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McLaren say no talks with Raikkonen… yet

Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula One champion with Ferrari who is now with Lotus, is at the heart of paddock gossip with the driver market thrown into ferment by Australian Mark Webber’s decision to leave champions Red Bull for sportscar racing.

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Lotus say they are confident they can persuade him to stay once they have secured a new investment deal but the Finn has been linked to Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren in media speculation.

Asked in an interview with the official formula1.com website whether McLaren had ever considered getting Raikkonen back, Whitmarsh replied:

“Yes, we have. Kimi has always been great and I am a big fan of him. There is a lot of speculation out there at the moment so let’s see what happens.

“Last year we had talks with him, but for various reasons it didn’t happen,” added the team boss. “This year we’ve had no talks – yet.”

McLaren signed young Mexican Sergio Perez from Sauber last year as a replacement for 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton once the Briton had decided to move to Mercedes.

Britain’s Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion for Brawn GP, is their other driver and has been with the Woking team since 2010.

Raikkonen drove for McLaren from 2002 to 2006, when Ron Dennis was team principal, and won nine races with them as well as finishing overall runner-up in 2003 and 2005.

Button and Perez are expected to stay at McLaren next year, despite a miserable season for the former champions who have yet to finish higher than fifth, although Button told reporters at last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix that he did not yet have a signed deal.

Asked whether having two world champions on board, as McLaren did last year with Hamilton and Button, might get more “positive media mileage”, Whitmarsh agreed that might be the case.

“Yes, it might do,” he replied. “We’ll see. We are not talking to Kimi at the moment so let’s see what happens in the driver market.

“I think one thing I have to say is that we haven’t given our drivers the car we should have done this year. But they’ve been fantastic ambassadors and I think they deserve another go with us next year.”

Button told reporters before Sunday’s race at Spa that he was happy at McLaren and expected to see out his Formula One future with the team.

McLaren celebrate 50 years in Formula One at Monza next week and a contract renewal could come at the same time for the Englishman.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)

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Film shows dashed dream, triumph of athlete-sportscaster Glickman

“I don’t ever remember walking as a young person,” Marty Glickman, the subject of the documentary “Glickman” which premieres on Monday on HBO, says in the film’s opening.

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“I always ran. It was my nature to run.”

But at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, then under the grip of Adolf Hitler’s Nazis, Glickman was one of two Jewish runners on the U.S. relay team pulled by U.S. officials at the 11th hour.

Glickman, who died in 2001 at 83 and was known as the voice of the NBA’s New York Knicks, the NFL’s New York Giants as well as Paramount Newsreels, recalled being frustrated and angry.

“I wanted to show that a Jew could do just as well as any other individual, and perhaps even better,” he said in the film.

“He never really became a national broadcaster, which bothered him,” said the film’s director, James Freedman, who worked at age 17 for Glickman producing the broadcaster’s late-night WNEW radio show, and was treated “not as a high school kid, but as a producer.”

Freedman, a successful television writer for hit TV shows such as “Cybill,” recalled that “people in Hollywood would say ‘Who’s Marty Glickman?’ So I hope this film will bring him the national recognition that he so deserved,” he told Reuters.

“He was the first jock-turned-broadcaster in the history of the medium.”

“Glickman,” which had Martin Scorsese as executive producer, features interviews with leading sports figures such as Bob Costas and Marv Albert, both of whom he mentored, Larry King, Red Auerbach and Frank Gifford. It intercuts those with archival footage of his youthful athletic feats in track and football and his legendary broadcasts.

“There was an almost orchestral quality to his vocal inflection … a texture to it that only a tiny handful of broadcasters could ever match,” Costas says in the film.

Said King: “He invented the one best term ever in sports broadcasting – swish,” used to describe the ball passing quickly and without resistance down through a basketball net.

“Nobody framed a basketball game like Marty Glickman,” King added. “I saw the game.”

Scorsese reflected that “You don’t need to know about Marty Glickman to appreciate the film. I am certainly not a sports enthusiast.” But the Oscar-winning director was intrigued by Glickman’s “intense commitment, one that fought through adversity and bigotry. There was no other option for him besides the games.”

Freedman said that despite having known and worked with Glickman since his youth, he learned more about the man through making the film.

“I had no idea how great an athlete he was,” said the first-time director. “He was once the third-fastest man in the world,” one of the two faster being the legendary Jesse Owens, another member of that 1936 U.S. Olympic team which struck down the Nazi myth of Aryan supremacy as Hitler watched.

“Also, I never knew just how deeply ’36 hurt him,” Freedman said, adding that he was deeply moved by “what happens when an 18-year-old kid’s dreams are crushed by prejudice.”

For his part, Glickman said it was not until he returned to Berlin’s Olympic stadium in 1985 that he became dizzy with rage, saying “I had maintained this pent up anger and hatred for 49 years.”

Glickman said he was asked about that dark time every four years during the Olympics. “I do not at all hesitate to tell the story, so that it won’t ever happen again,” he said.

With the film, the story will win an even wider audience.

