FRENCH OPEN:JABEUR VS LINETTE

In as much as Ons Jabeur has come up in leaps and bounds over the past year, she still has a lot to prove in the Grand Slam picture. Winning in Madrid has bolstered her profile but also with it comes a huge target on ones back. Madga Linette, Ons’s opponent in Round one of this year’s French Open is ranked 59th in the world and one thing you know about being ranked in the top 100 is that such a player is capable of an upset or two just not in a consistent manner. Ons started off well enough in the match. First service wise both were almost even. Watch the open play of the clip at 1-1(15-15). Whilst the drop shot is Ons’s specialty, she has the arsenal to grind it out from the baseline too. Linette was too fast off the baseline that even if Ons had tried the drop shot she wouldn’t have made it. Returns should at least clear the service boxes. The first set looked straight forward as to the direction the match was headed. That was until the second set tie break. The thing that surprised me most was that Ons hit 10 Aces in the match. Ons, more or less because of her height isn’t known for hitting a lot of them. She is more of a placement server.

Now watch third set 4-2 Linette advantage to the Pole. The third set became a set of who makes the most unforced errors at the crucial time. Magda’s switch up from cross court to down the line isn’t smooth. Instead of moving diagonally and into the ball, Magda is stationary allowing the ball to come at her with speed leading to the error. With the pressure to hold serve to stay in match at 5-4, Ons served really well on second serve. At 15-0 down, she hit the sweet spot shots, close to the baseline pinning Linette again. Watch how she cuts the court in half at the end of the point to finish off with the smash. All the good work came undone at the eleventh hour , right when the breaker was on the cards. The pressure got to Ons on this occassion. Trying to clear the upper most part of the net when you facing match point at 6-5 advantage Linette wasn’t the wisest of choices. Whilst Polish world number one Iga Swiatek will take all the headlines in this year’s tournament, Magda another Pole showed that her two careers titles are no fluke with this massive win.

JODY LUKOKI:SOCCER PLAYER DEATH MYSTERY

Recent story that caught my attention in the Netherlands. A player by the name of Jody Lukoki from the Democratic Republic of Congo was killed last week at a family gathering in the city of Almere. The circumstances leading to his demise are just as bizarre as the actual cause of death itself. Reports say that Jody was at a family gathering and it somehow turned into a beat down by multiple family members on Lukoki. Lukoki began complaining about a headache and pain on his knee and was hospitalized. By the end of Monday last week, Jody was lying dead with an amputated leg after suffering cardiac arrest. The resultant coma from the arrest. Dutch police suspect foul play and is conducting an investigation with fingers pointing at Jody’s family. Jody is a former Ajax and FC Twente player who were his last club. Let’s be clear here, violence doesn’t solve anything and this story is an unfortunate evidence of that. Whenever you undertake to physically assault a person who you don’t know their medical history,you literally roll the dice as to life or death. I mean it, it may sound too much but that’s the honest truth. Lukoki had suffered a serious injury last year in July training with Twente and I bet every single one of the family members knew it. Knee injuries are one of the most prominent causes of heart failure including arthritis too stemming from what researchers say is blood vessel damage. So when they allegedly beat up Jody they may not have intended to kill him but they may well have caused it.

According to law there is a difference between causing someone to die and actually killing him. So that may cause the court to go lightly on the perpetrators. Then came the shocker. The Police alleged that there was oxygen depravation stemming from laughing gas exposure other wise known as nitrous oxide. This really throws the spanner in the works. Not only does it prove premeditation, it also shows that they wanted to make sure he was gone. Another sticking point is the motive. Well the police and investigators have to prove it and it will be an uphill task. It is just as a mystery to them as the cause of Jody’s death. Similarly to the Mason Greenwood case, Jody was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend earlier this year. The speculator in me may be tempted to connect the dots and link it to this case. Could this have been a revenge thing for past indiscretions? Who knows. Now we know why the world came down hard on Will Smith for hitting Chris Rock. For one, Chris could well have been ill when he was struck and could well have collapsed and died on the spot. What’s important to note is always give dialogue a chance in disputes no matter how grave they are. Not only was a life cut short here, the lives of the family members who carried out the assault is all but over too.

NBA PLAYOFFS:BUCKS VS CELTICS GAME 7

Bucks losing at home to Celtics in game 6 put them in a tight spot needed a win at the Garden to secure another Eastern Conference finals appearance. Game 7 is such a game that you have few margins for error. Milwaukee didn’t show any nerves to start off the game which one would expect from the defending champs. The rule of thumb for them is keep Giannis on the floor the longest amount of time to have any chance. They did just that with the Greek colossus conjuring up 43 minutes on the court but his return of 25 points was modest by his standards. Watch 4-3 Bucks to see why. He is all about power, defender looking for a non existent foul, ref want nothing to do with that. So someone else needed to step up for Milwaukee , Jrue did but the problem was no one came close to those two. Celtics on the other hand kept it close in Q1. Boston’s shooting from the field was great led by you know who at 10-3 Bucks. Tatum was influential in this series as expected, he got 23 points here but his assist game was on point in this game. It all began to fall apart for the Bucks in Q2.

