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How Can Markelle Fultz Reclaim His Broken Shooting Form?

When the Philadelphia 76ers selected Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 pick, they believed they found their point guard of the future. While that could still be the case, the path there is a little more complicated than anyone expected.

Fultz's situation in Philadelphia is unlike any we've seen in recent years. The discussion around his shoulder injury and broken shooting form continue to cloud his future and create questions about 'The Process'. On the latest episode of the Open Floor podcast, Andrew Sharp and Ben Golliver discuss the Sixers' handling of Fultz, the young players crisis of confidence and what should be the next steps.

Check out the full episode here and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. (The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity).

Ben Golliver: I've got a comparison for you and I've got a solution for you. Which one do you want first?

Andrew Sharp: Give me the comparison first. We can save the good news for later.

Golliver: I've been reading this book. It's called All the Light We Cannot See. It's a Pulitzer Prize winning book about World War II. In the book, there's a Parisian locksmith. He has all these little tools that he uses to essentially secure valuable items in his museum inside false doors and different creations, and his daughter happens to be blind. So one thing that he does for his daughter is he makes her these very complicated locks, where she has to push one wall off the box to open up the next wall of the box and that'll get her inside a third box, where she kind of has to undo a lock to open the fourth box. Then finally she gets whatever gift is in the middle. It's like a hour-long process for his blind daughter and this is how he bonds with her.

By now it should be clear that Markelle Fultz is the blind daughter. When he's getting into his shot, it looks like he's going step by step through some process. He's going, "Ok, now I have to do this. And then now I have to do this." He is overthinking every single step of the way as if he was trying to unlock some crazy, World War II era box crafted by a French locksmith. That's a bad sign, Andrew. That's not good, that's not how it's supposed to be, that's not how it ever was prior to his Philadelphia experience. And that brings me to my solution... He needs to go on a Habitat for Humanity trip. He just needs out—no basketball, no workouts.

Sharp: I was going to say the exact same thing. There have been people joking on Twitter and various articles about sending him to Qatar, where Joel Embiid rehabbed a couple years ago. And I don't think we have to send him to Qatar, but they should just send him away. The time for desperate and/or extreme measures is here. I would say give him six months off and hope that it gets better. I don't think the team would be OK with that, and I don't think Fultz would be OK with that necessarily. It'd probably be a delicate process selling his team on that. But it just seems like that's the right move, right? Just to sort of recenter.

Golliver: If I was his people—his parents, people close to him—this is a crisis. It looks an awful lot like a crisis. You have to respond in a big-time way. I'd get him all the hammers he can get into a 50-pound checked bag, I'd ship him a whole bunch of nails, I'd let him pick whatever Southern American country he wants, I'd get him lined up with a group who sort of supports his views on the world and I would basically let him build a village from now until training camp.

I would say no basketball, no basketball-related workouts. If you want to stay in shape, run on the beach or whatever. Clear your mind, get away from it and go do something that will make you feel fulfilled. Contribute to society in a way where you're not being defined by being a basketball player. Wipe it clean, because we have seen situations where guys get super down on themselves because of injuries and there's no way of coming out of it. They spiral. And that's not what we want for him. His future is too bright, his skills were too evident last year. They need to have a clean break here, and parading him in front of the media was a terrible idea. I don't know who's doing that, but you're shaming this poor kid and certainly he's getting the negative feedback. So anyone who is close to Markelle Fultz who is listening to this... think big. Send him on a sabbatical and let's try a different outlook.

Sharp: You mentioned the injury. The injury may be part of it. I think initially a lot of people were explaining this solely by pointing to the shoulder injury and saying, "He's clearly not right. They should sit him down and that'll fix it." And then over the last month or two, that has swung back in the other direction where a lot of people are saying the injury was a lie all along and anyone who thought the injury was a factor is an idiot. I do think ultimately the truth is somewhere in the middle, where the injury has played a role and it just has kind of snowballed into a mental thing as well.

Golliver: Look, if you don't feel right you're not going to be able to process things mentally and it can have lingering effects long after the original injury. It doesn't have to be some crazy injury that sends you into a negative mental place. I think we can agree at this point the mental part is bigger than the physical based on those videos, and that's why you say wipe the mental slate clean, get him away from all this stuff, don't have him hanging around goofting off with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Those guys are actually playing basketball well. Fultz wasn't ready for that right now, so hit the eject button.

Sharp: The one other point that I want to make: I've heard a dozen different Sixers press conferences over the last month or so mention Fultz's absence as a factor in their season this year. I've heard Sixers fans talk about it, I've heard Brett Brown talk about it, and I just think a lot of people will say stuff like, "Well, we need a creator and a ballhandler who can score off the dribble and Fultz was supposed to be that guy and he's not here and that's why we're struggling."

I just think that's super disingenuous. The people who are factoring in Fultz as a legitimate piece of this Sixers core were crazy all along. Even before the shooting issues, he's a 19-year-old point guard. And we've seen with Lonzo Ball, we've seen with De'Aaron Fox, we've seen with Dennis Smith to a degree—?there are going to be wild ups and downs for him. So I don't look at him as a factor in the current Sixers season, and I think people should stop using his issues as an excuse whenever things go wrong in Philly. ?

Golliver: Very well said. He's not part of the game plan at all right now.

Sharp: Yeah, he's kind of a convenient way to explain whenever the Sixers losers, and that to me is kind of bull----.

How Can Markelle Fultz Reclaim His Broken Shooting Form?

When the Philadelphia 76ers selected Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 pick, they believed they found their point guard of the future. While that could still be the case, the path there is a little more complicated than anyone expected.

Fultz's situation in Philadelphia is unlike any we've seen in recent years. The discussion around his shoulder injury and broken shooting form continue to cloud his future and create questions about 'The Process'. On the latest episode of the Open Floor podcast, Andrew Sharp and Ben Golliver discuss the Sixers' handling of Fultz, the young players crisis of confidence and what should be the next steps.

Check out the full episode here and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. (The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity).

Ben Golliver: I've got a comparison for you and I've got a solution for you. Which one do you want first?

Andrew Sharp: Give me the comparison first. We can save the good news for later.

Golliver: I've been reading this book. It's called All the Light We Cannot See. It's a Pulitzer Prize winning book about World War II. In the book, there's a Parisian locksmith. He has all these little tools that he uses to essentially secure valuable items in his museum inside false doors and different creations, and his daughter happens to be blind. So one thing that he does for his daughter is he makes her these very complicated locks, where she has to push one wall off the box to open up the next wall of the box and that'll get her inside a third box, where she kind of has to undo a lock to open the fourth box. Then finally she gets whatever gift is in the middle. It's like a hour-long process for his blind daughter and this is how he bonds with her.

By now it should be clear that Markelle Fultz is the blind daughter. When he's getting into his shot, it looks like he's going step by step through some process. He's going, "Ok, now I have to do this. And then now I have to do this." He is overthinking every single step of the way as if he was trying to unlock some crazy, World War II era box crafted by a French locksmith. That's a bad sign, Andrew. That's not good, that's not how it's supposed to be, that's not how it ever was prior to his Philadelphia experience. And that brings me to my solution... He needs to go on a Habitat for Humanity trip. He just needs out—no basketball, no workouts.

Sharp: I was going to say the exact same thing. There have been people joking on Twitter and various articles about sending him to Qatar, where Joel Embiid rehabbed a couple years ago. And I don't think we have to send him to Qatar, but they should just send him away. The time for desperate and/or extreme measures is here. I would say give him six months off and hope that it gets better. I don't think the team would be OK with that, and I don't think Fultz would be OK with that necessarily. It'd probably be a delicate process selling his team on that. But it just seems like that's the right move, right? Just to sort of recenter.

Golliver: If I was his people—his parents, people close to him—this is a crisis. It looks an awful lot like a crisis. You have to respond in a big-time way. I'd get him all the hammers he can get into a 50-pound checked bag, I'd ship him a whole bunch of nails, I'd let him pick whatever Southern American country he wants, I'd get him lined up with a group who sort of supports his views on the world and I would basically let him build a village from now until training camp.

