Serena Williams chose an excellent moment to claim her first title of the season, and thus head into next week’s French Open as a worthy favourite. Steffi Graf’s long-standing record of 22 grand slams can rarely have been more under threat. Williams has been on her game throughout the BNL Internazionali d’Italia, lifting the title without even dropping a set. But Madison Keys did give her a stern examination before slipping to a 7-6, 6-3 defeat. “I’m so proud of you,” said Williams to her compatriot as they shook hands at the net. “You’re a future No. 1 for sure.” At 21, Keys is seen as a champion in waiting in the same way as Nick Kyrgios – a close contemporary in age and even ranking. And this week has produced her best results since her run to the semi-finals of the 2015 Australian Open, which also ended in a defeat at Williams’s hands.
John Terry on Sunday spoke of his desire to stay at Chelsea, but did not declare whether or not he will be at Stamford Bridge next season. The 35-year-old defender has made 703 appearances since his debut in October 1998, but was suspended for the concluding 1-1 draw with Premier League champions Leicester. Terry, whose current contract expires on June 30, has been offered a one-year contract extension and is considering the offer.
A controlled explosion has been carried out at Old Trafford after a suspect package was found before Manchester United’s match against Bournemouth. Greater Manchester Police described the device as “incredibly lifelike” but confirmed it “wasn’t viable”. The Sir Alex Ferguson Stand and the Stretford End were evacuated before the game and sniffer dogs brought in. Kick-off, due at 3pm, was delayed and shortly afterwards the match was abandoned on police advice. A bomb disposal team carried out the explosion at about 4:30pm.
Andy Murray gave himself the perfect birthday present as he won his first Italian Open title with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Novak Djokovic. It was a first win on clay against Djokovic in five attempts for the Scot, who turned 29 on Sunday. He broke serve once in the first set and twice in the second in Rome to win in one hour and 35 minutes. Murray will return to second in the world rankings before the French Open, which begins on 22 May.
Pep Guardiola signed off his three years in the Bundesliga with a ‘beer shower’ on Saturday as Bayern Munich lifted a fourth straight German league title after Saturday’s 3-1 win over bottom-side Hanover. Bayern’s 28th win in 34 league games triggered party scenes at the Allianz Arena as the Bavarians celebrated their 26th German league title. This was Guardiola’s 20th trophy as a coach after 14 in four years with Barcelona and now six in three years in Munich before leaving to coach Manchester City next season. It was only a matter of minutes after the final whistle before he was soaked in beer as his players emptied over-sized glasses over the Spaniard in the traditional title celebrations.
Barcelona sealed their 24th La Liga title as Luis Suarez took his tally for the season to 59 goals with a hat-trick in a 3-0 win at Granada to hold off Real Madrid’s late-season surge. Real registered their 12th consecutive La Liga win, 2-0 at Deportivo la Coruna thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s double, but finished a point behind their bitter rivals. Suarez’s treble also sees him become the first player in seven years other than Ronaldo and Barca teammate Lionel Messi to win the Pichichi award for La Liga’s top goalscorer with 40. Barca had seemed set to cruise to the title until a run of three consecutive defeats for the first time in 13 years last month. However, they bounced back like champions as, inspired by Suarez’s 14 goals, they scored 24 times without reply in the last five games to win the title.
Senegal’s Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura has been appointed as FIFA’s first female secretary general. She succeeds former secretary general Jerome Valcke, who was banned from football-related activity for 12 years. Samoura, 54, spent 21 years working for the United Nations and will start at football’s governing body in June. “It is essential FIFA incorporates fresh perspectives as we continue to restore and rebuild our organisation,” said FIFA president Gianni Infantino. “She has a proven ability to build and lead teams, and improve the way organisations perform. Importantly for FIFA, she also understands that transparency and accountability are at the heart of any well-run and responsible organisation.” Samoura’s appointment, announced at FIFA’s congress in Mexico City, completes a new-look to an organisation which has been dogged by corruption allegations under Valcke and previous president Sepp Blatter. Blatter, who had led FIFA since 1998, stood down last year and was later suspended from football for six years for breaching ethics guidelines. On his appointment in February, Infantino said he would “work tirelessly to bring football back to FIFA and FIFA back to football”. Samoura, who will undergo an eligibility check before her role is ratified, currently works for the UN in Nigeria, and speaks four languages.