Iga Swiatek continued her remarkable winning run to reach the Internazionali d'Italia final as she defeated Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 6-1.

Top seed Swiatek extended to 26 matches unbeaten, dating back to mid-February, with victory over Bianca Andreescu to set up the last-four meeting with Sabalenka, who battled past Amanda Anisimova.

The pair exchanged opening breaks in a tentative start to the clash in the Italian capital before Sabalenka again failed to hold her serve as Pole Swiatek took an early 3-1 lead.

World number eight Sabalenka, the third seed in the tournament, offered little response as the in-form Swiatek then claimed the first set with ease.

Sabalenka was again caught cold and had no answer as world number one Swiatek raced out the blocks in the second set, breaking twice via marathon rallies, to gain a 4-0 lead.

Swiatek swiftly wrapped victory up, despite a short medical time out for her opponent, and has now won all three of her WTA Tour encounters with Sabalenka in 2022, conceding just 12 games in the process.

Meanwhile, in the last 25 years only Serena Williams in 2013, Kim Clijsters in 2003 and Martina Hingis in 1998 have reached the final in Rome with fewer games dropped than Iga Swiatek this season (17).

The 20-year-old Swiatek continues on her quest for a fourth straight WTA 1000 crown and fifth consecutive title and in the final will face either Ons Jabeur or Daria Kasatkina, who face off later on Saturday.

Klay Thompson said it felt "so special" to lead the Golden State Warriors into the Western Conference Finals after the Dubs got the better of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Playing close to his best, Thompson shot 11-of-22 from the field for a 30-point game, nailing eight of 14 attempts from long range in a 110-96 win in Game 6 of the semi-finals.

After clinching the 4-2 series success, the 32-year-old Thompson said it was a joy to be contributing on a high level again.

Major knee and Achilles injuries have seriously disrupted the career of one of the NBA's finest shooting guards, who won championships with the Warriors in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Thompson finished the regular season with four 30-point-plus games in his last six outings, but he had managed just one such high-scoring performance in 10 of the team's postseason games until coming good on Friday night.

Speaking in an on-court ESPN interview, Thompson said: "I just tried to focus on the present, and I was thinking about the last couple of years and what the team has been through and what I personally have been through, and to have another closeout game at Chase Center it gave me butterflies.

"I was nervous all day, but I just had so much fun tonight, and I'm proud of this team for being so resilient."

The Warriors became the first team in NBA history to make 20-plus three-pointers and grab 70-plus rebounds in a single game, regular season or postseason.

Now they wait for the winner of Sunday's Game 7 between the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns.

The Western Conference Finals await, and the Warriors have not reached that stage since 2019, when they went one step further by sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers to reach the NBA Finals.

Thompson suffered an ACL injury in the Game 6 championship series-ending loss to the Toronto Raptors, forcing him to miss the entire next campaign.

His perspective on reaching the latter stages of the playoffs has changed with experience.

"I know that became routine in the 2010s for the Dubs, but that's a special, special opportunity," Thompson said. "We do not take that lightly. We're going to kick our feet up the next couple of days, watch this Suns-Mavs Game 7 and get the popcorn ready, but it's so special.

"I'm going to enjoy tonight, and I'm going to be hungry when that time comes because you can't take it for granted, nothing's guaranteed in sports."

Jayson Tatum said forcing a Game 7 in Boston "means everything" after he scored a game-high 46 points to carry his Boston Celtics to a 108-95 win in Game 6 against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Tatum shot 17-of-32 from the field and seven-of-15 from long-range for his 46, while Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo had 44 points and 20 rebounds, becoming the first player since Shaquille O'Neal over 20 years ago to put up 40-and-20 in a playoff game.

Unlike Antetokounmpo, Tatum had strong support from his teammates, with Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart combining for an efficient 43 points, while Al Horford collected team-highs in rebounds (10) and blocks (four).