I would say no basketball, no basketball-related workouts. If you want to stay in shape, run on the beach or whatever. Clear your mind, get away from it and go do something that will make you feel fulfilled. Contribute to society in a way where you're not being defined by being a basketball player. Wipe it clean, because we have seen situations where guys get super down on themselves because of injuries and there's no way of coming out of it. They spiral. And that's not what we want for him. His future is too bright, his skills were too evident last year. They need to have a clean break here, and parading him in front of the media was a terrible idea. I don't know who's doing that, but you're shaming this poor kid and certainly he's getting the negative feedback. So anyone who is close to Markelle Fultz who is listening to this... think big. Send him on a sabbatical and let's try a different outlook.

Sharp: You mentioned the injury. The injury may be part of it. I think initially a lot of people were explaining this solely by pointing to the shoulder injury and saying, "He's clearly not right. They should sit him down and that'll fix it." And then over the last month or two, that has swung back in the other direction where a lot of people are saying the injury was a lie all along and anyone who thought the injury was a factor is an idiot. I do think ultimately the truth is somewhere in the middle, where the injury has played a role and it just has kind of snowballed into a mental thing as well.

Golliver: Look, if you don't feel right you're not going to be able to process things mentally and it can have lingering effects long after the original injury. It doesn't have to be some crazy injury that sends you into a negative mental place. I think we can agree at this point the mental part is bigger than the physical based on those videos, and that's why you say wipe the mental slate clean, get him away from all this stuff, don't have him hanging around goofting off with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Those guys are actually playing basketball well. Fultz wasn't ready for that right now, so hit the eject button.

Sharp: The one other point that I want to make: I've heard a dozen different Sixers press conferences over the last month or so mention Fultz's absence as a factor in their season this year. I've heard Sixers fans talk about it, I've heard Brett Brown talk about it, and I just think a lot of people will say stuff like, "Well, we need a creator and a ballhandler who can score off the dribble and Fultz was supposed to be that guy and he's not here and that's why we're struggling."

I just think that's super disingenuous. The people who are factoring in Fultz as a legitimate piece of this Sixers core were crazy all along. Even before the shooting issues, he's a 19-year-old point guard. And we've seen with Lonzo Ball, we've seen with De'Aaron Fox, we've seen with Dennis Smith to a degree—?there are going to be wild ups and downs for him. So I don't look at him as a factor in the current Sixers season, and I think people should stop using his issues as an excuse whenever things go wrong in Philly. ?

Golliver: Very well said. He's not part of the game plan at all right now.

Sharp: Yeah, he's kind of a convenient way to explain whenever the Sixers losers, and that to me is kind of bull----.

Big wave surfers ride 20 metre waves in Nazare

At Portugal's Nazare beach, where thrill seekers come to catch some of the world's biggest waves, an international community of extreme surfers ride waves of 20 metres.

Nazaré: une houle géante prise d'assaut par les surfeurs

La plus grosse houle de l'hiver a déferlé jeudi sur la Praia do Norte de Nazaré, dans le centre du Portugal, où l'Praia do Norte de Nazaré, attendait avec impatience une communauté internationale de surfeurs de l'extrême qui ont chevauché des vagues d'une vingtaine de mètres.

Nazaré: une houle géante prise d'assaut par les surfeurs

La plus grosse houle de l'hiver a déferlé jeudi sur la Praia do Norte de Nazaré, dans le centre du Portugal, où l'Praia do Norte de Nazaré, attendait avec impatience une communauté internationale de surfeurs de l'extrême qui ont chevauché des vagues d'une vingtaine de mètres.

Big wave surfers ride 20 metre waves in Nazare

At Portugal's Nazare beach, where thrill seekers come to catch some of the world's biggest waves, an international community of extreme surfers ride waves of 20 metres.

Big wave surfers ride 20 metre waves in Nazare

At Portugal's Nazare beach, where thrill seekers come to catch some of the world's biggest waves, an international community of extreme surfers ride waves of 20 metres.

Big wave surfers ride 20 metre waves in Nazare

At Portugal's Nazare beach, where thrill seekers come to catch some of the world's biggest waves, an international community of extreme surfers ride waves of 20 metres.

Nazaré: une houle géante prise d'assaut par les surfeurs

La plus grosse houle de l'hiver a déferlé jeudi sur la Praia do Norte de Nazaré, dans le centre du Portugal, où l'Praia do Norte de Nazaré, attendait avec impatience une communauté internationale de surfeurs de l'extrême qui ont chevauché des vagues d'une vingtaine de mètres.

Nazaré: une houle géante prise d'assaut par les surfeurs

La plus grosse houle de l'hiver a déferlé jeudi sur la Praia do Norte de Nazaré, dans le centre du Portugal, où l'Praia do Norte de Nazaré, attendait avec impatience une communauté internationale de surfeurs de l'extrême qui ont chevauché des vagues d'une vingtaine de mètres.

Big wave surfers ride 20 metre waves in Nazare

At Portugal's Nazare beach, where thrill seekers come to catch some of the world's biggest waves, an international community of extreme surfers ride waves of 20 metres.

Australian Open 2018: What you missed on day five - Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov triumph as the heat continues

