Garbine Muguruza Named Tournament Director of 2024 WTA Finals Riyadh

Garbine Muguruza may be retired from professional play, but she hasn’t left the tennis world.

The 30-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan former professional tennis player, a former Wimbledon and French Open champion, has been named the WTA Finals tournament director, making her the first ex-player to take the helm of the season-ender, which will be held in Riyadh from this year.

Garbine MuguruzaEarlier in 2024, Riyadh secured a three-year deal to host the season finale that features the top eight singles players and doubles teams, replacing last year’s hosts in Cancun, Mexico.

Muguruza will work with the WTA, the Saudi Tennis Federation and Ministry of Sport on strategic planning and delivery, as well as helping grow the profile of tennis in the Middle East, the elite women’s governing body said.

“I feel very privileged to be able to contribute to the future of this great sport,” Muguruza said in a statement. “I know how special this event is for our top players and I’ve also seen its potential to inspire communities all over the world.

“I’m excited to work with a great team to present a showcase for women’s tennis that not only grows tennis but encourages all fans, and especially girls and women, to pursue their dreams.”

The former world No. 1, who won the French Open in 2016, Wimbledon in 2017 and the WTA Finals in 2021, retired at age 30 in April.

This year’s WTA Finals will run from November 2-9.

Saudi Arabia has invested heavily in sports such as soccer, Formula One and golf in the past few years while critics accuse the kingdom of using its Public Investment Fund to “sportswash” its human rights record.

The country denies accusations of human rights abuses and says it protects its national security through its laws.

WTA chief Steve Simon said last year that Saudi Arabia presented “big issues” as a host for women’s tour events but also acknowledged the progress it had made and continued to engage with players before the WTA Finals deal was struck.

There had also been pushback from tennis greats Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, who said the WTA’s values were in contrast to those of Saudi Arabia.

Rafael Nadal to Play in “6 Kings Slam” Exhibition Event in Saudi Arabia

Rafael Nadal is headed to the Middle East this fall.

The 37-year-old Spanish professional tennis player, the former World No. 1, is set to play in an exhibition event in Saudi Arabia in October, the kingdom’s latest move into tennis.

Rafael NadalNadal will be joined by Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, new Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner, Daniil Medvedev and Holger Rune in what’s being touted as the “6 Kings Slam” in Riyadh.

All but Rune have won at least one Grand Slam title. Djokovic holds the men’s record with 24, followed by Nadal with 22. Alcaraz has two, and Sinner and Medvedev one apiece.

Nadal was recently announced as an ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation.

The ATP men’s tour moved its annual tournament for leading players who are 21 and under to Jedda, and the WTA women’s tour is in negotiations to put its season-ending championship in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has pumped huge amounts of money into sports, such as soccer, Formula One, boxing and golf, with critics accusing the country of using its Public Investment Fund to engage in sportswashing over its human rights record, including the treatment of women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The kingdom denies accusations of human rights abuses and says it protects its national security through its laws.

Carlos Sainz Teams Up with Justin Thomas to Claim First-Ever Netflix Cup Trophy

Carlos Sainz is celebrating his Netflix and thrill moment…

The 29-year-old Spanish racing driver, who currently competes in Formula One for Scuderia Ferrari, and pro golfer Justin Thomas teamed up to win the first-ever Netflix Cup, a crossover event featuring PGA TOUR players and F1 drivers competing in an eight-hole scramble.

Carlos Sainz, Netflix CupThe first-of-a-kind event was held Tuesday at Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas.

The duo hoisted the Cup together in the post-match ceremony, with Thomas then drinking from the Cup. Then Sainz had his turn, and he dropped the trophy, which broke.

Thomas and Sainz defeated the tandem of Tony Finau and Pierre Gasly in the closest-to-pin contest on the final hole after the four-team field was cut in half following eight holes of match play.

The competition qualified as silly at times, but the spectators lining the course to watch seemed to find it entertaining.