(Editing by Vicki Allen)

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Fellaini rescues Everton with extra-time winner

The Belgian, at the centre of a transfer tussle with Manchester United, bundled in from close range after a goal-mouth scramble with 115 minutes on the clock.

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A day after their Merseyside neighbours Liverpool were also taken to extra-time by third-tier Notts County, Everton found themselves in a similar spot of bother when they fell behind to a first-half Luke Freeman goal.

They drew level when Spanish teenager Gerard Deulofeu, on loan from Barcelona, netted following a mazy run on the stroke of halftime and Fellaini’s goal set up a third-round clash with Fulham.

Newcastle United were held for 80 minutes by fourth tier Morecambe before substitute Shola Ameobi found the net with a deflected shot and his younger brother Sammy completed a 2-0 win with a calm finish.

There were no such difficulties for Aston Villa and Stoke City who both scored three times to move into the next round.

Kenwyne Jones grabbed a hat-trick for Stoke as they beat Walsall 3-1 and Villa wrapped up a 3-0 win over Rotherham with goals from Andreas Weimann, Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph.

Premier League Cardiff City were pushed hard by fourth-tier Accrington Stanley but broke through in the 61st minute when Nicky Maynard finished after a neat flick and Rudy Gestede doubled the lead a minute later to complete a 2-0 win.

Championship leaders Nottingham Forest needed extra-time to beat fellow second-tier side Millwall 2-1 with Jamaal Lascelles heading the winner after 94 minutes.

Watford sealed their place in the third round with a 2-0 win over Bournemouth thanks to an Elliott Ward own goal and a chipped finish from Cristian Battocchio.

(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Ed Osmond)

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Croatia’s Kranjcar, Cameroon’s Assou-Ekotto loaned to QPR

The English Championship club’s manager Harry Redknapp, who failed to keep Rangers in the Premier League last season, has been reunited with 29-year-old Dynamo Kiev player Kranjcar for a third time having worked with him at Spurs and Portsmouth.

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“Niko’s a crowd pleaser – he gets people off their seats,” Redknapp told the club’s website (www.qpr.co.uk). “He’s a top player and … will add great quality to the squad.”

Kranjcar, a member of Redknapp’s Portsmouth side who won the FA Cup in 2008, added: “Harry has always brought the best out of me as a player. I played for him in two separate spells in England, and I’m delighted to be linking up with him again.”

Tottenham’s Assou-Ekotto, also 29, has teamed up with Redknapp for the second time after their spell together with Spurs at White Hart Lane.

“Benoit, for me, is one of the best left backs in the Premier League so I’m delighted we’ve been able to bring him here,” Redknapp said of Assou-Ekotto, who is preparing for a World Cup qualifier against Libya in Yaounde on Sunday.

Carroll, 21, is also moving to Loftus Road from Tottenham on a season-long loan having been developed by Redknapp at White Hart Lane where he gave the midfielder his debut in a Europa League tie in August 2011.

“He’s a player I fully expect to go to the very top of the game – he’s a future England international,” said Redknapp. “He’s got all the attributes to be a top, top player.

“He can pass, he can create, he can score goals – he’s a fantastic player and I’m confident he’ll flourish here for us.”

(Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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No rest for Nadal as Spain pick him for Davis Cup singles

There had been doubt over world number two Nadal’s participation in the three-day tie in Madrid after his recent exertions in New York where he beat top-ranked Novak Djokovic in Monday’s U.

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S. Open final.

Nadal arrived in the Spanish capital early on Wednesday and after training at the “Magic Box” venue the 27-year-old was named in the team for Thursday’s draw by captain Alex Corretja.

“When I have been asked and have been free of injury I have always turned out to try to help the team win points and secure victories,” Nadal told a news conference.

“I have been playing at the maximum intensity for practically a whole month and obviously that has a draining effect,” he added.

“But I am ready for tomorrow and it’s just going to require another little bit of effort. I hope to be competitive even though I have spent very few hours on the court.”

Stakhovsky caused a huge upset at Wimbledon this year when he defeated seven-times champion Roger Federer in the second round but Nadal should have little trouble against the world number 92, especially as the tie is on his favoured clay.

Nadal has won 20 of his 21 Davis Cup singles matches, including a perfect 16 out of 16 on clay.

Spain number two Fernando Verdasco will play Ukraine number one Alexandr Dolgopolov in the opening singles, with the doubles to come on Saturday and the reverse singles on Sunday in the first meeting between the two nations.

Spain are in the playoffs after losing away to Milos Raonic’s Canada in the first round in February when Nadal, who had just returned from a seven-month injury layoff, did not feature. They had last fallen in the first round in 2006 when a team also missing Nadal was beaten 4-1 by Belarus on indoor carpet in Minsk.

In other World Group playoff ties Poland’s hopes of joining the elite for the first time have been dealt a huge blow after Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz was ruled out with a back injury for the home tie against Australia in Warsaw.

Andy Murray will lead Britain’s attempt to return to the World Group and will face 16-year-old Croatian Borna Coric in the opening singles rubber in Umag.

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Martyn Herman)

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