It’s been two years to the day since Western Sydney last tasted success in the Sydney Derby but n marquee Dario Vidosic says the record books aren’t relevant to a squad with so many new faces.
The Wanderers will likely enter the derby as favourites in their own backyard and sitting in second place on the A-League ladder but recent history hasn’t been kind when it comes to clashes with their fiercest rivals. Winless in five games against the Sky Blues having lost four in that period doesn’t bode well for the club on the cusp of developing a hoodoo. However, Vidosic quashed suggestions of that record lingering over a squad that has undergone such a significant overhaul during the off-season.
Of the 16 names on the Wanderers’ team sheet when they last beat Sydney FC on January 11, 2014, just three remain at the club today. Brendon Santalab scored the winner from the bench that night while Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Mark Bridge both played full games. The club has since undergone a significant transformation not just in personnel but style of play and while the record books don’t bode well for the club, Vidosic says the players aren’t the least bit concerned with their form coming into Saturday night’s derby.
“I’ve only played the one and in that one I thought we were the better team that day. We were unfortunate conceding a goal so late,” Vidosic said. “I don’t think about any of that last two years without a win. Once the whistle blows on Saturday, all those those thoughts and statistics go out of the window….I don’t think these statistics are relevant at any point, even if it’s the team who is last playing the team playing first. On the field it’s eleven against eleven and sometimes it’s just how the ball can bounce.”
The excitement of Derby week was yet to creep into the Wanderers squad during their first training sessions since their 3-2 defeat to Melbourne City but the players are eager to make a statement having lost their last match to Sydney FC despite dominating the Sky Blues.
“It’s a special week, not just for the players but for the fans,” Vidosic said. “They want to say that we’re maybe a younger brother but we don’t look at it like that, we want to be the best and that’s our mentality, we want to run this town. Not just us but our fans especially.”
A stronger-than-expected Chinese currency devaluation is weighing on the benchmark ASX 200 index. Photo: Tyrone Siu The yuan has been gradually losing value against the Greenback.
The n sharemarket is in the midst of its worst start to a year in decades (it sank to a two-and-a-half-year low on Monday morning). The n dollar has fallen below the key US70¢ mark.
And it all comes just hours after Sean Penn’s weird interview with a powerful Mexican drug kingpin landed on the internet. Coincidence? Of course it is.
In all seriousness, Monday’s market meltdown has nothing to do with drug trafficking or Hollywood. But it is, at least tangentially, related to Mexico (more on that later) and has everything to do with China.
Investors are fearful that things are even worse in the world’s second-largest economy than authorities there are portraying them to be. And that nothing can really be done to stop it.
Perhaps the best illustration of these concerns is found in China’s tightly controlled currency, the yuan. This chart shows how China has been allowing the US dollar to strengthen against the yuan for a while as its economy slows.
In other words, the yuan has been sliding in value, and that slide accelerated noticeably last week. That came as Chinese authorities tried, in vain, to stem another alarming slide in the Chinese sharemarket.
On Monday, the People’s Bank of China let the yuan strengthen, providing a temporary lift for stocks and the n dollar. But people are still fearful that recent yuan weakness could be a harbinger of a serious devaluation of the currency. And that could have considerable knock-on effects.
China, of course, is ‘s biggest trading partner. Problems there are not good news for this country in any way. Yet the latest episode of yuan weakness could be a much deeper issue.
The real worry about a weaker yuan, analysts from Societe Generale wrote on Monday, “is both that things in China get even worse and that a domino of defaults will engulf commodities and [emerging markets], ultimately contaminating the full credit universe”.
In other words, a sharply weaker yuan could prompt investors in the US and elsewhere to pull money out of other emerging markets, like Mexico, and commodity exporting countries, like , leading to sharp declines for those currencies and risking defaults for the many companies in those countries with debt in US dollars.
We have seen that movie before. It’s called a full-blown emerging-market currency crisis. No one wants to see it again.
