Roger Federer secured his 100th Australian Open win by beating John Millman in Melbourne on Friday.

The Swiss star has never lost before the third round at the year's first grand slam and his title bid continued with an epic five-set triumph over the home favourite on Rod Laver Arena.

Federer moved onto a century of wins at the Australian Open, a year after reaching the same mark at Wimbledon.

The 20-time grand slam champion became the first man to post 100 wins at a single major by getting to the landmark at the All England Club.

We take a look at five of his best wins at the Australian Open.

 

First round, 2000: bt Michael Chang 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7-5)

Federer's first win at the tournament came 20 years ago, when – ranked 62nd in the world – he upset Chang. Federer had finished 1999 by winning a Challenger Tour event in Brest and he got to the third round in Melbourne before falling to Arnaud Clement. An 18-year-old Federer showcased his talent by beating Chang in his opener, which marked his first main-draw singles win at a grand slam.

Semi-final, 2004: bt Juan Carlos Ferrero [3] 6-4 6-1 6-4

Federer produced a spectacular run on his way to a first Australian Open title in 2004, including rushing past Ferrero in the semi-finals. Having already beaten Lleyton Hewitt and David Nalbandian, Federer needed less than 90 minutes to crush Ferrero and secure the world number one ranking before recording a straight-sets win over Marat Safin in the final.

Semi-final, 2007: bt Andy Roddick [6] 6-4 6-0 6-2

Federer tormented Roddick during the American's career but their last-four clash in 2007 promised to be a thriller, after the Swiss needed four sets to beat the same opponent months earlier in the US Open final. However, it proved to be anything but as Federer crushed Roddick in just 83 minutes. "I was playing out of my mind. I am shocked myself," Federer said afterwards.

Last 16, 2009: bt Tomas Berdych [20] 4-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4 6-2

Only once in his illustrious career has Federer come from two sets to love down to win at the Australian Open and it came against the Czech in 2009. Berdych had taken complete control of the encounter before allowing Federer back into the match, the Swiss winning after three hours and 25 minutes. He would go on to reach the final before falling to Rafael Nadal in five sets.

Final, 2017: bt Rafael Nadal [9] 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3

Having undergone knee surgery the previous year, Federer started 2017 at the Hopman Cup but, without a major title since his 17th at Wimbledon in 2012, few gave him much of a chance in Melbourne. However, he fought his way into the final before edging Nadal in a thriller, moving onto 18 major titles and leaving his Spanish rival on 14.

Serena Williams bowed out before the fourth round of the Australian Open for just the fourth time in her illustrious career.

The 23-time grand slam champion went down to Wang Qiang in a huge upset on Rod Laver Arena on Friday.

A seven-time champion in Melbourne, Williams made her earliest exit at the tournament since 2006.

We take a look at her earliest departures from the year's opening grand slam after her stunning loss to Wang.

1998, Second round: lost to Venus Williams 7-6 (7-4) 6-1

This was the first professional meeting between the Williams sisters. Venus, bound for the quarter-finals, overcame her younger sister in a head-to-head matchup she would eventually lose more often than not.

1999, Third round: lost to Sandrine Testud [14] 6-2 2-6 9-7

Only a controversial call on match point denied a 17-year-old Williams victory against Testud. Williams thought she had clinched victory in the 14th game of the third set before an overrule, and she would go on to fall to the French 14th seed.

2006, Third round: lost to Daniela Hantuchova [17] 6-1 7-6 (7-5)

On a 16-match winning streak at the Australian Open, having won the title in 2003 and 2005 and skipped 2004 due to a knee injury, Williams' run came to a surprise end against Hantuchova, left again to rue errors in a shock defeat.

2020, Third round: lost to Wang Qiang [27] 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 7-5

Chasing a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles title, Williams stunningly fell to Wang, a player she had crushed 6-1 6-0 at the US Open just months earlier. However, 56 unforced errors proved to be her undoing as Wang produced a consistent display to cause an upset after two hours, 41 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Liverpool's march towards the Premier League title shows no sign of slowing down, as the Reds claimed a hard-fought 2-1 win over Wolves.

Manchester United are clinging to a top-six position after they slid to a 2-0 home defeat to Burnley, the latest in a string of wretched results this season that have sparked an angry reaction from supporters.

While United toil, neighbours Manchester City ground out a 1-0 win at Sheffield United that continued their resurgent league form, with a winning combination delivering the goal for Pep Guardiola's side.

Leicester City might have expected a challenge from the big clubs behind them by now, but the Foxes continue to sit pretty in third place, and a 4-1 win over West Ham continued to make them look immovable from the top four this season.

The midweek Opta data offers detailed insights into the stories behind those results, revealing a string of telling trends and match facts.

 

MANE INJURY DOES NOT DERAIL LIVERPOOL'S CHARGE

Liverpool lost Sadio Mane to injury during the first half in Thursday's clash with Wolves, yet Roberto Firmino struck late on to claim the win as the Reds became just the fifth side in English Football League history to go 40 straight matches unbeaten.

Jurgen Klopp's side have amassed 67 points from a possible 69 in the Premier League this season; this is at least five more than any side in English top-flight history has ever previously had after as many games of a campaign.

Raul Jimenez drew Wolves level after Jordan Henderson's opener, and the Mexican's header ended a run of 725 minutes without conceding a Premier League goal for Liverpool since Richarlison scored for Everton at Anfield in December.

Jimenez also became the third Premier League player to net 20+ goals in all competitions this season, after Sergio Aguero (21) and Raheem Sterling (20).

Since the start of last season, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold has assisted 22 Premier League goals, at least five more than any other player, with 10 of those coming from dead balls, also a league-high.

Firmino, meanwhile, has scored six goals in his last eight games for Liverpool in all competitions, as many as he had in his previous 32 appearances for the club, and all of his 10 Premier League strikes this season have come away from home.

UNITED IN TURMOIL AS CLARETS PUT NEGATIVE SPIN ON OLE REIN

Manchester United may sit fifth, but in terms of points tallies Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's are closer to 14th-placed Newcastle than they are to fourth-placed Chelsea after 24 games.

The league standing is highly vulnerable, given Tottenham, Wolves and even Sheffield United are breathing down United's necks.

Wednesday's 2-0 defeat to Burnley means United now have a negative Premier League win-loss record since manager Solskjaer was given the job on a full-time basis in March.

They had impressed during his caretaker spell, but since Solskjaer went from being a stand-in to the chosen one, their record shows 11 wins and 12 defeats in the Premier League.

United's Old Trafford setback followed their 2-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield, meaning they have suffered back-to-back league defeats for the second time under their Norwegian boss.

Burnley looked to be in freefall just days ago and relegation was becoming a serious concern, but wins over United and Leicester City have lifted them to 30 points - just four adrift of the Red Devils.

PASSPORTS AT THE READY, LEICESTER LOOK BOOKED IN FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RETURN

Catch them if you can! Leicester City had a wobble with defeats to Southampton and Burnley, but Brendan Rodgers' men now sit 14 points clear of fifth place and surely their destiny is a second season in the Champions League.