Here is what you missed overnight on day five at the Australian Open... Dimitrov march continues Third-seed Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the fourth round, beating Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the final match of the day session on Rod Laver Arena. After beating qualifiers in his first two matches, Dimitrov had a more difficult time against 30th-seed Rublev. Serving for the match, Dimitrov faced a break point before advancing on his first match point, clinching it with a winner off a Rublev drop shot. "These are the most important matches for me, when certain things are not working for me and I find a way," said Dimitrov. "He's a good player. He beat me at the US Open so I knew what to expect and what I had to do." Dimitrov will next play Nick Kyrgios, who overcame 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. Edmund keeps British hopes alive Kyle Edmund's path to the quarter-finals looked a relatively simple one after knocking out Kevin Anderson in the opening round in Melbourne, but he had to dig deep to see off Nikoloz Basilashvili in brutally hot conditions on Friday. Edmund showed tremendous levels of fitness and determination to recover from two sets to one down and beat his Georgian opponent 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. The Yorkshireman suffered a lull after appearing in control at a set and a break up but a 20-minute Basilashvili service game early in the fourth set, where he finally broke, turned the match in Edmund's favour with a swirling wind making life difficult for both players. Kyle Edmund is through to the fourth round in Melbourne Credit: getty images “During the whole of that fifth set the finish line seemed so far away,” said Edmund afterwards. “Physically at the end it was very demanding. When he hit that ball in the net, I was so relieved, because he just kept slugging it and it kept going in. Finally he missed it. “It's not easy. Towards the end the wind died down so there was no fresh air. It's not forgiving, you either get to the ball or you don't, you can't bluff it. It's tough but I knew it was tough for him too. If I'm hurting, he was going to be hurting. I just kept sticking with it. I knew if I just kept getting balls back, he wasn't going to like it.” Edmund will face Andreas Seppi in the fourth round after the Italian overcame Ivo Karlovic and the Croatian's 52 aces to advance to the fourth round with a 6-3, 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7 win that spanned three hours, 51 minutes. Easy does it for Rafa Top-seed Rafael Nadal breezed into the fourth round at Melbourne Park, beating Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-3, 6-1. Nadal, who lost the 2017 final here to Roger Federer, is attempting to win the Australian Open for the second time - the first was in 2009 - and add to his 16 major titles, second only among men to Federer's 19. The Spaniard will play Diego Schwartzman, who beat Alexandr Dolgopolov in four sets earlier on Friday. Can't stand the heat The spotlight was again on searing temperatures in Melbourne on Friday as temperatures pushed past 40C on Friday. The tournament's extreme heat policy sees stadium roofs closed and outdoor matches suspended when the ambient temperature exceeds 40C and the wet bulb globe temperature index reading exceeds 32.5C, but organisers said the brutal conditions did not meet the thresholds. However, Alize Cornet said the policy could be endangering the safety of players after suffering dizzy spells during her third round match against Elise Mertens on Friday. Cornet slumped to the court after serving during the second set of her 7-5, 6-4 defeat by Mertens at the Hisense Arena and needed a medical assessment before receiving an ice down. Alize Cornet found the heat too much to handle Credit: reuters "Playing at this time was probably the worst time of the day," she said. "I kind of felt that I could faint at any moment. "I think it could be dangerous, but I think that the fact the doctor came on the court and took my blood pressure and she was looking if I was feeling good enough to keep playing the match... They are very careful about that. "But still, you know, playing in this condition is of course very dangerous for the health of the player. The limit of not playing the match is really high, it's like it needs to be above 45 degrees and humidity. "I think this limit should be a little lower because playing in this condition is not nice for anyone. The crowd was in the shade but for the player it's incredibly tough." Vandeweghe pays the price You may remember Coco Vandeweghe landing herself in trouble back on the opening day of the tournament when she received a code violation for refusing to get off her chair until she had been delivered a banana after the end of the first set in her match against Timea Babos. CoCo Vandeweghe had gotten her first code violation earlier for time violation/civil disobedience: refusing to take court without eating a banana first. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6Opg7xon2N— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 15, 2018 Vandeweghe went on to lose that match 7-6, 6-2, but on Friday she was handed the biggest penalty of this year's Australian Open when she was fined AUS$10,000 (£5,760) for screaming an obscenity at Babos. Vandeweghe said after the match that she was irritated by what she described as excessive celebrating by her Hungarian opponent during their match. End of the teen dream Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk's run came to an end with a 6-2, 6-2 loss against fourth seed and fellow Ukrainian Elina Svitolina. Kostyuk's success, coming through qualifying and reaching the third round, had been one of the stories of this week but she found Svitolina too strong and too experienced in her debut on Rod Laver Arena. Kostyuk was given a wildcard into qualifying after winning the junior title 12 months ago and must now focus on working her way up the professional game from her current ranking of 521. Asked how much she learned, Kostyuk said: "A lot. How much do you have to pay Svitolina to have a one-hour lesson? I got it for free. "She's a great player, but what I learned is that you can play against everyone. I had the chances, but because I thought she is incredible, like she's a god, I cannot do anything against her, that's the problem." Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshares three-part series on the unseen side of professional tennis Celebrating in style Thursday saw 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber celebrate her 30th birthday with a second-round win over Donna Vekic. A day later, it was Petra Martic whose birthday went with a bang as she celebrated turning 27 with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over Luksika Kumkhum to advance to the fourth round at Melbourne Park. Match of the day The first match on Court Two saw a topsy-turvy affair between Kyle Edmund and Nikoloz Basilashvili, which saw the British No 2 battle through in five sets to win 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. Upset of the day Henri Kontinen and John Peers lifted the men's doubles title in Melbourne last year, but there will be no repeat success as the No 2 seeds were dumped out 6-4, 7-6 in the second round by Radu Albot and Chung Hyeon. Quote of the day "I’m young, it’s professional sport. It’s meant to hurt." Kyle Edmund makes light of the stifling hot temperatures on Friday. Stat of the day 20 minutes - The fourth set of Kyle Edmund's match against NikolozBasilashvili lasted 36 minutes, with 20 of them in just one single game that featured 36 points and 15 deuces. Shot of the day Courtesy of Kyle Edmund: .@kyle8edmund dropping it like it's hot ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/FeDJwmh7jx— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow There is a veritable feast on offer on Saturday in Melbourne. The men's draw sees Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic take top billing against Richard Gasquet and Albert Ramos Vinolas respectively, while two potential future stars face off in Alexander Zverev and Chung Hyeon. Angelique Kerber against Maria Sharapova is the best match on the women's side, with Ashleigh Barty v Naomi Osaka should also be very entertaining.

Australian Open 2018: What you missed on day five - Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov triumph as the heat continues

Here is what you missed overnight on day five at the Australian Open... Dimitrov march continues Third-seed Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the fourth round, beating Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the final match of the day session on Rod Laver Arena. After beating qualifiers in his first two matches, Dimitrov had a more difficult time against 30th-seed Rublev. Serving for the match, Dimitrov faced a break point before advancing on his first match point, clinching it with a winner off a Rublev drop shot. "These are the most important matches for me, when certain things are not working for me and I find a way," said Dimitrov. "He's a good player. He beat me at the US Open so I knew what to expect and what I had to do." Dimitrov will next play Nick Kyrgios, who overcame 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. Edmund keeps British hopes alive Kyle Edmund's path to the quarter-finals looked a relatively simple one after knocking out Kevin Anderson in the opening round in Melbourne, but he had to dig deep to see off Nikoloz Basilashvili in brutally hot conditions on Friday. Edmund showed tremendous levels of fitness and determination to recover from two sets to one down and beat his Georgian opponent 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. The Yorkshireman suffered a lull after appearing in control at a set and a break up but a 20-minute Basilashvili service game early in the fourth set, where he finally broke, turned the match in Edmund's favour with a swirling wind making life difficult for both players. Kyle Edmund is through to the fourth round in Melbourne Credit: getty images “During the whole of that fifth set the finish line seemed so far away,” said Edmund afterwards. “Physically at the end it was very demanding. When he hit that ball in the net, I was so relieved, because he just kept slugging it and it kept going in. Finally he missed it. “It's not easy. Towards the end the wind died down so there was no fresh air. It's not forgiving, you either get to the ball or you don't, you can't bluff it. It's tough but I knew it was tough for him too. If I'm hurting, he was going to be hurting. I just kept sticking with it. I knew if I just kept getting balls back, he wasn't going to like it.” Edmund will face Andreas Seppi in the fourth round after the Italian overcame Ivo Karlovic and the Croatian's 52 aces to advance to the fourth round with a 6-3, 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7 win that spanned three hours, 51 minutes. Easy does it for Rafa Top-seed Rafael Nadal breezed into the fourth round at Melbourne Park, beating Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-3, 6-1. Nadal, who lost the 2017 final here to Roger Federer, is attempting to win the Australian Open for the second time - the first was in 2009 - and add to his 16 major titles, second only among men to Federer's 19. The Spaniard will play Diego Schwartzman, who beat Alexandr Dolgopolov in four sets earlier on Friday. Can't stand the heat The spotlight was again on searing temperatures in Melbourne on Friday as temperatures pushed past 40C on Friday. The tournament's extreme heat policy sees stadium roofs closed and outdoor matches suspended when the ambient temperature exceeds 40C and the wet bulb globe temperature index reading exceeds 32.5C, but organisers said the brutal conditions did not meet the thresholds. However, Alize Cornet said the policy could be endangering the safety of players after suffering dizzy spells during her third round match against Elise Mertens on Friday. Cornet slumped to the court after serving during the second set of her 7-5, 6-4 defeat by Mertens at the Hisense Arena and needed a medical assessment before receiving an ice down. Alize Cornet found the heat too much to handle Credit: reuters "Playing at this time was probably the worst time of the day," she said. "I kind of felt that I could faint at any moment. "I think it could be dangerous, but I think that the fact the doctor came on the court and took my blood pressure and she was looking if I was feeling good enough to keep playing the match... They are very careful about that. "But still, you know, playing in this condition is of course very dangerous for the health of the player. The limit of not playing the match is really high, it's like it needs to be above 45 degrees and humidity. "I think this limit should be a little lower because playing in this condition is not nice for anyone. The crowd was in the shade but for the player it's incredibly tough." Vandeweghe pays the price You may remember Coco Vandeweghe landing herself in trouble back on the opening day of the tournament when she received a code violation for refusing to get off her chair until she had been delivered a banana after the end of the first set in her match against Timea Babos. CoCo Vandeweghe had gotten her first code violation earlier for time violation/civil disobedience: refusing to take court without eating a banana first. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6Opg7xon2N— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 15, 2018 Vandeweghe went on to lose that match 7-6, 6-2, but on Friday she was handed the biggest penalty of this year's Australian Open when she was fined AUS$10,000 (£5,760) for screaming an obscenity at Babos. Vandeweghe said after the match that she was irritated by what she described as excessive celebrating by her Hungarian opponent during their match. End of the teen dream Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk's run came to an end with a 6-2, 6-2 loss against fourth seed and fellow Ukrainian Elina Svitolina. Kostyuk's success, coming through qualifying and reaching the third round, had been one of the stories of this week but she found Svitolina too strong and too experienced in her debut on Rod Laver Arena. Kostyuk was given a wildcard into qualifying after winning the junior title 12 months ago and must now focus on working her way up the professional game from her current ranking of 521. Asked how much she learned, Kostyuk said: "A lot. How much do you have to pay Svitolina to have a one-hour lesson? I got it for free. "She's a great player, but what I learned is that you can play against everyone. I had the chances, but because I thought she is incredible, like she's a god, I cannot do anything against her, that's the problem." Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshares three-part series on the unseen side of professional tennis Celebrating in style Thursday saw 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber celebrate her 30th birthday with a second-round win over Donna Vekic. A day later, it was Petra Martic whose birthday went with a bang as she celebrated turning 27 with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over Luksika Kumkhum to advance to the fourth round at Melbourne Park. Match of the day The first match on Court Two saw a topsy-turvy affair between Kyle Edmund and Nikoloz Basilashvili, which saw the British No 2 battle through in five sets to win 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. Upset of the day Henri Kontinen and John Peers lifted the men's doubles title in Melbourne last year, but there will be no repeat success as the No 2 seeds were dumped out 6-4, 7-6 in the second round by Radu Albot and Chung Hyeon. Quote of the day "I’m young, it’s professional sport. It’s meant to hurt." Kyle Edmund makes light of the stifling hot temperatures on Friday. Stat of the day 20 minutes - The fourth set of Kyle Edmund's match against NikolozBasilashvili lasted 36 minutes, with 20 of them in just one single game that featured 36 points and 15 deuces. Shot of the day Courtesy of Kyle Edmund: .@kyle8edmund dropping it like it's hot ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/FeDJwmh7jx— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow There is a veritable feast on offer on Saturday in Melbourne. The men's draw sees Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic take top billing against Richard Gasquet and Albert Ramos Vinolas respectively, while two potential future stars face off in Alexander Zverev and Chung Hyeon. Angelique Kerber against Maria Sharapova is the best match on the women's side, with Ashleigh Barty v Naomi Osaka should also be very entertaining.

