Sports

Rafael Nadal is ready to play again. In America. On hard courts. Should he?
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Rafael Nadal is ready to play again. In America. On hard courts. Should he?

For more than a month, the smoke signals out of Rafael Nadal’s camp have kept the tennis world on its toes, sparking predictions of everything from a triumphant spring on the red clay of Paris to him never playing another competitive match following yet another hip injury in Australia in January. The only thing that seemed clear was that the 22-time Grand Slam champion was prioritizing the clay court season in Europe this spring. Nadal said as much in January when he returned following a year-long layoff because of hip surgery. Sure, he was happy to be back and competing in Australia, where he won the year’s first Grand Slam as recently as 2022, but he was singularly focused on being in top form — or, at least, as close as he can get to it at this point — in three months when the red clay ...
NFL Scouting Combine: What we’re following for all 32 teams in Indianapolis
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NFL Scouting Combine: What we’re following for all 32 teams in Indianapolis

Draft season kicks into high gear this week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis as teams will put prospects under a microscope during private interviews, news conferences and workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium.Quarterbacks always dominate conversations at the combine, and this year will be no different with USC’s Caleb Williams, North Carolina’s Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels expected to be among the first handful of picks come April. But a stellar wide receiver group, headlined by Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr., LSU’s Malik Nabers and Washington’s Rome Odunze, will also draw plenty of interest this week.Beyond the draft prospects, new head coaches, led by the Chargers’ Jim Harbaugh, and GMs, including the Commanders’ Adam Peters, will be in the spotlight. And the futures of quar...
Eli Manning’s popular ‘Chad Powers’ skit to be made into Hulu comedy series starring Glen Powell
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Eli Manning’s popular ‘Chad Powers’ skit to be made into Hulu comedy series starring Glen Powell

The name’s Powers. Chad Powers. And he’s coming (back) to a screen near you.Hulu ordered Eli Manning’s character “Chad Powers” to be made into its own comedy series, according to a company press release. Manning created and transformed into Powers for an episode of his docuseries “Eli’s Places” after Manning’s curiosity about the college football walk-on process led him to try out at Penn State under the pseudonym and disguise. With help from a special effects artist and Matthew McConaughey-like persona, Manning successfully tried out to be a Nittany Lion. He almost made it too, as Penn State assistants took a natural liking to the two-time Super Bowl champion before head coach James Franklin, the only person seemingly in the know about Manning’s true identity, outed Powers at the end of t...
Dani Alves – from 43 trophies to four years in prison
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Dani Alves – from 43 trophies to four years in prison

Dani Alves, who was this morning sentenced to four and a half years in prison in Spain after being found guilty of sexual assault, was, until very recently, one of global football’s golden boys.An exuberant, technical right-back, he was a major part of the Barcelona team that set new standards in the European game between 2008 and 2016. He played 126 times for Brazil and won 43 titles across his 22-year playing career — an astonishing number that makes him the second-most decorated footballer in history. Only Lionel Messi, his former team-mate at the Camp Nou, has more trophies to his name.That success, coupled with a relentlessly upbeat public persona, made Alves a hugely — almost universally — popular figure. It goes some way to explaining why his hearing, which took place over three day...
The fearless mindset of the Warriors’ Brandin Podziemski: ‘He’s got a delusion to him’
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The fearless mindset of the Warriors’ Brandin Podziemski: ‘He’s got a delusion to him’

SAN FRANCISCO — Nearly a year ago on the dot, Mike Dunleavy, the Golden State Warriors’ future general manager, and Kent Lacob, an ascending front office personnel voice, hopped in a car and made the quick 50 mile trip south to Santa Clara’s campus.They were primarily there to see Maxwell Lewis, the possible lottery pick out of Pepperdine. Lewis played fine. He’d eventually get selected 40th in the 2023 NBA Draft. But he wasn’t the best player on the floor. Brandin Podziemski, a 6-foot-4 guard who was only beginning to creep onto the draft radar, made every significant play to lead Santa Clara to victory. His 23 points mattered. But it was the 18 rebounds that had Dunleavy’s and Lacob’s antennas up.“Mike and I walked out of the game like, ‘Um, that guy might be a first-round pick,'” Lacob ...
‘His legs have gone’: Unpicking the four words no footballer wants to hear
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‘His legs have gone’: Unpicking the four words no footballer wants to hear