In the absence of anything approaching a charge from teams outside the top four, it would take a spectacular collapse for the Foxes to miss out, with a 4-1 win over West Ham on Wednesday emphasising their quality.

Leicester have racked up eight wins in 12 Premier League home games so far, their best record at this stage of a season, and the 52 goals they have banged in amounts to their most in the top flight from their first 24 games since the achieved the same tally in 1930-31.

Rodgers and West Ham boss David Moyes were once rivals on Merseyside, in charge of Liverpool and Everton respectively.

While Rodgers eyes success towards the top of the table, Moyes has taken on a relegation battle with a West Ham side who are outside the bottom three on goal difference alone.

Since the start of October 2019, no team have gained fewer points (11) or lost more games (11) in the Premier League than West Ham, and it gets no easier: Liverpool are their next opponents.

At least that game is a home fixture for the Hammers. Moyes' away record in matches against teams starting the day in the Premier League top four is diabolical, winning just one of 50 such games.

KEVIN KEEN TO HELP - DE BRUYNE IS KING OF THE ASSISTS

When Sergio Aguero turned in a cross from Kevin De Bruyne to give Manchester City a 1-0 victory at Sheffield United, it was more than merely two Premier League greats combining to deadly effect.

History, in fact, was made in that motion, with De Bruyne becoming the first player in the Premier League era to provide 15 or more assists in three different seasons.

The Belgian had 18 in 2016-17, 16 the following season, and after an injury-wracked 2018-19 campaign he already has 15 from 23 appearances this term.

The scale of De Bruyne's achievement can be better appreciated by considering the likes of Ryan Giggs, Cesc Fabregas, Dennis Bergkamp and his own City colleague David Silva have been unable to produce at that level so consistently.

Former Wolfsburg playmaker De Bruyne has entered the top 20 of all-time assist providers in the Premier League, and there is no keeping Aguero down either.

Aguero has been directly involved in 43 goals in 43 Premier League appearances against newly promoted teams - scoring 35 goals and assisting in eight more.

It took City until the 73rd minute to make their breakthrough at Bramall Lane, and a lot of the credit for the hosts' resilience went to goalkeeper Dean Henderson, whose first-half penalty save from Gabriel Jesus means he has stopped four of the last eight spot-kicks he has faced in English league football.

Manchester United fans do not need telling that the team is in a rut. The thousands who left Old Trafford early during Wednesday's miserable 2-0 home defeat to Burnley made that abundantly clear.

The loss is United's second in a row in the Premier League – the first time that has happened since last April – and means they have won just twice in all competitions since the turn of the year.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer conceded their performance was not up to scratch but, given their overall from since he took permanent charge, questions are being asked as to how much longer these defeats can be accepted as minor bumps on the road to a more promising future.

United have endured some difficult days since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, but how does the current malaise stack up against those rotten moments under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho? And are there any signs of progress under Solskjaer?

We delve into Opta data to find out...

OLE'S AT THE WHEEL, BUT THE HANDBRAKE IS ON

Nobody can deny the impact Solskjaer had as interim manager. He lifted the gloom around Mourinho's final days in charge and led United to 14 wins and two draws from 17 matches, scoring 39 goals and conceding only 13. That's a win ratio of 82 per cent.

They also took 32 points from 12 league matches, which represents the best haul of any manager in his first 12 games in the competition at a single club.

Such was the lift felt by everyone at Old Trafford that Solskjaer was handed the job on a permanent basis on March 28, since when everything has turned rather sour.

From March 10 last year to January 23 of this year, United have played 48 games, won 18, drawn 12 and lost 18, giving them a win ratio of 37.5 per cent. They have scored 62 goals and conceded 58.

In the Premier League, United have lost more games (12) than they have won (11) since Solskjaer took permanent office – a truly damning statistic in an era of worrying numbers. In that time, eight teams have picked up more points than United (42), while league leaders Liverpool have amassed almost double (85) despite playing three fewer games.

 

THE WORST POST-FERGIE SEASON YET

United are fifth and somehow just six points off the top four, but that should come as scant comfort to supporters.

A return of 34 points from 24 games is their lowest since 1989-1990 (25 points), when they ended up finishing 13th. They have six points fewer after the same number of games than they did under David Moyes in 2013-14 and Louis van Gaal in 2015-16.

It means Solskjaer has the worst points-per-game ratio (1.64) than any of the other three permanent managers in the post-Fergie era, with Mourinho on 1.89, Van Gaal on 1.79 and Moyes on 1.68.

In all competitions, Solskjaer was won 49.2 per cent of games as United manager, which is the worst ratio of anyone in the Old Trafford dugout since Dave Sexton (40.3) between August 1977 and April 1981.

A SIGN OF HOPE?

It might not seem credible given their blunt display against Burnley, but Solskjaer has adopted a more attacking ethos than his predecessors.

Under the former striker, United have averaged 14.8 shots per game in the league, giving them an Expected Goals rating of 1.71 per match. Both of those figures are higher than under Moyes, Van Gaal or Mourinho.

Where Solskjaer's United fall down is in taking their chances. Their shot conversion rate of 10.8 per cent is the lowest since Ferguson's departure, and it means they average 1.6 league goals per game, with only Van Gaal managing worse (1.46).

United's 36 league goals this season is the sixth highest tally in the competition, while their 10.1 per cent shot conversion rate puts them at a lowly 14th. They have also converted only 38.5 per cent of certified 'Big Chances', which is 10th best in the league.

When you consider they are third for total shots (357), fifth for Expected Goals (40.25) and fifth for creating Big Chances (52), that underlines the problem: Solskjaer's United simply aren't clinical enough.

In other words, they need a ruthless goalscorer, which makes the decision to let Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez leave without signing replacements look all-the-more baffling, while Marcus Rashford's serious back injury means those numbers are not likely to improve quickly.

Zion Williamson certainly announced his arrival to the NBA on Wednesday night.

The first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft had 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes of action for the New Orleans Pelicans in their 121-117 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

Williamson had been sidelined since preseason due to a knee injury but dazzled in his debut, scoring 17 straight points at one point and hitting all four of his three-point attempts.

But how did other NBA greats fare in their first games?

 

Bill Russell - 6 points, 16 rebounds, one assist (December 22, 1956)

Prior to Russell's NBA debut, the Boston Globe had asked whether it was possible to "be too good to be overrated". No pressure, kid. 

Russell did not make any of his four free throws and went 3-of-11 shooting in 16 minutes. However, a man who would go on to be an 11-time NBA champion shone in other facets, grabbing 16 boards and blocking three straight Bob Pettit shots.

Wilt Chamberlain - 43 points, 28 rebounds, one assist (October 24, 1959)

A star at high school and college, the 7ft 1in center's bow for the Philadelphia Warriors was eagerly anticipated and he did not disappoint, racking up the points and rebounds.

It was a sign of things to come and Chamberlain won both the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in his first season.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 29 points, 12 rebounds, six assists (October 18, 1969)

The broadcast of this debut included the line "the whole country has waited for it", a reflection of the attention the 7ft 1in Milwaukee Bucks center commanded at the time.