Australian Open 2018: What you missed on day five - Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov triumph as the heat continues

Here is what you missed overnight on day five at the Australian Open... Dimitrov march continues Third-seed Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the fourth round, beating Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the final match of the day session on Rod Laver Arena. After beating qualifiers in his first two matches, Dimitrov had a more difficult time against 30th-seed Rublev. Serving for the match, Dimitrov faced a break point before advancing on his first match point, clinching it with a winner off a Rublev drop shot. "These are the most important matches for me, when certain things are not working for me and I find a way," said Dimitrov. "He's a good player. He beat me at the US Open so I knew what to expect and what I had to do." Dimitrov will next play Nick Kyrgios, who overcame 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. Edmund keeps British hopes alive Kyle Edmund's path to the quarter-finals looked a relatively simple one after knocking out Kevin Anderson in the opening round in Melbourne, but he had to dig deep to see off Nikoloz Basilashvili in brutally hot conditions on Friday. Edmund showed tremendous levels of fitness and determination to recover from two sets to one down and beat his Georgian opponent 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. The Yorkshireman suffered a lull after appearing in control at a set and a break up but a 20-minute Basilashvili service game early in the fourth set, where he finally broke, turned the match in Edmund's favour with a swirling wind making life difficult for both players. Kyle Edmund is through to the fourth round in Melbourne Credit: getty images “During the whole of that fifth set the finish line seemed so far away,” said Edmund afterwards. “Physically at the end it was very demanding. When he hit that ball in the net, I was so relieved, because he just kept slugging it and it kept going in. Finally he missed it. “It's not easy. Towards the end the wind died down so there was no fresh air. It's not forgiving, you either get to the ball or you don't, you can't bluff it. It's tough but I knew it was tough for him too. If I'm hurting, he was going to be hurting. I just kept sticking with it. I knew if I just kept getting balls back, he wasn't going to like it.” Edmund will face Andreas Seppi in the fourth round after the Italian overcame Ivo Karlovic and the Croatian's 52 aces to advance to the fourth round with a 6-3, 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7 win that spanned three hours, 51 minutes. Easy does it for Rafa Top-seed Rafael Nadal breezed into the fourth round at Melbourne Park, beating Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-3, 6-1. Nadal, who lost the 2017 final here to Roger Federer, is attempting to win the Australian Open for the second time - the first was in 2009 - and add to his 16 major titles, second only among men to Federer's 19. The Spaniard will play Diego Schwartzman, who beat Alexandr Dolgopolov in four sets earlier on Friday. Can't stand the heat The spotlight was again on searing temperatures in Melbourne on Friday as temperatures pushed past 40C on Friday. The tournament's extreme heat policy sees stadium roofs closed and outdoor matches suspended when the ambient temperature exceeds 40C and the wet bulb globe temperature index reading exceeds 32.5C, but organisers said the brutal conditions did not meet the thresholds. However, Alize Cornet said the policy could be endangering the safety of players after suffering dizzy spells during her third round match against Elise Mertens on Friday. Cornet slumped to the court after serving during the second set of her 7-5, 6-4 defeat by Mertens at the Hisense Arena and needed a medical assessment before receiving an ice down. Alize Cornet found the heat too much to handle Credit: reuters "Playing at this time was probably the worst time of the day," she said. "I kind of felt that I could faint at any moment. "I think it could be dangerous, but I think that the fact the doctor came on the court and took my blood pressure and she was looking if I was feeling good enough to keep playing the match... They are very careful about that. "But still, you know, playing in this condition is of course very dangerous for the health of the player. The limit of not playing the match is really high, it's like it needs to be above 45 degrees and humidity. "I think this limit should be a little lower because playing in this condition is not nice for anyone. The crowd was in the shade but for the player it's incredibly tough." Vandeweghe pays the price You may remember Coco Vandeweghe landing herself in trouble back on the opening day of the tournament when she received a code violation for refusing to get off her chair until she had been delivered a banana after the end of the first set in her match against Timea Babos. CoCo Vandeweghe had gotten her first code violation earlier for time violation/civil disobedience: refusing to take court without eating a banana first. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6Opg7xon2N— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 15, 2018 Vandeweghe went on to lose that match 7-6, 6-2, but on Friday she was handed the biggest penalty of this year's Australian Open when she was fined AUS$10,000 (£5,760) for screaming an obscenity at Babos. Vandeweghe said after the match that she was irritated by what she described as excessive celebrating by her Hungarian opponent during their match. End of the teen dream Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk's run came to an end with a 6-2, 6-2 loss against fourth seed and fellow Ukrainian Elina Svitolina. Kostyuk's success, coming through qualifying and reaching the third round, had been one of the stories of this week but she found Svitolina too strong and too experienced in her debut on Rod Laver Arena. Kostyuk was given a wildcard into qualifying after winning the junior title 12 months ago and must now focus on working her way up the professional game from her current ranking of 521. Asked how much she learned, Kostyuk said: "A lot. How much do you have to pay Svitolina to have a one-hour lesson? I got it for free. "She's a great player, but what I learned is that you can play against everyone. I had the chances, but because I thought she is incredible, like she's a god, I cannot do anything against her, that's the problem." Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshares three-part series on the unseen side of professional tennis Celebrating in style Thursday saw 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber celebrate her 30th birthday with a second-round win over Donna Vekic. A day later, it was Petra Martic whose birthday went with a bang as she celebrated turning 27 with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over Luksika Kumkhum to advance to the fourth round at Melbourne Park. Match of the day The first match on Court Two saw a topsy-turvy affair between Kyle Edmund and Nikoloz Basilashvili, which saw the British No 2 battle through in five sets to win 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. Upset of the day Henri Kontinen and John Peers lifted the men's doubles title in Melbourne last year, but there will be no repeat success as the No 2 seeds were dumped out 6-4, 7-6 in the second round by Radu Albot and Chung Hyeon. Quote of the day "I’m young, it’s professional sport. It’s meant to hurt." Kyle Edmund makes light of the stifling hot temperatures on Friday. Stat of the day 20 minutes - The fourth set of Kyle Edmund's match against NikolozBasilashvili lasted 36 minutes, with 20 of them in just one single game that featured 36 points and 15 deuces. Shot of the day Courtesy of Kyle Edmund: .@kyle8edmund dropping it like it's hot ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/FeDJwmh7jx— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow There is a veritable feast on offer on Saturday in Melbourne. The men's draw sees Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic take top billing against Richard Gasquet and Albert Ramos Vinolas respectively, while two potential future stars face off in Alexander Zverev and Chung Hyeon. Angelique Kerber against Maria Sharapova is the best match on the women's side, with Ashleigh Barty v Naomi Osaka should also be very entertaining.