After a disappointing Game 5 showing at home, Tatum told reporters post-game that the timid performance was lingering in their memories, determined not to make the same mistakes.

"[The Game 5 comeback] was in the back of our mind… it's something we talked about," he said.

"We felt they beat us on 'winning' plays – hustle plays, 50-50 balls – they were tougher than us in the fourth quarter of Game 5. 

"I think just how much it stung – losing like that. Everyone had a bad taste in their mouth.

"That was in the back of my mind, it was in the back of everyone's minds. Our season was on the line, we knew that, and we had to dig deep and give everything we had. 

"[But] we were upbeat, we weren't defeated – knowing we still had an opportunity to save our season by coming in here and getting a win, and we believed that, we truly did. We believed in each other, and I think that showed tonight."

Touching on the Bucks and what makes them so good, Tatum emphasised their unity and cohesiveness, with everyone buying into their roles.

"They're a great team," he said. "I think everyone over there knows their role, and everyone is a star in their role – they compliment each other really well. 

"They're well-coached, they run great sets, and they're not going to beat themselves. They've done it before, and we know that, so coming into the series we knew it wasn't going to be easy – by no means – whoever wins was going to have to earn it.

"I was excited to play today – Game 6, you know, this is a big moment. For all of us, for myself and the team and how we would respond. 

"Losing Game 5 was going to make us or break us, and I think we showed a lot of toughness and growth coming out here and getting a win on the road and giving ourselves a chance."

Tatum was all smiles at the thought of Game 7 heading back to Boston, saying this is what competitors dream of.

"It means everything," he said. "It's the best atmosphere in the NBA, and Game 7s are the biggest and best games.

"I'm looking forward to it, truly… this is it, do or die. 

"This is going to be fun – it's supposed to be fun, it's basketball."

Florida Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette said his side's fighting spirit was key in a series comeback against the Washington Capitals, culminating in Friday's 4-3 victory in overtime.

It was the Panthers' third straight win after falling down 2-1 in the series, and Game 6 was closely contested throughout.

After a scoreless first period, Nic Dowd opened the scoring for the Capitals, before Ryan Lomberg answered straight back to keep things at 1-1 heading into the last frame.

Nicklas Backstrom put the home side back in front, but the 'Comeback Cats' would not lay down, with Claude Giroux and Aleksander Barkov giving the Panthers a 3-2 lead.

In the closing stages, after the Capitals had pulled their goalie to get an extra attacker on the ice, T.J. Oshie found the equaliser to send the crowd into raptures and force overtime.

But this was the Panthers' night, and Carter Verhaeghe slotted the golden goal less than three minutes into the extra period to win the game and seal the series.

It is the first time the Panthers have won a playoff series since 1996, and Brunette said the performance epitomised their season.

"I think it's what we saw all year – the resiliency of the group," he said.

"People will say we're the 'Comeback Cats' – I'm not sure that's what I see – I see a group of guys that get hit, and they don't fall down, and they start hitting back. 

"They showed that throughout the whole series, they showed it tonight. 

"We gave up a late goal – it was a heart-breaking moment that could really affect you and can kill momentum – but again, we took the punch, we stood up, and we started punching back. It epitomises the whole season for us."

Asked if finally getting an elusive series win takes the pressure off his players, Brunette said he hopes it is the case.

"I hope [the series win takes the monkey off the Panthers' backs] – especially for the guys that have been here for a while," he said.

"It probably feels really good, because they put a lot of pressure on themselves – probably too much – throughout the course of the series. They were able to find a way and pull through it.

"I think as the series went on I felt they loosened up a little bit. We were a little nervous at home the other night, but they found their mojo and got going. 

"These things – you've got to go through them a few times to really get the feel of it. You have to have heartbreaks, you have to have things not go your way, to find out how hard it is, and understand it, and be resilient. 

"When you see the reward like they did tonight, it's all worth it."

The Boston Celtics survived a historic performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo as Jayson Tatum scored 46 points to carry his side to a 108-95 win, tying the series at 3-3 and forcing a Game 7 in Boston.

