BTN interview: Shahab Shayan, senior manager, international operations, Dubai Tourism | Focus

first_img– Advertisement – OlderRevelton Suites have once again won the World Travel Awards “On top of that, we are trying to make sure safeguards for residents and for visitors coming to the destination are being met. “There are frameworks from the World Travel & Tourism Council, called Safe Travels, as well as the Dubai Assured programme, both of which are being adhered to across the emirate. “All customer touchpoints, across hotels, restaurants, and shopping malls have seen the regulations enforced – all public spots.“Checks are carried out on a bi-weekly basis; we send inspectors in to make sure all necessary protocols are being implemented.”This was due to be a banner year for Dubai, with the emirate hoping to welcome 20 million international guests for the first time.While the figure will not now be achieved, a domestic boom has made up for some of the short-fall, with plans in place to ensure growth returns in 2021.Shayan explains: “We have seen a big domestic boom in tourism since we reopened in July. “We had around 750 hotels open in Dubai pre-pandemic, in February this year, and we currently have around 600 open. “There has been some international visitation, and we are looking at a positive feeling moving forward.“At this stage we are not able to put a figure on how many guests we will welcome this year, with hotels opening and closing, it has been a more complex situation than normal.“However, we hope to have some numbers out by the end of the year.”While the market looks likely to remain subdued in the short-term, investment has continued to flow into the emirate, suggesting confidence in a long-term return. Sofitel Dubai the Obelisk recently became the latest in a long line of hotels to open this year, while properties set to come onto the market in coming months will allow the emirate to reach previously untapped segments. Shayan continues: “There are new properties opening, which does show the strength of the industry here in Dubai. “We have the Sofitel Dubai the Obelisk which has recently opened, while there is also the Rove La Mer Beach. “The latter is an affordable hotel, aimed at families who want to be right next to the beach, but do not want to pay Palm Jumeirah prices – really for those in the know. “There is also the Riu Dubai, a four-star beach resort, the first of its type here in Dubai – with around 400-keys. “These are all very exciting openings and show our strength in the long term.”Of course, there would be little point opening new rooms if travellers were unable to get to the emirate. Flag-carrier Emirates has been instrumental in the success of Dubai as a tourism destination over the past three decades, and there has been no change this year.“Emirates remains one of our key strategic partners and they really have been since the emergence of Dubai on the world hospitality map,” says Shayan. “They have done a fantastic job throughout the pandemic, initially by providing insurance for travellers, which has now been extended until the end of the year.“They have also gone back to two thirds of their network, and they are now flying to over 90 destinations. “Emirates has also given residents who want to come back to Dubai a chance to do so, and this has been getting some very positive feedback.”The carrier most recently returned to a series of European cities, while it has also been at the forefront of Covid-19 testing. Over the summer months, when demand is traditionally low, even without a global pandemic raging, Dubai has also worked to develop new markets.New types of visa are now on offer, both to those looking to ‘work-from-home’ in Dubai, or considering somewhere to retire.Both are part of a wider plan to grow the emirate in new directions, explains Shayan: “As a destination we always need to look at how we can evolve, looking at different angles of how we can introduce different people to what is on offer here.“There is a big belief at Dubai Tourism that this is a city for all, and we try to showcase that through products we have, as well as through the initiatives we launch.”He adds: “The two new visas are an example of that. “The retirement visa is pretty straightforward, it is aimed at people who have been to Dubai before, who have spent some time here and are looking for a destination which has sun, sea and sand. “They know their retirement funds are doing well, there is no complicated paperwork, and it is an easy step forward. “Secondly, I think the work visa is one of most exciting things we have done during the pandemic. “In this new day-and-age, with people working from home, what better place to work from than by the pool here in Dubai?“We have the perfect eco-system to support this market, and we have had major success in terms of enquiries on this – people asking how they can make the move.“This is a nice alternative to people who might have travelled to Dubai, who can now spend some time here longer-term.” As attention turns to next year, and a possible Covid-19 vaccine brings hope to the global hospitality market, Dubai is well placed to return to growth. The rescheduled Expo 2020 Dubai will provide a focal point for the year, while there is optimism Covid-19 regulations might eventually be relaxed. Shayan continues: “Expo 2020 Dubai will now take place in October next year, running into March 2022. “There are a lot of fantastic people working on the project and they are looking into how best we can showcase the experience of an event of this kind in the post-pandemic world.“I think, with the expo itself, it is really meant to be an event for all.“A lot of people initially thought it was for a business market, but this is not the case – it is very much aimed at the public, offering a chance to come and learn. “The team, right now, are examining how they can come back stronger, to reassure everybody things are going to be managed well.”In closing, Shayan says Dubai is now once again very much open for business: “Dubai is really open for all, and with the different protocols and measures we have put in place we are very confident we are ready to welcome people safely. “The message is very much that we are ready.”More InformationDubai is considered the Middle East’s Leading Destination by voters at the World Travel Awards. Find out more about visiting on the official website. Combined, these measures have allowed the city to curtail the growth of the pandemic, and led to the return of something like normal life. As Shahab Shayan, senior manager for international operations at Dubai Tourism, tells Breaking Travel News: “We reopened on July 7th, and since then we have made sure there are strict guidelines and protocols in place, and that they are followed. “We have used the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, which are essentially to test, test and test – so far, we have carried out around 14 million tests here in the United Arab Emirates. – Advertisement –center_img With an economy dependent on international tourism, it was no surprise to see Dubai reopen its doors to travellers in July. The commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates counts on the sector for over ten per cent of gross domestic product, or upward of US$30 billion, each year.- Advertisement – However, what was not inevitable, was the success the emirate has welcomed over the following months.A strict testing regime at Dubai International Airport sees all guests checked for Covid-19 on arrival, limiting imported cases.At the same time, comprehensive protocols govern the day-to-day actions of both residents and guests across the emirate.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Grim picture as Indonesia enters sixth month of COVID-19 outbreak

