 20,000 animals found in protected areas and private game reserves.

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