Abdul-Jabbar, then known as Lew Alcindor, scored 29 of his NBA record 38,387 points that night and he went on to be named to 19 All-Star Games.

Magic Johnson - 26 points, eight rebounds, four assists (October 12, 1979)

The first overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft came to a Lakers team that featured Abdul-Jabbar, and it was the veteran's buzzer-beater that delivered the win against the San Diego Clippers.

A pumped-up Johnson certainly impressed, though, and his zeal for the game was evident when he jumped on Abdul-Jabbar amid wild celebrations at the end.

Larry Bird - 14 points, 10 rebounds, five assists (October 12, 1979)

Johnson was not the only future Hall of Famer debuting on that night in October 1979 as Celtics great Bird was also making his first appearance.

The Lakers man might have had more points, but Bird had the double-double and he, not Johnson, would go on to be named Rookie of the Year. Both men won three MVPs and were named to 12 All-Star Games.

Michael Jordan - 16 points, six rebounds, seven assists (October 26, 1984)

There was little indication of what was to come when Jordan put up solid but not spectacular numbers against the Washington Bullets.

He would soon find his groove, though, averaging 28.2 points in a campaign that ended with the Rookie of the Year award. Five MVPs and six championships would follow for perhaps the greatest of them all.

LeBron James - 25 points, six rebounds, nine assists (October 29, 2003)

A man well-versed in dealing with insane hype, James' NBA debut for his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers was delayed because another game went into overtime and ESPN did not want TV audiences to miss a second of the 18-year-old's bow.

Cleveland lost but 'The Chosen One' delivered exactly what the television executives were looking for, a steal and a dunk providing the first of many highlight-reel plays the four-time MVP would produce.

After 95 enthralling minutes at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea and Arsenal were left to share the spoils: two goals and one point apiece, and clear problems to solve over the remainder of the season.

For the neutrals, this was a fabulous encounter, a heady blend of slapstick errors, fine finishes and furious endeavour creating a brilliant advert for the quality of the Premier League product, if not necessarily the teams themselves.

For all their faults, you cannot accuse Chelsea or Arsenal of being boring. But the faults are there. The worry is how Frank Lampard or Mikel Arteta go about fixing them to keep their respective seasons meaningful.

On the evidence of Tuesday's comeback, Arteta has got Arsenal fighting in a way not seen for some years in north London, but the state of their defence means any hope of finishing in the top four remains forlorn. For Lampard, the excuses are not so clear.

After the loss to Newcastle United, Lampard blamed a lack of goalscorers for not putting the visitors out of sight at St James' Park before Isaac Hayden's stoppage-time slap in the face.

"We know we have problems at the top of the pitch in terms of we don't get enough goals," he said. "If you don't score, you are always liable for a sucker punch, and they got it.

"We can't work any more in training on finishing. You need to have that killer instinct in front of goal. We need to score more goals from front-line areas if we are going to get to where we want to be."

It's true they could have been more ruthless against the Gunners. Tammy Abraham sent two headers into Bernd Leno's hands and Michy Batshuayi made a mess of a late chance.

Given Arsenal scored from their only two shots of the match, you could understand Lampard if he rails against his side for not killing off a team who played a man light after David Luiz forever ingrained himself in Chelsea folklore by getting sent off 26 minutes into his latest return.

Goalscoring looked artfully simplistic for Lampard the Chelsea player, but his concerns as their coach are more complex.

Gabriel Martinelli's equaliser came straight from a Chelsea corner and a slip by N'Golo Kante, a sequence of buffoonery only overshadowed by Shkodran Mustafi, Leno and David Luiz earlier turning an errant backpass into a circus act.

Hector Bellerin's leveller, three minutes after Cesar Azpilicueta looked to have won the game, was the result of Chelsea failing to play a spot of keep-ball against 10 tiring opponents. These are passages of play that a top side should know how to navigate.

Suggesting Lampard's job should be under threat would be nonsense, but the fact remains Chelsea have lost six matches and won only four in the Premier League since beating Crystal Palace in mid-November.

He has faced nowhere near the lambasting of Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, despite Chelsea losing more matches this term. Beat Burnley on Wednesday and the Red Devils will be just three points behind fourth-place Chelsea in the table.

Arteta has evidently impacted both Arsenal's mental fortitude and a previously alienated fan base, and this was a stirring performance in the circumstances, but there is little more to expect from a team with a defence such as theirs. They are still 10 points off the top four and only seven above the bottom three, which is a frank but fair reflection of their quality at the back.

With their transfer ban over (not even that is a wholly satisfying excuse – they knew they had £58million winger Christian Pulisic to bring into the side even during the previous window), Chelsea will almost certainly be exploring the market in the next 10 days. Edinson Cavani would be a worthwhile addition to bring those killer goals Lampard craves, and alternatives will surely be pursued.

Arsenal are also expected to make signings, with Jerome Boateng tipped to bolster the defence. Whether the Bayern Munich centre-back is still of the required calibre remains to be seen, but you can certainly imagine Arsenal's results improving quickly under Arteta once top-class defenders are in place, be that in January or at the end of the season.

How Chelsea kick on under Lampard is harder to answer.

Faltering Chelsea face another tricky test in their bid for a top-four finish on Tuesday when they welcome London rivals Arsenal, who themselves are in great need of a positive result.

After a positive start to the season under Frank Lampard, Chelsea have lost ground on the top three and particularly suffered in recent weeks, winning only two of their past five matches in the Premier League.

But at least they are in the top four, a situation Arsenal could only dream of at the moment. The Gunners head to Stamford Bridge 10 points adrift of their hosts and well down the table in 10th.

It had been hoped Mikel Arteta's arrival as coach would inspire an instant improvement, potentially a catalyst for a charge up the table in the second half of the campaign.

But one win – a 2-0 victory over an underwhelming Manchester United – in five matches shows they still have a long way to go.

 

BIG SIX STRUGGLES SHOW THE ROAD IS LONG

Lampard's tenure at Chelsea got off to a pretty poor start, as his side went down 4-0 to United at Old Trafford and the Blues did not manage a victory over a fellow "big six" club until they faced Tottenham in December.

A 2-0 victory over Jose Mourinho's side at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium could not inspire Chelsea to a win over Southampton on Boxing Day, but the Blues bounced back in their next outing against Arteta's Arsenal.

The Gunners made a dominant start and could easily have been more than a goal ahead, yet Chelsea rallied, with Jorginho and Tammy Abraham scoring late on to turn the game on its head, leaving Lampard with two wins, and three defeats from his matches against the other "big six" teams.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have only managed one such victory, which came against United - Arteta's only league win to date.

However, they were certainly no better off under Unai Emery, who managed draws against United and Tottenham, but suffered a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, while Arsenal were beaten 3-0 by Manchester City when Freddie Ljungberg was in interim charge.

Leicester City have been the surprise package so far this season and neither Chelsea or Arsenal have beaten the Foxes or claimed wins over either of the top two, showing just how big the gap is.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: KEPA ARRIZABALAGA v BERND LENO

With neither side particularly defensively oriented, the two goalkeepers could find themselves busy on Tuesday – and Kepa will be particularly eager for a big performance.