A number of celebrities were on hand for the event, which also included controversial topics.

Protesters, apparently representing PETA, came onto the course to demand that F1, with parent company Liberty Media, cut ties with the Iditarod dogsled race in Alaska.

While golf was the designated sport, it was far from any typical round.

There were plenty of antics with the golf itself. For instance, on the first tee, four golfers teed off at the same time and then raced to their golf carts, following the designated “race course” onto the fairway to get to their balls. Golfers raced to get to the green and to see who could arrive fastest, locate their golf balls and then putt amid the mayhem on the greens.

As part of the race to get to the greens, golfer Rickie Fowler was driving the cart with F1 driver Lando Norris as the passenger.

The other team was Max HomaAlex Albon. Finau was credited with the competition’s first birdie.

This competition was a prelude to the weekend’s Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix.

This was Netflix’s first live airing of a sports event.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Ends Max Verstappen’s Winning Streak with Singapore Grand Prix Victory

Carlos Sainz has put an end to Max Verstappen‘s record-breaking run of victories…

The 29-year-old Spanish racing driver, currently competing in Formula One for Scuderia Ferrari, won a tense Singapore Grand Prix to end Verstappen’s record-breaking run and Red Bull‘s hopes of an unbeaten season.

Carlos SainzSainz drove a tactical masterclass in the final laps, keeping Lando NorrisMcLaren close enough that he had use of the Drag Reduction System (DRS) overtaking aid to keep charging Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton at bay.

In a dramatic finish, on the final lap Russell crashed out while chasing Norris to hand the final podium spot to Hamilton.

Sainz’s win was his second in F1 and Ferrari‘s first since his teammate Charles Leclerc won the Austrian Grand Prix on July 10 last year.

In the time since, Red Bull had lost only one race, when George Russell won the Brazilian Grand Prix in November.

Sainz’s victory ended Verstappen’s record run of 10 wins in a row as the huge pace advantage Red Bull had all year disappeared under the lights of Marina Bay.

Verstappen had to settle for fifth position, his first race off the podium this year.

What had been a quiet contest exploded into life in the final 10 laps.

Russell and Hamilton had been brought into contention when Mercedes used a Virtual Safety Car on Lap 45 of 62 to bring both drivers in for fresh tyres when the others did not.

The pace advantage saw them quickly catch the lead three cars, but after both got by Leclerc with relative ease, Russell was unable to get past Norris, who was always within one second of Sainz.

When told how close Norris was behind at one stage, Sainz told Ferrari: “Yeah, it’s on purpose.”

F1’s rules allowed him use of the DRS overtaking aid, and the speed boost it gave Norris on the straights was enough to keep the McLaren driver ahead, which he did with some good defending driving four laps from the end.

Having failed to get by Norris on a couple of occasions, Russell then clipped the inside wall and went straight on into the barrier on the final lap.

That promoted Hamilton to third and Leclerc to fourth in the other Ferrari.

Verstappen finished fifth, extending his huge championship lead over Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, who finished eighth.

Verstappen is now 151 points clear; a win Sunday would have given him the chance to wrap up the title in Japan next week. Instead, the earliest he can do it is October 8 at the Qatar Grand Prix. Red Bull has utterly dominated the season and will hope the race at Suzuka is business as usual.

Alpine’s Pierre Gasly was sixth, ahead of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri.

Liam Lawson continued his impressive start to life in F1, scoring the first points in his career in ninth.

Lawson is expected to drive again at the Japanese Grand Prix, with Daniel Ricciardo still not ready to return to racing after breaking a hand in a crash ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix. 

Kevin Magnussen managed to snatch a point for Haas to reward the team for a strong weekend that had seen both cars start inside the top 10.

Carlos Sainz to Compete in All-Star Match Preceding Upcoming Ryder Cup

Carlos Sainz is swinging into a new sport…

The 29-year-old Spanish racing driver, currently competing in Formula One for Scuderia Ferrari, will step out of his race car and onto the golf course.

