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first_imgThe last Grand Slam matches were at the Australian Open, which ended in early February. The French Open was postponed from May to late September, and Wimbledon was canceled for the first time since World War II.___More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditNEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Open tennis tournament (all times local):11:20 a.m.Grand Slam tennis is back in action for the first time in nearly seven full months as the U.S. Open gets started without spectators amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Latest: Grand Slam tennis set to resume at US Open in NY Associated Press center_img Angelique Kerber, the 2016 champion at Flushing Meadows, is facing Ajla Tomljanovic in the first match in Louis Armstrong Stadium.There are about 15 people, including reporters, scattered in the stands of an arena that holds about 14,000.The No. 1-seeded woman, Karolina Pliskova, will face Anhelina Kalinina later Monday in the first match in Arthur Ashe Stadium.Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka are scheduled to play at night.The professional tennis tours were on hiatus from March until August because of the COVID-19 outbreak. August 31, 2020last_img read more

first_imgHe is truly an A student with a difference.  For there are many like him who sailed through school with top academic   honors but are missing in action in life.  Not Joseph Mills Jones, who topped his classes from the time he entered school and sailed through Cuttington in three years;                    worked briefly at Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs; and got a fellowship to study  Economics and Econometrics (the Mathematics of Economics).  He returned   home the very next day after receiving his Doctorate—didn’t spend a day more in America doing other people’s business.  He wanted to serve his country, so returned to Planning.  Later he opted for broader international experience and got employed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), where he rose to the position of Senior Advisor to the Managing Director.  Dr. Jones then moved on to another senior post at the World Bank.  It was from there that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf tapped him to head the Central Bank of Liberia.After turning the Bank’s reserves from a meager US$5 million in 2006 to over US$300 million a few years later, Dr. Jones started reaching out to small business people, including marketers, savings and loans associations, credit unions and various cooperatives, empowering the small people throughout the country to improve their businesses and develop a better stake in the money economy.Now he has done it again.  In a speech last Tuesday, he made two major announcements: first, that the Bank’s Board of Governors, in response to the Ebola crisis that has turned the Liberian economy upside down, had decided to work with Rural Community Finance Institutions to take steps “to revitalize the rural economy.”   To do this, he announced four key measures: first, a six-month grace period to beneficiaries under the CBL microfinance program; second, recapitalization of some beneficiary institutions to restart and enhance economic activities of group members; third, the extension of new loans “to impact rural businesses;” and four, to withdraw the remaining funds from a bank he did not name and channel those funds through microfinance institutions—why?  This bank, like several others, was too slow in reaching out to the small business people in need, even though the money was CBL’s, not the bank’s.Governor Jones did two big things more in his speech: he declared that the Central Bank would offer a major “financial sector stimulus” in which the Bank would “reduce interest rates on existing stimuli with banks for Liberian businesses.”  Second, this visionary banker and his Board of Governors came up with another highly significant move that no one, not even the beneficiaries, were thinking about: the Bank would pay off “the outstanding loan obligations of all private schools, from kindergarten through high school.”  The Governor was not treading in the dark.  He said, “The commercial banks have already provided the CBL with the list of schools and the amounts involved.”The aim here, said Governor Jones, was to help out not only the schools, all of which have been closed due to the Ebola crisis and have consequently lost money, but also banks, which would have been under great strain servicing these bad loans.  The other, probably most important group at which this stimulus package is aimed is the parents.  The pressure of the schools on parents because the schools owed the banks so much will now be considerably reduced, giving   parents ample time to raise school fees.  Because of the CBL’s intervention, the schools themselves would be under far less pressure to increase fees at least for the coming semester.The CBL deserves high commendation and thanks for these timely moves, and most especially for what it has done to help the schools, the parents and the students. We hope that the private primary and secondary institutions in the country, in response to the CBL’s largesse, will refrain from increasing tuition and do everything they can to ease the pressure on the parents and students. The Ebola crisis has placed a great strain on every citizen and resident and we are all under tremendous pressure.  