The Spaniard was again in the spotlight in Chelsea's defeat to Newcastle United, with many of the opinion he could have done more to prevent Isaac Hayden's winner deep into second-half stoppage time.

It has since come to light that, of the goalkeepers to play five or more times in the Premier League this season, only Angus Gunn (54.55 per cent) has a worse save percentage than Kepa (57.14 per cent).

By comparison, Leno – who has by no means been utterly convincing at Arsenal – has a 72.4 save percentage. Eight goalkeepers with five or more appearances this term have a better record.

Both Kepa and Leno have played 23 times in the league in 2019-20, though the former just about boasts a better goals conceded record (30 and 32).

FORM GUIDE

Chelsea have lost six times at Stamford Bridge across all competitions this season. The last time they suffered more home defeats was in 1994-95 when the Blues lost seven games on their own turf.

Arsenal do not exactly boast an inspiring away record, though, and they have won just one of their past 10 Premier League matches on the road.

Lampard is a popular figure among Chelsea fans, though his team has already lost as many times this term as Maurizio Sarri's side did in all of the 2018-19 season.

But despite the relative troubles of both sides, their futures could be bright. After all, only Norwich City (6,245 minutes) have played under-21 players more frequently than Chelsea (5,736 minutes) and the Gunners (4,091 minutes).

One of those young players to have flourished for Arsenal is Gabriel Martinelli. The Brazilian has netted nine goals in 10 starts across all competitions in 2019-20, and he could become the first 18-year-old to score in successive Premier League games for the club since Nicolas Anelka in 1998.

HISTORY SAYS…

Chelsea are looking to complete a Premier League double over Arsenal for the fifth time (2005-06, 2009-10, 2012-13 and 2015-16). Only Liverpool and Man United (both five times) have done this against the Gunners on as many as five occasions.

Lampard is looking to become the first English Chelsea manager to do the league double against Arsenal since Dave Sexton in 1969-70.

Arsenal are winless in their past seven Premier League away games against Chelsea (D1 L6) since winning 5-3 in October 2011. However, no team has won more Premier League away games at Stamford Bridge than the Gunners (seven).

The Blues have lost once in their past eight home London derbies in the Premier League (W6 D1), although it came last time out against West Ham in November. They have not lost successive local clashes in the league at Stamford Bridge since October 1999, when the second defeat in that run came against Arsenal, the first was to West Ham.

The Gunners are winless in 24 Premier League away games against 'big six' teams (D9 L15), since a 2-0 win at City in January 2015.

Jack Nicklaus had his life mapped out by the end of 1959.

Proposing to his girlfriend, nursing student and fellow Ohio State undergraduate Barbara Bash, over Christmas, the 19-year-old Nicklaus saw a clear vision of the future.

He would be, if all went to plan, a mighty fine golfer but an even better insurance salesman.

The teenage years had treated Nicklaus well. He acquired the golfing fundamentals under Jack Grout's instruction at Scioto Country Club and became a serial amateur champion, all while demonstrating diligence in his studies and a precocious talent for earning big bucks.

The idea was that he and Barbara would settle down, live a life of contentment together and want for nothing, and Jack would always have his golf. The American dream.

Never mind winning a record 18 majors; merely playing in that many was still fanciful.

Nicklaus, who turns 80 this week, was a college kid with a winning golf game, a head for figures and an effortless, neighbourly charm. Some combination.

Today he is one of the greatest and wealthiest sports stars in history.

This is the story of the 1960 U.S. Open, and how a day in Ben Hogan's company changed young Jack's life.

 

INSURANCE THE BEST POLICY?

Already the U.S. Amateur champion at the dawn of the sixties, Nicklaus realised he had a serious talent that could worry the best professionals, but was there sufficient financial incentive to go into golf full-time?

He was not so sure. Insurance paid well, and a new decade promised new money-making opportunities.

"I had probably three jobs that I was working at the same time," Nicklaus recalled.

"I was working for Ohio State Life Insurance Company, I was working for Parker and Co, which is a brokerage firm out of New York, and I was actually working for a slack company. As I travelled I did some slack promotion, well within amateur regulations.

"I was making close to about $30,000 a year. That's pretty good for a 20‑year‑old. Pretty darned good back in 1960. And I thought about playing the Tour, [but] you had to be probably in the top five to be making $30,000 a year."

Nicklaus had played on a winning Walker Cup team at Muirfield and was voted the world's leading amateur by Golf Digest magazine before turning 20. 

THE WEEK WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED

Nicklaus' golf life was transformed at the 1960 U.S. Open, specifically on the Saturday, the closing day of the tournament, when the youngster, still devoted to the unpaid ranks, was paired with the great Ben Hogan for the final 36 holes.

Over back-to-back circuits of the Cherry Hills course, set within a luxury country club in Denver's suburbs, Nicklaus later admitted: "I learned how to play golf."

Dad Charlie broke the news to young Jack that he would be playing alongside the 47-year-old Hogan, a nine-time major champion.

"It's in my personal scrapbook when my dad came in and said, 'Guess who you're playing the last two rounds with'," Nicklaus said.

"He says, 'Hogan'. It was like, you know, I'm going to get a chance to play with Ben Hogan."

Wherever Nicklaus goes today, there is a clamour for stories about his early days.

Put him in a media room and a half hour of wisdom and delicious anecdotes will spill out. Pure manna for golf reporters.

The 1960 U.S. Open has been raked over as often as the Cherry Hills bunkers. Nicklaus does not seem to mind. He knows its relevance, enjoys the reverance.

A COLLISION OF GREATS - PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

Nicklaus, Hogan and Masters champion Arnold Palmer were firmly in the U.S. Open title mix that year, a coming together of generations old and new, with Palmer surging into title contention after a surge of six birdies in his first seven holes of that final round. Palmer had ominously driven the green at the par-four first.

Nicklaus, despite his amateur status, nevertheless led as he reached the turn.

Put succinctly, Nicklaus' putter went stone cold and he fluffed that chance of glory, while playing partner Hogan blew up on the 35th and 36th holes of the day, a bogey and a triple from the veteran handing victory to Palmer, whose six-under-par 65 took him from seven shots back at the start of the round to first place, four under for the tournament.

While Nicklaus placed second, Hogan trailed home tied for ninth, cursing his costly drive into water at the last. Nicklaus, however, was tracking his playing partner's every shot.

"The first time he missed a green was the 35th hole we played," Nicklaus said. "He hit the ball in the fairway, he managed his game. He played little hooks, little slices, little short slots and he played conservative shots. And he made some putts and missed a lot putts. Hogan stood over a putt for about an hour in those days.

"They talk about all the putts he missed but he holed a ton of putts. He was my kind of guy to play with. We walked down the fairway; pleasantries. When you hit a good shot, if he said it was a good shot, you knew darned well it was a good shot.

"And if you didn't hit a good shot, you weren't expecting to hear anything, which you didn't."

"IF HE HAD A BRAIN IN HIS HEAD..."

Nicklaus has often quibbled with a quote attributed to Hogan from Cherry Hills, with Hogan said to have told US sports writer Dan Jenkins: "I played with a kid today who would have won by 10 strokes if he knew what he was doing."