Fortunately, there is a long way to go before we get there again. And while China is not in a good place now, the world’s biggest economy, the US, is showing more signs of strength after posting a solid jobs report last week.
Time to get some popcorn, because there are more twists in this story to come.
Indian one-day captain MS Dhoni has refused to rule out a future stint in the Big Bash League but said he would need to make sure his body was up to the demands of the high-paced domestic T20 game in .
No contracted Indian player has featured in the BBL because the all-powerful BCCI does not want any of its players partaking in a rival of the Indian Premier League. Now that Dhoni has retired from Test cricket, he is in a position to weigh up his options outside of international cricket more than he did before. Asked about the prospect of an n stint given the BBL’s overwhelming success, Dhoni kept his cards close to his chest but did not completely rule out the idea.
“It’s very difficult for me, we are quite focused on international cricket as of now,” Dhoni said. “We’ll see how the future goes. It depends on when I retire, whether I’m in a position to play international cricket because the Big Bash, if you see the quality of cricket, is high so a lot depends on the physical fitness and also the ability to carry on and play more cricket. When you play for 10 to 15 years at times you feel you have played too much cricket, so we’ll have to wait and watch and it will depend on the retirement whether it [a Big Bash appearance] comes.”
Dhoni, who has played 270 ODIs, did not name a side for Tuesday’s fixture but said throughout the series there would be a number of debutants relishing the challenge of competing in n conditions. “I feel they are a very good side and the same is happening to us,” Dhoni said. ” is a place where you get good competitive cricket and I feel that actually helps you gain experience much faster. I think it’ll be a win-win scenario for both teams when it comes to going through this phase. are known to play tough cricket irrespective of who they are competing against which means it gives our youngsters a fair amount of exposure.”
The last time the two countries faced off was in the World Cup semi-final in March; a game which won thanks to a sparkling century from Steve Smith.
Dhoni said he didn’t want to use the word “revenge” in reference to the World Cup defeat.
“You want to compete, you want to win games, because at the end of the day you’re representing your country,” Dhoni said. “At the same time you want to follow the guidelines and the spirit of the game.”
Meanwhile, DRS will not be used during the one-day series, with the BCCI remaining unmoved on its anti-technology stance. President Shashank Manohar said in December unless DRS became “foolproof” the Indians would continue to refuse the technology in any bilateral series despite the fact it is embraced by every other board.
The ICC has asked India to accept DRS, but the BCCI rejected such a proposal. As recent as last summer, the touring Indians were unwilling to use DRS, which resulted in a number of umpiring howlers that would have been overturned with the technology.
It is, however, a relief for cricket fans who have at times complained that DRS taints the excitement of seeing an umpire’s finger extend to the sky given the decision can be overturned.
Despite DRS not being used for decision-making on the field, Channel Nine has set up the technology at its disposal, meaning viewers can see whether or a not a decision would have been overturned.
Veteran Lleyton Hewitt insists the backlash from Bernard Tomic’s run-in with staff at a Gold Coast tennis club won’t derail the 23-year-old’s n Open preparations.
Tomic appears to be enjoying the best start to a season of his career after reaching the semi final of the Brisbane International last week.
However revelations he clashed with staff at Gold Coast RACV Royal Pines over a $20 court hire fee leading into the Brisbane International have once again placed the much-maligned Queenslander in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
Tomic, who is the No.1 seed at this week’s Sydney International, has since apologised for the incident.
His close friend Hewitt has come out in support of Tomic, describing it as a misunderstanding.
“I think it was a misunderstanding more than anything,” Hewitt said.
“Bernie had a great week in Brisbane. To beat a quality top 10 player in his first week, that was a great start to the year for Bernie.
“I expect him to play well in the Aussie. He plays well in Sydney. He’s won this title before. Nick and Bernie have got off to a great start and I think they are going to have a lot of crowd support down in Melbourne.”
