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    ‘The Interview’: Serena Williams’s Next Challenge

    A lot of people reach middle age having achieved some career success and ask themselves: Well, now what? Apparently this happens even if you’re Serena Williams.Williams, who’s now 42, retired from competitive tennis a little under two years ago. She won 23 Grand Slam tournaments, more than any woman in the Open era and one shy of the record. Her level of fame and achievement — both on and off the court — broke boundaries for Black women and female athletes in general. She is, by most accounts, the best ever at what she did.Listen to the Conversation With Serena WilliamsThe greatest women’s tennis player of all time is trying to find her new normal in retirement.Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube | Amazon Music | NYT Audio AppSince retiring, Williams has directed that drive at new projects. She has a venture-capital fund, which mostly invests in founders who are women or people of color, and she just started a makeup line. She and her husband, the Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, also have two small girls: Olympia, who is 6, and Adira, who will turn 1 this summer. So it’s not exactly like Williams has been idle. But the tennis court still calls.She has gone back to it, in a way, with a new eight-part documentary called “In the Arena: Serena Williams,” which will stream next month on ESPN+. She told me that revisiting her career through the series has really been the first chance she has had to sit back and take in all she has accomplished.One thing that I was thinking about while watching the documentary is really the kind of amazing competitive spirit that you had, and I’m curious about where that competitive spirit goes or how it changes once you’re no longer playing sports. You’re doing the different projects: the venture-capital fund, the makeup line, you’ve written a children’s book. Did you feel as if you had to find a new outlet for it? For me, it was a necessary thing. I needed to not be done and sit down and wake up and be like: “Oh, my God. What just happened?” It was definitely too fast to throw myself full-heart, full-body into everything, but that’s kind of what I needed to do to survive after I’ve been playing tennis all my life. More

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    Steve Cooper holds talks over Premier League return with ex-Nottingham Forest boss out of work since December

    LEICESTER have held talks with former Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper over replacing Enzo Maresca.Cooper, 44, has been out of work since being sacked by Forest in December last year with the club in 17th.Steve Cooper has held talks with LeicesterCredit: PAIt comes after the club lost Enzo Maresca to ChelseaCredit: GettyThe Welshman guided the Foxes rivals from the foot of the Championship table back to the Premier League before keeping them up in the club’s first top flight season.Maresca’s departure from the King Power was confirmed on Monday, with Leicester making their disappointment clear.The Championship winners pocketed £10million in compensation for the Italian and his staff.It is not clear yet whether Cooper would accept the role or if he is first choice.READ MORE ON FOOTBALLWest Brom boss Carlos Corberan, who took the Baggies into the play-offs, is being considered as is Luton Town’s Rob Edwards.Cooper and Edwards were both considered by Ipswich Town in case of Kieran McKenna’s departure.Whoever takes over at Leicester is going to face a challenging task to keep them in the Premier League.The Foxes face starting next season with a points deduction after being charged with a breach of profit and sustainability rules.Most read in FootballCASINO SPECIAL – BEST CASINO WELCOME OFFERSFurthermore, in order to avoid another breach, sales must be made before June 30 meaning a number of key players could be leaving the club.Leicester were promoted back to the Premier League at the first time of asking having racked up a tally of 97 points on their way to the Championship title.Premier League sides deducted points and others at riskThey now face a balancing act between player sales and building a squad competitive enough to remain in the top flight. More

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    French Open: 50 Years Ago, Chris Evert and Bjorn Borg Changed Tennis

    As teenagers, they brought the two-handed backhand to the sport — and to their first major championships, both at the French Open.When Chris Evert arrived in Paris for the 1973 French Open, she was an 18-year-old making just her second trip out of the United States. So she is still baffled as to why Philippe Chatrier, then the president of the French Tennis Federation, decided to take her and her mother, Colette, to Le Lido, the legendary burlesque theater on the Champs-Élysées.“He took us to dinner, and it was a dance club with half-naked women,” Evert said by phone from her Florida home in April. “They had their breasts showing. My eyes were like saucers. I had never been exposed to anything so sophisticated like that.”For Bjorn Borg, the ultimate Paris experience was celebrating his first French Open championship in 1974 with a private dinner in the Eiffel Tower.It has been more than a half century since Borg and Evert first played the French Open, but this year marks the 50th anniversary of their winning their first major championships in Paris. Evert went on to capture 18 Grand Slam singles titles, including a record seven at the French Open, six at the United States Open, three at Wimbledon and two at the Australian Open. Borg won six French Opens from 1974 to 1981 and five consecutive Wimbledons from 1976 to 1980.Borg was just days shy of his 17th birthday when he lost to Adriano Panatta in the round of 16 at the French Open in 1973, only his second appearance at a major after a first-round loss at the 1972 U.S. Open.Bjorn Borg playing Jean-François Caujolle in the first round of the French Open in 1974.Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesWe are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    How Tennis Stars Like Andy Murray and Gaël Monfils Handle Aging