A conversation with Jenkins, who died last year, set the record straight for Nicklaus - if not entirely favourably for golf's future 'Golden Bear'.

According to Nicklaus, Jenkins revealed how Hogan actually said he partnered a player "who if he had a brain in his head, would have won by 10 strokes".

Nicklaus offers a similarly self-flagellating take of what happened over those closing holes, as the winning line came into view.

"I blew it," he said. "I had the tournament reasonably well in hand if I had known how to play.

"I remember walking off the 12th green. I looked at the leaderboard, and there was one 5 on the board [indicating a score of five under par] and that was me.

"I three-putted 13, 14. And after I look at the leaderboard, 'Nice going, Jack'. Then I miss a three-footer at 16, and about an eight-footer at 17 and bogey 18 to lose that golf tournament. That's a pretty poor finish. You learn from that."

Nicklaus conceded he "didn't know how to win at 20 years old, not against the guys". That changed soon enough.

"THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME"

Marrying Barbara a month after his Cherry Hills exploits, Nicklaus remained in the amateur ranks, making his money in the 'real world'.

Eventually, having landed his second U.S. Amateur title, he turned professional in November 1961.

"I decided I really didn't care about being the best insurance salesman," Nicklaus said. "I really wanted to be a guy who could be the best at playing golf.

"And the only way to do that is to play against the best. And so that was why I turned pro."

There was no standing on ceremony either once that status was acquired.

His maiden major triumph came when Oakmont hosted the U.S. Open in 1962, beating Palmer in a play-off. The Masters and US PGA titles followed in 1963, and by 1964, Nicklaus was the leading money-winner on the PGA Tour, trouncing what he might have earned with a sharp suit, fedora and briefcase.

Nicklaus will be forever associated with Cherry Hills, and the tournament where he "proceeded to fall apart like a three-dollar suitcase".

Now that he has turned 80, with Hogan long gone and Palmer having passed on to life's 19th hole more than three years ago, it falls to Nicklaus to recount the stories of yesteryear.

All being even, he has not told his last tale of Cherry Hills. This story is assembled from hour after hour of Nicklaus reminiscing with golf's press pack.

"I look back on it, and I say, you know, I would have loved to have won that tournament," Nicklaus said. "But maybe the best thing that ever happened to me was the learning experience that I had from it.

"Did it destroy my life? No. I learned from it. I put what I learned there to use. Did I do it again? Sure. But did I do it to the same degree? No."

THROW A RIGHT ONCE YOU CAN SMELL MONEY

Leaving Denver today on Interstate 25 - the Valley Highway - you can leave the five-lane carriageway by Veterans Park and begin the South University Boulevard approach to Cherry Hills Country Club.

An urban, gridded landscape - studentville around the University of Denver, block after block of modern apartments, a Wendy's burger joint - gives way after a couple of miles to a greener, tree-lined avenue, and a sprawl of gated communities, a millionaire's paradise.

Peyton Manning reputedly calls this home. David Duval has lived in a mansion practically overlooking the course.

Once you can positively smell money, throwing a right turn at a barely conspicuous but traffic-lighted junction reveals the country club, its mock-tudor clubhouse soon coming into view.

Behind that members' sanctuary, its eight tennis courts and a huge swimming pool, lies a golf course steeped in history.

This is not the course that Jack built - even though today there are over 400 Nicklaus-designed courses across the world.

But it is where the Nicklaus legend was born, perhaps the key stepping stone towards insurance's temporary claim becoming golf's greatest fixed asset.

Real Madrid lifted the lid on the worst-kept secret in world football on Monday when they confirmed the signing of Flamengo talent Reinier Jesus for a reported €30million.

In completing the long-reported deal, Los Blancos bolstered an already impressive collection of young players on their books, with the club's future planning seemingly second to none in world football.

In Eder Militao, Federico Valverde, Luka Jovic, Brahim Diaz, Rodrygo Goes, Vinicius Junior, Takefusa Kubo, Achraf Hakimi, Sergio Reguilon, Martin Odegaard and now Reinier, Madrid boast a remarkable amount of under-23 talent.

Reinier completed his switch the day after his 18th birthday and, while his price tag appears hefty, it actually led to friction within Flamengo – coach Jorge Jesus accusing the club of not being able to value their players, a comment vice-president Marcos Braz subsequently shut down.

Although a regular in transfer gossip columns of late, Reinier remains something of an unknown quantity and a complete rookie given he has played just 15 matches of senior football.

We asked Andy Walker, a Brazilian football analyst and expert for Football Radar, for the lowdown on the latest Brazilian 'wonderkid' to secure a move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

What's Reinier's favoured role?

"Reinier is at his best in a No.10 role, but he does like to play slightly more advanced than a traditional '10', staying close to the striker as much as possible," Andy surmised.

It is an area in which Madrid are by no means short, but Reinier also boasts the flexibility to fill in right across the frontline. "He has actually been used as a striker at times by Flamengo as a result," Andy added.

 

What are his greatest attributes?

A Brazilian attacker coveted by Real Madrid – you might be able to guess at a few of his strongest traits, though Andy has also been impressed by Reinier's poise when it matters.

"A quick, direct dribbler who can glide past his man with ease, as well as possessing deceptively good close control and technique," Andy said. "He's also got a real eye for goal, with six goals in 729 minutes of senior football, with his composure really impressive given his very young age."

 

In which areas does he need to improve?

While he is certainly costly, it should not be forgotten Reinier has only just turned 18 and is by no means the finished article. Our expert has reservations over the Flamengo product's physicality and athleticism at the moment.

He said: "He needs to progress physically as we have seen him struggle to keep up the pace in the latter stages when playing a full 90 minutes, but that should all come as he learns the game and adapts to a more rigorous training regime in Europe. As with any young Brazilian, he will need a lot of growth on the tactical side of the game, but his six months under Jorge Jesus will prove a real benefit, rather than playing under some of the archaic Brazilian coaches."

 

Which player could he be comparable to?

Every talented young player from Brazil or Argentina gets labelled as the heir apparent to a previous superstar, and it seems Reinier is no different having drawn comparisons to a former Madrid player.

"The easy comparison to make is with Kaka – or specifically the Milan-era Kaka," Andy suggested, and he is not the only one to make that link. Guilherme Dalla Dea, Reinier's former Brazil Under-17 coach, said similar last year.

"I see him as a '10' – a Rai, a Kaka," he told FIFA. "I see these characteristics in Reiner. He likes getting in the box, scoring goals. He also scores goals from outside the box. I've so much belief in him. He's a kid, a youngster, but he's very level-headed and because of this he's our captain. I firmly believe we'll see him playing at a very high level overseas."

 

How does his potential stack up compared to Rodrygo and Vinicius?

There is no doubt Madrid are backing their own track record of turning raw young talents into the world's best, such has been their investment in under-23 players over the past few years. And the consensus is, Reinier's potential is vast.

"It's difficult to say given Rodrygo and Vinicius were given more time to show their talents in Brazil before moving, but Reinier's talent has been obvious since his very first game and I think the general feeling is that, if all goes well, then he could end up being the best of the lot," Andy observed.

