Amelie Mauresmo withdraws as France Davis Cup captain to coach Lucas Pouille

Amelie Mauresmo clenches her first in encouragement while France Fed Cup captain

Amelie Mauresmo has decided against taking over as captain of France’s Davis Cup team to instead coach compatriot Lucas Pouille.

The 39-year-old, who would have been France’s first female Davis Cup captain, had been appointed in June to replace Yannick Noah next year.

Mauresmo coached Andy Murray for two years and subsequently guided France’s women to the Fed Cup final in 2016.

Frenchman Pouille is currently ranked 32nd in the world.

The 24-year-old had reached number 10 in the world in March.

Two-time Grand Slam winner Mauresmo was the first woman to coach a leading male player when appointed by Britain’s Murray in 2014.

Noah led France to three Davis Cup victories during three spells as captain, with his latest tenure ending in November following defeat by Croatia in the final.

Pouille secured the third of those victories by beating Belgium’s Steve Darcis in the deciding singles match in 2017.

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Murray to use protected ranking to play Australian Open

Andy Murray

Andy Murray will use his protected ranking of world number two to gain entry to January’s Australian Open.

The Briton, 31, ended his season early to focus on making “big improvements”, having played in six events since returning from hip surgery in June.

He will join last year’s semi-finalist Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie in the field for the men’s singles.

Serena Williams will return to Melbourne for the first time since winning while pregnant in 2017.

The American reached the finals of both Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 and will attempt to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles victories.

Katie Boulter will make her debut in the main draw of the women’s singles, with Johanna Konta and Heather Watson the other British players to make the cut.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray, now ranked 259th in the world, has not played since losing to Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in the Shenzhen Open in September.

His protected ranking affords him direct entry in up to nine tournaments from the point he returned from 11 months out in June.

However, Murray will not be seeded in Melbourne.

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Becker drops bankruptcy immunity claim

Ex-tennis champion Boris Becker has dropped his claim to have diplomatic immunity from bankruptcy.

The three-time Wimbledon winner had said his appointment as a Central African Republic (CAR) diplomat gave him protection from any legal claims.

Declared bankrupt in 2017 over money owed to bank Arbuthnot Latham, he was being pressed for “further assets”.

After a hearing in London, Mr Becker abandoned his case and his bankruptcy has been extended indefinitely.

His withdrawal means a planned auction of his trophies and memorabilia will go ahead.

The conflict-ridden CAR is one of the world’s poorest countries.

It made Mr Becker a sport and culture attache to the EU in April 2018.

Mr Becker was declared bankrupt after Arbuthnot Latham claimed he owed them a large sum for more than two years.

At the time, he said: “This order relates to one disputed loan which I was due to repay in full in one month’s time.”

But a court registrar said Mr Becker gave the impression of “a man with his head in the sand”.

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Mr Becker became the first German to win Wimbledon when he did so at the age of 17 in 1985.

He won it again in 1986 and 1989 among the 64 ATP Tour titles he claimed during a 15-year career.

After his retirement he became a pundit for the BBC.

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Andy Lapthorne beaten by Dylan Alcott in Wheelchair Tennis Masters quad final

Britain's Andy Lapthorne

Britain’s Andy Lapthorne was beaten in the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters quad singles final as Australian Dylan Alcott won 3-6 7-5 6-4 in Florida.

Alcott, 27, beat Lapthorne to win 2016 Paralympic gold and again in the 2017 Australian Open final.

Lapthorne, 28, beat world number one David Wagner and Koji Sugeno in Orlando during the week but suffered a fourth Masters final defeat.

Alcott moves top of the world quad rankings, with Lapthorne up to second.

“This sport is so hard,” Lapthorne said. “I’ve tried so hard and I keep putting myself out there and it’s just not meant to be right now. I’ve just got to keep trying to get better.

“Credit to him, he came back. It was a great final, a great battle, a great match and a great spectacle for the quad division.”

Lapthorne revealed that following his semi-final win over Sugeno on Saturday, he watched television coverage of British heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury’s draw with Deontay Wilder in Los Angeles.

“I’ve taken inspiration from him and his battles and one of these days one of these finals is going to fall for me,” he added.

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Cilic beats Pouille as Croatia win Davis Cup final

marin Cilic and Croatia team

Marin Cilic beat Lucas Pouille in straight sets to secure Croatia’s second-ever Davis Cup title.

