The United States tennis champion, Serena Williams, announced on Tuesday that ‘the countdown has begun’ to her retirement from the sport.
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam winner, added that a time has come in her life for her to move in a different direction.
The 41-year-old said in a post on Instagram that she has to focus on being a mum and achieve her spiritual growth.
Williams, hinted at her retirement after her win in Toronto on Monday night.
But she confirmed the news with a first-person piece in Vogue on Tuesday morning.
Serena wrote: “Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair.
“A lot of people don’t realize that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017.
“But I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give.
“I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people.
“Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.
“A few years ago I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that, I started a family. I want to grow that family.”
She added that she’s targeting one more run at US Open glory in New York later this month.
Serena said: “Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year. And I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York.
“But I’m going to try. And the lead-up tournaments will be fun.”
World Cup 2022: Germany Players Cover Mouths In Protest Against Armband Prohibition
Germany players covered their mouths during the team photograph before their World Cup opener against Japan amid the row with Fifa over the OneLove armband.
Fidel Info reports that The gesture follows Fifa threatening players with a booking for wearing the OneLove armband during games in Qatar.
The captains of seven European nations were set to wear it to promote diversity and inclusion.
“It wasn’t about making a political statement,” said the Germany football federation (DFB) on Twitter.
“Human rights are non-negotiable. That should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t the case. That’s why this message is so important to us.”
“Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position.”
Germany were one of the teams that had planned to wear the OneLove armband, along with England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Fifa has brought forward its own ‘No Discrimination’ campaign, which had been due to start from the quarter-finals.
Captains will now be permitted to wear a No Discrimination armband for the duration of the tournament.
Germany captain Manuel Neuer wore the Fifa armband against Japan.
“We wanted to use our captain’s armband to take a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect,” added the DFB.
“Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard.”
The DFB says it is investigating whether Fifa’s threat to sanction players for wearing the armband is legal.
“Fifa has forbidden us from using a symbol of diversity and human rights,” said DFB media director Steffen Simon.
“They combined this with massive threats of sporting sanctions without specifying them.
“The DFB is checking whether this action by Fifa was legal.”
Simon told German media outlet Bild the DFB has contacted the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over the issue and is hoping Neuer will be able to wear the OneLove armband for his side’s second Group E game against Spain on Sunday.
Danish football federation chief executive Jakob Jensen said the seven nations that had planned to wear the OneLove armband are “co-ordinating” discussions on their legal next steps.
However, he said it is “not possible” to go to Cas over the issue.
He added: “If you want to go through CAS you need to complain within the Fifa system first, you need to go to the appeals body, then you can go through CAS.”
Simon has said previously that the seven nations were faced with extreme blackmail from FIFA.
German supermarket chain Rewe has suspended its advertising deal with the DFB in a bid to distance itself from Fifa.
Harry Kane wore the Fifa armband as England began their World Cup campaign with a 6-2 win against Iran on Monday, with Three Lions players also taking the knee before kick-off.
It was announced in September that the captains of 10 European nations – England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands – would wear a OneLove armband at Nations League games and the World Cup.
Norway and Sweden did not qualify for the World Cup while France captain Hugo Lloris said he would not wear the armband because he wanted to “show respect” to Qatar.
The Netherlands began the OneLove campaign before Euro 2020 to promote diversity and inclusion, and as a message against discrimination.
Same-sex relationships and the promotion of same-sex relationships are criminalised in Qatar, because they are considered immoral under Islamic Sharia law.
Meanwhile former England winger Andros Townsend has said he is “a bit uneasy” about protests against Qatar’s stance on LGBTQ+ rights in the country given its basis in Islamic Sharia law.
Speaking on TalkSport, the Everton forward said Muslim players respect campaigns such as rainbow laces in the UK, but they “can’t promote it because they fear they are going against their religion”.
He added: “It’s difficult – when they are in our country they respect our beliefs. We’re coming to their country, we don’t agree with it, but it’s still their religious belief.
“I’m a bit uneasy that we’re coming here and protesting and upsetting a culture when these guys are in their own country.”