 

Have there been any concerns relating to his mentality?

Talent can only take you so far. As a teenager moving to a new continent, Reinier will surely face mental challenges and those will likely determine whether or not he achieves success – but in terms of professionalism, he is seemingly well set.

"Reinier's team-mates and coaches have all been very positive about his attitude and willingness to learn, so he looks well-placed to make the most of his talents," Andy commented.

Similarly, his coach Jorge Jesus has no worries about that side of the 18-year-old, telling Marca: "I believe a lot in Reinier. I had several talks with him and we talked a lot from the point of view of how he can get better, about his defects, what needs to be corrected. Reinier is a very intelligent kid, he likes to learn and I can say he is a gifted one. I assure you, he is going to mature there. He will arrive in Madrid safe and quiet to do a job, but it is necessary to give him some time."

Jack Nicklaus, the most prolific winner of major championships in golf, celebrates his 80th birthday on Tuesday.

To mark the occasion, here are 18 facts about the Golden Bear, one for each of his major victories.

 

- Despite his unmatched success at the highest level, Nicklaus only defended a major title on one occasion, at the 1966 Masters.

- Before turning professional, Nicklaus won two U.S. Amateur titles in 1959 and 1961. The second of those wins saw him thrash Dudley Wysong 8 and 6.

- He is one of only two players, together with Tiger Woods, to have completed the triple career grand slam by winning all four majors at least three times. Nicklaus achieved the feat in 1978, claiming his third Open title at St Andrews. Woods followed suit 30 years later with his third U.S. Open win.

- Nicklaus' final appearances at each of the four majors coincided with victories for Woods - at the 2000 U.S. Open, 2000 US PGA Championship, 2005 Masters and 2005 Open.

- There were five years - across three decades - in which Nicklaus claimed two major wins: 1963, 1966, 1972, 1975 and 1980.

- Nicklaus' memorable Masters victory in 1986 was his sixth, the most of any player. He played the back nine in six under par as he become the oldest winner of the tournament at 46.

- The most successful seasons of Nicklaus' career - in terms of PGA Tour wins - came in 1972 and 1973. He won seven tournaments in both of those years.

- The Golden Bear held sole possession of the 54-hole lead at a major on eight occasions and went on to seal victory every time.

- His record margin of victory at a major was achieved at the 1965 Masters, a tournament he won by nine strokes. Gary Player and Arnold Palmer were joint second, with the trio having shared the lead after 36 holes. Nicklaus' nine-shot victory was a record triumph at Augusta until Woods won by 12 in 1997.

- Nicklaus holds the record for the most top-10 finishes at every major, recording 22 top-10s at the Masters, 18 at the U.S. Open, 18 at The Open and 15 at the US PGA. His overall tally of 73 major top-10s puts him well clear of nearest rivals Sam Snead (48) and Tom Watson (46). Woods has 41 to date.

- The last PGA Tour cheque of Nicklaus' illustrious career earned him $11,130, when he finished in a tie for 63rd at the 2004 edition of the Memorial Tournament, aged 64.

- A teenage Nicklaus finished 12th on his PGA Tour debut, at the 1958 Rubber City Open. He was only one off the lead after 36 holes.

- In an stunning run from the 1973 Masters to the 1976 Masters, Nicklaus recorded top-10 finishes at 13 successive majors. Hogan holds the record with 18.

- Nicklaus was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 - the highest civilian honour available in the United States. He became only the seventh athlete to receive the honour and the third golfer after Byron Nelson and Palmer.

- When Nicklaus won The Open for the fourth and final time in 1980, it represented his 15th consecutive top-six finish at the event. That remarkable streak featured three of his four wins and six of his seven runner-up finishes.

- Nicklaus won the 1956 Ohio Open as a 16-year-old amateur, beating a host of professional players. He credited the win to Snead, having played an exhibition with the golfing great after round one of the tournament.

- In 17 consecutive seasons from 1962 to 1978, Nicklaus won at least two events on the PGA Tour. He also finished in the top four in the money list in each of these seasons.

- Last but not least, Nicklaus' haul of 18 majors remains the benchmark. Woods claimed his 15th, after an 11-year barren spell, at last year's Masters, but still has lots of work to do to catch Jack.

Dreams of Premier League glory began to feel like an inevitability at Anfield as Liverpool beat Manchester United on a weekend that saw Leicester City, Chelsea and Manchester City drop points.

Jurgen Klopp's side dispatched their old rivals with goals from Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah, leaving Reds supporters full of confidence after Burnley came from behind to beat third-placed Leicester 2-1 at Turf Moor.

There was a surprise result at St. James' Park on Saturday, Frank Lampard's Chelsea dominating for long periods against Newcastle United but succumbing to a late Isaac Hayden goal in a 1-0 defeat.

There were late goals at the Etihad Stadium, where Sergio Aguero thought he had won it with a brace, only for Fernandinho to put through his own net in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

The weekend's Opta data offers detailed insights into the stories behind those results, as well as Wolves' dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over Southampton at St. Mary's.

 

ANFIELD FULL OF HOPE AFTER BACK-TO-BACK HOME WINS OVER UNITED

They are no longer saying it quietly: Liverpool fans firmly believe the title is theirs after watching their side beat United on Sunday.

The victory marked the first time Liverpool have claimed consecutive home Premier League wins over the Red Devils since winning three in a row between September 2008 and March 2011 and there was an air of invulnerability around Anfield at the final whistle.

Liverpool have taken 91 points from a possible 93 in their last 31 Premier League matches, winning 30 and drawing just one, while United have now lost nine of their last 16 top-flight away games (W3 D4 L9).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have failed to score in eight of those games and they gave Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson little to do despite creating a number of goalscoring opportunities.

Alisson kept himself busy by becoming the first Reds keeper to assist a Premier League goal since March 2010, when Pepe Reina laid on a goal against Sunderland.

 

 


LATE HAYDEN WINNER LEAVES LAMPARD'S BLUES REELING

Chelsea have lost as many Premier League games this season as they did in the entirety of 2018-19 after Hayden scored in the 94th minute to snatch victory for Newcastle over Lampard's inconsistent Blues.

Four of Chelsea's eight league defeats this season have come in their last eight matches and supporters making the trip to Tyneside had reason to be fearful of their side coming unstuck.

Chelsea have now lost five of their last seven top-flight trips to St. James' Park but defeats to teams managed by Steve Bruce have been a rare occurrence - this was only the second time he has beaten the Blues in 23 games against them as a manager (D5 L16).

Prior to Hayden's strike, Newcastle had not scored a last-minute winner since Ayoze Perez struck against Tottenham in December 2015.

It was Hayden's third Premier League goal and came in his 70th appearance in the competition, his last coming in February 2019 against Wolves.

 

POROUS CITY PAY FOR ERRORS AT THE BACK

City came from behind to lead with three minutes left in their clash with Palace but conceded at home in the Premier League for the 12th time this season as the Eagles secured a point at the death.

Pep Guardiola's men have now conceded as many goals at home in the league as they did in the whole of last season and this was their third draw of the 2019-20 season - in their title-winning campaign last term they only drew twice.

