The NBA playoffs are finally upon us, and like the 16 teams vying for the Larry O’Brien trophy, we’ve come prepared — not with basketball skills, mind you,1We shudder to think about what the advanced metrics would say about a FiveThirtyEight pickup team. but with graphics and numbers. Using the latest (postseason-optimized) version of FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Power Ratings, we simulated the playoff bracket 10,000 times, counting how often each team won its first-round series (as well as tracking which teams won the NBA title most often). We also put together charts highlighting each team’s key players, along with their multiyear predictive Real Plus-Minus2This is a slightly different statistic than the RPM you can find at ESPN.com because it uses data from seasons prior to 2014-15. We like the multiyear version because, among individual player statistics, it is the best predictor of future team outcomes. ratings, plus a comparison of both teams’ strengths and weaknesses according to the four factors of basketball. (Note that in some of our write-ups below, we use single-season RPM, so those numbers will be slightly different than the multiyear RPM we list in the charts.) So get settled in, maybe throw some chalk in the air, and enjoy the brutal, glorious two-month journey that is the road to the NBA championship. Derrick Rose is back in time for the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Bulls, he’s not the Derrick Rose of four seasons ago, the one who won the MVP award and led the Bulls to their only conference finals since Michael Jordan’s second retirement. Since then, Rose, slowed by injuries, has played just 100 regular-season games and one playoff game. Now he is the only Bulls starter who rates below league average. That’s not enough to make Milwaukee the favorite in this series. Two Bucks starters are below league average, and Milwaukee will have trouble scoring with an offense that is well below league average. The Bulls should win this series — and enjoy the win, because in half of our simulations of the playoffs, they go out in the next round, most likely to LeBron James and the Cavs. — Carl Bialik Eastern ConferenceThe Brooklyn Nets will not win the NBA championship. No, really: We ran 10,000 simulations of the playoffs, and the Nets were the only team to never win it all. They have only a 10 percent chance of moving on from their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks. This is among the most lopsided matchups of the first round. The Nets, ranked No. 22 in FiveThirtyEight’s Power Ratings, are by far the worst team to make the postseason. With their 38-44 record and -2.9 point differential (the only playoff team in red), the Nets are lucky they’re in the Eastern Conference — further momentum for reform to the NBA’s postseason structure.Atlanta is coming off a franchise-record 60-win regular season; this should be a cakewalk for the Hawks (even after losing defensive stalwart Thabo Sefolosha to injury after a run-in with the NYPD). Atlanta is well-balanced: +2.9 points per 100 possessions on offense and +2.0 on defense. The Nets have a pedestrian offense (+1.1) but are a disaster on defense: At -4.7, their defensive rating is the fifth-worst in the league. If the Nets avoid a sweep, it’ll be an achievement. — Andrew Flowers With the latest FiveThirtyEight Power Ratings ranking the Spurs and Clippers as second and fourth, respectively, this matchup is one of the most compelling first-round matchups in recent memory.The defending champion Spurs enter this tournament as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference — far lower than the No. 2 seed they could have had if they had won their final game against the Pelicans on Wednesday. Despite that loss, they had a 21-4 record over their last 25 games, reasserting that they’re contenders despite a 19-18 stretch in the middle of the season.The story of their year has been the breakout of last year’s surprise finals MVP and zero-time All-Star Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs went 46-18 with him in the lineup, with an average margin of victory of 7.8 points per game — which would be second to Golden State’s 10.0 and matches the 7.8 they put up last year. Leonard’s 2014-15 Real Plus-Minus of 8.35 was second in basketball behind Stephen Curry’s, ahead of well-known small forward LeBron James’s. Oh, and he led the league in steals per game.The Clippers are no slouches, either — their SRS3SRS is a team’s margin of victory, adjusted for its strength of schedule. of 6.8 is second-highest in the league behind Golden State’s 10.0 (San Antonio is third, with 6.34). They’ve now won either 56 or 57 games in every full season of the Chris Paul/Blake Griffin era, yet their dynamic duo has not made it past the conference semifinals.Although the