first_imgYudi Fajar, a senior researcher at the SMERU Research Institute, said that despite the severity of the public health crisis, coordination and policy implementation were mostly relegated to ministries and other government institutions, much like how the bureaucracy worked prior to the pandemic.A jumble of policies and actions has been the result, creating confusion among the public, Yudi said.“Such indecisiveness has been one of the main reasons there is a heightened sense of false security among the public, which has in turn worsened the situation. This is a vicious cycle,” he told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.To effectively handle the crisis, Yudi said the government needed to strengthen its institutions and improve its workflow and coordination.In recent weeks, more and more municipalities and regencies have been classified as high-risk “red zones”, where new infection clusters have been detected, while the country as a whole has seen consecutive record daily highs in new confirmed cases.Data from the nation’s COVID-19 task force show that on Aug. 16 only slightly above 5 percent of the archipelago was classified as red zones. By Aug. 30, that percentage had nearly tripled.Epidemiologists have also raised concerns the rate of infection could overwhelm the country’s health facilities, putting health care workers at greater risk. As of Wednesday, at least 102 doctors had died from COVID-19. The deaths of many more nurses, midwives and other health workers are not fully accounted for.Despite the grim picture, many people are continuing to live their lives like normal, ignoring basic safety measures, like wearing a mask in public. The central and local governments have also yet to impose strict measures to ban large gatherings and restrict mobility to curb the virus.Read also: Patients crowd hospitals as Indonesia loses 183 ‘priceless’ medical workersIndonesian Epidemiologists Association (PAEI) chairman Hariadi Wibisono said the government’s promotion of the idea of a “new normal” was to blame for the rising infections, a concept popularized as authorities sought to jumpstart the flagging economy.“The government’s policies have been ambivalent, as they permit the reopening of public places, allowing people to gather. So, people have the perception that they can adapt to a new life now that the war on COVID-19 is over. But the virus is still here with us,” Hariadi said.President Jokowi’s administration has faced criticism since the early days of the pandemic for its lackluster efforts to contain the transmission of the virus. The President insisted that a complete lockdown was not the right approach for the country, and chose instead to implement a partial lockdown through so-called “large-scale social restrictions” (PSBB) on March 31, almost a month after Indonesia confirmed its first cases on March 2.The President also attracted public criticism following his call to “peacefully coexist” with COVID-19 on May 7, as the country stepped up preparations for the introduction of “new normal” protocols as a prerequisite for the easing of PSBB measures.“Until an effective vaccine is discovered, we have to peacefully coexist with COVID-19 for a certain period going forward. And we are lucky, as at the beginning we chose to implement PSBB measures, not a lockdown. The PSBB measures involved restrictions on activities in public spaces,” Jokowi said in June.Jokowi also previously told his ministers that Indonesia needed to flatten the curve “at all costs”, setting a goal to bring transmission under control by July.On Monday, Jokowi was quoted by Reuters as saying that the pandemic would reach its peak in Indonesia in September and that it would begin to taper off soon after.In its most recent “new-normal” policy, the government has allowed more schools to open, both in moderate-risk yellow zones and in low-risk green zones.Read also: Curfews will do little to stop COVID-19 surge in Greater Jakarta, say expertsIn Jakarta, Governor Anies Baswedan recently decided that cinemas would soon be allowed to reopen, despite the fact the capital recently recorded its highest daily increase in infections.“We will prepare the complete regulation soon, which will cover all aspects pertaining to the implementation of health protocols, following the [COVID-19] task force’s recommendations,” Anies saidOn Sunday, four days after Anies made the announcement, Jakarta recorded 1,114 new cases, the highest daily spike so far, as the capital city returned to being the country’s epicenter of the outbreak, surpassing East Java.Laura Navika Yamani, an epidemiologist from the Surabaya-based Airlangga University, said the fact Indonesia had not reached its peak of the outbreak even after six months was a clear indication that measures to control the spread of the virus had failed.Laura said the government could rectify the situation by putting the economy on the backburner and beginning to follow the guidelines made by epidemiologists.“There is no other way other than implementing health protocols in these circumstances,” Laura said. Read also: Indonesia’s latest official COVID-19 figuresThailand, on the other hand, has reported zero cases of local transmission for 100 days in a row, joining a small group of places like Taiwan where the pathogen has been virtually eliminated. Thailand has not recorded a single case of community transmission since May 26, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, based on data from the country’s health ministry.The Philippines’ health ministry, meanwhile, recorded 2,218 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, the country’s lowest daily increase in cases in five weeks, and 27 additional deaths.Public health experts and epidemiologists have blamed the worsening situation in Indonesia on what they call a “business-as-usual” approach taken by the central government and regional administrations, some of which have decided to relax social restrictions while case numbers have been continuing to rise. As Indonesia enters its sixth month since COVID-19 first reached it shores, the administration of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo continues to struggle to get on top of the public health crisis, as indicated by the resurgence of spikes in new cases, while other countries in the region, like Thailand and the Philippines, have been able to claim success in their handling of the pandemic.Indonesia reported 3,075 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the country’s overall tally to 180,646, data from the Health Ministry’s website show.The country witnessed 111 more deaths on Wednesday, taking the total number of fatalities to 7,616, the highest death toll in Southeast Asia.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Robert Green spots error Bernd Leno made for Liverpool’s first goal against Arsenal