Australian Open 2018: Organisers face criticism over extreme heat policy as players struggle in baking conditons

Organisers will only activate the extreme heat policy and halt play or close roofs when the temperature exceeds 40 Celsius and the wet bulb globe temperature index hits 32.5 Celsius.

Players Suffer As Heatwave Continues in Australian Open

The Australian Open's extreme heat policy came under increasing scrutiny on Friday as players struggled through a second consecutive day of 40 degree Celsius (104 F) heat at Melbourne Park.

Czechs hopeful in snowboarding, biathlon at Pyeongchang

FILE - A Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014 file photo of Czech Republic's Eva Samkova celebrating after taking the gold medal in the women's snowboard cross final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. Female snowboarders, Eva Samkova - defending Olympic champion, and Ester Ledecka, who will also compete in downhill skiing, are expected to make an impact as well as three-time Olympic champion in speedskating Martina Sablikova. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

Gael Monfils thought he was going to collapse in the extreme Melbourne Park heat.

Gael Monfils thought he was going to collapse in the extreme Melbourne Park heat.

Billericay manager Glenn Tamplin stranded in Mauritius due to Cyclone Berguitta

Billericay Towns outspoken millionaire boss and owner is caught up in the midst of extreme weather on the tropical island

Australian Open organisers are 'taking a risk' by allowing players to compete in extreme heat

The French No. 5 Gael Monfils warned Australian Open organisers that they were “taking a risk” by asking players to compete in a brutal Melbourne heatwave. Monfils said that he had experienced “a small heat stroke” as he faced Novak Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena, where on-court temperatures were reported to have climbed to somewhere between 45 and 50 degrees. Although he eventually regrouped to complete this second-round match – which Djokovic won by a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 margin – Monfils looked like he might be forced to retire early on. At the 4-3 changeover in the second set, Monfils told chair umpire John Blom: “If I can’t take longer than 25 seconds between points, I am going to collapse.” Later, in the interview room, Monfils expanded on his theme. He didn’t make any reference to the roof on Rod Laver Arena – although this could, in theory, have been closed to keep temperatures down. But he did repeat his view that normal rules on the pace of play should have been relaxed. Monfils was doubled-up throughout the match as the heat took its toll Credit: AFP “It puts you under so much pressure with the heat,” Monfils said. “Then you rush. Honestly, I played two sets on half a breath, for nothing, just to please the official. So, at the end, it's a bit risky.” The Australian Open has a heat rule which involves both heat and humidity, stating that “The referee will initiate the Extreme Heat Policy” – and thus suspend play – “once the ambient temperature exceeds 40C & the Wet Bulb index (WBGT) exceeds 32.5C.” But when Djokovic spoke to reporters after the match, he sounded unconvinced by the rule. “I’m not so sure about that, to be honest,” he said. “There are certain days where you just have to, as a tournament supervisor, recognise that you might need to give players few extra hours until it [the temperature] comes down. “There is a limit - a level of tolerance between being fit and being in danger in terms of health. It was right at the limit [today].” Perhaps Djokovic deserved to benefit from his superior conditioning. But it was uncomfortable to watch the way Monfils, normally one of the best athletes on the tour, was doubling over in exhaustion and leaning on his racket after the longer rallies. Gael Monfils suffered a 'small heat stroke' during match against Novak Djokovic Credit: Reuters As Monfils received serve at 3-3 in the second set, he made no attempt to move towards the ball. Indeed, he looked actively disappointed when one of Djokovic’s serves was called out, because he was already tottering towards his chair. It was after that game that Monfils warned Blom about the possibility that he might collapse. Broadcasting sources suggested that Djokovic had requested an afternoon slot when he had the option of playing in cooler conditions. If so, the tactic was successful. Monfils might have produced the better tennis in the first set but he was unable to keep up with Djokovic’s phenomenal physical resilience. gonna be 97 degrees at match time: interesting that @DjokerNole REQUESTED heat of the day for today’s collision with Monfils. Could’ve had night match. Sign of confidence. Long time ago, but remember ‘05 USO when he twice needed medical help to survive heat vs Gael— Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) January 17, 2018 After the match, he described his experience. “It was some harm,” Monfils said. “I get super dizzy. I think I have a small heat stroke for 40 minutes. I try to cool down. But even with the ice towel, the water, I think my body was super warm. Could not be very fresh after any points, so it was tough. “When I called the doctor, he couldn't answer me,” Monfils added. “I was like, ‘How long you think I going to be feeling that bad?’ He didn't tell me. I said, ‘10, 15?’ He said, ‘Drink.’ I said, ‘I know I have to drink. Give me, like, something.’ At the end I just figure out I will have my second breath, and I just hold.” In a statement, the Australian Open said “The health of our players is of paramount concern, but we need to be consistent with the outside courts so some don't get an unfair advantage.” Temperatures in Melbourne are expected to rise even further tomorrow, to 40 degrees in the shade, which could be enough to trigger a suspension of play.

Australian Open organisers are 'taking a risk' by allowing players to compete in extreme heat

Australian Open organisers are 'taking a risk' by allowing players to compete in extreme heat

Australian Open organisers are 'taking a risk' by allowing players to compete in extreme heat

The French No. 5 Gael Monfils warned Australian Open organisers that they were “taking a risk” by asking players to compete in a brutal Melbourne heatwave. Monfils said that he had experienced “a small heat stroke” as he faced Novak Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena, where on-court temperatures were reported to have climbed to somewhere between 45 and 50 degrees. Although he eventually regrouped to complete this second-round match – which Djokovic won by a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 margin – Monfils looked like he might be forced to retire early on. At the 4-3 changeover in the second set, Monfils told chair umpire John Blom: “If I can’t take longer than 25 seconds between points, I am going to collapse.” Later, in the interview room, Monfils expanded on his theme. He didn’t make any reference to the roof on Rod Laver Arena – although this could, in theory, have been closed to keep temperatures down. But he did repeat his view that normal rules on the pace of play should have been relaxed. Monfils was doubled-up throughout the match as the heat took its toll Credit: AFP “It puts you under so much pressure with the heat,” Monfils said. “Then you rush. Honestly, I played two sets on half a breath, for nothing, just to please the official. So, at the end, it's a bit risky.” The Australian Open has a heat rule which involves both heat and humidity, stating that “The referee will initiate the Extreme Heat Policy” – and thus suspend play – “once the ambient temperature exceeds 40C & the Wet Bulb index (WBGT) exceeds 32.5C.” But when Djokovic spoke to reporters after the match, he sounded unconvinced by the rule. “I’m not so sure about that, to be honest,” he said. “There are certain days where you just have to, as a tournament supervisor, recognise that you might need to give players few extra hours until it [the temperature] comes down. “There is a limit - a level of tolerance between being fit and being in danger in terms of health. It was right at the limit [today].” Perhaps Djokovic deserved to benefit from his superior conditioning. But it was uncomfortable to watch the way Monfils, normally one of the best athletes on the tour, was doubling over in exhaustion and leaning on his racket after the longer rallies. Gael Monfils suffered a 'small heat stroke' during match against Novak Djokovic Credit: Reuters As Monfils received serve at 3-3 in the second set, he made no attempt to move towards the ball. Indeed, he looked actively disappointed when one of Djokovic’s serves was called out, because he was already tottering towards his chair. It was after that game that Monfils warned Blom about the possibility that he might collapse. Broadcasting sources suggested that Djokovic had requested an afternoon slot when he had the option of playing in cooler conditions. If so, the tactic was successful. Monfils might have produced the better tennis in the first set but he was unable to keep up with Djokovic’s phenomenal physical resilience. gonna be 97 degrees at match time: interesting that @DjokerNole REQUESTED heat of the day for today’s collision with Monfils. Could’ve had night match. Sign of confidence. Long time ago, but remember ‘05 USO when he twice needed medical help to survive heat vs Gael— Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) January 17, 2018 After the match, he described his experience. “It was some harm,” Monfils said. “I get super dizzy. I think I have a small heat stroke for 40 minutes. I try to cool down. But even with the ice towel, the water, I think my body was super warm. Could not be very fresh after any points, so it was tough. “When I called the doctor, he couldn't answer me,” Monfils added. “I was like, ‘How long you think I going to be feeling that bad?’ He didn't tell me. I said, ‘10, 15?’ He said, ‘Drink.’ I said, ‘I know I have to drink. Give me, like, something.’ At the end I just figure out I will have my second breath, and I just hold.” In a statement, the Australian Open said “The health of our players is of paramount concern, but we need to be consistent with the outside courts so some don't get an unfair advantage.” Temperatures in Melbourne are expected to rise even further tomorrow, to 40 degrees in the shade, which could be enough to trigger a suspension of play.

