CELEBRITY MASTERCHEF 2017 has named its most exciting line-up to date as a host of famous faces are preparing to feel the heat in the kitchen. One man looking serve up some ace dishes is former tennis pro Henri Leconte, who has made it to the semi-finals. Here’s the lowdown on Henri… Henri Leconte was a professional tennis player from 1980 to 1996 in a career that saw him ranked at no.5 in the world. He also claimed nine career singles titles and 10 doubles titles. Born in Lillers, France in 1963, Leconte made his name at the junior French Open, winning the title aged just 19. Soon after that he turned professional, winning a doubles and singles title in Bologna and Stockholm in his first year. Leconte claimed the French Open men’s doubles title in 1984 alongisde Yannick Noah, before both finished runners up in the US Open double’s final. In 1986, the Frenchman lost out in the semi-finals of the French Open and Wimbledon, but jumped into the top five in the … [Read more...] about Star-studded Celebrity MasterChef 2017 line-up revealed but who is semi-finalist Henri Leconte?
With three of the 'Big Four' players nursing injuries and Rafa Nadal knocked out in the quarter-finals by Kyrgios, Bulgarian Dimitrov grasped his chance with both hands, winning his first Masters 1000 series event under a broiling hot sun.A break in each set was enough for the seventh seed to claim his third title of the year and seventh of his career."I'm just happy. There's nothing else I can say, honestly," the 26-year-old said."I'm just happy and I'm humbled to have that trophy in my hands, and especially to win here, my first Masters 1000."I always like this tournament. I have played it quite a few times and always thought this can be maybe one of the first ones, and it is the first one."Dimitrov did not drop a set all tournament, the first player to do so at a Masters 1000 tournament since Novak Djokovic's 2007 win at Miami.He was almost impregnable on serve, winning 52 of his 53 service games."Going to the (U.S.) Open, it's for sure a lot of positivity with it," said Dimitrov, a … [Read more...] about Grigor Dimitrov wins Cincinnati Masters after beating Nick Kyrgios in straight sets
What to make of the state of men’s tennis? For the best part of a decade a quartet of hall‑of‑famers have transcended their sport by lifting it to hitherto untouched heights with their titanic struggle for supremacy while below them a host of challengers have strained to swell the numbers of the elite club known as the Big Four. Plenty have tried, most have failed. Some have offered flashes of impertinence but only Stan Wawrinka has provided a sustained threat to the established order. The entry requirements are gruelling. The top players ally astonishing skill with an almost masochistic willingness to suffer for their art. But throughout 2017 there has been a persistent sense that the curtain may be about to fall on this golden age. Where once there was order now there is disarray. The show isn’t quite over yet, but the audience is waiting to rise to its feet and this is when the mind goes back to Andy Murray’s prediction on the eve of the ATP World Tour … [Read more...] about Rafael Nadal is last of the golden greats still standing before US Open
Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka says her participation in the US Open is in doubt because she might not be able to bring her son with her to New York as a result of her separation from the baby’s father. Azarenka wrote via a posting on Twitter on Thursday that she is “faced with a difficult situation which may not allow me to return to work right away”. Added Azarenka, who used to be No1 in the WTA rankings: “No parent should have to decide between their child or their career.” The 28-year-old from Belarus gave birth to Leo, her first child, in December, then returned to the tour in June. Azarenka said that shortly after Wimbledon — where she lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round on 10 July — that she had separated from her son’s father. “As we work to resolve some of the legal processes, the way things stand now is that the only way I can play in the US Open this year is if I leave Leo behind in … [Read more...] about Victoria Azarenka may miss US Open over custody battle
SERENA Williams and fiancé Alexis Ohanian are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first child later this year. The tennis legend shared the happy news on Snapchat, but who exactly is Alexis, how long has he been dating Serena Williams and just how much is he worth? Here’s everything you need to know… Alexis Ohanian, 33, is a tech entrepreneur and best-selling author from the US. He was born in Brooklyn, New York City, in 1983 to an Armenian-American father – whose family fled the genocide – and a German mother. Alexis went to school in Ellicot City, Maryland, before graduating from the University of Virginia in 2005 with degrees in commerce and history. He’s most famous for co-founding social news website Reddit. Along with business partner and fellow Virginia graduate Steve Huffman, the 6ft5 innovator set up the now-global name at the age of just 22. The website went from strength to strength and was eventually snapped up by publishing giant … [Read more...] about How founding Reddit took Serena Williams’ baby daddy from student to multi-millionaire tech guru at the age of 22
