Sat, Mar 14, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Sports Briefs

AGENCIES

■ TENNIS

Federer to be a father

Roger Federer said in a message posted on Thursday on his Web site that girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec is pregnant with the couple’s first child. “This is a dream come true for us,’’ the 27-year-old Federer said. “We love children and we are looking forward to being parents for the first time. Mirka is feeling great and everything is going well.” The baby is due sometime in the summer, he said. “We are so happy to be starting a family together,” said Federer, who met Vavrinec at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

■ SOCCER

Paraguayans slam insult

Paraguay’s Congress has condemned the use of the country’s flag by fans of Argentine side Independiente to insult rivals Boca Juniors during a match. “We want to express our total and utter repudiation at this discriminatory act against Paraguayans and Bolivians by a group of misfits,” said Congressman Victor Rios as members voted in favour of a motion to condemn the incident. Paraguayan and Bolivian flags with the number 12 marked on them were waved by Independiente supporters during the first division game in Buenos Aires on Sunday. Boca Juniors have traditionally enjoyed widespread support among the working class and their fan base is reputed to include substantial numbers of immigrants from Bolivia and Paraguay. Their supporters are often known as “the 12th man” or simply “12”. Rival fans use the terms Bolivian and Paraguayan as an insult. The president of the Paraguayan Football Association, Juan Angel Napout, said he considered the matter closed. “I don’t think that these few represent the majority,” he told reporters. Independiente have publicly condemned the supporters’ behavior.

■ TENNIS

Philippines wants tie moved

Philippine authorities have asked Davis Cup organizers to move the July regional playoff against Pakistan from Lahore to Manila due to fears of its players being attacked. Philippine Lawn Tennis Association vice president Randy Villanueva cited the March 3 attack on Sri Lanka’s cricketers in Lahore as evidence of the risk for sports team visiting Pakistan. “We asked them to be moved here to the Philippines because of the safety of our players and because of recent events in Pakistan, especially the cricket team of Sri Lanka getting attacked,” Villanueva said. Three leading Filipino players are dual US-Philippine citizens who Villanueva feared may be targeted because of their US passports. The association was awaiting a response from the International Tennis Federation, which shifted last week’s Pakistan-Oman tie to Muscat from its original venue in Lahore.

■ TENNIS

Black backs Zimbabwe

Retired Zimbabwean player Wayne Black, who made a surprise return to his homeland last week, has urged the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to help develop young talent in his country. “They [the ITF] can start by putting many tournaments here but they are obviously scared because of the situation here,” Black said. Black, who had been coaching in London since retiring from the doubles circuit in 2005, said he now intends to help develop players in Zimbabwe. Black admitted that coming back to Zimbabwe had not been an easy decision due to the economic and political strife in the country. “We thought about it. We were a little bit concerned. But I thought things were on their way up,” Black said.

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