Australian Open organisers are 'taking a risk' by allowing players to compete in extreme heat

Australian Open organisers are 'taking a risk' by allowing players to compete in extreme heat

Australian Open organisers are 'taking a risk' by allowing players to compete in extreme heat

Australian Open organisers are 'taking a risk' by allowing players to compete in extreme heat

Australian Open organisers are 'taking a risk' by allowing players to compete in extreme heat

The French No. 5 Gael Monfils warned Australian Open organisers that they were “taking a risk” by asking players to compete in a brutal Melbourne heatwave. Monfils said that he had experienced “a small heat stroke” as he faced Novak Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena, where on-court temperatures were reported to have climbed to somewhere between 45 and 50 degrees. Although he eventually regrouped to complete this second-round match – which Djokovic won by a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 margin – Monfils looked like he might be forced to retire early on. At the 4-3 changeover in the second set, Monfils told chair umpire John Blom: “If I can’t take longer than 25 seconds between points, I am going to collapse.” Later, in the interview room, Monfils expanded on his theme. He didn’t make any reference to the roof on Rod Laver Arena – although this could, in theory, have been closed to keep temperatures down. But he did repeat his view that normal rules on the pace of play should have been relaxed. Monfils was doubled-up throughout the match as the heat took its toll Credit: AFP “It puts you under so much pressure with the heat,” Monfils said. “Then you rush. Honestly, I played two sets on half a breath, for nothing, just to please the official. So, at the end, it's a bit risky.” The Australian Open has a heat rule which involves both heat and humidity, stating that “The referee will initiate the Extreme Heat Policy” – and thus suspend play – “once the ambient temperature exceeds 40C & the Wet Bulb index (WBGT) exceeds 32.5C.” But when Djokovic spoke to reporters after the match, he sounded unconvinced by the rule. “I’m not so sure about that, to be honest,” he said. “There are certain days where you just have to, as a tournament supervisor, recognise that you might need to give players few extra hours until it [the temperature] comes down. “There is a limit - a level of tolerance between being fit and being in danger in terms of health. It was right at the limit [today].” Perhaps Djokovic deserved to benefit from his superior conditioning. But it was uncomfortable to watch the way Monfils, normally one of the best athletes on the tour, was doubling over in exhaustion and leaning on his racket after the longer rallies. Gael Monfils suffered a 'small heat stroke' during match against Novak Djokovic Credit: Reuters As Monfils received serve at 3-3 in the second set, he made no attempt to move towards the ball. Indeed, he looked actively disappointed when one of Djokovic’s serves was called out, because he was already tottering towards his chair. It was after that game that Monfils warned Blom about the possibility that he might collapse. Broadcasting sources suggested that Djokovic had requested an afternoon slot when he had the option of playing in cooler conditions. If so, the tactic was successful. Monfils might have produced the better tennis in the first set but he was unable to keep up with Djokovic’s phenomenal physical resilience. gonna be 97 degrees at match time: interesting that @DjokerNole REQUESTED heat of the day for today’s collision with Monfils. Could’ve had night match. Sign of confidence. Long time ago, but remember ‘05 USO when he twice needed medical help to survive heat vs Gael— Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) January 17, 2018 After the match, he described his experience. “It was some harm,” Monfils said. “I get super dizzy. I think I have a small heat stroke for 40 minutes. I try to cool down. But even with the ice towel, the water, I think my body was super warm. Could not be very fresh after any points, so it was tough. “When I called the doctor, he couldn't answer me,” Monfils added. “I was like, ‘How long you think I going to be feeling that bad?’ He didn't tell me. I said, ‘10, 15?’ He said, ‘Drink.’ I said, ‘I know I have to drink. Give me, like, something.’ At the end I just figure out I will have my second breath, and I just hold.” In a statement, the Australian Open said “The health of our players is of paramount concern, but we need to be consistent with the outside courts so some don't get an unfair advantage.” Temperatures in Melbourne are expected to rise even further tomorrow, to 40 degrees in the shade, which could be enough to trigger a suspension of play.

Gael Monfils thought he was going to collapse in the extreme Melbourne Park heat.

Gael Monfils thought he was going to collapse in the extreme Melbourne Park heat.

What now for Newcastle after Amanda Staveley's failed attempt to hustle Mike Ashley?

If there was a dummies' guide to selling a football club, Mike Ashley’s decision to publicly mock and deride Amanda Staveley’s bid to buy Newcastle would be somewhere near the back, in the chapter titled 'Extreme measures'. It would probably go ahead of the section on pulling out a loaded gun in a meeting and pointing it at the face of the person you are negotiating with, as well as the chunk that deals with planning to kidnap their family, but it falls roughly into the same sort of category. It was an inflammatory attack by Ashley, but also deliberately provocative. It was calculated, designed to insult. Having allowed Staveley to dictate the public relations battle in this war, he had grown tired of hearing false reports claiming she had made a series of bids that edged ever closer to his asking price. The meeting in a London curry house before Christmas, that was conveniently spotted by a professional photographer waiting outside, the carefully constructed narrative that made out she was genuinely trying to buy the club from him and that he was the one being unreasonable. These tactics put all the pressure on Staveley. If she seriously wanted to buy the club, she was called out. If she was genuine, the impetus was on her to prove what Ashley said was wrong and make a larger bid, a bid close enough to his asking price to at least tempt him to sell. For all the noise Staveley has generated since October, this has simply not happened.  As I said on the Telegraph Total Football podcast back in December, don’t just talk about wanting to do the deal, do the deal. Listen to Luke Edwards on Total Football: No more leaks claiming improved offers have been made when they have not, no more trying to manipulate supporters into turning against Ashley, no more quiet reassurances through spin doctors that the takeover is going to happen, just a challenge to come up with a credible offer to buy the club that matches his asking price. Staveley has made a crucial error in this saga, she thought she could hustle and bully someone like Ashley. She has finally realised she can not. She has two choices now, save her own reputation by proving she can make an offer of £300m plus, or walk away and leave Ashley to get on with finding someone who can. Staveley has got previous here. She tried to buy Liverpool twice and failed, managing to provoke the Merseyside club into releasing a statement that denied reports she had a £1.5bn offer turned down last year. “We have better things to do than batting down rumours about negotiations with Ms Staveley,” said Liverpool chairman Tom Werner last October. “However, there's no truth to them.” Staveley' at St James' Park during Newcastle's game against Liverpool in November 2017 Credit: PA It was around that time that Staveley first expressed her interest in Newcastle and there is still no reason to believe that interest was not genuine. Staveley’s, mistake, though, is that she thought she could get a bargain. She assumed Ashley was desperate to sell and she would be able to manipulate the negotiating process to suit her. She was wrong. She has failed to do the things she said she would do and her takeover has effectively collapsed. It is up to her whether she can salvage it, but what is clear is there will be no more games, no more pretence. Make a serious offer or walk away and leave supporters to wait for another buyer to appear. There are people around, there has been tentative interest shown by other potential investors, but like a hawk, Staveley scared off the other birds circling because her PCP Capital firm supposedly had more money to invest than any of them. What Ashley has done is fired a shot in the air and clipped her wings with the following words. “Attempts to reach a deal with A. Staveley & PCP have proved exhausting, frustrating and a complete waste of time.” The easy thing to do at a time like this is blame Ashley. It feels good, it feels right, because most of the things wrong with Newcastle are down to their parsimonious, arrogant and volatile owner. This is a man who can appoint four hugely popular managers at St James’ Park, Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer, Chris Hughton and Rafa Benitez and then make a series of decisions that provoke and alienate them; a man who gives Joe Kinnear a job, twice, who gives Benitez full control of player recruitment and then appoints people above him who question his transfer policy; a man who can promise every extra penny generated by promotion, but who is then outspent by Huddersfield Town; a man who says the club will not be sold until he wins a trophy or qualifies for the Champions League who, two years later, publicly puts it up for sale because he says it is impossible for a club like Newcastle to compete. But for now, the takeover does not matter. What matters is giving Benitez the tools to keep Newcastle in the Premier League and that means backing him in this transfer window. The takeover needs to be parked. It needs to be postponed. If Ashley wants to sell, to Staveley, or more likely, anyone else, he has to make sure he has a top flight club to sell with Benitez as its manager. That means he is going to have to allow the Spaniard to recruit more players this month. It is so simple to say, but nothing is ever that straightforward when it comes to Ashley at Newcastle United.

