Australia tennis player BERNARD TOMIC's father, JOHN, "is being investigated by police and the men's tennis tour over an alleged assault that left his son's practice partner unconscious in Madrid," according to Courtney Walsh of THE AUSTRALIAN. Frenchman THOMAS DROUET "was left with a broken nose and fractured vertebrae following an altercation outside the official Madrid Masters tournament hotel." Tour players JANKO TIPSAREVIC and ALEXANDRDOLGOPOLOV "are among those understood to have witnessed the altercation." John Tomic "was allegedly taken into police custody at the hotel with blood visible on his face" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/7). In Sydney, Linda Pearce contacted John Tomic via telephone in Madrid and reported Tomic's message was this: "I just want to say that I'm not in the jail, how they are writing." Was he in jail at any time in the past few days, however? There was no answer to that one, just a "friendly promise that everything would be 'proved'" Tuesday, and that "he would then call back, in the afternoon, to expand further." Tomic: "Hard to explain to you. I'm not in the jail, just say like that. Tomorrow I will say" (THE AGE, 5/7).
COURT HEARING: The LONDON TIMES reported John Tomic "told a court in Madrid that he acted in self-defence when he butted a member of his son’s coaching staff in the face." Drouet and John Tomic both "turned up to the hearing and sat just 15 metres apart outside the courtroom." Drouet had "a large dressing fixed to his nose with white surgical tape and a neck support." John Tomic "appeared unscathed apart from a small cut above his right eye." It was decided that because John Tomic "disputed the charge" of causing bodily harm, the hearing "could not take place." A further court appearance was scheduled for May 14 (LONDON TIMES, 5/6).
FINDING A NEW COACH: Also in Sydney, Dominic Bossi reported Australian tennis players "have called for Bernard Tomic to look for guidance elsewhere." Drouet was "said to be seen wearing a neck brace due to a fractured vertebrae sustained in the alleged attack." Tennis Australia coach WALLY MASUR, grand slam winner KEN ROSEWALL and former Wimbledon champion NEALE FRASER "have called for Tomic to end the coaching relationship with his father and seek a new mentor." Masur: ''I'm a tennis coach and I'm also a parent. I mentor a lot of the parents here with the kids that are trying to make that step up to be good professional players, and I'm just not a fan of the parent/coach." Rosewall said that he expected John Tomic "would remain an influential figure in his son's career," but believed that Bernard Tomic "must step out and explore other avenues on his own if he is to fulfil his potential." Fraser said that he hoped the ATP "would punish John Tomic if he were found guilty." Fraser: ''It's disgraceful" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 5/7). Also in Sydney, Schlink & Miranda reported South Australians DARREN CAHILL and ROGER RASHEED, both of whom are involved with overseas tennis interests, "have been mooted as candidates" if Bernard Tomic "decides to part company with his father." Former Australian Davis Cup player SANDON STOLLE said that "it would be best for Tomic if the ATP banned his father from the tour following previous controversies." Stolle: "It needs to happen. There's been too many occasions where things haven't been addressed." Dolgopolov confirmed that "he had called for assistance after finding Drouet unconscious in the street." He was unsure who attacked Drouet but said, "It wasn't good" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5/7).
The rehabilitation of Godolphin has a purpose-built vehicle in DAWN APPROACH, according to Alan Lee of the LONDON TIMES. The colt won his first classic on Saturday "in a style indicating much more to come." Dawn Approach "is trained in Ireland, far from the stigmatised stables of Newmarket, by the most loquacious advocate SHEIKH MOHAMMED could wish for." JIM BOLGER will now prepare Dawn Approach for the Investec Derby. Racing, as an industry, "breathed collective relief when the Sheikh appeared at Newmarket." Those close to the Sheikh "feared he might stay away from Guineas weekend, so his attendance can be construed as determination not to be cowed by association with the doping offences of Mahmood Al Zarooni, a trainer he appointed and nurtured." Even in victory, "and briefly free of his elevated security, Sheikh Mohammed resisted the opportunity to speak of his situation, or even declare an end to the uncomfortable anomaly of steroid use in Dubai, the country he rules." Mohammed: "I always face a challenge" (LONDON TIMES, 5/6). In London, Chris McGrath reported the Sheikh's "mere presence on the Rowley Mile -- never mind the metaphor he obligingly provided before the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, when hiding in the saddling boxes from a sudden, wild squall -- served as a statement in itself." It turned out to be "the only one he was prepared to make" (INDEPENDENT, 5/6).
