Team New Zealand received a multimillion dollar loan from its main rival, Alinghi syndicate head Ernesto Bertarelli, before agreeing to challenge for sailing's 2007 America's Cup, the New Zealand Herald reported Saturday. \nGrant Dalton, Team New Zealand's general manager, said the loan was interest free and had "no strings attached." \nDalton refused to disclose the amount involved, but said Bertarelli made the loan to ensure the most competitive syndicates challenged for the Cup off Valencia, Spain in three years. \nBertarelli's "motive was to ensure that Team New Zealand competes at Valencia because, in his view, the regatta would lose some of its appeal without us," Dalton was quoted saying. "It would be like holding the [soccer] World Cup without Brazil." \nBertarelli, an Italian-Swiss biotech billionaire who formed the Alinghi syndicate in 2000 and poached then Team New Zealand skipper Russell Coutts, is reportedly a close friend of Dalton. \nAlinghi dismissed Coutts last week, accusing him of violating his employment contract. The record-breaking skipper has expressed an interest in returning to Team New Zealand. \nAlinghi became the first European team to win the Cup in 152 years when it beat Team New Zealand 5-0 in the 31st Cup match in March last year. \nTeam New Zealand was wavering over its participation for 2007 before signing a substantial sponsorship deal with Dubai-based Emirates Airlines in June. The loan from Bertarelli was made just before the sponsorship deal was completed and allowed New Zealand to confirm funding for a challenge. \nDalton said the loan had been made by Bertarelli personally and had not come from Alinghi. \n"It's a no-strings-attached deal which means it's a money deal," Dalton told the Herald. Bertarelli, "has no involvement in any shape or form in Team New Zealand. It's a completely arms-length deal." \nDalton took charge of Team New Zealand last year, saying it would not take part in the 2007 Cup unless it could secure enough funding to be fully competitive. \nIt's participation at Valencia was in serious doubt until the Emirates deal, worth an estimated NZ$35 million (US$22.3 million) was struck. \nThe leading syndicates at the 2003 Cup had budgets of up to US$90 million.
After a week of storms ashore, Ineos Team UK won one of two races sailed in a shifting breeze yesterday to raise the faint hint of a comeback in the America’s Cup Challenger Series final against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli. As racing resumed after a week’s delay, Luna Rossa won the fifth race of the Prada Cup final by 1 minute, 20 seconds to lead 5-0 in the first-to-seven series. Faced with the possibility of match point, Team UK expertly called the shifts to win the second race by 14 seconds and keep the series alive after six races. Two races today are
Women’s golf star Michelle Wie West ripped former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani over objectifying comments in telling a podcast story about her from a 2014 fundraiser. Giuliani, who also served as a lawyer for former US president Donald Trump, spoke on the War Room podcast of political strategist Steve Bannon about paparazzi taking photos of Wie West when her underwear was briefly visible as she stood over a putt. Giuliani, who played alongside Wie West and the late radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, called the tale a joke, but Wie West was more disgusted than amused in referencing the
‘INTIMIDATING’: Andy Murray said that players on the ATP Tour face a difficult challenge going from semi-finals to facing 17-time Grand Slam winners in a final Naomi Osaka’s Australian Open championship moved her up one spot to No. 2 in the WTA rankings on Monday, while men’s finalist Daniil Medvedev rose to a career-best No. 3 behind winner Novak Djokovic on the ATP list as Andy Murray said that the “young guns” on the men’s tour have not closed the gap on the “Big Three.” Jennifer Brady, the 25-year-old American who was the runner-up to Osaka, jumped 11 spots to No. 13, her first time inside the top 20. Aslan Karatsev’s historic run from qualifying to the final four before losing to nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic allowed
OVERCOMING DOUBTS: Although Osaka said that she felt intimidated by Williams, the 23-year-old managed to leave her rival stranded at just 23 Grand Slam titles Naomi Osaka yesterday said she was mentally stronger than ever after emphatically ending Serena Williams’ latest bid for a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam crown. The Japanese third seed swept past the American veteran 6-3, 6-4 to reach the Australian Open final in front of thousands of fans after Melbourne lifted a snap five-day lockdown. She faces Jennifer Brady tomorrow for a fourth Slam title after the American beat Czech Karolina Muchova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. “I think for me, match experience definitely helped me out,” said Osaka, who reeled off five games in a row in the opening set after going 2-0 down. “There was