Antetokounmpo became the first player since Shaquille O'Neal over 20 years ago to eclipse a playoff stat-line of 40 points and 20 rebounds, finishing with 44 points on 14-of-30 shooting, going 14-of-15 from the free throw line and an even 20 boards. He also added six assists, two blocks and one steal.

But Tatum was matching him every step of the way on the offensive end, shooting 17-of-32 from the field and seven-of-15 from long range, with nine rebounds and four assists to go with his 46.

It was a game that the Celtics controlled from the second quarter, restricting the Bucks to 17 points in the frame to grab a 10-point half-time lead, and although the home side made runs, Boston had all the answers.

The Bucks were a one-man show, but the Celtics had a number of solid contributors as Jaylen Brown shot seven-of-16 from the field and four-of-seven from deep for his 22 points, while Marcus Smart shot eight-of-16 and five-of-nine from beyond the arc for his 21.

Al Horford finished with just two points, but had a game-high four blocks and a team-high 10 rebounds as he made Antetokounmpo battle all day inside, while Derrick White also chipped in with 30 important minutes off the bench, complimenting the stars perfectly.

Jrue Holiday and Pat Connaughton were the only other Bucks to score more than six points as Milwaukee shot 40 per cent from the field and 24 per cent from three (seven-of-29).


'Game 6 Klay' returns to clinch series 

The Golden State Warriors booked their trip to the Western Conference Finals with a 110-96 win in Game 6 of their series against the Memphis Grizzlies, advancing with a 4-2 margin.

To the Grizzlies' credit, without Ja Morant, they stayed competitive through three quarters, before a 32-19 final frame for the Warriors put the game to bed.

While most Warriors players rose to the occasion, none played better than Klay Thompson, who lived up to his glittering reputation in Game 6s with 30 points, shooting 11-of-22 from the field and eight-of-14 from long range.

Stephen Curry added 29 points on 10-of-27 shooting, adding seven rebounds and five assists, while Andrew Wiggins was strong on both ends, scoring 18 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking three shots.

After being bullied on the interior in Game 5, the Warriors re-injected Kevon Looney into the rotation, and he collected a game-high 22 rebounds in 35 minutes, while Draymond Green had 14 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists.

The Warriors will play the winner of the Game 7 showdown between the Phoenix Suns and the Dallas Mavericks.

It was a rare joyous day at the ballpark for Detroit Tigers fans on Friday as future Hall-of-Famer Miguel Cabrera put on a show in their 4-2 home win against the Baltimore Orioles.

There was also a glimpse into the future of the franchise as their brightest young talents came through in big spots.

Cabrera, 39, brought home the game's first run with an RBI double in the third inning, before he doubled his side's advantage when he connected with his second home run of the season from his next plate appearance in the sixth inning.

Later in the sixth inning, exciting 25-year-old Puerto Rican Willi Castro made it 3-0 with his own RBI double, before one of the top prospects in all of baseball, Spencer Torkelson, drove Castro in to make it 4-0.

The Orioles threatened a comeback in the eighth frame as Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander hit a pair of solo home runs, but that would be all as Will Vest came in to collect the save.

It was a great starting pitching performance from Eduardo Rodriguez, who was the Tigers' big off-season signing from the Boston Red Sox, going six complete innings while giving up five hits and four walks for no runs.

Rodriguez has not allowed any more than four runs in any start this season, but this was the first time he was credited with a win, despite it being officially his third 'quality start'.

 

Big-swinging Yankees stay hot

Having their best start to a season since 2003, the New York Yankees banked another win with a 10-4 road victory against the Chicago White Sox.

On the back of a strong start by ace pitcher Gerrit Cole, striking out nine while giving up three runs in six-and-a-third innings, sluggers Joey Gallo, Aaron Judge, Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton all hit home runs in a devastating demonstration of power.