Victorious Johanna Konta ready for the soaring heat with temperatures set to hit 37C at Australian Open

As someone whose career takes her to sun-kissed destinations every week, British No 1 Johanna Konta loves the rain and grey skies of  London. When she looks out the window and sees a lowering cloud bank, she knows she that she must be at home. On Thursday, though, Konta will need to draw strength from her Australian upbringing. One of Melbourne’s heatwaves is forecast to descend, pushing temperatures up to 37C. “It’s not easy to play in the heat but I’ve always enjoyed it,” said Konta, who cruised into the second round with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Madison Brengle. “Partly because when I was a young girl I spent time here, so I have memories of those conditions. I would rather play in the hot than the cold.” Konta has form in these sorts of encounters. In New York four years ago, she beat Garbine Muguruza in scorching conditions that saw one local player carted off in a wheelchair with bags of ice stuffed in his clothing. As the court approached melting point, Konta’s 3hr 23min win broke the record for the longest women’s match ever played at the US Open. Thursday's opponent, Bernarda Pera, cannot match the renown of a Wimbledon winner like Muguruza, being a young American in her first grand slam. But that does not mean that Konta should relax. Johanna Konta kept her composure throughout Credit: William West/AFP “Sometimes the body is not completely co-operating,” Konta said, “and it’s saying, ‘Listen, I’m not a fan of this today, I don’t want to do this’. So you try to adapt and make sure you do everything you can: hydrating well, staying cool at the change of ends, all the little things. It’s also about accepting that it’s going to feel uncomfortable. You know that it’s feeling uncomfortable for everybody.” Results in the heat can be frighteningly unpredictable. One year on from the Muguruza win, Konta suffered a different outcome on the other side of Flushing Meadows, collapsing during her second-round match against Tsvetana Pironkova. At first, she seemed to have suffered a full-body cramp – a horribly painful experience that invariably forces a retirement. But after extensive medical attention, and a lengthy bathroom break, she came back to win in three sets. “I don’t know if anyone’s had a panic attack,” she said afterwards, “but that’s basically what it felt like.” The Australian Open uses a heat rule to decide whether conditions are suitable for play, but it seems unlikely that there will be any suspensions this week. In 2014, play continued in such extreme temperatures that one player – Frank Dancevic – started to hallucinate and another – Ivan Dodig – said that he had feared for his life. A forest fire of outrage erupted among the players that year. And the flames were fanned by some offhand comments from Dr Tim Wood, the tournament’s official doctor, who told the BBC: “Man is well adapted to exercising in the heat. We evolved on the high plains of Africa chasing antelope for eight hours under these conditions.” Johanna Konta had her supporters in the crowd Credit: William West/AFP Health scares may or may not arise in Melbourne the coming days, but they are a constant threat to Pera, a Croatian-born American, who has to carry an EpiPen everywhere because of food allergies. “I’m allergic to chicken, seafood and turkey,” said Pera. “I have only had to use the EpiPen [which delivers a shot of adrenalin] once – in Prague last year. I had to spend the night in hospital. I couldn’t feel my hands or my legs. I had cramps everywhere and I couldn’t breathe.” Such a delicate constitution must make the travelling life more difficult, especially given Pera’s normal schedule of second-tier tournaments. At 23, she is relatively old to be making her grand-slam debut. But then Konta was 24 before she cracked the top 100, a late-blooming story that ought to give Pera inspiration. “I know what she looks like,” said Konta, “because she was around on the Challenger circuit when I was there.” Meanwhile, Heather Watson, the British No 2, was unable to make it three out of three for the home contingent in the first round here. Drawn against the fleet-footed Yulia Putintseva, Watson found herself unable to break down her opponent’s defence, and eventually lost 7-5, 7-6. At one point, Watson could be heard berating herself with the words: “I’m just rallying all day long and it’s getting me nowhere.” She tried to ramp up the aggression in the second set, and led 4-1 at one point, but the relentless Putintseva reeled her in, eventually claiming victory in 2hr 16min.

Victorious Johanna Konta ready for the soaring heat with temperatures set to hit 37C at Australian Open

As someone whose career takes her to sun-kissed destinations every week, British No 1 Johanna Konta loves the rain and grey skies of  London. When she looks out the window and sees a lowering cloud bank, she knows she that she must be at home. On Thursday, though, Konta will need to draw strength from her Australian upbringing. One of Melbourne’s heatwaves is forecast to descend, pushing temperatures up to 37C. “It’s not easy to play in the heat but I’ve always enjoyed it,” said Konta, who cruised into the second round with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Madison Brengle. “Partly because when I was a young girl I spent time here, so I have memories of those conditions. I would rather play in the hot than the cold.” Konta has form in these sorts of encounters. In New York four years ago, she beat Garbine Muguruza in scorching conditions that saw one local player carted off in a wheelchair with bags of ice stuffed in his clothing. As the court approached melting point, Konta’s 3hr 23min win broke the record for the longest women’s match ever played at the US Open. Thursday's opponent, Bernarda Pera, cannot match the renown of a Wimbledon winner like Muguruza, being a young American in her first grand slam. But that does not mean that Konta should relax. Johanna Konta kept her composure throughout Credit: William West/AFP “Sometimes the body is not completely co-operating,” Konta said, “and it’s saying, ‘Listen, I’m not a fan of this today, I don’t want to do this’. So you try to adapt and make sure you do everything you can: hydrating well, staying cool at the change of ends, all the little things. It’s also about accepting that it’s going to feel uncomfortable. You know that it’s feeling uncomfortable for everybody.” Results in the heat can be frighteningly unpredictable. One year on from the Muguruza win, Konta suffered a different outcome on the other side of Flushing Meadows, collapsing during her second-round match against Tsvetana Pironkova. At first, she seemed to have suffered a full-body cramp – a horribly painful experience that invariably forces a retirement. But after extensive medical attention, and a lengthy bathroom break, she came back to win in three sets. “I don’t know if anyone’s had a panic attack,” she said afterwards, “but that’s basically what it felt like.” The Australian Open uses a heat rule to decide whether conditions are suitable for play, but it seems unlikely that there will be any suspensions this week. In 2014, play continued in such extreme temperatures that one player – Frank Dancevic – started to hallucinate and another – Ivan Dodig – said that he had feared for his life. A forest fire of outrage erupted among the players that year. And the flames were fanned by some offhand comments from Dr Tim Wood, the tournament’s official doctor, who told the BBC: “Man is well adapted to exercising in the heat. We evolved on the high plains of Africa chasing antelope for eight hours under these conditions.” Johanna Konta had her supporters in the crowd Credit: William West/AFP Health scares may or may not arise in Melbourne the coming days, but they are a constant threat to Pera, a Croatian-born American, who has to carry an EpiPen everywhere because of food allergies. “I’m allergic to chicken, seafood and turkey,” said Pera. “I have only had to use the EpiPen [which delivers a shot of adrenalin] once – in Prague last year. I had to spend the night in hospital. I couldn’t feel my hands or my legs. I had cramps everywhere and I couldn’t breathe.” Such a delicate constitution must make the travelling life more difficult, especially given Pera’s normal schedule of second-tier tournaments. At 23, she is relatively old to be making her grand-slam debut. But then Konta was 24 before she cracked the top 100, a late-blooming story that ought to give Pera inspiration. “I know what she looks like,” said Konta, “because she was around on the Challenger circuit when I was there.” Meanwhile, Heather Watson, the British No 2, was unable to make it three out of three for the home contingent in the first round here. Drawn against the fleet-footed Yulia Putintseva, Watson found herself unable to break down her opponent’s defence, and eventually lost 7-5, 7-6. At one point, Watson could be heard berating herself with the words: “I’m just rallying all day long and it’s getting me nowhere.” She tried to ramp up the aggression in the second set, and led 4-1 at one point, but the relentless Putintseva reeled her in, eventually claiming victory in 2hr 16min.