SERENA Williams didn't compete in Wimbledon this year, because the winner of 23 grand slam titles is currently expecting her first child. But when is her baby due, do we know what sex it is and who is the father? Here's everything we know so far... The tennis legend broke the internet when she revealed she was 22 weeks pregnant in mid-April. This means she is likely to give birth to her new bundle of joy in just a few weeks - at either the end of August or beginning of September. Publicist Kelly Bush Novak confirmed Serena’s baby is due in autumn. Serena shared a glowing photo of her growing bump on Instagram on May 9. The star is said to have held a baby shower celebration in Miami and it was reported that pal Meghan Markle snubbed the shower to be with Prince Harry at the polo. A source said: “Meghan had been planning to go to Miami this weekend for Serena’s shower... But at the last minute Meg bailed and went to see Harry in the UK instead." On … [Read more...] about Serena Williams is expected to give birth in a couple of weeks’ time, this is the latest info on her due date
There is this Melbourne – a Melbourne of my imagination that doesn’t exist for me anymore but once did. It’s the Melbourne of the inner north – Fitzroy and North Carlton with its parks and squares, its sidewalk cafes and little bars, shady side streets where the city is a quick cycle ride away. Melbourne 'world's most liveable city' for seventh year running Read more It was the city as a sort of ideal of the kind prescribed by Jane Jacobs – mixed communities of housos and aristos and students, the shops clustered like they are in a village, public space designed for serendipitous encounters. This Melbourne of my youth is now a rich person’s Melbourne. Gentrification began a long time ago and has spread out to Brunswick and Coburg, the old factory suburbs, once the home of blue-collar workers and recently arrived migrants. It’s a world away from the ideal of Helen Garner’s Monkey Grip; the communes and the share houses, … [Read more...] about Melbourne is ‘most liveable city’ again. But it’s also harder, crueller, out of reach
Ashleigh Barty will soar above Samantha Stosur in the world rankings after continuing her hot run with a watershed win over seven-times grand slam champion Venus Williams at the Cincinnati Open. The Australian qualifier upset world No9 Williams 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 to claim the biggest scalp of her career and advance to the third round of the key US Open lead-up event. Maria Sharapova handed wild card for US Open Read more It was Barty’s first success against a top-10 player and follows the 21-year-old’s win over Wimbledon champion and former world No2 Garbine Muguruza in the Birmingham semi-finals in June. “It feels really good. To play Venus on such a big stage is a privilege for me and to play as well as I did, I’m really excited,” Barty said. “She’s a genuine champion of the game and paved the way for us young players coming through. It’s an honour for me to ... share the court with her, and happy to be moving … [Read more...] about Ashleigh Barty topples Venus Williams to claim biggest scalp of her career
SERENA Williams says she has been the victim of racist stereotyping as she reveals plans to return to tennis after the birth of her first child. The 35-year-old is due to give birth in the next four or five weeks. But as she announced her plan to defend her Australian Open title in January, just three months after having a baby, she claimed the public see her as “mean” because she is black. Serena said: “I feel like people think I’m mean. Really tough and really mean and really street. “I believe that the other girls in the locker room will say, ‘Serena’s really nice.’ “But Maria Sharapova, who might not talk to anybody, might be perceived by the public as nicer. Why is that? “Because I’m black and so I look mean? That’s the society we live in. That’s life. “They say African Americans have to be twice as good, especially women. I’m perfectly OK with having to be twice as … [Read more...] about Serena Williams blasts racist stereotyping as tennis star reveals post-baby comeback plans
Serena Williams says she hopes to return to tennis shortly after giving birth and defend her Australian Open title. Williams and her fiance, the Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, are due to welcome their first child at the end of the year, but she says she wants to play at the tournament in Melbourne in January. “It’s the most outrageous plan,” she says in an interview with Vogue. “I just want to put that out there. That’s, like, three months after I give birth. I’m not walking anything back, but I’m just saying it’s pretty intense.” The American is the holder of 23 major singles titles, and acknowledges winning will be a tough task after nearly a year away from the professional circuit. “In this game you can go dark fast,” she says. “If I lose, and I lose again, it’s like, she’s done. Especially since I’m not 20 years old. I’ll tell you this much: I won’t win less. Either I win, or I … [Read more...] about ‘Pregnancy has given me power’: Serena Williams confident of return to tennis
Maria Sharapova has been granted a wildcard invitation for the US Open’s main draw. She is among eight women who were given entry into the 128-player field by the US Tennis Association on Tuesday and by far the most noteworthy. Rafael Nadal to replace Andy Murray as world No1 next week Read more The former No1-ranked player and owner of five major titles, including at the 2006 US Open, will be participating in her first grand slam tournament in more than a year and a half. Sharapova has not entered a major tournament since the Australian Open in January 2016, when she tested positive for the newly banned drug meldonium. That led to a 15-month doping ban, which expired in April. She was denied a wildcard at this year’s French Open before she missed the grass-court season, including Wimbledon, with a thigh injury. Sharapova’s US Open preparations have been disrupted by an arm injury suffered during her first round win over Jennifer Brady this … [Read more...] about Maria Sharapova handed wildcard for US Open