SHEIKH SHOWS NO SIGNS OF EMBARRASSMENT: Also in London, J.A. McGrath reported applause "greeted Sheikh Mohammed as he came forward to accept the trophy" after Dawn Approach's victory. It was Mohammed's first time on a racecourse "since the controversy, but the acute embarrassment the Ruler of Dubai is said to have experienced did not show." He walked proudly at the head of his entourage and "was clearly elated by Dawn Approach’s five-length triumph" (TELEGRAPH, 5/5). Also in London, Martin Samuel opined "it was all there in the turn of the heel. You don’t question Sheik Mohammed about doping. You don’t question Sheik Mohammed at all, really." He "only agreed to appear before camera" because his horse had just won. "For a man who could have been held responsible for the actions of his employee, he seems rather confident." For that, "can we perhaps blame the fawning British horse racing establishment? An establishment so terrified that the Sheik will withdraw his vast wealth from the sport in this country that it wrapped up an inquest into a massive steroid scandal in less time than it takes a local council to rule on a challenged parking ticket" (DAILY MAIL, 5/5).
IMG Worldwide announced that former Ookii Co Athlete Management & Marketing President CARL HARRIS has joined the company's action sports division. Harris will be based out of L.A. and brings his current stable of clients including Japanese snowboarder AYUMU HIRANO and two-time U.S. Open of Snowboarding champion KAZU KOKUBO. Harris served as Ookii Co Athlete Management & Marketing president for the past three years. Harris also spent three years as VP of business development at VAS Entertainment (IMG). ... Former India leg-spinner L. SIVARAMAKRISHNAN replaced TIM MAY as a players' representative on the Int'l Cricket Council Committee (THE HINDU, 5/6). ... The Int'l Paralympic Committee has named Vice Chair TODD NICHOLSON Athletes' Council Chair through '17 (IPC). COACHES: Second Bundesliga club SC Paderborn has fired head coach STEPHAN SCHMIDT after Sunday's 2-1 loss against Dynamo Dresden. The club's Youth Academy Head RENÉ MÜLLER will take over as interim coach (SID, 5/5). ... Pro12 rugby side Leinster has appointed MATT O'CONNOR as its new head coach, replacing JOE SCHMIDT, who will "leave the job to take over as Ireland boss after this season" (BBC, 5/6).
Bayern Munich President ULI HOENEß offered to step down temporarily from the office of chair of the supervisory board until the relevant authorities come to a decision on whether his voluntary self-disclosure exempts him from penalty. Hoeneß expressed regret about the matter and apologized to the board. Following intensive discussion, the FC Bayern Munich AG supervisory board agreed by mutual consent that Hoeneß should continue to exercise the office of chair of the FC Bayern Munich AG supervisory board. The supervisory board will continue to monitor the matter and will return to the subject once there are further developments (Bayern Munich). ... Scottish Premier League Motherwell striker MICHAEL HIGDON was "arrested hours after winning PFA Scotland Player of the Year." Higdon was "held in connection with an incident at a Glasgow nightclub" (TELEGRAPH, 5/6). ... Barcelona confirmed Monday that it "removed a banner in support of former coach PEP GUARDIOLA at the Camp Nou, 'for commercial reasons.'" A small white banner with "#ResPEPct" written in black was "displayed but then removed during Barca’s 4-2 win over Real Betis on Sunday evening." The club has confirmed that the banner was "taken down for commercial reasons, as it obscured an advertising banner for club sponsors Turkish Airlines" (FOOTBALL ESPAÑA, 5/6).
POLICE REPORT: Real Madrid player CRISTIANO RONALDO was involved in an incident with police early Sunday morning in Madrid's Cuzco Plaza that resulted in the arrest of an Atlético Madrid fan (EL PERIODICO, 5/5). ... Bangladesh's SHAKIB AL HASAN has been fined 75% of his match fee after pleading guilty to a Level 2 breach of the Int'l Cricket Council Code of Conduct during Zimbabwe's victory in the second One-day Int'l at Bulawayo, Zimbabwe on Sunday. Showing serious dissent at an umpire's decision, Shakib smashed his bat into his pad, and in the process nearly hit Zimbabwe wicketkeeper BRENDAN TAYLOR (ICC). ... Barcelona football coach TITO VILANOVA said that he will travel to N.Y. "for a short checkup on his throat after having a tumor removed last December" (AP, 5/5). ... Australian boxer SAM SOLIMAN said that his "B" sample of a recent doping test turned out negative and he "will appeal a nine-month ban he was handed in Germany" (AP, 5/2). ... Japan PM SHINZO ABE had to dispel suspicions Sunday that a Yomiuri Giants uniform he received as a gift at the People's Honor Award ceremony "was linked to his plan to weaken Article 96 of the Constitution." The jersey he received "bears the number 96." Shinzo: "The jersey number is in tribute to me being the 96th prime minister" (KYODO, 5/6). ... New Zealand cricketer DANIEL VETTORI and Sri Lankan cricketers MAHELA JAYAWARDENA and KUMAR SANGAKKARA are set to join a club of cricketers to play in six ICC Champions Trophy tournaments after they were named in their respective squads for the event to be staged in England and Wales from June 6-23 (ICC).