The win moves the Yankees' league-best record to 24-8. The eight previous times they have had at least 22 wins from their first 30 games, which was the case this season, they have gone on to make the World Series.

Angels debutant pitches a gem

Chase Silseth became the second pitcher in Los Angeles Angels history to go six full innings and allow one or fewer hits in his major league debut as his side shut-out the Oakland Athletics 2-0.

The 21-year-old rookie also gave up just two walks for three total baserunners, while striking out four.

He joins Rudy May, who accomplished the feat in April 1965.

After being released by the Cleveland Browns, wide receiver Jarvis Landry has signed with the New Orleans Saints.

Landry, 29, has the third-most receptions and fourth-most targets in the entire NFL since his arrival in 2014.

Drafted in the same year as arguably the best receiver in the league, Davante Adams, Landry has 19 more catches (688 to 669) and 33 more targets (1,045 to 1,012) in just seven more career games (123 to 116).

The five-time Pro Bowler has spent the past four seasons with the Browns after playing his first four years with the Miami Dolphins, but his production tailed off badly in 2021, posting career-lows in games played, targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns as the Browns sputtered.

Landry joins a receiver group in New Orleans consisting of new first-round draft pick Chris Olave, and 2019 Offensive Player of the Year Michael Thomas, who missed the entire 2021 season with a serious ankle injury but is expected to be back in action at the start of the 2022 campaign.

The Saints also boast one of the best running backs in the NFL in the form of Alvin Kamara, and with quarterback Jameis Winston returning from a torn ACL, new head coach Dennis Allen may have the makings of a well above average offense.

It is a homecoming for Landry, who grew up in Louisiana and attended Louisiana State University.

Felix Auger-Aliassime proved no match for Novak Djokovic, who looks well set to claim his first title of 2022.

It has been a frustrating season to date for the Serbian, who reached a final in Belgrade last month before being beaten by rising star Carlos Alcaraz in Madrid earlier in May.

Yet with Rafael Nadal out of the picture, Djokovic is the clear favourite heading into the Internazionali d'Italia semi-finals, after he beat Auger-Aliassime 7-5 7-6 (7-1) on Friday.

The win not only tees up a semi-final against Casper Ruud, who saw off Nadal's conqueror Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (9-7) 7-5, but also ensures Djokovic will spend a 370th week at the top of the ATP rankings, after he slipped below Daniil Medvedev in the live standings.

Djokovic will add 360 points to his total for reaching the last four, and he now has a milestone 1,000th Tour-level win in his sights when he takes on Ruud for a place in the final. The 34-year-old has won a record 37 Masters 1000 titles so far in his career, including five in Rome.

"I thought it was high-level tennis," Djokovic said. "[Auger-Aliassime] did ask me to raise the level and I had to play consistently well.

"I thought I could have finished the job earlier, but credit to him for fighting back. 

"I know Felix well. He's been around the top of the men's game for quite a few years. He's got a lethal serve, honestly. He's hitting his spots in the box incredibly well with the serve, and it was not easy for me at all to return.

"He's also returning well, he's moving well. He's a very complete player."

The other semi-final will see second seed Alexander Zverev, who beat Cristian Garin 7-5 6-2, take on Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Greek Tsitsipas overcame Jannik Sinner 7-6 (7-5) 6-2, becoming the first player to reach 30 wins on the ATP Tour in 2022.

"We have similar game styles but he is one of the most difficult players to play against on the Tour," Tsitsipas said, previewing his clash with Zverev.

"I have a lot of respect for him. He has achieved a lot so far and I try and look up to him with the things he has achieved."

Phil Mickelson will not defend his PGA Championship title after withdrawing from the competition, which takes place next week.

Mickelson has not played since February after he decided to take a break from professional golf following the backlash to his controversial comments over the Saudi Arabia-backed Super Golf League – now officially called the LIV Golf Invitational Series. 

