Novak Djokovic is back at No. 1 in the ATP rankings after a two-year absence — and the first man in nearly two decades to rise to the top spot after being outside the top 20 in the same season. Djokovic moved up from No. 2 to overtake Rafael Nadal yesterday. When the 31-year-old from Serbia fell to No. 22 in May after beginning the year with a 6-6 record while recovering from surgery on his right elbow, it was his lowest ranking since he was 22nd in 2006 as a teenager. Djokovic has gone 43-5 since, including Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Marat Safin went from No. 38 to No. 1 in 2000.
Solari making his case to stay as Real Madrid coach
After only two games, Santiago Solari is making Real Madrid fans forget about the search for a new coach. And Madrid may very well give it up if he keeps succeeding. Solari has done well since taking over from Julen Lopetegui, pleasing players and fans, and increasing his chances of taking over the squad permanently. Discussions about Antonio Conte and Roberto Martinez have faded since Solari took control and quickly put Madrid back on track. In his short time in charge, Solari boosted the squad’s confidence and got the victories that had eluded the team. The former Madrid player arrived with the club in crisis and enduring a run that included five losses in seven matches in all competitions, including a demoralizing 5-1 loss to Barcelona at Camp Nou.
Salah statue in Egypt criticized for poor resemblance
A bronze statue of Mohamed Salah unveiled yesterday at an international youth gathering in Egypt has been criticized for its poor resemblance to the Liverpool striker. The statue depicts Salah with a disproportionately large head and small arms stretched in the celebratory pose the 26-year-old Egyptian took in the latter part of last season. The figure, made by artist Mai Abdullah, has Salah’s trademark curly hair and is standing on what appeared to be a pot for plants. “The negative comments will not frustrate or have an effect on me, but I do hope that people would learn the art of police and respectful criticism,” Abdullah wrote in response to a wave of ridicule on social media networks. Last year, Cristiano Ronaldo had a bust unveiled that was also criticized for its lack of a resemblance.