New opponent for Murray at Queen’s

PARIS - Top seed and world number one Andy Murray will have a new opponent for the opening match of his title defence at the Queen’s Club Championship on Tuesday after fellow Briton Aljaz Bedene withdrew with a wrist injury. Lucky loser Jordan Thompson of Australia will replace him in the third match on centre court. Thompson, 23, who is ranked 90th in the world, reached the final of the Surbiton challenger event last week. He and Murray have never previously met. British media reported that Murray will donate his winnings from the tournament - which could amount to almost 350 thousand pounds - to a fund helping victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in which more than 75 people have died. The tower block is only a few kilometres away from the Queen’s Club in West London.–Agencies

Maradona prefers Messi to Ronaldo

BUENOS AIRES - Argentinean footballing legend Maradona said that he preferred compatriot Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo all the while dubbing the Portugal captain an ‘incredible’ player. “I can’t remember having seen Lionel Messi play badly,” Maradona said. “I prefer Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo but I acknowledge that the latter is an animal. He’s incredible,” said the 1986 World Cup winner. Speaking from Dubai, where he now lives, Maradona added that he’d wished Ronaldo, who is Portuguese, was Argentinian. “He makes me think of Gabriel Batistuta,” the Argentina striker who starred at three World Cup finals. “As soon as he touched the ball, it was a goal.” Turning back to Messi, Maradona said the Barcelona player was still the world’s best despite not having won a World Cup.–Agencies

Christiansen keen to take Leeds back to EPL

LONDON - Leeds United’s new manager Thomas Christiansen hopes to take the club to the Premier League in his first season at Elland Road and believes his ideas can help Leeds’ regain top flight status for the first time since 2004. “Last year we finished seventh. At least the promotion should be there and of course we hope to do better,” the former Spain international, who replaced Garry Monk last week, said at a news conference on Monday. “I’m very excited and believe we can do good things here. This is why I’m here and Leeds also believe in my abilities and we all want the same,” the 44-year-old told media, referring to his meeting last week with owner Andrea Radrizzani and director of football Victor Orta. Leeds are one of the fallen giants of the English game, and have won the title three times.–Agencies Singapore won’t be rushed into F1 contract

SINGAPORE - Singapore will not be rushed into extending its contract with Formula One, the trade ministry said as negotiations for the night race to continue in the city-state are underway. “Negotiations for the term renewal for F1 are ongoing and a decision has not been reached. “The process has to be a deliberate one to carefully consider the terms and benefits.” Race organiser Singapore GP said it could not comment because negotiations are underway. In a 2018 event calendar released Monday by motorsport’s governing body FIA, there was an asterix next to the Shanghai and Singapore dates with a note that said “subject to commercial rights holder confirmation”. Singapore’s F1 future hangs in the balance as the city-state looks to renegotiate its contract to host only night race.–Agencies

Ascot pays tribute to victims

ASCOT - The most glamorous week in the racing calendar Royal Ascot opened on a sombre note on Tuesday with a minute's silence for victims of the London tower block fire and terror attacks in Britain. The estimated 45,000 crowd paid their respects after Queen Elizabeth II had come down the track in a carriage leading the traditional Royal Procession. Security was heightened as a result of the terror outrages with sniffer dogs on the approaches to the racecourse and armed police on hand as they have been at other recent major British sporting events. The minute's silence honoured the memories of the estimated 79 people to have perished in the tower block fire in west London last week and the scores killed in attacks in Manchester and London. Ascot Racecourse has made a donation of #100,000 to The British Red Cross UK Solidarity and London Fire Relief Funds.–Agencies