    They consider their bodies and the results on the court to determine when to hang it up.For two decades, men’s tennis pretty much meant Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.Now, Federer is retired and a hobbled Nadal is nearing the end. Djokovic won three Grand Slam events last year, but at 36 he is suddenly struggling, even as he heads into the French Open ranked No. 1.But below Mount Olympus, life is different for tennis mortals. Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic all won Grand Slam events and are still playing, as are Gaël Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Fabio Fognini, Roberto Bautista Agut and Kei Nishikori, players who once cracked the top 10.These players still scuffle along in reduced circumstances, far lower in the rankings than during their halcyon days. These old men of the court — all 34 to 39 years old — win a few matches here and there without much chance of regaining their former glory, yet they keep grinding.Gaël Monfils, 37, celebrating after a win at the 2024 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. “Every day I ask myself why I’m still doing this,” he said, before citing his “passion for the game” as his motivation.Michael Owens/Getty ImagesNow, only Monfils, ranked 36th, is even in the top 50. Murray is 75th, while Bautista Agut, Wawrinka, Fognini and Gasquet are from 80th through 124th. Cilic has fallen to 1,063rd but just had a second knee surgery in the hopes of coming back, while Nishikori is ranked 347th and still striving to get back on the court. (The miraculous inverse to all this is Adrian Mannarino, who suddenly at 35 cracked the top 20 for the first time this year.)“Every day I ask myself why I’m still doing this,” Monfils said with a laugh, before citing his “passion for the game” as his motivation. (He has extra incentive: His wife, Elina Svitolina, who is 29 and still in the WTA’s top 20, “pushes me quite a lot.”)We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    French Open: Hsieh Su-Wei Is a Dominant Force in Doubles

    She has won seven majors, including the French Open twice.When Hsieh Su-Wei walked on the court to play doubles at the Miami Open in March with her partner, Elise Mertens, she wasn’t burdened by a cumbersome tennis bag holding half a dozen rackets, an assortment of snacks and multiple changes of clothes and shoes.Despite being No. 1 in the world in doubles, Hsieh, 38, wore an outfit that she bought off the rack and that bore none of the logos associated with lucrative sponsorship deals that many of her colleagues on the WTA Tour have. Until recently, Hsieh had no manager, requiring her to sell herself to sponsors. Her efforts so far have been unsuccessful.“It’s not an easy job dealing with the sponsorship when the people are not sure if they are going to have you or not,” said Hsieh, who typically competes with just two rackets, which she said was no problem since she had never broken one and could not remember the last time she even popped a string. “I don’t want to waste the time to do it. I just want to focus on my tennis.”Hsieh has never been consumed by the trappings of her sport, preferring to travel her own circuitous path. An accomplished singles player, she ranked a career high No. 23 in 2013 but has never gone beyond the quarterfinals at a major. She first ascended to No. 1 in doubles in 2014, winning Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open in 2014, both with Peng Shuai. She won her second Wimbledon in 2019 with Barbora Strycova and her third with Mertens two years later.Hsieh and her partner, Barbora Strycova, celebrating after winning the final of the women’s doubles at Wimbledon last year. Strycova retired after last year’s U.S. Open. Hsieh will partner with Elise Mertens at this year’s French Open.Alastair Grant/Associated PressAfter leaving the tour for nearly 18 months at the end of 2021 to heal a nagging muscle strain in her leg that had her contemplating retirement, Hsieh returned in April of last year and has now won three of the last four majors, each with a different partner. At last year’s French Open, she paired with Wang Xinyu, who is nearly 16 years her junior, to win the championship. Hsieh then captured Wimbledon with Strycova.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    My dad’s a British boxing legend – now I’m making my own way in another sport following my dream