Ronaldo To Leave Manchester United With Immediate Effect
Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo will leave with immediate effect, the English Premier League (EPL) club said on Tuesday.
Fidel Info reports that the development marked a bitter end to the Portugal captain’s second spell at Old Trafford after he said he felt betrayed by the club.
An interview this month — in which Ronaldo also said he did not respect manager Erik ten Hag —- had put him on shaky ground at the club.
He had rejoined the club in August 2021 after winning eight major trophies with them from 2003 to 2009.
Manchester United said last week they would address Ronaldo’s comments only after establishing the complete facts and added last Friday that they had initiated “appropriate steps” in response.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect.”
“The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family well for the future,” Manchester United said in a statement.
“Everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the team’s progress under Ten Hag and working together to deliver success on the pitch.”
Last month, Ten Hag said Ronaldo had refused to come on as a substitute against Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
This was when the forward walked down the tunnel with a few minutes of the game remaining after being put on the bench.
The 37-year-old was then not part of the squad which faced Chelsea the following Saturday before returning to the fold.
Ronaldo later said in the interview he regretted leaving early against Spurs, but added his decision to walk off came because he felt “provoked” by Ten Hag.
Ronaldo said in a statement on Tuesday that he loved the club and the fans.
“… That will never ever change,” he added. “However, it feels like the right time for me to seek a new challenge. I wish the team every success for the remainder of the season and for the future.”
Raphael Varane, Ronaldo’s French team mate at Manchester United, said last week that the Portuguese’s comments had affected the club’s players.
Many of them are also at the World Cup in Qatar.
Ronaldo confirmed on Monday that an awkward handshake between him and midfielder Bruno Fernandes that was caught on camera and went viral was the result of a joke.
He said the joke was between the Portugal and Manchester United teammates.
Ronaldo added that he did not believe his actions would affect Portugal’s squad, adding that he felt great about the country’s chances of winning the World Cup.
Portugal kick off their campaign against Ghana on Thursday.
World Cup 2022: BBC Failed To Air Opening Ceremony
Qatar opened this year’s World Cup with a stunning opening ceremony kicked off by actor Morgan Freeman and BTS K-pop star Jungkook, along with hundreds of other performers, lights, flames and plenty of glamour, but fans tuning in via the BBC were left out of the magic as the British broadcaster chose to skip the first half-hour of the event.
Fide Info reports that at first BBC One chose to continue coverage of the Women’s Super League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, but instead of switching over to the live performance once the match finished it aired a pre-recorded report on Qatar’s human rights record.
“It’s the most controversial World Cup in history and a ball hasn’t even been kicked,” said the Match of the Day host Gary Lineker at the start of the segment, before diving into criticism against Qatar’s treatment of women and migrant workers, free speech and a series of other issues.
“Ever since Fifa chose Qatar back in 2010, the smallest nation to have hosted football’s greatest competition has faced some big questions – from accusations of corruption in the bidding process to the treatment of migrant workers who built the stadiums where many lost their lives,” Lineker said. “Homosexuality is illegal here. Women’s rights and freedom of expression are in the spotlight.”
“Against that backdrop, there’s a tournament to be played – one that will be watched and enjoyed around the world. Stick to football, say Fifa. Well, we will – for a couple of minutes at least.”
Lineker’s opening comments were followed by a nearly 30-minute censure of Qatar from the BBC’s Ros Atkins, who eviscerated the Gulf nation on a slew of issues with a combination of interviews, footage and graphics, diving into a list of rights criticisms as well as the event’s carbon footprint.
Fans watching BBC One, as well as ITV, expressed outrage over the snub, which many called “disrespectful”.
“Outrageously disrespectful to Qatar that the BBC didn’t broadcast the World Cup opening ceremony, and instead put out more virtue-signalling guff about how awful it is. If they’re that appalled, they should bring home their vast army of employees & spare us this absurd hypocrisy,” Piers Morgan tweeted.
BBC One did note that: “Full build up and coverage of the World Cup has been available across the BBC, including the opening ceremony on iPlayer (online)”.
At least 60,000 football fans attended the live event on Sunday, with host Qatar beaten by Ecuador 2-0 in the opening match.
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