NBA to get ‘Taiwan Day’
The Tourism Bureau is to co-organize a “Taiwan Day” event with the Houston Rockets National Basketball Association (NBA) team in the US later this year as part of efforts to promote Taiwan’s image, officials said. The event could take place as soon as April at the Toyota Center, the home stadium of the Rockets, the officials said. On the day, banners bearing the slogan “Taiwan — The Heart of Asia” will be displayed at the stadium. The organizers will jointly launch a bobblehead doll of Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin, the first NBA player of Taiwanese descent, and a towel printed with the logos of the Rockets and Taiwan. It will be the first “Taiwan Day” within the NBA, although the bureau has co-hosted similar events with several Major League Baseball teams annually, including the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2009 and the New York Mets since 2005. Last year, the theme lantern of the Taiwan Lantern Festival was taken to Dodger Stadium for display as part of “Taiwan Day” celebrations there.
Mathieu gets first win
French wild-card entry Paul-Henri Mathieu reached the second round of the Open Sud de France when compatriot Nicolas Mahut retired while trailing 6-1, 3-0 on Monday. Ranked 140th in the world, Mathieu earned his first victory in the main draw of a tournament this year to set up a meeting with top-seeded Richard Gasquet. Mathieu saved a break point in the opening game and went on to win five straight games for a 5-0 lead. Mahut made four double faults and won only nine of his 28 service points.
Federer joins Davis Cup
Former men’s world No. 1 Roger Federer tweeted on Monday he would play for Switzerland in their Davis Cup quarter-final against Kazakhstan in early April. The 32-year-old, for whom the Davis Cup remains one of the few major titles to elude him, played in last weekend’s 3-2 victory over last year’s finalists Serbia. “I will line up with my friends, captain Seve and STAN against KazakhSTAN in April,” Federer tweeted, referring to non-playing skipper Severin Lithi and his teammate and recent Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka. Federer, ranked eighth in the world, and Wawrinka, ranked third, should have more than enough firepower to beat Kazakhstan — who edged Belgium in their first-round tie — in the quarter-final which takes place in Switzerland from April 4.
Scotland’s Maitland out
Scotland winger Sean Maitland has been ruled out of Saturday’s Six Nations Championship match — doubling up as the Calcutta Cup — at home to England after suffering concussion and a right-leg injury. Maitland came off during the first half of last Sunday’s opening defeat by Ireland. “He will be subject to further investigation today at Spire Murrayfield hospital and will be assessed later by consultant surgeon Graham Lawson,” Paul McGinley, Scottish rugby’s head of performance medical, said in a statement on Monday. Meanwhile, England wing Jonny May has been given the all-clear to play on Saturday. The Gloucester back lasted just nine minutes of England’s 26-24 defeat by France in their Six Nations opener in Paris last weekend before going off with a suspected broken nose. However, an England statement issued on Monday said the injury was not as severe as first thought.