first_imgRobert Green spots error Bernd Leno made for Liverpool’s first goal against Arsenal Comment Sadio Mane scored Liverpool’s equaliser against Arsenal (Picture: Getty)‘That’s the fine margins, that’s how close it is. I think from there as a goalkeeper he thinks I’m only going to make a block there anyway so I’m trying to make myself as big as possible and trust his feet a bit more maybe if it’s a low shot. So if he’s got his hands up higher and closer together, maybe he would have bought himself a bit more time to get his hands to the ball.’Leno regained his position as Mikel Arteta’s No.1 after the Arsenal manager sanctioned the decision to sell Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa earlier this month. The Argentine had deputised superbly for the former Bayer Leverkusen star last season, playing a pivotal role in the FA Cup and Community Shield successes, but Green felt it was inevitable Leno would win his place back once he regained fitness. More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal‘I think Leno was always going to come back and play they put a lot of trust in him the manager likes how he plays from the back he’s positive in coming for the ball and positive in the a lot of the stuff he does,’ he added.‘Everyone is going to make mistakes in goal it happens it’s a tough one that because he’s made the save. ‘With Martinez it was £15million they were never going to get six months before, he hadn’t played many games for Arsenal and then all of a sudden he covered himself in glory and it was fantastic but it was an opportunity to sell one to bring one or two others in where they need it more.’ Advertisement Advertisementcenter_img Arteta reflects after Arsenal are beaten 3-1 by LiverpoolTo view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Play VideoLoaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 6:14FullscreenArteta reflects after Arsenal are beaten 3-1 by Liverpool is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.MORE: Chelsea summer signing Thiago Silva takes pop at former PSG and Arsenal manager Unai EmeryMORE: Lee Dixon sends transfer message to Arsenal and sets realistic target after Liverpool defeatFollow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.For more stories like this, check our sport page. Metro Sport ReporterTuesday 29 Sep 2020 2:25 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link1.5kShares Bernd Leno was at fault for Liverpool’s opening goal against Arsenal (Picture: Sky Sports)Former England and Chelsea goalkeeper Robert Green believes Bern Leno made a basic technical error in the build-up to Liverpool’s equalising goal against Arsenal last night. The visitors to Anfield had taken an extremely fortuitous lead through Alexandre Lacazette, but their advantage was almost immediately wiped out by Sadio Mane who pounced from close range after Leno was only able to parry Mohamed Salah’s close range blast.On closer inspection, however, Green noted how the Germany international’s hand position prevented him from being able to push the ball to safety and help maintain his side’s precarious lead. AdvertisementAdvertisementHe told Sky Sports: ‘There was something not quite right with it, the strike from Salah when it’s not a strong parry and he doesn’t get the ball out far enough if you look where his arms are they are down almost by his ankles and certainly behind his knees. ADVERTISEMENT‘The difficulty with that is when the shot comes from such close proximity to the goal the distance his hands have to move to save the ball, compared to holding them up in front of his body in a catching position, is that he has to move so far that his left hand is always trailing. He just doesn’t get across in time to make the parry and it slips through his hands rather than getting two strong hands to the ball. last_img read more