Carlos SainzSainz will compete in an All-Star match preceding the upcoming Ryder Cup outside Rome. 

Sainz, Novak Djokovic and soccer players Gareth Bale and Andriy Shevchenko are among those named to compete in the September 27 event by Ryder Cup Europe.

“I can’t wait to tee it up in Rome and experience the incredible atmosphere of a Ryder Cup, which has become legendary,” said Djokovic, a 23-time Grand Slam champion who is currently competing at the US Open.

Actress Kathryn Newton and Super Bowl champion Victor Cruz were also included on the teams that will be led by former Ryder Cup captains Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin.

The Ryder Cup will be held from September 29-October 1 at the Marco Simone course.

At the 2022 British Grand Prix, Sainz took his maiden Formula One pole position and career win. He has ended up on the podium 16 times.

Carlos Sainz Claims First Career Formula One Victory at British Grand Prix

Carlos Sainz has found the winning formula

The 27-year-old Spanish racing driver has claimed his first Formula One victory ahead of Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton at a rollercoaster and action-packed British Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz,The race, one of the best of the season so far, included a dramatic crash at the start which saw Zhou Guanyu‘s car flipped over tire barrier, protesters forcing their way onto the track on the opening lap and championship leader Max Verstappen dropping down the order with a damaged car.

Sainz’s chances of a first win appeared to have completely disappeared at two different points in the race, first after a big mistake at Becketts and then after he obeyed a team order to let teammate Charles Leclerc through on Lap 32 of 52.

A late Safety Car and race restart 10 laps later provided a perfect opportunity for Sainz to reclaim the lead and scamper away with the win as an unbelievable finish unfolded in the battle for second behind him between Perez, Hamilton and Leclerc.

“Yes! We did it! Yes! Vamos!” Sainz shouted over the radio after crossing the line, securing his first win in 151 F1 attempts.

Home favorite Hamilton had looked in a perfect position to challenge the Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz for his first victory of the season until that Safety Car deployment and immediately lost position to Perez at the restart.

An epic battle for second and third then unfolded between Perez, Hamilton and Leclerc, featuring multiple position changes and some aggressive driving from all three drivers.

On lap 48, Perez forced Leclerc wide at the final corner, allowing Hamilton up into second. Several corners later, Perez forced Hamilton wide to reclaim the position and the Mercedes driver fell behind Leclerc.

Leclerc turned in some incredible defensive driving to keep Hamilton at bay for as long as he could in the closing stages but in the end could not do anything about the major tyre disadvantage he had been left with at the Safety Car restart.

For Hamilton it was his second visit to the podium in two races and a clear sign of the progress Mercedes has made in recent races.

Leclerc had to settle for fourth position, having lost a rare opportunity to make a bigger dent in Verstappen’s championship lead.

Verstappen finished seventh after holding off Haas’ Mick Schumacher in the run to the finish line.

Verstappen still holds a healthy lead in the championship, 34 points ahead of teammate Perez and 43 ahead of Leclerc.

Sainz’s win moved him ahead of George Russell, who did not finish, and into fourth position in the title fight.

The events of the first 10 seconds of the race set the tone for the dramatic afternoon which followed.

Alfa Romeo rookie Zhou Gaunyu was vaulted into a terrifying barrel roll at Turn 1 which left his car upside down in the tire barrier and prompted a red flag race suspension.

Zhou had been tagged by the Mercedes of George Russell, who in turn had been hit by Pierre Gasly‘s AlphaTauri.

Russell’s race ended in the gravel trap at Turn 1, while Alex Albon was also spun into the wall at Turn 1.

Gasly was later spun around by teammate Yuki Tsunoda.

All those incidents opened up a perfect opportunity for Haas to bounce back from a deflating Saturday which had seen both drivers eliminated in Q1, as Schumacher finally claimed the first F1 points of his career.