Serena Williams has been criticised after she claimed she will become a “real woman” when she gives birth to her first child. The 39-time singles, doubles and mixed doubles Grand Slam tennis champion is expected to give birth to her child with fiancé Alexis Ohanian early next month. The couple announced Williams, 35, was pregnant in a Snapchat post in April. In an interview with Australia’s Herald Sun, Williams admitted that, while she was nervous about the impact motherhood might have on her tennis, she felt the whole experience would give her “a lot more confidence” in life. “I think [giving birth] will give me more strength, if that’s possible,” she told the newspaper. “I feel like I will be ready for anything. I have so much respect for so many women [for giving birth]. “I am about to be a real woman now, you know? It’s going to be something incredibly impressive to go through.” In the wide-ranging … [Read more...] about Serena Williams slammed for saying she can’t wait to give birth and be a ‘real woman’
It’s a chilly 3C and George is bundled up in a thick scarf, army coat and thermals. After two winters on Melbourne’s streets, he’s got the dress code down pat: “You have to wear multiple layers.” In the last fortnight, as overnight temperatures dropped near freezing in the “world’s most liveable city”, Melbourne city council postponed a vote on new laws to ban rough sleeping in the CBD. Under the new bylaws, George would face $250 fines for “camping” on the street, leaving his belongings unattended or ignoring orders to move on. “Camping” is not defined, and rough sleepers would pay steep fees to reclaim confiscated property. The United Nations says the proposal is “discriminatory” and violates human rights laws. Council is seeking advice on this front and has postponed the vote until September. 'The big stigma is it’s the homeless person’s fault' Read more “This is … [Read more...] about Homeless in Melbourne: ‘One small act of kindness can change a person’s day’
London 2012 will forever conjure memories of some of the most celebrated moments in sport and as we reach the five-year anniversary of the capital's marvellous showcase, IBTimes UK looks at what the stars of that summer would do next. Usain Bolt Bolt emerged from London 2012 as one of the world's most high profile athletes at the very peak of his powers. Not much changed over the next few years. First place finishes in his 100m, 200m and 4x100m events came in the 2013 World Championships in Russia and again two years later in Beijing, ruling the Bird's Nest where the only thing that could stop him was a clumsy camera man on an errant Segway at trackside. Despite a hamstring injury in the run-up to Rio 2016, three more golds followed as he claimed the unprecedented triple-triple – although he'd later suffer the heartbreak of having one of those golds taken when 4x100m teammate Nesta Carter retrospectively tested positive for a banned substance used at the 2008 … [Read more...] about What happened next to the biggest stars of the London 2012 Olympic Games?
MIRKA Federer has been at her husband Roger’s side as he conquered the tennis world at Wimbledon 2017, and rewritten the record books again and again. Here’s everything you need to know about the woman behind the most successful male player of all time… Mirka represented Switzerland during her tennis career, but she’s actually Slovak-born. The 39-year-old is known for being an Olympian and has participated at all of the Grand Slam venues. She is married to tennis ace Roger Federer. After a foot injury, the 38-year-old sportswoman retired. She then began working as 34-year-old Roger’s public relations manager. During important tennis matches, Mirka can usually be spotted in the crowd cheering on her husband. Mirka has competed at the US Open, Wimbledon, the French Open and the Australian Open. At these Grand Slam events, she won four matches out of nine. The Olympian and tennis star was victorious at three major events in Tel Aviv, Klosters-Serneus and … [Read more...] about Meet Mirka Federer, tennis ace Roger’s wife who had a successful sports career of her own
10.24am BST 10:24 Preamble Hello. It’s interesting. If you’re actually at Wimbledon, you don’t actually have to watch a Roger Federer match to know how it’s going. You don’t even have to listen the umpire calling out the score after each point. All you need to do is stand outside Centre Court and listen to the crowd. If they’re in a state of unbridled glee verging on pure lust, if they’re oohing and aahing and panting and fawning after every point, you can safely interpret that as Federer dominance. Enthusiastic applause: Federer’s won the point. Grudging applause: the other bloke’s not playing ball. This is how it’s supposed to go. This is Federer’s kingdom, his palace from palace. There’s no desire for him to be pushed too hard. There’s no interest in an upset. Sure, it’s nice to see Federer’s opponent muster some defiance, just to keep the show going for as long as possible, but he’s … [Read more...] about Wimbledon 2017: Roger Federer v Marin Cilic in men’s singles final – live!
