Adidas provided tennis players Andy Murray with a new pair of shorts after Murray "blamed the depths of his shorts' pockets" for allowing spare balls to drop onto the court during his win over Marcos Baghdatis Saturday night at Wimbledon, according to Hannah Furness of the London TELEGRAPH. Murray, who has a £15M ($23.5M) sponsorship deal with adidas, claimed his shorts "lost him two points" when tennis balls rolled out during play, "causing him to become distracted several times." The falling balls prompted one commentator to say, "That's throwing his concentration" and "That ball's come out again." One noted, "He's got £20.5M ($32.1M) in prize money; you'd think he'd have deeper pockets at least" (TELEGRAPH, 7/2). In Glasgow, Claire Smith reported that former Wimbledon champion and current BBC commentator John McEnroe said that "he was at a loss to understand how Murray's second ball kept escaping and bouncing across the court." McEnroe said, "The pockets in the shorts these days are very deep. The ball is doing well to get out of there" (SCOTSMAN, 7/2).
FAULTY POCKETS: MARKETING MAGAZINE's Matthew Chapman reported that adidas "attributed the faulty shorts to human error," because the pockets on the "hand-made shorts had been made too shallow." An adidas statement said, "Adidas works closely with Andy on the design of all his kit and we believe the issues were the result of an individual technical error in the hand-made pockets of those shorts. Andy will now wear the Barricade Bermuda short" (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 7/2).
REPORTER TESTS SHORTS: In London, Laurie Whitwell reported that "there is no specific rule about balls falling out of a pocket, but it comes under the hindrance law." That law states that, "if a player is hindered in playing a point by a deliberate act of an opponent, the player wins the point." Meanwhile, Whitwell tested the shorts to see if he could dislodge any tennis balls. Whitwell "ran a series of 15-metre sprints, side-stepped a bit and jumped up and down on the spot for 60 seconds." However, the reporter was "unable to dislodge a ball from the pockets." Whitwell added that, "It was only when I violently wiggled my legs that I could get the ball to nudge even slightly" (DAILY MAIL, 7/1).
Golfer Brooks Koepka will make his pro debut in the Credit Suisse Challenge in Lucerne, Switzerland next week, part of a growing trend of American golfers starting their professional careers overseas. Koepka intends to play in three other events on the Challenge Tour, which is operated by the PGA European Tour: the Double Tree by Hilton Acava Open in Puglia, Italy, the English Challenge in Stoke by Nayland, England and the Finnish Challenge in Hyvinkää, Finland. Koepka, a three-time All-American and two-time ACC Golfer of the Year, signed with golf agent Rocky Hambric, who represents U.S. golfers out of his office in Dallas and European golfers out of Northhampton, England. Other top U.S. golfers who made their pro debuts in Europe this year include Peter Uihlein and Dylan Frittelli this year. Uihlein is represented by British golf agent Chubby Chandler and Frittelli is represented by Duncan Reid of IMG London. Hambric: "Brooks is going to start in Europe playing their Challenge Tour, which is like the Nationwide Tour here (in the U.S.). The top 20 players on the Challenge Tour earn cards on the European Tour. And the top 35 to 40 earn their way to the finals of the European Tour school. So it provides him with an alternative should he not make it through the finals of U.S. PGA Tour Q school."
Australia, the world’s No. 1 One Day Int'l cricket side, will play Afghanistan in August for the first time, according to Will Davies of the WALL STREET JOURNAL's blog India Real Time. Cricket Australia said that the match is being organized in the UAE ahead of a series with Pakistan "to allow the Australian team to acclimatize." The full details of the match have yet to be finalized, "but it’s likely to be a One Day International" in the UAE (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/2). REUTERS wrote that Australians view the fixture as recognition of Afghanistan's "increasing importance in world cricket." CA CEO James Sutherland said, "Everyone in world cricket have been really impressed with how cricket has flourished in Afghanistan, despite its pressing national problems" (REUTERS, 7/2).
QUESTIONS HEAT UP: In Islamabad, Bipin Dani cited sources reporting that both Pakistan and Australia have agreed in principle to play three ODIs and three Twenty20 matches in the UAE. However, the Australian Cricketers' Association has once again "expressed its reservations." ACA CEO Paul Marsh said, "The ACA continues to have concerns about the weather conditions expected in the UAE at the time of the proposed series" (PAKISTAN TODAY, 6/30).
Japanese car and motorcycle manufacturer Honda announced its return to the '13 edition of the Dakar Rally on Monday, according to Yannick Bitzer of MOTORSPORT MAGAZIN. Honda will participate in next year's 34th Dakar Rally with a factory team in the motorcycle category after a 23-year hiatus. The drivers are already set and include Hélder Rodrigues (POR), Felipe Zanol (BRA), Sam Sunderland (GBR) and Argentine Javier Pizzolito (ARG). Between '81 and '89, Honda won the Dakar five times. Honda Racing Corp. President Tetsuo Suzuki clearly defined the team's goal for next years rally when he said, "We aim for the victory, even in our first year" (MOTORSPORT MAGAZIN, 7/2).