The 51-year-old, who became the oldest major winner in history when he triumphed the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island last year, said Saudi Arabia has "a horrible record on human rights", but added he was willing to commit to the league as it was "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates". 

Mickelson apologised for his comments, but his hiatus from the sport saw him miss the Masters for the first time in 28 years.

The six-time major winner was expected to feature at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, after he was included in the final field, yet tournament organisers confirmed on Friday that Mickelson had opted out.

"We have just been informed that Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the PGA Championship," a statement on the PGA Championship's official Twitter channel read.

"Phil is the defending champion and currently eligible to be a PGA Life Member and we would have welcomed him to participate. We wish Phil and Amy the very best and look forward to his return to golf."

Mickelson, along with several other golfers, has requested a release from the PGA Tour to compete in the LIV Golf Invitational Series, which is due to start next month, though it was not confirmed that he would definitely play in the first event in London.

The PGA has, however, declined those release requests.

Iga Swiatek's superb form continued as she overcame another grand slam champion in the form of Bianca Andreescu to reach the last four of the Internazionali d'Italia.

Swiatek, who will be aiming to regain the French Open title she won in 2020 when she heads to Roland Garros later this month, has won 26 matches on the bounce after a 7-6 (7-2) 6-0 triumph over Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion.

The 20-year-old Pole has now won all nine of her matches since she became world number one following Ash Barty's retirement in March. 

That makes her part of an exclusive club, with only Justine Henin (in 2004) and Victoria Azarenka (in 2012) having achieved that feat in the 21st century.

Swiatek's winning streak also matches Azarenka's 2012 sequence as the fifth-longest this century. Henin and the two Williams sisters are the only players to have won more consecutive matches since the start of 2000.

"Being in that kind of group is like a dream come true for me," said Swiatek, who has won 38 of her past 39 sets since her fourth-round match at the Indian Wells Open.

"I wouldn't think of that when I was younger. I'm pretty happy that I could do that because consistency was the thing I really wanted to work on last year. This year I feel like it clicked."

The only player to have beaten Swiatek in a tour-level quarter-final to date is Maria Sakkari, at Roland Garros last year, but the Greek saw victory slip from her grasp against Ons Jabeur.

Sakkari led 6-1 5-2 against the Tunisian, yet Jabeur rallied remarkably to claim a first career win against a top-five opponent on clay, prevailing 1-6 7-5 6-1.

After winning the Madrid Open last week, Jabeur has now won 10 straight matches, while she has claimed 16 victories on clay in 2022, leading the way on the WTA Tour.

While Jabeur will face world number 23 Daria Kasatkina, whose opponent Jil Teichmann retired when 6-4 3-2 down, Swiatek will go up against third seed Aryna Sabalenka.

Amanda Anisimova had not lost to Sabalenka in four previous meetings over the past three years, but her luck ran out as she went down 4-6 6-3 6-2.

Lev Grinberg, a 14-year-old Ukrainian amateur golfer, became the second-youngest player to make the cut at a European Tour event after shooting a brilliant 69 at the Soudal Open.

The teenager carded 70 in his opening round on Thursday on his first appearance at a European Tour event and followed that up with another superb display on Friday to make the cut tied for 29th position in Belgium on three under par.

Guan Tian-lang, at the 2013 Masters, is the only player to have made the cut at a European Tour event at a younger age (14 years and 169 days).

After his fine showing on Thursday, Grinberg had said: "I enjoyed myself out there. I played pretty good."

In 2021, Grinberg advanced to the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open, and he would have become the youngest player to feature in a men's major championship.

However, his second round was suspended due to weather and Grinberg subsequently withdrew to compete at a junior tournament in Florida.

Lev Grinberg, a 14-year-old Ukrainian amateur golfer, became the second-youngest player to make the cut at a European Tour event after shooting a brilliant 69 at the Soudal Open.

The teenager carded 70 in his opening round on Thursday on his first appearance at a European Tour event and followed that up with another superb display on Friday to make the cut tied for 29th position in Belgium on three under par.

