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Tennis star, Zverev, plans to do better after breakout 2021

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Alexander Zverev had the best season of his career in 2021 and the world number three said Friday he plans to do even better in the coming year, starting at the ATP Cup.

The German ace captured his second ATP Finals title in November, producing a brilliant performance to defeat world number two Daniil Medvedev, adding to the Olympic gold medal he won in Tokyo.

That trophy in Turin was his sixth of the year and he is keen to carry the momentum forward, starting with a tough opening clash of 2022 on Sunday against Britain’s 12th ranked Cameron Norrie at the ATP Cup in Sydney.

“It is a great challenge. I will know exactly where I am at after the first few matches,” he said ahead of the 16-team event, which starts on Saturday.

Zverev also won the ATP Finals title in 2018, only to have a poor 2019.

But he said he had grown as a player and person since then and expects it to be a springboard for an even better season this time around.

“I was a lot younger. I was 21 years old going into the 2019 season. It was my first very big title at the Nitto ATP Finals in 2018,” said Zverev.

“I do feel I’m a little bit of a different player but also I’m a different person, I think. I’ve had a lot more experience on the court, I had a lot more experience outside the court.

“I know how to handle maybe the media a little bit better. I know how to handle pressure maybe a tiny bit better, as well.”

Zverev said the fact that he continued his red-hot Olympic form into the rest of the year boded well for 2022 and that the momentum would help propel him to “have the best season of my career”.

“It’s going to be an exciting year for tennis, because I think the first six months of this (2021) season, Novak (Djokovic) has dominated tennis,” he said.

“He’s won all three Grand Slams, won every big singles title there is.

“But in the last six months of the season, I think the titles were a bit more split. They were split between Novak, Daniil, and myself.”

Germany lost to Medvedev’s Russia in the last four at the ATP Cup in 2021 and Zverev is confident of going at least one better this time alongside team-mates Jan-Lennard Struff, Yannick Hanfmann, Kevin Krawietz, and Tim Puetz.

Their clash with Norrie’s Britain is a re-match of their Davis Cup semi-final in early December, where Krawietz and Puetz won a crucial doubles rubber to send Germany through.

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Four arrests made as West Ham fans clash with police after Man Utd defeat

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Four people have been arrested after disorder in the West Ham section of Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

The Hammers suffered a 1-0 defeat against Manchester United after a late Marcus Rashford goal.

Footage later surfaced showing disorder in the away end with West Ham investigating the reports of trouble.

And Greater Manchester Police confirmed to Sky Sports News that four arrests have been made, including a 33-year-old on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker.

A 21-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of drunk and disorderly behaviour, possession of cocaine and common assault.

A 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of throwing missiles and a 23-year-old man arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.

Greater Manchester Police added: “Two other men were detained and will be summonsed at a later date for football-related offences.”

West Ham felt hard done by after their narrow defeat, with some question marks over whether Rashford’s winner should have been ruled out for offside.

Speaking after the game, Hammers manager David Moyes said of the goal: ” I’ve not seen it again, by all accounts everyone seems to think it’s fine so we have to trust VAR that they’re getting decisions right.”

Discussing the game, he added: “I just see it as them having a strong squad. I didn’t think them bringing them on made it that much different,” he said.

“We defended well enough but we completely switched off, we didn’t do things you learn as a young player when trying to see games out.

“We had a good defensive organisation but we lacked what we’ve had in recent weeks, our attacking play wasn’t at the level. There was a lot of good things about it but the result is the key thing.

“I’m not coming to these games to roll over and lose, I’m really disappointed with the result but really pleased with how the players have performed.

“For long parts today I was pleased with them, defensively rather than our attacking play. We’ve moved up a level or two over the last year, I’m enjoying it but that result today was hard to take.”

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Pep Guardiola to be offered Holland job when he decides to leave Man City

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Pep Guardiola will be offered the chance to take Total Football back home when he decides to leave Manchester City – by becoming manager of Holland.

The KNVB (Dutch FA) have drawn up plans to convince the City boss that he should realise his dream of becoming an international coach with the Oranje once his Etihad reign comes to an end.

Guardiola, 51, has a contract with City that expires in the summer of 2023.

And the Premier League champions are hoping the Catalan can be persuaded to extend his stay in Manchester even further.

The Dutch sounded out Guardiola about his future plans before he signed a new two-year extension with City last August.

They were told that the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss had unfinished business with the Blues.

But a future link-up was not discounted.

Guardiola is represented by his brother, Pere, who recently joined forces with influential Dutch agency SEG.

He has made no secret that he harbours an ambition to manage a top international nation.

And the prospect of taking charge of the country of his mentor Johan Cruyff would be tantalising given it was Holland’s brilliant team of the 1970s that introduced Total Football to the world.

Cruyff brought Guardiola through from Barcelona’s youth team to play as a deep-lying midfielder in the team that won the club’s first Champions League in 1992.

The late Dutchman’s influence on the City boss is so profound that Guardiola once said: “I knew nothing about football before knowing Cruyff.”

His coaching beliefs have been shaped by the Total Football philosophy that had Cruyff at its heart when Holland reached the 1974 World Cup final before losing to West Germany.

The KNVB turned to 70-year-old Louis van Gaal for a third time after sacking Frank de Boer in the summer following a disappointing Euros.

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang provides update after return to Arsenal for heart tests

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has confirmed he’s “absolutely fine” after returning to London for health checks.

The Arsenal forward was away at AFCON with Gabon when he experienced some heart issues.

A scan revealed possible issues after Aubameyang tested positive for Covid 19 in the lead up to the tournament.

The Gunners recalled the 32-year-old, who is currently not being selected by Mikel Arteta following a disciplinary breach.

Aubameyang has taken to social media to share that he is “completely healthy” following further tests.

He said on Instagram : “Hi guys, I came back to London to do some additional checks, and I’m very happy to say that my heart is absolutely fine and I’m completely healthy!! Really appreciate all the messages over the last few days and I’m already back at it”

Gabon boss Patrice Neveu revealed that Arsenal were keen to get their player back once news of his possible issues broke.

He said, as quoted by Sky Sports : “What I know is that they’ve been Covid free for the last 72 hours. We couldn’t arrange an MRI for them, and as a result they couldn’t train.

“It was really annoying for them to stay in their rooms. We made the decision yesterday with the President and under pressure from the clubs too, because they’re worried so that [Aubameyang] should go back to Arsenal and Mario [Lemina] back to Nice.”

Despite Mikel Arteta’s recent shunning of the forward, Neveu did admit that it was the club’s right to recall their player.

Aubameyang is currently out of the first team picture as his future remains up in the air.

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