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Sport shorts: Andy Murray to play at Australian Open grand slam and Mercedes will keep foot on the throttle in F1 title push

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Oct 8, 2019

Ten things from the world of sport on Tuesday 8 October

British tennis star Andy Murray had a hip resurfacing operation in January 2019

1. Murray set for Melbourne return

Organisers of the Australian Open have confirmed that Britain’s Andy Murray will make his return to grand slam singles tennis at next year’s tournament.

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Murray, who is continuing his recovery from hip surgery, has not discussed his participation at the event from 20 January to 2 February 2020, but the Australian Open tweeted: “Confirmed: @andy_murray will return to compete at the #AusOpen in 2020.”

World No.1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic will also be in the men’s singles draw with long-time rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

In a statement the Australian Open said: “Standing in the path of these AO giants is five-time finalist Andy Murray, who 12 months ago did not know if he would ever compete in singles again after a hip injury.

“Returning to the main draw with a protected ranking of No.2 and restored physical powers, Murray is just one of many fascinating storylines that will transfix the world when the first grand slam tournament of the season begins.”

2. Mercedes will keep foot on the title throttle

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says the Formula 1 championship leaders will “keep their foot on the throttle” at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Last time out in Russia Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas claimed a one-two for the Silver Arrows to end their run of three races without a win.

Wolff said: “Claiming a one-two in Sochi after three races without a win was a great feeling. We delivered a strong race in Russia, made the most of our opportunities and both Lewis and Valtteri drove flawlessly.

“We brought home 44 points, built the gap in both championships and are highly motivated to keep our foot on the throttle for the remaining five races.”

F1 2019 season guide: title standings after the Russian GP

3. Delph ruled out of England matches

Everton midfielder Fabian Delph will miss England’s Euro 2020 qualifying matches in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria this week.

The 29-year-old has withdrawn from the squad because of a hamstring injury but the Football Association says “no further replacements are planned at this moment”.

The Three Lions play in Prague against the Czech Republic on Friday 11 October and away in Sofia against Bulgaria on Monday 14 October.

4. Usyk opponent Spong returns adverse test

Oleksandr Usyk’s debut at heavyweight is in doubt after his opponent for Saturday’s bout, Tyrone Spong, returned an adverse doping test.

Promoter Eddie Hearn said: “We have reserve opponents standing by. We have been contacted by Vada [Voluntary Anti-Doping Association] to inform us that there has been an adverse finding in Tyrone Spong’s test. It has been sent to the State of Illinois commission.”

5. Billy Vunipola a doubt for French clash

England No.8 Billy Vunipola remains a serious injury doubt for the final Rugby World Cup pool C clash against France on 12 October.

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The 26-year-old was taken off with an ankle issue at half-time in the win against Argentina and has been wearing a surgical boot.

“He’s been in and out of the boot,” said attack coach Scott Wisemantel. “We rested him today [Tuesday] at training – at this stage he’s available for selection, but if there’s any doubt then we’ll rest him.

“We’ll make a call on Wednesday night on whether he’s fit to play or not.”

Rugby World Cup: England qualify but what about the other home nations?

6. Wenger turned down Premier League jobs

Arsene Wenger has revealed that he has turned down offers to manage Premier League clubs.

Speaking to Sky Sports the Frenchman said he was “too linked” to Arsenal, where he spent 22 years as manager.

Wenger said: “I decided to move out of the Premier League because I am too linked with Arsenal. I had opportunities to work in England but I turned them down.”

7. Corbyn’s plan for football

Football fans are to be given more power and influence over the way their clubs are run under new proposals put forward by Jeremy Corbyn.

The opposition leader said that a Labour government would make new laws that allow supporters the right to appoint – and sack – a minimum of two directors to their club’s board. And the party would legislate to ensure fans had the option to buy shares in their club when it changed hands.

“A football club is more than just a club, it is an institution at the heart of our communities,” said Corbyn.

8. Poch to wield axe as Lloris is ruled out

Mauricio Pochettino is planning to take an axe to his Tottenham Hotspur squad after their disastrous start to the season.

Ninth in the Premier League, knocked out of the Carabao Cup by lowly Colchester and annihilated by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Spurs are going through what The Times describes as a “turbulent” period.

Players who could be finding their way to the exit include Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Christian Eriksen.

Meanwhile, Spurs have been handed a further blow with news that goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is ruled out until the new year after dislocating his elbow during Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Brighton.

Tottenham set for January clear-out as Pochettino gets ruthless

9. Giles praises new head coach Silverwood

England director of cricket Ashley Giles says Chris Silverwood was the “outstanding candidate” in the recruitment process to find Trevor Bayliss’s successor as England’s head coach.

Giles said: “Chris demonstrated in his interview a clear understanding and strategy of how both the red- and white-ball teams need to evolve. He has some detailed thoughts on what it will take to win the Ashes in Australia and win major ICC white-ball tournaments.”

Has Chris Silverwood got the credentials to make England great again?

10. Is Ole losing it?

The Daily Mirror reports that Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is fighting to save his job and is losing the confidence of the hierarchy at Old Trafford.

Sunday’s woeful 1-0 defeat at Newcastle has left United 12th in the Premier League table, with the Red Devils suffering their worst start to a season for 30 years.

Today’s back pages: Solskjaer fights to save Man Utd job

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