Guan Tian-lang, at the 2013 Masters, is the only player to have made the cut at a European Tour event at a younger age (14 years and 169 days).

After his fine showing on Thursday, Grinberg had said: "I enjoyed myself out there. I played pretty good."

In 2021, Grinberg advanced to the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open, and he would have become the youngest player to feature in a men's major championship.

However, his second round was suspended due to weather and Grinberg subsequently withdrew to compete at a junior tournament in Florida.

Koen Bouwman hailed the work of Jumba-Visma team-mate Tom Dumoulin after securing his first Grand Tour victory on stage seven of the Giro D'Italia.

The maglia rosa of Juanpe Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) and blue jersey of Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) led the early stages of the 196km race to Potenza on Friday.

Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious) then took charge through the 30km incline of Monte Sirino, the longest climb in the race, but the expertise Dumoulin and Bouwman came to the forefront from there on in.

Bouwman won the largely uncontested intermediate sprint before Dumoulin did much of the defensive work to keep Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) and Bauke Mollema (Trek–Segafredo) at bay.

Dumoulin, who finished fourth to boost his general classification hopes, could be seen mirroring Bouwman's celebration as he crossed the finish line, with Mollema beating Formolo to second place.

Victory also marked Jumbo-Visma's first stage win at the Giro in three years, and Bouwman highlighted Dumoulin's efforts.

"It's unbelievable, I can't believe it," Bouwman told reporters. "It was such a hard day. We were in the final with four riders and two of us. Tom did a superb job in the last 2km.

"I was feeling good all day. One time on the climb I was in trouble but I came back and actually I was confident for the sprint.

"It was steep but when I started to sprint I felt so much power left. I looked behind with 50 metres to go and saw I had a big gap – perfect."

Meanwhile, Lopez retained the maglia rosa for another day and maintained his 38-second lead over Kamna after finishing safely in the peloton.

FLYING DUTCHMEN

For the first time in history, the Netherlands had three riders – Bouwman, Dumoulin and Mollema – in the top four places in a stage of the Giro d'Italia.

STAGE RESULT  

1. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) 5:12:30
2. Bauke Mollema (Trek–Segafredo) +0:02
3. Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) same time
4. Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) +0:19
5. Davide Villella (Cofidis) +2:25

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS   

General Classification  

1. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) 28:39:05
2. Lennard Kaemna (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:38
3. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +0:58

Points Classification

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 147
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 94
3. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) 78

King of the Mountains  

1. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) 68
2. Lennard Kaemna (Bora-Hansgrohe) 43 
3. Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious) 27

Amir Khan has announced his retirement from boxing aged 35, just under three months after losing to long-time rival Kell Brook.

Former unified light-welterweight world champion Khan was stopped by 36-year-old Brook in the sixth round of their grudge match in Manchester back in February.

Brook subsequently called a day on his boxing career after the all-British bout, and Khan strongly hinted at retiring in the immediate aftermath of the defeat.

The unbeaten Albanian Florian Marku was floated as the next potential fight for Khan, but the 35-year-old has decided to hang up his gloves with a professional record of 34-6.

"It’s time to hang up my gloves. I feel blessed to have had such an amazing career that has spanned over 27 years," Khan posted on Twitter on Friday.

"I want to say a heartfelt thanks and to the incredible teams I have worked with and to my family, friends and fans for the love and support they have shown me."

He accompanied the post with pictures from his greatest nights in the ring, with images from victories over Mexican icon Marco Antonio Barrera, Argentina's Marcos Maidana and American Devon Alexander.

Khan remains one of the youngest world champions in British boxing history, having won the WBA title at the age of 22, while he is Britain's youngest boxing Olympic medalist after claiming lightweight silver in 2004, aged just 17.

Tyson Fury is still training despite claiming to have retired says his trainer SugarHill Steward, who commented that boxers often return to the sport after hanging up the gloves.

