Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 1st 2013 Contents A65
Tuesday, October 1, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
TORONTO---The 2016 NBA All-Star game
is coming to Toronto, and the Raptors are
looking to one of the music industry s
biggest stars to help revamp the franchise
in time for the festivities.
NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver
made the announcement yesterday, marking
the first time Toronto will hold the league s
Canadian rap star Drake and Mayor Rob
Ford were among those at the news con-
ference. The Raptors also announced that
Drake will be their "global ambassador" and
have a voice in the team s rebranding.
Tim Lieweke, president and CEO of Maple
Leaf Sports and Entertainment, said the team
is in the process of planning a major face-lift
that will include a new look and new colours.
Drake will be heavily involved in the effort,
which is expected to take the next two seasons.
"I m really out here with the people. I m
in touch with what they want to see," Drake
said. "I really just want excitement for this
team. I want us to be one of the biggest
teams in the league."
Lieweke called this the beginning of a
"new age" for the Raptors.
"This is a team and this is a sport that
is going to rock this city going forward," he
said. "Good days are coming and we couldn t
be more excited." But the Raptors have a
long way to go on the court. They haven t
made the playoffs since 2008.
"We have now a responsibility to grow our
basketball team so that it meets the momentum
of the All-Star game," new general manager
Masai Ujiri said. "We promise you in Toronto
that we re going to bring the best basketball."
Silver is optimistic the Raptors will turn
"By the time we come here for the All-
Star game there will be a winning tradition
in Toronto," he promised.
The NBA All-Star game will be held in
New Orleans in 2014 and in New York in
2015. The NHL played its All-Star game in
Toronto in 2000. The Toronto Blue Jays
hosted baseball s showcase in 1991.
Lieweke estimated that an NBA All-Star
game usually generates about $100 million
for the host city. But he predicted Toronto
will eclipse that, saying he and Drake have
been discussing making the festivities about
more than basketball and music.
"We re already talking about fashion,
we re talking about films, we re talking about
food, we re talking about all the things ...
that are the trademark of this great city,"
Lieweke said. (AP)
BEIJING---Defending champion Victoria Azarenka
was knocked out in the first round of the China
Open yesterday, losing 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to Andrea
Petkovic of Germany.
The second-ranked Azarenka double-faulted 15
times and was broken five times by Petkovic, who
reached the final here in 2011.
"I m very happy with my performance," Petkovic
said. "I was happy with my movement and my serve
for the most part, and I managed to get a lot of balls
back very deep and very strong. Parts of the match
were a really, really good level---some parts I lost a
bit of energy, but overall I m very happy."
It was the second tournament in row in which
Azarenka lost her first match, having been beaten
by Venus Williams in Tokyo last week.
"It was an awful match and a very bad performance
from me, so there s not much to say about it," Azaren-
ka said. "It happens once, twice a year to every player,
and it happened to me today (yesterday)."
Also yesterday, eighth-seeded Jelena Jankovic rallied
for a 1-6, 6-4, 6-0 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Former No 1-ranked Jankovic had lost three of her
four previous matches against Pavlyuchenkova and
didn t start well in Beijing, but recovered to break
her opponent three times in each of the second and
third sets. The 28-year-old Jankovic, who won the
title here in 2008, took control of the match as her
opponent struggled with her first serves and dou-
ble-faulted nine times.
Jankovic s compatriots Ana Ivanovic and Bojana
Jovanovski joined her in the second round with easier
straight-set victories. Ivanovic defeated Flavia Pennetta
of Italy 7-6 (9), 6-1 while Jovanovski took just 77 minutes
to dispose of Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-3, 6-2.
In the doubles, wild-card entries Serena and Venus
Williams wasted chances to win before losing 6-7
(3), 6-4, 11-9 in a Champions tiebreaker to Liezel
Huber and Taiwan s Chan Hao-ching. Serena Williams
double-faulted on match point to hand her opponents
the win, and then angrily slammed her racket against
the court three times before tossing it to the side.
In the men s draw, Australian Lleyton Hewitt
knocked out seventh-seeded Tommy Haas of Ger-
many 7-6 (6), 6-3 in the first round. Australia s
Bernard Tomic, Fabio Fognini of Italy and Philipp
Kohlschreiber of Germany also advanced. (AP)
TOKYO---Second-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga needed
four match points to beat Gael Monfils 6-3, 7-6 (8)
yesterday to advance to the second round of the
Tsonga fired 11 aces and didn t drop a service game
in the match to improve his record to four wins in
five tour-level matches against his French compatriot.
After Tsonga got the decisive break of the first set in
the second game, the second set went with serve
until the tiebreaker.
Monfils rallied from a 5-1 deficit to level the tiebreak-
er at 5-5, then fought off three match points before
Tsonga sealed the victory.
"I started well and played offensively," Tsonga said.
"I know this is the only way for me to beat Gael."
Tsonga began the year strongly, reaching the quar-
terfinals at the Australian Open and the semifinals
at the French Open.
After finishing runner-up to Andy Murray at
Queen s, however, Tsonga was forced to retire with
a knee injury in the second round at Wimbledon and
did not enter the US Open as a result.
"I have not played much in the last two or three
months, so it will take me time to adjust," said Tsonga,
adding that was cramping near the end of the match.
In other first-round action, sixth-seeded Nicolas
Almagro of Spain beat German qualifier Benjamin Becker
7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) and Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine
defeated Daniel Brands of Germany 6-3, 6-1. (AP)
Toronto to host 2016
NBA All-Star game
Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Uriji, left, Canadian recording artist Drake, centre,
and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment President and CEO Tim Leiweke pose with
jerseys after the announcement that the Raptors will host the 2016 NBA All Star game at
a news conference in Toronto yesterday. AP PHOTO
Azarenka in Beijing
in Japan Open
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