Clippers have home-court advantage, the FiveThirtyEight simulations give the Spurs the edge, with a 53 percent chance of advancing. In fact, despite being projected to play any Game 7 from here on out on the road, San Antonio has the third-best chance of winning the championship, at 12 percent. The model gives the Clippers the fourth-best chance, at 8 percent. — Benjamin Morris It’s current MVP contender versus aging MVP winner (but the current contender is the one with the beard). James Harden versus Dirk Nowitzki. The Beard led the league in WAR, according to ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus metrics. With Harden, Houston has the edge — a 66 percent chance of prevailing, according to FiveThirtyEight’s projections. Beyond Harden’s consistency, the Rockets have otherwise ridden the injury luck roller coaster. They enter the playoffs having lost two important starters: versatile big man Donatas Motiejunas and the feisty defender Patrick Beverley at the point. On the other hand, Dwight Howard has returned after missing half the season. The Rockets will need him to maintain their solid +3.2 defensive rating.For the Mavs, it’s been a tale of two seasons. After surprising the league with a hot start, Dallas stagnated after the All-Star break, going 14-13. In FiveThirtyEight’s latest NBA Power Ratings, the Mavs rated as the worst of the Western Conference teams to make the playoffs — even behind the No. 8 seed New Orleans Pelicans. — Andrew Flowers Portland won fewer games than Memphis (51 to 55) during the regular season, but because the Blazers won the comparatively weak Northwest division, they are the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and the Grizzlies are the No. 5. But that seed advantage isn’t worth much. Since the Blazers had fewer wins, they will still be on the road for four of their seven potential games against Memphis. Making matters even more complicated, this series is so close that the question of home court could end up making all the difference. Only a tenth of a rating point separates them in our most recent power rankings. Our model gives the Grizzlies a 54 percent probability of winning, but that number would flip around to 53 percent for Portland if the Blazers had home court. Of course, the Grizzlies earned their home-court advantage by winning more games (against a tougher schedule, no less), and this arrangement is good for Portland, too — a 46 percent chance against Memphis is preferable to a 24 percent chance versus the Clippers, which is who they’d face if the conference were seeded purely by record. But this inverted 4-versus-5 matchup is another example of how convoluted and arbitrary the seeding process is in the NBA. And it’s another argument that the league should perhaps just ditch divisions (if not conferences) entirely. — Neil Paine You might think the Celtics should just be happy to be here. After all, in late February, they only had a 12 percent probability of making the playoffs, according to the FiveThirtyEight NBA Power Ratings. But rather than merely showing up, getting their souvenir T-shirt and accepting a first-round loss, Boston could give LeBron James and the mighty Cavaliers more trouble than they bargained for. While we can’t derive much meaning from the Celtics’ combined 216-168 margin over Cleveland in their two April matchups — the Cavs were mostly resting their key players — Boston is solid at both ends of the floor, with a great group of guards and a lot of depth. Over the course of the entire season, they were better offensively (relative to the league) than the Cavs’ defense was, and that only includes a few months of Isaiah Thomas. Our model says the Celtics are still unlikely to pull the upset, but they have the ingredients to be much more of a pest than they seemed to be a few months ago. — Neil Paine Western ConferenceEach team is led by one of the best players in basketball: Stephen Curry on Golden State and Anthony Davis on New Orleans. So why do we think Golden State has a 92 percent chance to advance? Because Curry is better, and has much better teammates. Draymond Green, a top contender for Defensive Player of the Year, rates higher than Davis in the Real Plus-Minus player ratings we’re using from Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi. Warriors sub Andre Iguodala would be the second-best Pelican. But this might not be a sweep: In their two games against Golden State in New Orleans, the Pelicans won once and forced overtime in the other. But Golden State’s formidable offense should dominate the Pelicans’ subpar D. The Warriors look a lot more like a team for the ages — with an impressive 48 percent chance of winning it all — than like first-round upset fodder. (We were a little stunned by that 48 percent number, but Basketball-Reference.com gives the Warriors about