Steward was in the corner when Fury delivered a brutal sixth-round knockout of Dillian Whyte in front of a packed Wembley Stadium to retain his WBC heavyweight title in April.

Either side of the all-British fight, Fury repeatedly stated his desire to retire and maintained his career was over after remaining unbeaten in 33 fights.

Fury has since declared he is "very happy" out of the ring after the WBC stated it wanted clarity over the world heavyweight champion's future, and Steward has no problems with his fighter stepping aside.

"For me it was very simple. It was like 'okay, that's what you want to do? That's fine'," Steward told Sky Sports.

"Tyson came to me and wanted to win the Deontay Wilder rematch, I helped him do that, I was okay with that. Now his decision to retire I'm happy to help him with that too.

"We barbeque, we take trash out to the tip, we just live regular right now. He still trains, he still works out, it's something he loves to do, I'm happy with his decision and for him to be able to be with his family and spend time with them.

"This man has been working his whole life doing that to have his family be a part of that. Being able to take care of them, do things and have adventures with them. I'm very happy for him.

"It's just his choice. There's something inside his brain, his head telling him to retire. I have to respect that 100 per cent."

Steward also suggested the ongoings of securing fights behind the scenes helped Fury make his mind up, but would not rule out a potential return.

"There are a lot of fighters that have been retired and come out of retirement," he continued. "There are a lot of fighters that have been retired and stay retired. It's just up to Tyson Fury, I stand by his decision.

"For him being retired I'm happy because that's what he wants. I know a lot of the retirement has to do with not getting the fights he wants and it's really mentally challenging to be offered fights and go through negotiations for fights and then for them to fall through at the end.

"These things happen to many fighters around the world. You wouldn't expect it to happen on this big stage but it does happen and it's something fighters have to deal with.

"We on the outside sometimes don't understand that. We just say 'if he gets the fight he'll come back', it's not as easy as being on the outside going through what happens on the inside.

"But it's the sport he loves so much, and it's hurting him like that. Those things have to be taken into consideration and respected."

If Fury was to return, a unification clash with the winner of the rematch between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk would be the next likely fight.

However, there remains talk of a crossover fight with UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and Steward acknowledged the potential behind such a bout.

"I would call it entertainment. It's entertainment, you have somebody from one sport having it with somebody from another sport," he added. "There's a lot of 'oohs' and 'aahs' and wondering who would and who wouldn't.

"It's entertainment. There are fans out there that want to be entertained and that's part of it. You can bring these two guys who are top of different sports coming together, it's exciting."

James Harden cannot be expected to consistently dominate NBA games but could have shown more aggression as the Philadelphia 76ers were knocked out of the playoffs, team-mate Joel Embiid said.

According to Embiid, a team-wide lack of aggression cost the 76ers as a 99-90 loss to the Miami Heat spelled the end for their season.

After being bounced out of the Eastern Conference semi-finals, much of the attention turned to Harden's quiet game.

He had just nine shots and scored only 11 points in almost 43 minutes on court, taking a mere two shots in the second half.

Embiid, who had a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds, said the 32-year-old Harden cannot be compared to the player who averaged above 30 points for three consecutive seasons with the Houston Rockets from 2017-18 to 2019-20.

Harden was the NBA MVP in 2018, but his points on the board have begun to tail off in the past two seasons.

Since joining Philadelphia in February 2022, after a stint with the Brooklyn Nets, Harden has averaged 21.0 points over 21 regular season games, and just 18.6 points per game in the postseason.

Harden's field-goal shooting record of 40.5 per cent over the Sixers' 12 playoff games was his lowest in the postseason since the 2013-14 season.

"Since we got him, everybody expected the Houston James Harden," said Embiid. "But that's not who he is anymore. He's more of a playmaker. I thought, at times, he could have been, as all of us could have been, more aggressive. All of us, whether it was Tyrese [Maxey] or Tobias [Harris] or guys coming off the bench.