Cilic beat Pouille 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 to give them an unassailable 3-1 lead over hosts and defending champions France.

France had pushed the final into a third day after Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert won Saturday’s doubles rubber.

This is the final staging of the team competition in its current format before it changes next year.

Croatia last won the competition in 2005.

Cilic’s victory on Sunday meant the scheduled fifth match between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Borna Coric was a dead rubber.

Coric won his other singles rubber against Jeremy Chardy, while Chilic put Croatia 2-0 up by beating Tsonga.

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Davis Cup: France win doubles to trail 2-1 against Croatia

Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert

France kept their Davis Cup final hopes alive as Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert beat Croatian pair Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic.

The hosts won 6-4 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-3) at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.

Yannick Noah’s champions were 2-0 down after losing both of Friday’s singles.

But French open doubles champions Herbert and Mahut began the fightback, reducing the deficit to 2-1 and ensuring the last Davis Cup in its present guise will stretch into Sunday.

Victory for Croatia would give them their second Davis Cup crown in the final staging of the historic team competition before the format changes next year.

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‘Fruitful talks’ on single ATP Cup and Davis Cup competition

David Haggerty talks to Kosmos founder Gerard Pique

International Tennis Federation president David Haggerty is “confident” a revamped Davis Cup and the new ATP Team Cup can join forces to create a single tournament.

Haggerty says “fruitful talks” have taken place between the ATP and ITF after concerns were raised about a congested player schedule.

“At the heart of the problem is the calendar,” Haggerty said.

“Is there a way to collaborate and work together?”

The current Davis Cup format is getting an overhaul and being replaced by an 18-nation World Cup-style event to be held in Madrid in November 2019.

The ATP event, involving 24 international teams, will act as a curtain-raiser for the men’s 2020 season just six weeks later.

“We are all responsible for making sure the players have a flow throughout the season, so they can start and finish strong,” added Haggerty.

Germany’s ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev says he would be reluctant to play at the Davis Cup in late November and Tomas Berdych has also criticised the plans.

The ATP event has been backed by world number one Novak Djokovic, but he also said creating two “average events” would not be good for the sport.

France are currently hosting Croatia in the final of the last ever home and away Davis Cup.

The ITF agreed to reform the Davis Cup in August, with a $3bn (£2,34m), 25-year partnership agreed with Kosmos, the investment group founded by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique.

Haggerty said: “We had very productive meetings in London with the ATP, Kosmos, the ITF, the Grand Slams and the players to talk about what is the best thing to do for tennis.

“We will meet again in January to continue the dialogue.”

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Davis Cup: Borna Coric beats Jeremy Chardy to put Croatia 1-0 ahead

Borna Coric

World number 12 Borna Coric put Croatia 1-0 up in the Davis Cup final against hosts France after outplaying world number 40 Jeremy Chardy.

Coric broke serve in the first game and stayed in control to win 6-2 7-5 6-4.

France captain Yannick Noah sprang a surprise by opting for Chardy for the opening singles rather than Lucas Pouille, the highest-ranked player in his squad.

But the gamble backfired for the hosts who are bidding for an 11th win.

France will now hope Jo-Wilfried Tsonga can level the tie when he takes on world number seven Marin Cilic in Friday’s second singles match.

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Bracciali gets life ban for match-fixing, Starace also suspended

Daniele Bracciali and Potito Starace

Former top-50 player Daniele Bracciali has been banned from tennis for life after the Tennis Integrity Unit found him guilty of match-fixing.

His fellow Italian Potito Starace, who has retired, has been given a 10-year suspension for a similar offence.

Both players were also fined – Bracciali $250,000 (£195,500) and Starace $100,000 (£78,200).

They will both have the right of appeal through the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The TIU says both players were found guilty of two breaches of anti-corruption rules – one in relation to contriving the outcome of matches, and the other in connection with facilitating betting on matches.

The incidents occurred at the ATP 500 World Tour tournament event in Barcelona, Spain in April 2011.

Bracciali, 40, is ranked 100th in doubles and reached a career-best of 21 in June 2012. As a singles player, his highest ranking was 49 in May 2006.

Starace, 37, retired earlier this year with a career-best singles ranking of 27 in October 2007. His highest doubles ranking was 40 in June 2012.

He is prohibited from attending any sanctioned events organised or recognised by the governing bodies of the sport.

Both players were banned for life by the Italian Tennis Federation