Nick Kyrgios was unaware of the incident when asked by journalists in Sydney on Monday afternoon, but was quick to point out that the pair had managed to avoid the negative headlines in recent months.
“I actually don’t even know what’s happened,” Kyrgios said when asked of Tomic’s latest drama.
“I don’t think there’s been any of that (negative headlines) the last couple of months.”
Tomic also described the incident as a misunderstanding, apologising to club members.
“I’ve been so focused on preparing for all my matches, I know there’s no excuse for my behaviour,” Tomic told News Corp .
“I didn’t mean to cause any trouble and I apologise to the club members. There seems to have been a bit of a misunderstanding and my practice was interrupted and I got a bit frustrated.”
While Kyrgios and Tomic both head to Melbourne Park with plenty of expectation, there is plenty of emotion around Hewitt’s final fling at his home grand slam.
“He’s always been a guy that I watched,” Kyrgios said of Hewitt.
“It happened pretty quick for me. From watching him on TV to standing next to him in Davis Cup. Now seeing him play his last couple of tournaments, I think it’s pretty sad for the sport.
“He’s given so much and I thought the crowd in Perth got to see what he is really good at – and that’s competing for every point. I like calling him a friend now. He’s helped me out a lot and hopefully he can keep doing that as well.”
“He’s experienced; he’s older; he’s beaten much better players than I have. Just give it my best”: Jordan Thompson. Photo: Brett HemmingsOnly two years separate ns Jordan Thompson and Bernard Tomic, but the pair will get the first look at each other when they square off at the Sydney International on Wednesday.
Thompson, who was cruising to victory when Slovakian Martin Klizan retired hurt at 6-2, 4-0 at the Sydney International on Monday, has only met Tomic a handful of times despite coming through the ranks at Tennis at a similar time.
Given Tomic’s rapid development at a young age, Thompson has not even practiced with his compatriot, admitting all he knows of the 23-year-old Queenslander is what he’s seen on television.
“Barely anything,” Thompson said when asked of his previous dealings with Tomic.
“Met him a few times. I don’t think I’ve ever hit a ball with him. Really only watched him play on telly. I guess his ranking takes him to better tournaments and I’m still trying to climb up the rankings.
“I guess I’m playing challengers most of the time and he’s playing these tournaments, ATPs, grand slams, so I don’t really come across him too much.”
Tomic comes into the tournament as the No.1 seed, enjoying a bye in the opening round to set up the all-Aussie clash against Thompson on Wednesday.
The leading Aussie, who will head to Melbourne as the No.16 seed at the n Open, is in good touch after reaching the semi final of the Brisbane International last week.
“I’ve watched him play over the years,” Thompson said.
“He’s actually only two years older than me, but in a way he’s a lot of years older than me. He’s been on the tour for a long time and been a good player for a long time. I don’t know if I’ve watched him closely, but I’ve been watching his matches.
“Honestly I have no idea [what his weaknesses are]. I guess he’s got everything on me. He’s experienced; he’s older; he’s beaten much better players than I have. Just give it my best.”
Tomic’s Open preparations was thrown into a spin on Monday when revelations of a run-in with staff at a tennis club on the Gold Coast surface.
While Thompson was unaware of the incident, he doesn’t believe it will have any impact on Tomic’s performance.
“I highly doubt it will affect him,” Thompson said.
“Off court is off court. On court probably just concentrate on the ball that’s coming. Yeah, I don’t think … I don’t know what the controversy is so pretty sure he probably wouldn’t care.”
Thompson has been lost in the shadows of the likes of Tomic, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis.
However he insists he hasn’t been fussed by the lack of attention, admitting the success of his peers is inspiring him to join them in the spotlight in the future.
“It’s great for them,” Thompson said.
“I love hearing stories about them doing so well. Sort of brings the morale up. Every Aussie tennis player who hears about them wants to be as good as them. Yeah. Trying to earn my way out there. Everyone wants success. Watching those guys too as well is motivating.”