Lady Trojans Battle Lady Tigers

first_imgECVB defeated Lawrenceburg last night 25-13, 23-25, 25-13, and 25-16.We played really well last night as a whole. If you take out game two, we played exceptionally well. We fell apart in the back row and couldn’t pull it out in the end, even though we came back. But we held our composure and brought our focus back to our side of the court and it showed. Our serving was top notch with an outstanding 24 aces on the night! These girls never quit and are never out of a game until the last point is scored.EC vs Lawrenceburg 8-31-18Varsity is now 12-1 on the season and 6-0 in the EIAC.Next up: all 3 levels are at Madison on Saturday.Courtesy of Trojans Coach Cassie Laker.East Central JV loses in 2 to Lawrenceburg on Aug. 30 at EC: 25-20 and 25-24.We started slow and had trouble coming back in set 1; set 2 was much better, but we just couldn’t pull off the win. stat leaders: serving Hope Fox 7/7-1 Ace, Jessie Stenger 5/6-1 Ace, Faith  Fox 7/7, Ellie Lengerich 4/4. serve receive: Hope Fox 1010 and Casey House 10/12; attacks: Jessie Stenger 18/18 with 5 kills, Hope Fox 15/16 6 kills, Ella  Fledderman 8/10 with 2 kills, Ellie Lengerich 8/9 with 4 kills; digs Faith Fox 12/12, Ella Fledderman 10/10, Casey HOuse 10/12; assists: Ella Fledderman 30/30 with 10 assists and Allison Huismann 26/26 with 12 assists; The team is now 7-2 overall and 5-1 in EIAC.Courtesy of Trojans Coach Debbie Gregg.last_img read more