Victorious Johanna Konta ready for the soaring heat with temperatures set to hit 37C at Australian Open

As someone whose career takes her to sun-kissed destinations every week, British No 1 Johanna Konta loves the rain and grey skies of  London. When she looks out the window and sees a lowering cloud bank, she knows she that she must be at home. On Thursday, though, Konta will need to draw strength from her Australian upbringing. One of Melbourne’s heatwaves is forecast to descend, pushing temperatures up to 37C. “It’s not easy to play in the heat but I’ve always enjoyed it,” said Konta, who cruised into the second round with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Madison Brengle. “Partly because when I was a young girl I spent time here, so I have memories of those conditions. I would rather play in the hot than the cold.” Konta has form in these sorts of encounters. In New York four years ago, she beat Garbine Muguruza in scorching conditions that saw one local player carted off in a wheelchair with bags of ice stuffed in his clothing. As the court approached melting point, Konta’s 3hr 23min win broke the record for the longest women’s match ever played at the US Open. Thursday's opponent, Bernarda Pera, cannot match the renown of a Wimbledon winner like Muguruza, being a young American in her first grand slam. But that does not mean that Konta should relax. Johanna Konta kept her composure throughout Credit: William West/AFP “Sometimes the body is not completely co-operating,” Konta said, “and it’s saying, ‘Listen, I’m not a fan of this today, I don’t want to do this’. So you try to adapt and make sure you do everything you can: hydrating well, staying cool at the change of ends, all the little things. It’s also about accepting that it’s going to feel uncomfortable. You know that it’s feeling uncomfortable for everybody.” Results in the heat can be frighteningly unpredictable. One year on from the Muguruza win, Konta suffered a different outcome on the other side of Flushing Meadows, collapsing during her second-round match against Tsvetana Pironkova. At first, she seemed to have suffered a full-body cramp – a horribly painful experience that invariably forces a retirement. But after extensive medical attention, and a lengthy bathroom break, she came back to win in three sets. “I don’t know if anyone’s had a panic attack,” she said afterwards, “but that’s basically what it felt like.” The Australian Open uses a heat rule to decide whether conditions are suitable for play, but it seems unlikely that there will be any suspensions this week. In 2014, play continued in such extreme temperatures that one player – Frank Dancevic – started to hallucinate and another – Ivan Dodig – said that he had feared for his life. A forest fire of outrage erupted among the players that year. And the flames were fanned by some offhand comments from Dr Tim Wood, the tournament’s official doctor, who told the BBC: “Man is well adapted to exercising in the heat. We evolved on the high plains of Africa chasing antelope for eight hours under these conditions.” Johanna Konta had her supporters in the crowd Credit: William West/AFP Health scares may or may not arise in Melbourne the coming days, but they are a constant threat to Pera, a Croatian-born American, who has to carry an EpiPen everywhere because of food allergies. “I’m allergic to chicken, seafood and turkey,” said Pera. “I have only had to use the EpiPen [which delivers a shot of adrenalin] once – in Prague last year. I had to spend the night in hospital. I couldn’t feel my hands or my legs. I had cramps everywhere and I couldn’t breathe.” Such a delicate constitution must make the travelling life more difficult, especially given Pera’s normal schedule of second-tier tournaments. At 23, she is relatively old to be making her grand-slam debut. But then Konta was 24 before she cracked the top 100, a late-blooming story that ought to give Pera inspiration. “I know what she looks like,” said Konta, “because she was around on the Challenger circuit when I was there.” Meanwhile, Heather Watson, the British No 2, was unable to make it three out of three for the home contingent in the first round here. Drawn against the fleet-footed Yulia Putintseva, Watson found herself unable to break down her opponent’s defence, and eventually lost 7-5, 7-6. At one point, Watson could be heard berating herself with the words: “I’m just rallying all day long and it’s getting me nowhere.” She tried to ramp up the aggression in the second set, and led 4-1 at one point, but the relentless Putintseva reeled her in, eventually claiming victory in 2hr 16min.

Coming out changes the game for Olympian Gus Kenworthy

FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2014, file photo, Gus Kenworthy, of the United States, celebrates at the end of his second run in the men's ski slopestyle final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. Kenworthy's life has changed, and unlike most athletes who make it big at the Olympics, it's only partly because of the medal he won. His supposedly perfect stay in Russia was something much less, however, mainly because of the secret he kept. He was gay but would not tell the world for almost another two years. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

Coming out changes the game for Olympian Gus Kenworthy

FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2014, file photo, Gus Kenworth, of the United States, competes in the men's ski slopestyle final to win the silver medal at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. Kenworthy's life has changed, and unlike most athletes who make it big at the Olympics, it's only partly because of the medal he won. His supposedly perfect stay in Russia was something much less, however, mainly because of the secret he kept. He was gay but would not tell the world for almost another two years. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits, File)

Olympia 2018: Rebensburg: "Extreme Vorfreude"

Die Olympischen Winterspiele 2018 stehen vor der Tür. Trotz der politischen Lage in Süd- und Nordkorea freut sich Riesenslalom-Olympiasiegerin Viktoria Rebensburg auf die Spiele.

Olympia 2018: Rebensburg: "Extreme Vorfreude"

Die Olympischen Winterspiele 2018 stehen vor der Tür. Trotz der politischen Lage in Süd- und Nordkorea freut sich Riesenslalom-Olympiasiegerin Viktoria Rebensburg auf die Spiele.

Olympia 2018: Rebensburg: "Extreme Vorfreude"

Die Olympischen Winterspiele 2018 stehen vor der Tür. Trotz der politischen Lage in Süd- und Nordkorea freut sich Riesenslalom-Olympiasiegerin Viktoria Rebensburg auf die Spiele.

Olympia 2018: Rebensburg: "Extreme Vorfreude"

Die Olympischen Winterspiele 2018 stehen vor der Tür. Trotz der politischen Lage in Süd- und Nordkorea freut sich Riesenslalom-Olympiasiegerin Viktoria Rebensburg auf die Spiele.

Olympia 2018: Rebensburg: "Extreme Vorfreude"

Die Olympischen Winterspiele 2018 stehen vor der Tür. Trotz der politischen Lage in Süd- und Nordkorea freut sich Riesenslalom-Olympiasiegerin Viktoria Rebensburg auf die Spiele.

Olympia 2018: Rebensburg: "Extreme Vorfreude"

Die Olympischen Winterspiele 2018 stehen vor der Tür. Trotz der politischen Lage in Süd- und Nordkorea freut sich Riesenslalom-Olympiasiegerin Viktoria Rebensburg auf die Spiele.

Flawless: White's perfect 100 punches ticket for Olympics

FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - Shaun White, of the United States, hits the edge of the half pipe during the men's snowboard halfpipe final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

VFL206 ICEC. Crans-montana (Schweiz Suisse Switzerland), 13/01/2018.- Swiss rider Derek Wedge, center bottom, celebrates with the other competitors after finishing first during final round of the Riders Cup, a leg of the Ice Cross Downhill extreme downhill skating world championships, in the alpine resort of Crans-Montana, Switzerland, 13 January 2018. (Suiza) EFE/EPA/VALENTIN FLAURAUD

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