What a wonderful thing for CBL to reach out to where it matters most—the struggling private schools and the parents and students they impact.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgWhen did that change? “When I started playing for England. When you tell people you play for England, they go: ‘Ooh, she must be really good then.’ All of a sudden what was a negative reaction to me being a footballer became positive because I played for England. So I started to own it a lot more and embrace what I was doing.”After your first World Cup in 2007, you spoke out about England players being paid £40 a day for the five weeks they were at the tournament. Was that an outpouring of frustration?“It was about making people aware of the situation; of the fact that we make a lot of sacrifices to play for England. And to ask: ‘How are we going to change this?’ But it was also frustration at the fact football is a performance sport. If you do well, you should be rewarded. It’s not always about financial reward, but when you’re in a situation where players are losing out to represent their country, that’s not right. It doesn’t make sense. Players shouldn’t be financially worse off for representing their country – they should be financially supported.���Did your law studies mark you out as the team’s spokesperson on such things?“I’ve always been the one to be diplomatic but honest about the situation without trying to criticise anyone, because women’s football was at a stage – and still is, to an extent – where it doesn’t necessarily make a lot of commercial money in the same way as the men’s game. But it’s a chicken-and-egg situation. You have to pay players well to be professional, so that it can get to that point. It’s about the authorities and the FA realising that, and I think they do now. We are a lot better supported these days. We have central contracts and players can call football their job. All that started back then, though, when there was a greater awareness about it – as a team, we had to say certain things.”This will be your third World Cup, after China in 2007 and Germany in 2011. What are you expecting from it? “Just qualifying for China was amazing because it was the first one we’d been to in 12 years. And 2011 was a massive World Cup, because there were sell-out crowds. But I read that an estimated 400 million people are going to tune into this one, so in terms of women’s sport I think people are just more interested. By virtue of that, it’s going to be the biggest World Cup yet. Players are more professional now, too, so the parity is going to be better, even with some of the smaller nations. It will be the hardest one yet, but it’s a really exciting time for women’s football.” You weren’t surprised Powell was subsequently sacked, then? “I was, because it was such a big change after she’d been manager for 15 years. But I wasn’t surprised there was a recognition that there had to be a change, because the media pressure was huge. All eyes were on us and so, had there not been a change, I think there would have just been too many people waiting for another failure. That media pressure should be there, though. We represent England. If we’re not doing well, people have a right to say it needs to improve.”Have you had to get used to that increased scrutiny as the women’s game has gathered a greater following and received wider media coverage? “I wouldn’t call it scrutiny. I can still walk down the street and not feel like I’m on edge, which is something I don’t think a lot of male players would be able to say. In terms of what we do as role models, though, I think there is an awareness that has to come with being a female footballer now. The media don’t need any excuses to create a story about something, so we have to be aware of what we’re saying and what we’re tweeting. Other than that, it’s nice to be able to live normally and do what you love.”You made your senior debut for England more than a decade ago, in a 2-1 win over the Netherlands in 2004. Do you remember much about the experience? “I was 17 and I was so scared and nervous. I remember just kicking the ball away every time I got it. But I actually learned a lot from that experience because I was so disappointed with myself. It was a bit of a reality check for me to make sure that didn’t happen again, and that whenever I put on the England shirt I try to actually relax a bit and play football rather than being so terrified of the experience.”When you were growing up, what sort of reaction did you get when you told people you were a footballer?  “I was never ashamed of playing football, but I was always freaked out by people’s reactions. I never really knew how to communicate it. I found it easier to say I played tennis because there was Venus and Serena Williams, who were identifiable black females who I could relate to and people thought it made sense. When I said football, it just didn’t click for a lot of people.” 