Players speak out against women’s tennis head coach

first_imgSeveral members of the University of Wisconsin women’s tennis team have come forward to The Badger Herald illuminating issues with the team’s head coach, saying his actions have put the players’ health at risk.According to phone interviews with four players, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, head coach Brian Fleishman places strict limitations on what they eat and how they train, which has forced several girls to surrender to unhealthy lifestyles.“Honestly, we’re controlled through fear, which is a coaching mechanism that a lot of coaches can implement successfully, but the bigger issue here is that it has been decided on our team that [Fleishman] has issues with food,” one of the women said.According to several members of the team, Fleishman has instilled fear into his players, which has afflicted serious physical and mental damage on many of them. Through his behavior, certain players have battled with anorexia because of Fleishman’s constant focus on their diets.Associate Athletic Director Justin Doherty said the athletic department was not aware of the situation and that every head coach goes through a rigorous review process each year by senior members of the athletic department. He also reiterated the university’s commitment to its athletes’ safety.“The welfare of student athletes is and always will be one of our most top priorities,” Doherty said. “That remains to this point.”The players say several team members have sought out psychological treatment to heal the wounds inflicted on them and that players have started taking antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications due to the stressful environment created by Fleishman. One member of the team remembers watching a teammate deteriorate right before her eyes.“I saw emotionally how her relationship with Brian took a toll on her,” she said. “She started getting anxiety attacks after he sent her an email that her game wasn’t up to par. He threatened that she had to do a lot of extra workouts and from that she got an eating disorder, she became bulimic and got worse and worse throughout the year.”According to several members of the team, in addition to players, Fleishman’s actions have affected assistant coach Audra Cohen.Members of the team approached Cohen after they had noticed a change in her health and appearance.“She was going through a very difficult time dealing with how Brian was running the program,” one player said.Cohen declined to comment on the matter.Several players believe Fleishman himself has an eating disorder. They say he is “obsessed with working out” and that he won’t eat in front of the team on road trips. They insist, because they are around the coach and his lifestyle on a daily basis, that his eating habits are forced on the team.“He’s always looking for someone to put in his doghouse,” one player said. “There was never a time when he wasn’t trying to go after an individual.”The players say they are afraid to reach out to university officials in fear they might lose their scholarships, especially because Fleishman has demonstrated that he is not afraid to dismiss players from the team. According to one player, Fleishman kicked a player off the team for failing to cheer on a teammate and that Fleishman has revoked another player’s scholarship for failing to pass a fitness test.“We were devastated that we were losing part of our team,” one player said. “We did not talk about it to Brian because he’s very unapproachable. … We didn’t have a whole team meeting about it, but the general consensus was we weren’t happy.”“In most programs, you’re told when you’re recruited that the only way you lose your scholarship is by breaking a serious rule in terms of stealing, drugs, doing something illegal,” another member of the team said. “But he’s created a rule called ‘the zero tolerance policy’ that can get anyone off the team in a second, and in this fearful environment, he has 100 percent control over everything we do on a daily basis.”Players say the situation became so ridiculous that one player created a comic book for her teammates depicting the lifestyle Fleishman leads.The comic, which ends with Fleishman’s daily itinerary titled “Brian’s Schedule,” includes Fleishman’s many “policies,” his controlled lifestyle and the way he “yells” at certain members of the team on a regular basis. The comic also included satirical meal suggestions given to the players, such as “three pieces of lettuce.”The creator of the comic recounted how Fleishman had once talked to one of her teammates.“He actually commented to her about her weight and threatened her with it. He used anything that he saw her eat against her in the future when she’d lose her matches.”Fleishman has been head coach at Wisconsin for four years. Prior to being hired at UW in 2007, he was head coach at Wake Forest from 1999 to 2005. He coached four individual national champions there and was named the 2000 ACC coach of the year, 2002 Wilson/ITA national coach of the year and the 2011 Big Ten co-coach of the year. Fleishman resigned from his position at Wake Forest in 2005.Kyle Gibson, one of the team’s trainers, declined to comment on this matter due to confidentiality laws. Several calls made Wednesday to Fleishman were not returned.last_img read more