An emotional Schumacher apologized to Haas after finishing after swearing over the radio as he celebrated the finish.

Teammate Kevin Magnussen claimed the final points paying position of the afternoon in 10th.

Pitbull’s Trackhouse Entertainment Group Launches NASCAR Cup Series Program for International Drivers

Pitbull is revvin’ things up…

Trackhouse Entertainment Group, a venture of former driver Justin Marks and the 41-year-old Cuban American Grammy-winning rapper, has launched a program that will field a NASCAR Cup Series entry for renowned international drivers.

PitbullPROJECT91 could make Trackhouse a destination spot for global stars eager to compete in America’s most popular racing series.

PROJECT91 will enter the No. 91 Chevrolet Camaro at least once during the current Cup season and has plans to expand the program in future years. The first driver and race will be announced soon.

Trackhouse Racing, a division of Trackhouse Entertainment Group, currently fields cars for Daniel Suárez (No. 99) and Ross Chastain (No. 1) in the Cup Series.

IndyCar, the American open-wheel series, has become a popular destination for former Formula One drivers. NASCAR has a heavily American roster of drivers and has not seen a similar influx for its stock cars, but Marks said he believes his team has now “opened the door for global champions while beginning the process of scaling into an internationally recognized racing brand.”

“I truly believe the NexGen car represents an opportunity for NASCAR to enter the global professional motorsport conversation,” Marks said. “We now have a race vehicle with international technological relevance where world-class drivers from other disciplines can compete at NASCAR’s highest level without the steep learning curve that the previous generation cars required.”

Egan Bernal Wins Giro d’Italia Title

Egan Bernal is celebrating a special vittoria

The 24-year-old Colombian rider Egan Bernal appears to have put his back problems behind him on Sunday as he claimed the Giro d’Italia title, adding his Tour de France win.

Egan Bernal

Bernal, who won the Tour de France in 2019, safely maintained his advantage on the final day’s time trial to Milan. As tradition dictates, he was last off the ramp and the Ineos Grenadiers rider had an overall lead of almost two minutes.

Bernal completed the 30.3-kilometer route in 35 minutes, 41 seconds to clinch the overall victory by 1:29. He pumped his hands above his head as he crossed the line in front of Milan’s famous cathedral.

“It’s difficult to realize what I’ve done. I have just won a Giro d’Italia. I have no words after what happened in these two years,” said the 24-year-old Bernal, who has struggled with a lingering back injury that forced him to abandon last year’s Tour.

Damiano Caruso was second overall, with Simon Yates completing the podium. Yates finished 4:15 behind Bernal.

Bernal had worn the leader’s pink jersey since claiming it by winning the ninth stage with an attack on the summit finish. And, along with his team, he brilliantly defended it along the rest of the route to Milan, where he lifted the impressive Trofeo Senza Fine.

“Yes, finally, this is my second Grand Tour [win],” Bernal said. “I think in this moment I look calm but inside I am exploding with happiness. I’ve already won the Tour and now the Giro.

“It is my first Giro, and it was very special, the way we rode, the way I returned to being a player after nearly two years without good form in a Grand Tour. So, I think it’s special.”

There were hundreds of fans in Milan’s Piazza Duomo celebrating Bernal’s victory, many waving Colombia flags and wearing shirts of the country’s soccer team.

Bernal’s teammate, Filippo Ganna, won the individual time trial despite a late puncture after the Italian’s closest rival, Remi Cavagna, crashed with about 600 meters to go.

“When I see the puncture, I think, ‘Ah, today unlucky, I lose the race’,” Ganna said. “I changed the bike really well, really fast, like a Formula One race, and then when I crossed the line I think, ‘OK, now will win Cavagna,’ because he’s a really good rider, really good time trial.

“In the end when I see his crash, I think, ‘OK, we have played with the same cards, I puncture and he’s crashed,’ and the result I think is the same without my puncture and without his crash.”