5 5 Chelsea star Eni Aluko This interview appears in the current edition of Sport magazine. Download the free iPad app from the Apple Newsstand, and follow on twitter @sportsmagukYou probably know the name Eni Aluko.You’ve probably seen her face plenty of times, too, for the Chelsea and England striker is one of the highest-profile female footballers in the country. Not too long ago that would have meant little. But now, Aluko and her England teammates head to the World Cup in Canada with names and faces familiar to more people than ever before. “I have noticed quite a sharp difference in terms of profile,” says Aluko when we meet at Chelsea’s Cobham training base. “Mostly because I’m very busy. If I’m not playing then I’m doing media stuff. But it’s nice to see that people want to know what female footballers have to say and hear our stories. Men’s football is everywhere you turn; you can’t get away from it. So people are crying out for new voices and new faces. Women’s football can provide that.”That Aluko’s voice has been so in demand is not surprising. A recently qualified lawyer, she delivers the same creativity and intelligence in conversation as she does on a football pitch – where she has become one of England’s brightest stars since making her senior debut at the age of 17. Now 28, and having been to two World Cups with England, Aluko will be one of the most experienced members of manager Mark Sampson’s squad when the Lionesses begin their campaign against France on Tuesday.  Aluko is acutely aware that the upsurge in fame for both her and the women’s game also increases the pressure on the team.“If we do well in Canada then the women’s game is going to sky-rocket even further than it has done,” she says. “But at the same time, if we don’t do well, we’ll get what happens in the men’s game where you are being hung out to dry in the press. We have to expect that and not think it’s going to be plain sailing. It’s added motivation for us to do well.” 5 5 England returned from their previous major tournament, the 2013 European Championships, having failed to win a single game – a performance that led to former manager Hope Powell being sacked. Two years on from that disastrous campaign, Aluko says much has changed. That claim will face a stern test from the first whistle of England’s campaign.England’s first game in Canada is against France – the same side that knocked you out of the 2011 World Cup quarter-finals on penalties. It’s not the easiest start…“It’s not, but I’m almost glad we’re playing France first because it’s like: ‘Welcome to the World Cup.’ It’s a big game. We know they’re an extremely technical team with incredible speed on the wings, and they have come so close in previous tournaments [that 2011 semi-final was their best performance] that I’m sure they’ll be really motivated and look to start off on a good foot against us. But I believe that, if we’re ready and prepared, we can win that game.”It will be England’s first major tournament under Mark Sampson. Can you compare the build-up you have had with when Hope Powell was in charge?“He’s very different in the sense that he’s rotated the squad a lot coming into the World Cup. A lot of other teams and nations will start playing their strongest XI in the build-up, but Mark hasn’t done that. He has kept players on their toes. There’s a lot of competition for places, but to win a World Cup you need everyone performing at their best. He’s a firm believer in utilising the squad for different games, knowing that different opposition pose different threats. I think that’s been the big difference in his preparation compared with Hope – everyone in the squad has played a lot of minutes.”Rotation didn’t hold you back in qualifying [England were unbeaten in ten matches, scoring 52 goals and conceding just one].“It was a fantastic campaign because, with a new manager, we had a lot to prove as players. He also had a style of play he wanted, which was very attacking. The way we qualified is going to put a lot of other teams on notice that we are able to play that way. We have been a bit more conservative in our past few games, but you’ve got to have a few strings to your bow going into a World Cup because it’s not going to be one-dimensional. There are many ways to win and we have to be ready for that.” Those performances were a world away from England’s display at the 2013 Euros in Sweden. What do you put that down to? “We were just in a very stagnant place as a team. Hope Powell was a very good coach, but other teams had sussed us out. We played the same way, with the same formation and the same players – and maybe some players were a bit complacent. They weren’t challenged in the same way they are now. Mark has brought in so many different players and has given young ones an opportunity. It makes other people hungry and creates healthy competition that brings the best out in people. I don’t think there was a lot of that going into 2013. But I think that [the Euros performance] had to happen for us to say: ‘Right, what do we need to do to get to the next level?’ Every team goes through that; it’s part of the modern game. You need new voices and to be pushing the boundaries and changing things.” 5 What sort of impact do you think it would have here if England do well in Canada?“It’s scary to think about it. In terms of fans coming to games, I like to think that it would be a hot ticket. That, after the World Cup, people will want to get season tickets to clubs, and turn out every week to watch England players in their local teams. There will be a lot of commercial money coming into the game and brands will start investing in the game. Clubs will hopefully invest more, too. The likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool have recognised that having successful women’s teams can only help their brand. Off the back of a successful tournament, I hope that investment increases, contracts get better, academies are built and young players can be paid better. All the things that come with success on the pitch.”No pressure then? [Smiles] “No pressure. But pressure is what we have to get used to. You can’t go into a World Cup expecting anything else.”last_img read more