Last season, it was a Brazilian midfielder at Liverpool. This season, it’s been his international team-mate at Manchester United.“I think Casemiro’s legs have gone,” Jamie Carragher told the Covering Liverpool podcast in October. “I noticed it last season at Anfield and I didn’t like what I saw. It took me back to watching Fabinho last year for Liverpool. I want to be the first to say it (about Casemiro). I don’t want to say it when everyone else is saying his legs have gone.”Regardless of who said what and when, Carragher — who played for Liverpool until he retired at age 35 — is not a lone voice in this debate, and Fabinho and Casemiro are far from the only players singled out for seemingly having lead in their boots.Any footballer over the age of 30 who is struggling for form leaves the...
Does the PGA Tour have a juice problem, and will Sunday solve it?
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Does the PGA Tour have a juice problem, and will Sunday solve it?

LOS ANGELES — It was all going to be so perfect. It had stars. It had records. It had one of the most beautiful stages in all of sports in prime time. It was supposed to be the PGA Tour’s big day.Two weeks ago up in Pebble Beach, Wyndham Clark shot a third-round 60 to break the historic course’s record and take the lead at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The tour couldn’t have drawn up a better Sunday — in theory. It was the off week before the Super Bowl, meaning it practically had the sports calendar to itself. It made the tournament a signature event, meaning one of golf’s most iconic venues had all the best players on tour competing. And suddenly it had the reigning U.S. Open champ — the star of the new season of golf’s Netflix show, “Full Swing” — Clark going into a Sunday duel with...
Intensity, alter egos and ‘Benjamin Button’: Dan Hurley’s quest to become king of two in a row at UConn
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Intensity, alter egos and ‘Benjamin Button’: Dan Hurley’s quest to become king of two in a row at UConn

STORRS, Conn. — It is 1 p.m. on a dismal January afternoon and, aside from a few managers, Gampel Pavilion is empty. The Connecticut players have finished reviewing film but have yet to shuffle in from the practice facility across the street. Dan Hurley stands a few steps behind halfcourt. He’s wearing gray sweats, a hoodie, a UConn beanie and a pair of reflector sunglasses. He would like it noted that he wore the sunglasses “way before Coach Prime.’’Hurley starts launching halfcourt shots, cursing under his breath when the first few attempts clank off the backboard or, worse, airball short of the basket entirely. The Huskies stream in, clomping down the stairs to the court, and Hurley, still in his getup, keeps shooting.Finally, the ball swishes through the net and Hurley shouts, to no on...
Kylian Mbappe is leaving PSG: Thank god that’s finally over
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Kylian Mbappe is leaving PSG: Thank god that’s finally over

Ice ages haven’t lasted as long as this.Kylian Mbappe to Real Madrid… it has been a thing for about a decade at least.The Athletic was not even in existence when the pair began courting each other. Twitter was still fun (and called Twitter), Taylor Swift hadn’t heard of American football and the closest thing we got to a global pandemic was from watching Contagion.It has been an inexorably long saga, the very worst kind of transfer saga in fact, with endless posturing, incessant lies and spin and thousands upon thousands of stories claiming that it is finally happening.Well now, once and for all, it surely is. Mbappe will leave PSG and you’d have to assume that next season, he will play in the Bernabeu (assuming another club doesn’t have the opportunity to pip them and he ends up at, say, ...
How Maple Leafs staff helped save a rec-leaguer from a skate cut to the throat: ‘I thought I was going to die’
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How Maple Leafs staff helped save a rec-leaguer from a skate cut to the throat: ‘I thought I was going to die’

It was inside the Toronto Maple Leafs dressing room that Ike Werner first allowed himself to believe he was going to survive.After having his throat cut accidentally by a skate blade during a Sunday afternoon rec league game at the NHL team’s practice facility earlier this month, a terrifying experience turned surreal when the 37-year-old looked over and saw Maple Leafs forward Nick Robertson receiving treatment in an adjacent room.“That was my visual,” Werner told The Athletic. “Him being worked on.”Werner had taken note of the luxury cars behind the gated section of the parking lot when he pulled into Ford Performance Centre that afternoon. The Zamboni was resurfacing the ice earlier than usual, too, so he figured the Leafs had skated on Rink 2 before his “Prestige Worldwide” team faced ...