Navy SEALs cut ties with museum in Fort Pierce over Colin Kaepernick video

first_imgAfter videos reached the internet of dogs attacking a man wearing a Colin Kaepernick jersey during a demonstration at a National Navy SEAL Museum, the commander of the Navy SEALs announced the unit will suspend its support of the nonprofit organization.Fort Pierce Navy Museum K-9 Handler Wears Kaepernick Jersey In a email letter obtained by The Associated Press from an anonymous service member, Rear Admiral Collin Green, who heads the Naval Special Warfare Command, said:“Each and every one of us serves to protect our fellow Americans – ALL Americans. Even the perception that our commitment to serving the men and women of this nation is applied unevenly is destructive,”…“We will revisit our relationship with the Museum when I am convinced that they have made the necessary changes to ensure this type of behavior does not happen again.”Museum officials have yet to speak out about the videos.Kaepernick is known for protesting back in 2016 by kneeling during the national anthem after Nate Boyer, a former Army special forces soldier who tried out as a long snapper for the Seattle Seahawks, suggested it. The former San Francisco quarterback and other players faced intense backlash. But a number of athletes have started kneeling after national protests broke out in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis in May.last_img read more

Taking the big approach to growing the game

first_img11 Dec 2015 Taking the big approach to growing the game A Nottinghamshire club is hailing the success of its decision to go large in the drive to encourage more people to give golf a go. Norwood Park Golf Centre – which can be found in Southwell – has already been recognised for its work to grow the game, being crowned club of the year in 2015 by Sport Nottingham, and its special EZ Golf par three course has proved an ideal starting point for would-be golfers. What makes it all the more attractive to newcomers to the sport is the giant-sized targets for their shots. The holes on the greens are 15 inches wide – normally they are just four and a half inches across – and are proving very popular both with those developing their golfing skills and players looking for a different kind of round. TMaG staff player Rob Macey explains the thinking behind the radical changes to the traditional golf course format. “The Par 3 Course was re-designed to incorporate shorter EZ tees and the 15” holes positioned on the greens away from the normal holes,” he says. “It gives the players more choice and is ideal for beginners and juniors wanting to make the transition from the driving range on to the course and without making it too difficult. “It really has been very popular, offering both variety and fun for all the family. We are delighted to be amongst the first in the UK to introduce the new larger holes” As golf looks to find the next generation of players and provide an alternative to the traditional 18-hole round which fit the demands of modern life, shorter courses, bigger holes and two-flag greens are amongst the ideas under discussion. The initiative at Norwood Park Golf Centre has been welcomed by the Nottinghamshire Golf Partnership, which works to grow the sport. County Development Officer Matthew Bloor says: “Norwood Park Golf Centre has shown to be one of the more pro-active clubs in Nottinghamshire. They put development at the heart of everything they do, which creates a warm and friendly atmosphere at the club. “Norwood Park put the love of the game at the centre of all they do and in doing so have become a shining light for the region. The EZ Easy Golf initiative is proving very popular and is helping grow golf in Nottinghamshire by providing something different to appeal to would-be players of all ages and abilities.” The scheme is being run in association with TaylorMade. Lee Farrar, Head of Field Sales for TaylorMade, says: “TaylorMade are delighted to be associated with EZ Golf at Norwood Park. The 15” cup encompassed with shorter holes is a great idea that brings a further enjoyment to the game for all ages and ability.” Norwood Park Golf centre was awarded GolfMark Award (High Achiever) by England Golf in 2010, highlighting a strong commitment to junior golf development and adult beginners. They have formed school links with local councils and host numerous community golf projects including focusing on both juniors and adult programmes for those with special needs. Norwood Park is part of the Get into golf campaign which is run by England Golf and inspires adults to play the game by offering great value coaching opportunities with PGA professionals. Click here for more information.last_img read more

