Juan Martin del Potro 'in a good shape' for ASB Classic

Juan Martin del Potro says he's fit and ready to go for this week's ASB Classic in Auckland.

Having battled injuries for most of his career, del Potro returns to Auckland this week, the scene of his 2009 title win before he would go on to lift the US Open later that year.

Speaking to media yesterday, del Potro declared himself fit and firing on all cylinders, as he hopes to spark a return to winning ways before the Australian Open in Melbourne later this month.

"I've been training hard for the last four weeks," he said.

"I'm feeling good with my body, my wrist, my hips, all my body."

"I think I'll be in a good shape for this tournament and the Australian Open."

The tournament's second seed del Potro will begin his tournament when he faces fourth seed and former champion John Isner today.

The 2009 champion has struggled with injuries, but is fit for the Auckland tournament. Source: 1 NEWS


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Umpire Carlos Ramos back to work after Serena Williams' US Open final outburst

The chair umpire who penalised Serena Williams in the US Open final is back at work.

Carlos Ramos is working the best-of-five Davis Cup semifinal series between Croatia and the United States.

"I'm just focusing on this tie and working again. That's all I can say," Ramos told The Associated Press.

Ramos officiated the second singles match between Marin Cilic and Frances Tiafoe, which was completed without incident.

Ramos calmed the raucous crowd on several occasions and came down from his chair to check a few ball marks in the clay but otherwise had no impact on the match, which Cilic won in straight sets to give Croatia a 2-0 lead.

"It was great. There were even a few calls where he came to check. Everything was really good," Cilic said. "The atmosphere was also great. I enjoyed every single second of the match."

Tiafoe, who was making his Davis Cup debut, also didn't have any complaints.

"I didn't know Ramos was sitting in the chair. I really wasn't paying attention," Tiafoe said. "I was more worried about the person across the net than the official."

US captain Jim Courier added: "We thought the officiating was excellent all day long."

Ramos gave Williams three code violations in her straight-set loss to Naomi Osaka last weekend, and the American great argued she wasn't being treated the same as some male players.

USTA president and CEO Katrina Adams, who defended Williams, was overheard apologising to Ramos on the sidelines of Thursday's draw ceremony.

Ramos wouldn't go into details over his discussion with Adams, who initiated the conversation.

"You know I cannot talk about that," Ramos said.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her Women's Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her women's singles US Open finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan. Source: Getty


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US Open umpire Carlos Ramos breaks silence over Serena Williams controversy

The chair umpire who penalised Serena Williams in the US Open final has spoken publicly for the first time since the match, saying he is "fine."

Ramos, who is from Portugal, spoke briefly to Portuguese newspaper Tribuna Expresso this week.

"I'm fine, given the circumstances," Ramos said, according to the newspaper. "It's a delicate situation, but umpiring 'a la carte' doesn't exist. Don't worry about me."

The newspaper said Ramos received hundreds of messages of support from family, colleagues, players and former players.

He said he has avoided social media and only reads "balanced" articles about the incident. He also refrained from going out the day after the final to avoid problems, according to the report.

The International Tennis Federation has defended Ramos for his actions during the final. The US Open fined Williams for her three code violations.

The WTA later called for equal treatment of all tennis players and coaching to be allowed across the sport.

Ramos has been assigned to officiate the Davis Cup semifinal matches between the United States and Croatia, a best-of-five series which begins Friday and ends Sunday in Zadar, Croatia.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her Women's Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her women's singles US Open finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan. Source: Getty


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'Welcome to PC World' - Aussie newspaper defends cartoonist after controversial Serena Williams depiction

An Australian newspaper has defended their own cartoonist who has been caught up in controversy, after he was slammed for his depiction of Serena Williams yesterday, following her outburst during the US Open final.

The Herald Sun defended the drawing of their artist Mark Knight, which had Williams leaping over her broken racket with a baby's dummy next to it.

The image outraged many members of the public, with people taking to social media criticising the animation - saying it was racist and had sexist stereotypes.

But the Australian paper leapt to the defence of their cartoonist, publishing images of past illustrations by Knight with the headline "Welcome to PC World."

The Herald Sun wrote, "If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena Williams cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very dull indeed".

Mr Knight's drawing which was published on Monday, was in response to her outburst in the US Open final on Sunday, which had the umpire asking Naomi Osaka of Japan, "Can you just let her win?"

British author J.K. Rowling was among those critical of the piece, saying Mr Knight had reduced Ms Williams to a "racist and sexist trope".

Mr Knight yesterday responded to the widespread criticism, saying he had simply drawn Ms Williams as he saw her.

"I drew her as an African-American woman ... She's powerfully built, she wears these outrageous costumes when she plays tennis - she's interesting to draw," Mr Knight said.

"I drew her as she is, as an African-American woman.

"I saw the world number one tennis player have a huge hissy fit and spit the dummy.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

"That's what the cartoon was about, her poor behaviour on the court."

The Herald Sun's editor Damon Johnston backed the illustration of Mr Knight and said in a Tweet: "@knightcartoons cartoon is not racist or sexist .... it rightly mocks poor behaviour by a tennis legend ... Mark has the full support of everyone @theheraldsun."

Front page of Herald Sun defends cartoonist Mark Knight after controversial Serena Williams animation.
Front page of Herald Sun defends cartoonist Mark Knight after controversial Serena Williams animation. Source: Herald Sun


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Martina Navratilova slams Serena Williams' US Open outburst saying she should consider 'what is the right way to behave?'

Tennis great Martina Navratilova has come out in criticism of Serena Williams, following her outburst in Sunday's US Open final.

Williams, 36, was given three separate code violations in her loss in New York, resulting in Naomi Osaka being awarded a crucial point penalty which gifted her game seven of the second set, then an even more crucial game penalty to gift her the next game, and a 5-3 second set lead.

After the point penalty, Williams unleashed a furious outburst towards the match officials, delaying play for several minutes, culminating in her calling chair umpire Carlos Ramos "a thief".

Williams quickly stated that sexism was the reason for her punishment, claiming that male players get away with much worse.

Writing in the New York Times, Navratilova - an 18-time Grand Slam winner herself - pointed out the flaws in Williams' argument.

"We cannot measure ourselves by what we think we should also be able to get away with," she wrote.

"There have been many times when I was playing that I wanted to break my racket into a thousand pieces. Then I thought about the kids watching. And I grudgingly held on to that racket."

Navratilova added that she agreed that there is a double standard involving officiating between men's and women's matches, before also stating that:

"I don't believe it's a good idea to apply a standard of 'If men can get away with it, women should be able to, too.'

"Rather, I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the right way to behave to honour our sport and to respect our opponents?"

Williams was fined over $25,000 for her role in the controversy.

Serena Williams, right, talks with referee Brian Earley during the women's final of the U.S. Open
Serena Williams, right, talks with referee Brian Earley during the women's final of the U.S. Open Source: Associated Press


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