Aguero's double inside five minutes marked the Argentina international's 250th and 251st goals in all competitions for the club in his 360th appearance, but Fernandinho became the first City player to score a Premier League own-goal since Nicolas Otamendi against Huddersfield Town in November 2017.

The scoring was opened by new signing Cenk Tosun, who netted in the 39th minute to become the fourth Turkish player to reach 10 Premier League goals after Muzzy Izzet, Tuncay Sanli and Tugay.

Palace are ninth in the table after four consecutive draws - the last time they drew as many Premier League games in a row was in 1992-93 when they started the season with the same sequence.

 

WOLVES EMERGING AS COMEBACK SPECIALISTS

When Raul Jimenez scored from the penalty spot at St. Mary's he pulled Wolves level after they had been two goals down, but there was even better to follow for Nuno Espirito Santo's men.

Jimenez scored again in the 76th minute, taking his tally to 19 goals in all competitions this season and clinching three points for Wolves that means they have now picked up 18 from losing positions in the Premier League this season - seven more than any other side.

Falling behind after 15 minutes to a Jan Bednarek goal was nothing new for the visitors, who have conceded first in 16 league games this season including each of their last seven in a row.

But Jimenez has been directly involved in 28 goals this season and after Shane Long netted his 54th Premier League goal to make it 2-0 to the Saints, Pedro Neto scored for the second time in his last three league appearances to tee up the Mexico international for a memorable brace.

Jimenez now has 19 goals and nine assists to his name in all competitions this season, giving him more direct goal involvements than any other top-flight player in 2019-20.

Now you're gonna believe them.

After Mohamed Salah, at last, scored against Manchester United, as their 2-0 victory was at last assured, Liverpool fans made it clear to the world that they think this, at last, is their year.

"We're going to win the league," they sang, for the first time this season. They're right. Jurgen Klopp won't say the same, not yet, but he must know. Everyone knows.

Sixteen points clear, sixteen games to go. Ninety-one points won from the last 93 available. No league defeats in 12 months. Listening to Anfield on Sunday, the party has already started.

United are the only team to stop Liverpool winning in the Premier League this season, but now they, like 17 others, have tasted defeat to Klopp's relentless Reds (West Ham got a reprieve thanks to the Club World Cup). Discussions about the best ever teams in Merseyside, indeed the country, are for another time. In 2019-20, nobody comes close.

That said, on the evidence of this game and the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in October, the gap between these teams in simple quality – in terms of the overall picture of the side – is not quite as yawning as some would think.

Under some dazzling pink skies as the sun set over the stadium, Liverpool were no more sparkling than United were appalling. This wasn't the Liverpool that tore Leicester City to shreds on home turf, nor the United that plumbed new depths of away-day embarrassment at Watford.

Neither was this the mismatch of the EFL Cup semi-final first leg this month at Old Trafford, when it seemed the only reason Manchester City did not try to match their 9-0 destruction of Burton Albion a year ago was because the players wanted a second-half breather.

Yet there is something more redoubtable about this Liverpool than their quality of play. Their greatest weapon, as it is for great sides through history, is a conviction bordering on zealotry that, come what may, they will win the football match.

There was nothing spectacular about the opening goal, nothing to reflect Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's glowing praise of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Salah's bamboozling interplay. It was a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner and a Virgil van Dijk header; a simple cross, a routine forehead finish, straight out of the annals of English football.

But reflected in Van Dijk's fourth league goal of the season was that triumphant certainty that has become the lifeblood of Klopp's team. Alexander-Arnold had a poor game by his standards, but you knew a good cross was coming. Van Dijk was marshalled, but you knew he'd win the header once the United blockers had faltered.

With Liverpool, you just know.

That's where United fall down in comparison. A club that came to define what it means to have a will to win under Alex Ferguson, who watched on from the stands here, has barely an ounce of that same quality these days compared to their great rivals. Solskjaer was right to argue that this Liverpool will only define an era like Ferguson did if they win consecutive titles, but there is no doubt which team best reflects the great Scot.

United had their chances. Good ones. But as Andreas Pereira failed to turn Aaron Wan-Bissaka's cross into an open net, as Anthony Martial volleyed over the bar with the goal at his mercy, did anyone really believe they were going to take them? Did they?

United were boosted before kick-off in that Chelsea's loss to Newcastle United meant the gap to the top four was never going to increase. They remain five points behind Frank Lampard's side – at this stage of the season, especially given Chelsea's inconsistency, they will not panic about their Champions League hopes at least.

Their performance in the final 30 minutes was also at least some cause for encouragement. The trouble is, when it comes to United, the next setback never feels far away. Even before kick-off, we learned Marcus Rashford could be out for weeks, maybe months, his back broken from carrying the Red Devils attack.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are disappearing over the horizon, 21 wins from 22 games in their pocket, already thinking of the visit to Wolves next week. Molineux is a dangerous ground for any side these days, a place where City have already lost this season, where United have failed to win in four attempts since last March.

Does anyone think the same thing will happen to Liverpool? They don't.

If you blinked there is every chance you may have missed Conor McGregor's clinical and devastating return at UFC 246.

The Irishman only needed 40 seconds to defeat MMA legend Donald Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday in what was his first bout in the Octagon for 15 months.

Many had predicted a McGregor victory, just maybe not the swift nature of it, and more difficult challenges lie in wait for the 31-year-old.

So just who is next for McGregor? We take a look at six possibilities.

 

JORGE MASVIDAL

A man, like McGregor, whose verbal skills match his technical ability. After a stellar 2019, which brought victories over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz, Jorge Masvidal has frequently tried to catch McGregor's attention, even going as far as to wear the same Versace robe the Irishman donned for his 2017 fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr when in attendance for the Cerrone bout. While 'the Notorious' laughed off that attempt to get under his skin, he once again conceded the prospect of facing Masvidal for the UFC's BMF belt is an interesting one.

NATE DIAZ

It seems unlikely a trilogy fight between McGregor and Nate Diaz will take place in the immediate future but who knows in the MMA game? Their first two encounters in 2016, which were split at one apiece, were among the most lucrative in UFC history. After McGregor's victory over Cerrone, Diaz took to Twitter to call out the event as "fake", prompting a reply from his long-time foe at a post-victory news conference in which he said: "Let's go brother, number three. It's always here, so we are right here Nathan."

KAMARU USMAN

McGregor made history in 2016 by becoming the first fighter in UFC history to hold belts in two divisions at the same time. After successfully stepping up to 170lbs to defeat Cerrone, the chance to hold a third strap at welterweight is sure to be of interest. The man currently in possession of the prize is Kamaru Usman. McGregor called out the Nigerian-American after his victory over Colby Covington last month and Usman has been unsurprisingly open to the idea. An intriguing sub-plot prior to the Cerrone fight was a series of unsavoury Tweets posted from Usman's account aimed at McGregor, though he later insisted he was hacked. 

KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV 

There was bad blood in and out of the Octagon when McGregor and unbeaten lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov first waged war in October 2018. On that occasion, Khabib submitted McGregor before an all-out melee marred the win. McGregor has clamoured for another opportunity, while UFC president Dana White said of the possibility: "It's the fight you make, it's the fight that makes sense." Certainly, there would be plenty of eager eyes on this one.