Ganna was the favorite to triumph on the 21st and final stage. He won the opening time trial in Turin and all three time trials in last year’s Giro as well as another stage.

Ganna took the lead with a time of 33:48, but his chances of winning seemed precarious as he lost about 20 seconds when he was forced to change bikes after the puncture.

Cavagna looked set to beat his time but the French time trial champion appeared to lock up his brakes at a corner and flipped over his bicycle as Ganna watched from the leader’s hot seat.

Cavagna got up unhurt and finished second, 12 seconds behind Ganna.

Edoardo Affini was third, a second further back.

“As a team, we brought home a beautiful result,” Ganna said. “Egan Bernal did something wonderful that has been built over these last three weeks.

“We worked hard to keep Egan always at the front of the peloton … And to arrive today with the pink jersey and celebrate tonight all together I think is a dream of every team.”

Juan Pablo Montoya to Race for Arrow McLaren SP at Next Year’s Indianapolis 500

Juan Pablo Montoya is heading back to the track…

The 45-year-old Colombian racing driver, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, will return to the iconic event next year driving for Arrow McLaren SP.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Montoya last raced the Indy 500 in 2017. He won “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” as a rookie in 2000 and again 15 years later to give him a pair of victories in five career Indy 500 starts.

The announcement that he’ll drive a third entry for Arrow McLaren reunites Montoya with McLaren, the team for which he drove in Formula One in 2005 and 2006.

“I’m very excited to be joining Arrow McLaren SP for the Indianapolis 500,” Montoya said. “I have some great history with McLaren from my F1 days and I’m looking forward to making some more at next year’s Indianapolis 500.”

Montoya will be teammates with Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, the full-time IndyCar drivers for Arrow McLaren. Montoya will be paired with veteran engineer Craig Hampson at Indy.

“Arrow McLaren SP is thrilled to have a driver of Juan’s caliber join the team for next year’s Indianapolis 500,” said Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt. “His experience will elevate the entire team, including our young, talented lineup of Pato and Felix.”

Montoya has won in F1, CART, IndyCar, IMSA and NASCAR and has championships in CART and IMSA.

Fernando Alonso to Drive for McLaren at This Year’s Indy 500

Fernando Alonsois back in the race…

The 38-year-old Spanish race car driver will race at this year’s Indy 500 with McLaren‘s new IndyCar team.

Fernando Alonso

It’ll be Alonso’s third attempt to win the famous race, the final part of a ‘Triple Crown,’ which includes the Monaco Grand Prixand Le Mans 24 Hours. He has won both the other events on two occasions.

Were Alonso, who won the Formula One World Championshipin 2005 and 2006 for the Renaultteam, to achieve the feat, he would become just the second driver to do so, following Graham Hill‘s success in the 1960s.

Alonso drove for McLaren’s Formula Oneteam on two occasions, in 2007 and an infamously uncompetitive stint between 2015 and 2018. He stepped away from F1at the end of the latter spell and is yet to return.

“I am a racer and the Indy 500 is the greatest race in the world,” Alonso said.

“I have maximum respect for the race and everyone who competes in it, and all I want is to race against them and give my best.”

Alonso attempted to win the Indy 500 with a poorly-managed McLaren entry last year. A catalogue of errors culminated in the two-time F1 champion failing to qualify for the event.

He fared better on his debut in the race in 2017, qualifying fifth and leading a chunk of the race until an engine issue ended his race prematurely.

McLaren has stepped up its involvement in the series, entering a full-time outfit called SP Arrow McLaren for 2020. Alonso will partner the team’s full-time drivers, Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew, for the event.

Alonso will race the team’s Chevrolet-powered car, having been blocked in his attempts to race for aHondaoutfit. 

Alonso was scathingly critical of the Japanese manufacturer during his final stint at McLaren and it has since decided he will never race one of their cars — he since won the Le Mans 24 Hours and World Endurance Championshipwith Toyota, a Honda rival.