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Murray’s efforts fail to inspire his team

»World number three Andy Murray traded the glamour of the world's biggest tennis stages for the more humble surrounds of a modest local tournament, and ended on the losing side.

North of Scotland found themselves short of players for their county week clash against Hertfordshire at Eastbourne last Wednesday and Murray, ranked below only Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the world stage, volunteered his services.

The 22-year-old Scot played three doubles matches on a modest line of grasscourts, where no ballboys or girls meant the players retrieve their own balls, in the English south coast town.

He and his partner won all three contests but it was not enough for the Scottish side, which also featured Andy's brother Jamie, from going down 5-4 in the all-doubles event.

Barrichello’s thoughts veer towards quitting

»Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, Formula One's longest serving driver and oldest man on the grid, is starting to have doubts about his future in the sport.

"Next season is too far away. I love the sport, I've been doing this for 17 years," the 37-year-old Brawn GP driver said at the Hungarian Grand Prix when asked about his future.  "Ninety five percent of my feelings are to keep on, I love this, I have a lot of speed in myself," he added. "But five percent tells me 'why do you need this?' It's something that bears on my mind, even though its only five percent."

Shorts affair puts Antlers’ striker in soup

»Japan's Kashima Antlers have rebuked Brazilian forward Marquinhos for baring his underwear after putting his shorts on back-to-front before a game.

The club president failed to see the funny side after the player had to re-dress himself in full view of a packed stadium at a J-League Cup match in midweek.

"He must be careful," Antlers chief Kazumi Ohigashi told Saturday's Japanese media. "He will be properly informed about the matter."

A 15-game unbeaten run for the runaway J-League leaders failed to lighten the president's mood despite the relatively mundane nature of the incident.

"They need to tighten up (on discipline)," he added. "Not only Marquinhos but the lot of them."

Mandela surprised by baby-faced Robinho

»Manchester City players met Nelson Mandela last Thursday, with the former South African president surprised by the youthful looks of Robinho.

"You are a baby! What are you doing here?" he asked the 25-year-old Brazil forward as English Premier League club City gave Mandela his own team shirt. "Your age, it's a fantastic age," said manager Mark Hughes of the 91 on the shirt, days after Mandela's birthday, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said in a statement.

City, widely considered to be the wealthiest soccer club in the world, are in South Africa for a pre-season tour.

Ethiopian Defar aims to go far in Berlin

»Ethiopian Meseret Defar has targeted the women's 5,000 and 10,000 metres world records at next month's World Championships in Berlin.

The 25-year-old, the 2004 Olympic 5,000 champion and current world champion, ran the fifth-fastest 10,000 metres of all time earlier this month and is confident of further success.

"God willing, I plan to set the best performance ever, most probably setting a new world record in the 5,000 and 10,000 metre events in Berlin," she said.  One of her stiffest challenges is likely to come from compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba, the Olympic 5,000 and 10,000 champion and world record holder for the shorter distance.

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