Wimbledon: Serena Beats Sis Venus

first_imgLONDON — Decades ago, when the Williams sisters were kids in California, taking tennis lessons from Dad on a municipal court and imagining playing at Grand Slam tournaments one day, it was Venus — older, taller, stronger — who usually beat Serena.Never a fan of losing to her sibling — who would be? — Serena cheated a tad every so often, lying about whether Venus’ shots landed in or out.“That’s the past,” Serena jokes now with an eye roll. “I was young.”As professionals, on the sport’s biggest stages, Serena has been better, especially lately. On July 6 at Centre Court, in the 26th all-Williams contest on tour but first at a major in six years, No. 1-seeded Serena played solidly enough to beat No. 16 Venus 6-4, 6-3 and reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals, closing in on the third leg of a calendar-year Grand Slam.This matchup between five-time champions at the All England Club was one-sided, done in 68 minutes. It’s Serena’s sixth win in the past seven matches against Venus, part of a 15-11 edge overall.When it ended, Serena walked calmly, quietly — none of her customary “Come on!” exuberance — to envelop Venus in a long hug.On Serena’s mind, it turns out, was this question: How many installments are left in this one-of-a-kind sibling rivalry?“I just thought, ‘Wow, I’m 33, and she just turned 35. I don’t know how many more moments like this we’ll have.’ I plan on playing for years, but you never know if we’ll have the opportunity to face each other,” Serena said after they walked off court with matching red racket bags.“I just took the moment in, and I thought, ‘We’re at Wimbledon.’ I remember when I was 8 years old, we dreamed of this moment, and it was kind of surreal.”Venus’ take on the likelihood of future meetings?“When that moment is over, it will be over,” she said, shrugging her shoulders. “It’s not now.”Serena, 36-1 this season, has won 25 Grand Slam matches in a row. Get past former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka on July 7, then win twice more, and she would complete a self-styled “Serena Slam” of four consecutive major championships, something she also did in 2002-03.Looking further ahead, Serena could go to the U.S. Open with a chance at the first true Grand Slam — four majors in a single season — since Steffi Graf in 1988.When a reporter made a passing reference to that, Serena rested her chin on her left hand and declared: “I no longer answer questions about Grand Slams.”Other matches July 7: Maria Sharapova vs. CoCo Vandeweghe, Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Madison Keys, Timea Bacsinszky vs. Garbine Muguruza. Serena, Keys and Vandeweghe give the United States three Wimbledon women’s quarterfinalists for the first time since 2004.Three of the July 8 quarterfinals are set: Roger Federer against Gilles Simon, Andy Murray against Vasek Pospisil, and Stan Wawrinka against Richard Gasquet.Defending champion Novak Djokovic dropped the first two sets, then won the next two, before his fourth-round match against Kevin Anderson was suspended because of darkness. They’ll play the fifth set July 7; the winner faces Marin Cilic.Until July 6, Venus hadn’t dropped a set, but Serena won the first eight points and wound up with 36 winners and 13 unforced errors.“Very focused from the start. Very aggressive,” said Serena’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou. “No matter who is on the other side of the court, that’s Serena’s job — to win. For Venus, also. But it’s not something easy or pleasant against each other.”The Williams’ parents and other siblings weren’t in the guest box, where rapper Drake sat next to Serena’s agent, and singer John Legend and his wife, TV host Chrissy Teigen, sat behind Mouratoglou.It took until the 15th point for Venus to register a winner. That’s also how long it took for a spectator to draw guffaws by shouting, “Come on, Williams!”“When we’re off the court, she’s Serena, my sister,” Venus said. “When we’re on the court, she’s Serena, my opponent.”An opponent who, unlike most others, pounds serves at 121 mph, as she did Monday, and returns the 115 mph serves Venus hits.Other foes, of course, didn’t grow up in the same home, didn’t learn the game from the same instructors, didn’t travel the world for years practicing with — and playing doubles alongside — each other.“Boy, she has a game to just knock anyone’s socks off,” Serena said about Venus. “So you just have to be ready.”Serena usually is.(HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Tennis Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more