MANNY PACQUIAO

In the immediate future, it looks as though McGregor still has goals in UFC he wants to accomplish. But prior to beating Cerrone, he made no secret of a desire to win a boxing world title and revealed talks were ongoing to face Filipino great Manny Pacquiao. Even at the ripe old age of 41, Pacquiao remains as active as ever and defeated Keith Thurman via a split decision to win the WBA Super welterweight champion last July. 

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR

It was one of the most lucrative fights in history when these two first danced together in a Las Vegas super fight in August 2017. McGregor vowed to avenge his defeat to 'Money' if a rematch were to happen, and Mayweather teased the possibility on Instagram when he mocked up a poster that read "Mayweather McGregor 2, 2020". Addressing that after the fight, McGregor said "that rematch will happen at some stage". Perhaps this one really is a matter of when, not if. 

After a quarter-final run at the 2019 Australian Open, a lot has changed for Ashleigh Barty but it is business as usual for the world number one in Melbourne.

Australian star Barty arrives at Melbourne Park for her home grand slam as the WTA Tour's top-ranked player and the reigning French Open and WTA Finals champion.

Barty became the first Australian to win the Roland Garros singles title since Margaret Court in 1973 and the first Australian to claim a major singles title since Sam Stosur's 2011 US Open triumph.

Her memorable 2019 exploits have heightened expectations in Melbourne, where all eyes are on the top seed ahead of her opening match against Lesia Tsurenko.

However, Barty's coach Craig Tyzzer told Omnisport: "There's more expectations on her, but she knows she has to go out there and compete every day, do her best. The result takes care of itself. If she's able to do that and keep focused on that stuff, she'll do some damage."

"The pre-season was pretty strong," Tyzzer said. "Ash put a lot of effort it. She's particularly fussy and a bit of a perfectionist anyway, so it kept her on edge a bit more knowing 'okay well I've got a responsibility here as well'.

"It's been good. We know what's coming but we will treat everything pretty much the same with regard to how we approach her matches."

"Slams are so hard to win over the two weeks, being healthy and playing well all the time," he continued. "Her expectations are that every match is going to be tough. She's pretty ready for the battle, and hopefully she can go deep into the tournament."

Barty is fresh off a 57-13 season on the WTA Tour – a year which yielded four titles from six finals in Miami, Paris, Birmingham and Shenzhen.

The 23-year-old claimed the biggest winner's cheque in tennis history after collecting $4.42million thanks to her WTA Finals victory over Elina Svitolina in November.

"I think her consistent level of play," Tyzzer said when asked about anything specific that helped Barty make such an impact last year. "There weren't many ups or downs. There weren't really super highs or big drop offs. I felt like over the 12 months her level was very consistent.

"There were a few times where she was tired after long periods of time. We could see that kind of stuff coming, so we controlled that fairly well with breaks and then build up again to the next tournament block. Her ability to play at a good level throughout the whole year was probably the biggest factor, I know there were other areas."

Barty's success saw Tyzzer – who has worked with the Queenslander since she returned to the sport in 2016 after a cricket stint – recognised as the WTA Coach of the Year.

But Tyzzer and countrywoman Barty are refusing to stand still in pursuit of further glory.

"There's certainly areas where she can get better. We've been working through the summer on her transitioning, try to get into the net more and get in behind her good shots. She sees it well in doubles but probably doesn't see it as well in singles yet. So that's probably one of the areas I'd like her to spend time on," he added.

"You can never sit still in the sport. If you sort of stop and feel like you've done everything and you're not going to improve then someone else is going to run over the top of you pretty quickly."

"We're doing a lot more work on her strength and speed, movement around the court," Tyzzer said. "Putting in a lot of time on returning, trying to make that better as well. As a coach, you're always looking for improvements, but you also have to acknowledge the good stuff and continue to encourage what she's done well. She's put good results together, so you don't want to make drastic changes just for the sake of changing.  You have to be careful with that stuff too."

Saracens are facing up to a potential player exodus after the worst-kept secret in the Premiership was confirmed with the announcement the London club are to be relegated for breaching salary-cap regulations.

The London club were docked 35 points and fined £5.36million in November for flouting the rules in each of the past three seasons, and currently sit bottom of the Premiership.

However, after talks between Premiership Rugby and Saracens in the aftermath of the initial punishment, the club will now drop down to the Championship for 2020-21.

It throws up huge doubts over the future of some of the Premiership's biggest names, who have all tasted success with Saracens over the club's recent period of dominance – including a domestic and European double last term.

Six Saracens players started in England's Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa - including captain Owen Farrell - while Vincent Koch featured for the Springboks in that match.

Meanwhile, Liam Williams, a regular for Wales in the tournament, has already started the departures, having agreed to rejoin Scarlets at the end of the season.

Following the news of Saracens' impending relegation to the second tier, we take a look at the star names who seem destined to become available.

Owen Farrell

Sure to be in demand is England skipper Farrell has spent his entire senior career with Saracens, having made his debut aged 17 in 2008, becoming - at the time - the youngest player to appear in an English professional rugby union match. He has gone on to become one of the world's best players, winning the Six Nations twice with England as well as five Premiership titles and three Champions Cups with Saracens.

Maro Itoje

Having won four Premierships and three European Champions Cups at club level by the age of 25, Maro Itoje is expected to be a man in demand. The British and Irish Lion, who plays lock or blindside flanker, should still have his best years ahead of him but is already an established international player, having won two Six Nations trophies and helped England to the World Cup final last year as part of his 34 caps. He has spent his whole professional career at Saracens.

Mako Vunipola

The elder Vunipola brother joined up with Saracens from Bristol in 2011 and has made 110 appearances, scoring 15 tries. He made his England debut in 2012 against Fiji and has been a key player for club and country ever since. 

Billy Vunipola

Two years after his sibling had signed for Saracens, Billy Vunipola followed suit. He has played in 71 Premiership matches for Sarries, with 15 tries to his name and has featured in just 11 defeats. Internationally, he has made 51 Test appearances for England.

Elliot Daly

The versatile back - who has featured in 42 Tests for England - only joined Saracens from Wasps in 2019 ahead of the current Premiership season. He has scored 13 tries for England and one in four Premiership appearances so far for Saracens.

Jamie George

Like Farrell, George came through the ranks at Saracens and made his first-team debut just a year after the England captain. He has made over 150 Premiership appearances for the club, starting 83 times and accumulating 125 points from 25 tries. At 29, it seems unlikely the hooker will be wishing to drop into the Championship.

Vincent Koch

Signed in 2016, Koch has scored three top-flight tries during his time with Saracens, making 48 Premiership appearances in total. The prop did not start for South Africa in November's World Cup showdown in Japan, though came on early in the second half to help the Springboks to a 32-12 victory.

Will Skelton

Former Australia lock Skelton was linked with a move back to the southern hemisphere last year before signing a new deal. He has scored three tries for Saracens since joining, and made 18 Test appearances for the Wallabies between 2014 and 2016.

Page 1 of 49
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.