GARBINE MUGURUZA has been causing quite the stir on the WTA Tour. The powerful Spain ace won the French Open last year, and had reached the final of Wimbledon the year before that. Muguruza was born in Caracas, Venezuela on October 8, 1993. Her father is Spanish and her mother is from Venezuela. At the age of three she started playing tennis, and moved to Spain with her family in 1999 when she was six. She has dual Venezualan-Spanish nationality. Muguruza has won one Grand Slam title – the French Open in 2016. She defeated the defending champion Serena Williams in straight sets to triumph. Other than that, Muguruza finished as runner-up at Wimbledon in 2015, losing that final to Serena. Her best Australian Open finish was the quarter-final this year, and her best US Open finish was the second round. Muguraz is currently ranked 14th. Her highest ranking was No 2 from June 2016. Xisca Perello was … [Read more...] about Who is Garbine Muguruza? What has she won, and what is her current world ranking?
12.54pm BST 12:54 Preamble At the beginning of this fortnight, much of the talk at the All England Club was about the resurgence of a former champion reaching for another Wimbledon crown. But it was Roger Federer, rather than the five-time champion two years his senior who hadn’t won a grand slam singles title since 2008. In many ways, it’s surprising that Venus Williams wasn’t regarded as one of the favourites for the women’s title from the start. The 37-year-old has been a model of consistency over the past year, suggesting she has finally found a way of managing the auto-immune disease that she was diagnosed with in 2011 and that prevented her from being a contender for several years. She arrived at Wimbledon having reached at least the last 16 in her past five majors, including at this year’s Australian Open, where she lost to her sister – then eight weeks pregnant - in the final. So often has Venus been stalled by Serena in slams – six … [Read more...] about Venus Williams v Garbiñe Muguruza: Wimbledon 2017 women’s final – live!
Roger Federer is a savage man when he is in the mood. He hides it well with the easy charm, the sense that one day he may turn up on court wearing a top hat made out of solid gold, the lulling elegance that gently puts his opponents to sleep. It is a winning combination that helps to explain why they prefer not to see him pushed too hard on Centre Court, why there were a few shocked gasps and worried whispers when it fleetingly seemed Federer might fluff his lines on an agreeably mild evening at Wimbledon. A crowd lusting for even more Roger, one more glimpse of that single-handed backhand before the curtain falls on the best and most exclusive show in town, obviously got what they wanted in the end: another Federer win, another Federer final. For a while the valiant, doomed Tomas Berdych dared to tear up the script. But eventually the Czech had to be content with the role of comedy sidekick, whose job is to accept that stepping on court with this company means playing in front of an … [Read more...] about Roger Federer shows his ruthless streak to overcome Tomas Berdych in straight sets and reach his 11th Wimbledon final
12.32am BST 00:32 Preamble And then there was one. Well sure, there are actually three, but there’s only one member of the big four left, and he’s the one who’s going to win it, right? While Andy Murray limped, Novak Djokovic winced and Rafael Nadal was bundled out before his grass-court revival could gather any more pace, Roger Federer has spent this fortnight looking as serene as he did a decade ago when he was collecting all those Wimbledon titles for fun – minus the silly suits, gold-trimmed man-bags and cardigans emblazoned with RF. Perhaps the 35-year-old has a greater sense of humility and of appreciating the moment now, and if he were to win an eighth Wimbledon crown five years after his last it may mean more than any of the others, apart from possibly the first in 2003. The numbers for Federer this year and this fortnight are remarkable. His win-loss record for 2017 is 29-2. He’s won four of the six tournaments he’s played, including the … [Read more...] about Roger Federer v Tomas Berdych: Wimbledon semi-final – live!