The thing is Milwaukee are a team which prides itself for being dominant on the paint. Those 2 points aren’t enough if they don’t have shooters from down town to supplement it. Check out 30-25 Bucks as the Celtics chipped away at the gap. Jaylen Brown was huge on the paint for Celtics with 19 points. At 30-30 Bucks forgot to defend. Al Horford’s flush made my play of the game. What do we have? We got Giannis and Jrue guarding the edge of the paint. Giannis didn’t trust his teammate Connaughton to handle Pritchard so he leaves Horford unattended with consequences. Q3 Celtics seized control of the game decisively. Again I say it , Boston really hurt the deer from down town. They shot 22/25 from outside the arch in this game to a pathetic 4/33 from the Bucks. Not good enough at all. Watch 56-47 Celtics, that man Brown again. Not Jay, not Brown ended up the highest scorer in the game. Grant Williams’s 27 points included another knife twisting 3-pointer at 73-60 Boston. However it was not all doom and gloom for the Bucks. Just maybe Q4 would be a saving grace. Not. But watch the monster alley hoop from Jrue to Giannis at 76-62 Celtics. It proved to be false hope as Celtics continued to turn the screw. Pritchard and Williams saw to it that the outcome was not in doubt. Celtics deserved winners by 27 points, great game plan, exemplary 3 point shooting. Bucks need to get a trade for a shooter ASAP if they are to get back to the top of the mountain next season.

PLAY OF THE WEEK

Who ever thought the Rossonerri would have one hand on the Scudetto with by this time after a shaky mid season? Milan did themselves a a whole lot of good by winning 4 matches in a row during the Serie A run in at the same time that their city rivals Inter dropped points. Their win Sunday over Atalanta made sure that they effectively are a point away from securing their first title in 11 years. The second goal in a 2-0 win takes the play of the week. Look don’t kid yourself if you are a Milan fan, La Dea were on top with ball possession and looked like they were going to crash the party. Pundits will say it is one of the great solo goals of world soccer but few will extend credit to the guy who made it happen. Rade Krunic’s sliding tackle on number 10 for Atalanta Boge set the tone nicely. Theo ran from box to box to score a George Weah like wonder goal to send the Meazza wild. A degree of selfishness is needed to score a goal like that and its all well it ended up in the back of the net. Junior Messias and Leao would have had something to say in a not so nice manner if it hadn’t.

BORIS BECKER INCARCERATION SENDS MESSAGE HOME

Three time Wimbledon and six time Slam champ Boris Becker was on Friday sentenced to two years in prison for hiding assets in a bankruptcy. The world has acted in shock at the harshness of the sentence given that the value of the concealment is in only GBP2,5 million. Now, today I want to talk about the case and how sentencing in cases involving celebs and sports stars has changed over the decade. Let me start with how Boris got in this mess. Like the Aranxta Sanchez Vicario case, the German tennis great was being accused of moving funds from his business to third parties to hide them from creditors. In Aranxta’s case it was a bank but with Boris its a number of creditors owed over GBP50 million. This came from interest accumulation on a loan of GBP3 million on his home. What people don’t realize is that money always has a trail you can move money about as much times as you want it always leaves a mark. Since the Bernie Madoff case in the US, a pattern has emerged of sentencing which has turned harsh on economic crime like never before. Bernie left families including his own devastated so naturally judges have taken a hardline stance on those found guilty. Boris is not a first offender which does him little favors. He was sentenced(suspended) to two years in 2002 for tax evasion in his home country as well.

Now the little things in life count a whole lot than people think. Boris arrived in the London court arm in arm with his beautiful girlfriend Lilian De Carvalho Monteiro. In public eye that can be viewed as an unnecessary show of celebrity. Those like it or not, I am not saying they did here, sway a judge to view you as pompous and arrogant and showing no remorse. That is a sign of someone who likes the excesses of life, so I am not saying he is that person but it certainly doesn’t help him at all. Let’s face it, Boris emerged in the 1980s as a teenager when financial education amongst athletes and celebs was virtually non existent. So imagine being that young and coming up with that windfall, it must be overwhelming as is for any child star in show business. So public should judge Boris so harshly.The norm then was that you win a major, the next thing was buy the biggest car, the biggest boat, the biggest house and get the best looking girlfriend or wife not necessarily in that order. That money eventually runs out because in tennis you don’t win every single tournament you enter. So when it does the pressure to maintain the lifestyle makes you mortgage that house that boat and before long you are up in your elbows in debt. So Boris is yet another cautionary tale sad as it might be. I can say hire a financial manager to handle your business but I have seen enough of celebs being swindled by so called managers to know that they have to get that knowledge themselves. One thing for sure, Boris will be back better than ever after this life lesson. There is nothing like prison jump suit and a 2 by 3 room to make you wake up.