"And I'm not just talking about offensively. I'm talking about as a whole, offensively and defensively. I didn't think we were good defensively as a team.

"They took advantage of a lot of stuff that we tried to do defensively. And then offensively just really everybody being on the same page, obviously, only having probably three or four months to all work together and try to figure it out. Maybe it wasn't a lot of time. I don't think we played our best basketball."

Lakers legend Magic Johnson was among those to question Harden's display, saying such a player "can't have a performance like that".

The 76ers won the last of their three NBA titles in 1983 and have not landed a conference title since 2001.

Asked how he and Harden could forge a stronger understanding, Embiid told a news conference: "Everybody's got to get better. It's not just about me and him."

Questions will be asked of Doc Rivers and the 76ers coaching staff, but Embiid said the players must look at themselves.

"I believe that we have the right people, but at some point you have to stop looking at coaching and you have to look at the players. Maybe you are just not good enough," Embiid said.

"I'm not trying to blame anybody, but the players have also got to do their jobs. It doesn't matter how much a coach or a GM talks to you or tries to motivate you, if you still go out there and don't do your job and the other team is more physical than you, that's on the players."

Sebastien Vettel says Formula 1's contribution towards climate change has made him consider his future in the sport.

Aston Martin driver Vettel is known for his environmental and political activism, having previously worn the pride flag at last year's Hungarian Grand Prix and organised an all-women karting event on the weekend of the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Ahead of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix last week, Vettel wore a t-shirt featuring the slogan: "Miami 2060: First Grand Prix under water, act now or swim later" in an attempt to draw attention to the issue of global warming.

Speaking on BBC debate show Question Time on Thursday, the four-time drivers' champion said the environmental impact of travelling the world to race had made him think about his participation in the sport.

Asked whether his involvement in the sport made him a hypocrite, the 34-year-old replied: "It does, it does, and you're right when you laugh.

"There are questions I ask myself every day, and I'm not a saint.

"Certain things are in my control and certain things are not. It's my passion to drive a car, I love it and every time I step in the car, I love it.

"There's things that I do because I feel I can do them better. Do I need to take a plane every time? No, not when I can take the car.

"When I get out of the car, of course I'm thinking as well 'Is this something that we should do, travel the world, wasting resources?'"

Vettel sits 14th in the drivers' championship standings after being classified 17th when failing to finish in Miami, having missed the first two races of the 2022 season after testing positive for COVID-19, and will be out of contract at the end of the campaign. 

Rafael Nadal conceded he is "living with an injury" after suffering his earliest Internazionali d'Italia exit since 2008 against Denis Shapovalov, but still hopes to compete at the French Open later this month.

Record 21-time grand slam winner Nadal fell to a 1-6 7-5 6-2 defeat to Shapovalov in the third round in Rome on Thursday after struggling with a foot injury throughout the match.

The 35-year-old could be seen regularly limping and battling through the pain, but his resistance ultimately wilted as the Canadian surged to victory after winning 12 straight points from 2-2 in the deciding set.

Nadal, speaking after the defeat, detailed the struggles he is having on a day-to-day basis as injury problems continue to hamper him.

"I am not injured. I am living with an injury. My day-by-day is difficult," he told reporters.

"I am trying hard but of course, it's difficult to accept the situation at times. A lot of days I can't practice the proper way.

"It started halfway through the second set and it was unplayable for me. [But] I don't want to take away credit from Denis that he deserves."

Asked about his chances of being fit for the French Open, which starts on Sunday, May 22 at Roland Garros, the Spaniard responded: "[It's] still the goal, in one week and a couple of days. I'll still keep dreaming.

"Maybe in two days, things are better, the things that I have on my foot. It's true that during Roland Garros I'm going to have my doctor with me – that sometimes helps."

Defeat to Shapovalov also meant Nadal will drop to number five in the world rankings, leaving him facing a potential meeting with the top seed in the quarter-finals of the French Open, which he has won a record 13 times.

 

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