As the countdown to the Women’s World Cup final taking place at Lyon, France on Sunday continues to tick away, the United States Women’s team is ramping up for their attempt at a fourth World Cup title.
During the tournament, USA’s Megan Rapinoe has been the center of the spotlight, for both her phenomenal play, and for comments she made about not attending the White House in the event that the American’s win, which drew the ire of President Donald Trump.
The Americans have also been called “arrogant” by the press across the pond.
When the big game kicks off on Sunday, Rapinoe will have the support of her girlfriend, WNBA star Sue Bird.
“What they’re doing right now, it’s amazing,” Bird said (h/t ESPN).
Bird has already come to the defense of her girlfriend, taking Trump to task during an article she penned on The Players’ Tribune.
“On some levels, if you read it, there is some humor in there. It’s a light, fun way to use your voice, but also address some things,” Bird said. “More than anything, I wanted to hype Megan up a little bit and also have her back. … It was challenging at times trying to get the right messaging across that I wanted to convey, but I think all in all I’m happy with it. There has been a lot more love than hate. Unfortunately, there has been some hate, but that’s just reality we live in right now.”
“I don’t feel political. To me, this isn’t a matter of tax reform and things of that nature,” she said. “This is treating people with respect, treating people like they’re a human, just like you are. That’s where I stand with it. That’s what I believe in. It’s very similar to what Megan believes in. More than anything, I wanted to have her back, and talk about some soccer.”
Bird said that she can relate to Rapinoe, who is hoping to be 100% for Sunday’s game, and spoke about her continued rehabilitation from left knee surgery that took place back in May.
“I was actually ready right around the playoffs. Then it becomes this team has played an entire season without me, is that fair? And I’m already putting the carriage before the horse because who knows if I’m going to be ready by then?” she said. “It was definitely more extensive than we had initially thought going in. Which isn’t a bad thing, I think long term it’s a good thing. It just kind of sucks for this season.”
England’s Emma Raducanu Advances At Wimbledon
England’s Emma Raducanu won in straight sets in her first-round singles match against Alison Van Uytvanck in 101 minutes, winning 6-4, 6-4 in what was her first match on Centre Court to advance at Wimbledon.
“To play on Centre Court and get a win first time, it’s amazing,” Raducanu said following the match, according to ESPN’s Tom Hamilton. “Now every time I go back, I’m just going to have a great first experience.”
“I definitely feel a really good energy,” Raducanu said, who is the reigning US Open champion and ranked No. 11. “Like how can you not playing here? Just walking around, you really feel the positivity. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot in the last year.
“But it hasn’t necessarily all been terrible. I won my first round at every Slam. As a 19-year-old, I pretty much just took my gap year and, like, starting again now.
“If the last year hadn’t have happened, then I think that any 19-year-old walking onto Centre Court would be a positive experience for you. And it was. And I definitely embodied that today.”
Raducanu was wearing an item of clothing from tennis superstar Rafael Nadal’s clothing brand, someone she says she draws inspiration from as he has battled injuries to claim victory at the Australian Open and the French Open this year.
“I think Rafa just embodies fight, that sort of energy,” Raducanu said. “That’s what I’m bringing in. In terms of energy-wise, I think that I have had a tough year, like it’s no secret. It is all worth it just to go out on Centre Court and get a win like that.
“I definitely am very happy to be here. All the lessons I’ve taken from the last year will only hold me in good stead for the future.”
Matthew Wolff Leaves PGA Tour for LIV Golf
LIV Golf has taken more talent from the PGA Tour as Matthew Wolff will will play in this week’s LIV Golf tournament at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon, the first to take place in the United States, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.
Wolff, 23, had an incredible rise to the start of his PGA Tour career but has been struggling over the past few months to regain his exciting form. Wolff tied for 40th in the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut, on Sunday.
Wolff turned pro in June 2019 and won less than a month later, tied for fourth at the 2020 PGA Championship, his first start in a major, and was second at the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, and then things took a turn has he struggled over the majority of the past two seasons.
Wolff took two months off from golf in 2021 to focus on his mental health. Wolff returned to play in the U.S Open and ended up tying for 15th place. Wolff has missed the cut in seven of his past 12 starts this season and hasn’t finished inside the top 25, and is ranked 74th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
LIV Golf continues to steal headlines, in the fashion that Sports SEO would, and a number of sports content creators and sports talk podcasts are taking notice of it’s momentum, stealing a number of talent from the PGA Tour.
Wolff is one of the sports more popular players, so his defection will make waves for sure.
Phil Mickelson to play the Saudi International tournament on the European Tour
Phil Mickelson has decided to play the Saudi International tournament on the European Tour, according to ESPN’s Bob Harig.
Mickelson will play the event the same week as the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the PGA event that Mickelson has won three times during his career.
The European Tour added the Saudi International, which is supported by the government of Saudi Arabia, to it’s schedule last year, amidst a ton of criticism.
“I am really looking forward to playing in Saudi Arabia in January,” Mickelson said in a statement. “I watched Dustin [Johnson] win the title last year and thought the course looked like an interesting challenge. Having so many talented players on show also made it look like a much more established tournament than one in its inaugural year. I have enjoyed my previous visits to the Middle East and am looking forward to playing in a new country and doing my bit to grow the game in the Kingdom.”
Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia and Tony Finau also have committed to play the event which takes place from January 30th through February 3rd.
With golf becoming more mainstream, especially with the rise in sports talk podcasts, it will be interesting to see how NFT artists play into the Golf sport, and if it will be a play as the web3 market continues to grow.
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