    BRITISH boxing legend David Haye has wished his son Cassius, 15, good luck as he looks to make his own way in a different sport.Haye is one of just three fighters alongside Evander Hollyfield and Oleksandr Usyk who have won a title at both cruiserweight and heavyweight.David Haye has wished his son Cassius luck in his budding tennis careerCredit: instagramThe two often workout togetherCredit: InstagramDavid is determined to use his boxing expertise to help him make it as a tennis starCredit: InstagramHe memorably won the WBA heavyweight belt in 2009 when he beat the giant 7ft Russian Nikolai Valuev.The two had a height difference of nine inches and Valuev weighed 45kg more than the Brit.The boxer finally retired from boxing in 2018, a year after losing to Tony Bellew in the final fight of his career.But rather than follow his father into the fight game, Cassius appears determined to make it in tennis.READ MORE IN BOXINGThat’s despite the fact that Cassius is named after Muhammad Ali.Haye took to Instagram today to wish Cassisus an early happy birthday and good luck in his future tennis career.He wrote alongside a picture of the two of them: “@mrcassiushaye developing into a fine young man! “He’s 16 at the end of the month, I’m so proud of him following his tennis dream. 💥❤️🔥”Most read in BoxingCassius is hoping to become a pro tennis playerCredit: InstagramHe said a tennis training camp was his ‘dream’ holidayCredit: InstagramThree years ago, when Cassius was just 13, he went on a “dream” tennis camp in order to work his way to becoming a pro.But the plan for Cassius to make it in tennis goes back way further than that.David Haye’s son Cassius trains alongside his fatherIn 2016, when Cassius was just eight, Haye defended being a “pushy” parent and vowed that his son would become a tennis star.Cassius is now a member of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and playing the necessary matches towards turning pro. More

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    Here Comes Padel, the Newest Racket Sport Taking Up Game Courts

    I first learned about padel last summer, when my partner sent me a photo from a small court during a visit to Germany.What is that? I wondered.“Padel. A childish version of tennis,” he texted, anticipating my question.As an enthusiastic tennis player, I was not very interested.A few months later, while biking in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I noticed a large building with a sign that read “Padel Haus,” which billed itself as the first padel club in New York City. This sport wanted my attention, so I invited Victor Mather, a veteran sports reporter, to join me for a lesson.Victor was willing to try. “I am a reasonably fit guy,” he said. But he was turning 60, he said, and added: “My eyesight isn’t what it used to be, I haven’t played tennis since prep school, and I have never played squash or racquetball.”I was just happy to be on a court with a racket in hand because it isn’t easy to book a tennis court in the city.Here’s what we learned.First, what is padel?Padel is a racket sport that has been growing in popularity in parts of the United States and other countries. Christian Rodriguez for The New York Times

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    Champions League knockout stages set to change forever thanks to Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal

    FOOTBALL bosses have focused on the rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal over the planning for next season’s new-look Champions League.The single-league format features 36 clubs, with the top eight then gaining direct entry to the last-16 stage.Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s rivalry has inspired the new-look Uefa knockout formatCredit: GettyThe new-look Champions League begins next seasonCredit: AFPSides that place from ninth to 24th will have play-offs — with the eight winners also going through to the first knockout stage.In planning meetings over the last few years, Uefa chiefs spoke at length about the tennis finals between Nadal and Federer.They discussed how they were kept apart by seeding until the end, of course, Novak Djokovic was also there.So, the teams who finish first and second in the new-style league after eight games will be seeded and not be able to play each other until the final.READ MORE IN FOOTBALLAnd that means for the last-16, there will be a structured route to the final — similar to tennis tournaments — to plot potential clashes.As a result, there will be no quarter-final or semi-final draws as the route will already be planned.And it is also good that there will be no teams in next season’s Champions League dropping into the Europa League, as this silly bonus for failing clubs has been scrapped.Meanwhile, Uefa deputy general secretary Giorgio Marchetti has revealed a fully manual draw is no longer possible in the new format as it could take four hours to complete and 900 balls would be needed.Most read in Champions LeagueCHELTENHAM BETTING OFFERS – BEST FREE BET DEALS FOR THE FESTIVAL Therefore, a “hybrid” draw will be used that incorporates manually pulling teams out the hat and automated elements to speed up the process.Uefa insist any sections that are computerised will be independently monitored to ensure draws are not rigged.’Very good, I like that’ says Europa League draw host after Man Utd icon John O’Shea’s cheeky joke live on TVThe exact system that will be used has not yet been revealed. More