The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 21 January 2015


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The Independent Online

Hard times on the hard shoulder

Milan have been mocked over reports that they have sold their luxurious team bus to cut costs.

Italian media said the seven-times European champions had sold the vehicle for ¤150,000 (£114,000) to save ¤200,000 a year in costs. One Twitter user posted a photo-shopped picture of the Milan players standing by the side of a motorway behind chief executive Adriano Galliani, who was holding a sign which read “Rome”. Another posted a picture of a tram with the caption “exclusive pictures of Milan arriving at San Siro”.

Milan finished eighth in Serie A  last season, missing out on lucrative European football.

Azarenka primed for big-name battle

Victoria Azarenka has admitted it is not a surprise to come up against as big a name as Caroline Wozniacki so early in the Australian Open, given her travails over the last year. “Being an unseeded player, it’s not a surprise that I have a tough draw or tough opponents in the early rounds,” said the Belarusian, who was champion in Melbourne in 2012 and 2013. “I just need to go through that.”

Fury set to answer call of the Wilder

Tyson Fury says he is ready to face the WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder on the advice of promoter Frank Warren. “It’s refreshing to hear that,” Fury said. “It shows the calibre of fighter I am. The first thing out of his mouth is he wants to fight me.”

Defoe holds on to his England hopes

Jermain Defoe has insisted his move to Sunderland can kick-start his England ambitions, despite making just two appearances for the national side in 22 months. “I still think I’ve a lot to offer,” Defoe, 32, said. “I still feel sharp. I’ve always worked hard and feel I’ve got a lot of goals left in me. I was disappointed [to be left out of the World Cup squad] but I still want to score for England. We will see what happens.”

World Cup sledging won’t be tolerated

Sledging will be clamped down on at the World Cup, the International Cricket Council has promised, just days after a row arising from Australian David Warner’s “speak English” remark to India’s Rohit Sharma. “There have been many examples of behaviour going too far,” ICC chief executive David Richardson said. “We have done work with umpires and match referees to ensure they are more pro-active in policing behaviour.”