the same odds.) — Carl Bialik This series features two teams that started out the season looking like they might be the next big thing (at least in the Eastern Conference). The fourth-seeded Toronto Raptors began the season 7-1 and made it all the way to 24-7 before a four-game losing streak started their 25-26 finish — with their final record only a one-win improvement on last year. The Wizards started out 4-1 and made it to 19-6, but have been 27-30 since, ultimately improving on last season’s 44-win campaign by just two wins.Both teams are led by All-Star point guards, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and Washington’s John Wall, with Lowry making the All-Star team for the first time in the eighth year of his career (his third with the Raptors). ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus for this season ranks them as the fourth- and sixth-best point guards in 2015. Lowry performed a little worse than last year; his RPM dipped slightly from 4.3 to 4.1 and his WAR (wins above replacement) dipped from 11.6 to 9.4. But for Wall, 2014-15 was a big improvement on the year before: His 4.7 RPM and 12.1 WAR were both up from 2.2 and 8.3 last year, respectively.The FiveThirtyEight simulations give the Raptors a 60 percent chance of winning this series but don’t see either team as a championship contender. They give the Raptors a 1 percent chance of winning the title and the Wizards an even smaller chance. In the 10,000 simulations we ran, the Raptors or Wizards won the championship only 108 times, the fewest of any of the eight first-round matchups. — Benjamin Morris read more

The best rivalry in professional men’s1In women’s tennis, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova played each other 80 times, including in 60 finals. tennis history continues to unfold — and it isn’t Roger Federer against Rafael Nadal.It’s Federer against Novak Djokovic.Federer and Nadal are probably the best players of all time.2A whole article, or book, could be written about what that means. In tennis as in other sports, the level of play keeps rising as competitors get bigger, fitter and stronger, so the two dominant players of the last decade likely are the best ever. In relative measures, such as dominance of their peers, major titles and consistency, Federer and Nadal also stand up well to the likes of Pete Sampras and Rod Laver. They may have played the best match of all time. But their head-to-head history is mostly predictable and one-sided. It’s better than nearly every rivalry that came before it, yet it’s not even in the top two current matchups.Nadal’s rivalry with Djokovic, the current world No. 1, is much better. Nadal and Djokovic have met 42 times, more than any other pair since the sport went pro in 1968, according to data provided by Jeff Sackmann of Tennis Abstract. From September 2010 through June of this year, Nadal and Djokovic have played a remarkable 21 times,3More than all but 24 other pairs of players who have played each other throughout their careers since 1968. including in seven major finals, and have contested several classics. But they’ve also played many duds. And while their overall record is nearly even, the rivalry breaks down into several lopsided sub-rivalries: Nadal dominates on clay (14-4), Djokovic on hard (14-7). Nadal won 14 of their first 18 matches; Djokovic has won 15 of 24 since.Compare that to the running feud that is Federer vs. Djokovic. They have been playing close matches since their first meeting after Djokovic’s 20th birthday, when Djokovic won in a winner-take-all third-set tiebreaker. Since then, neither man has won more than three of the matches between them in a row. They’ve been even on every surface: 1-1 on grass, with Federer holding narrow leads of 4-3 on clay and 14-13 on hard courts. Djokovic is 6-4 in finals, Federer 11-10 in semis. They’ve split their 12 Grand Slam matches. They could meet for a 37th time in the World Tour Finals, the year-end event featuring the tour’s best players that ends Sunday in London.These are three of the sport’s greatest rivalries ever, and they remain very much alive, with the three participants currently holding the three top spots in the rankings. The continuing drama of these rivalries owes to the greatness of the trio, the happy coincidence that Nadal and Djokovic were born a year apart and the stubbornness of Federer, sticking around at age 33 to keep challenging his younger rivals.Federer-Djokovic provides plenty of intangible pleasure for neutral fans. Each can defend but prefers to play the aggressor, making for quick reversals and for many unpredictable points. Federer has one of the sport’s most effective serves ever. It has a mighty foil in Djokovic’s possibly best-ever return. Federer’s rekindling of his love for the serve-and-volley raises the tension.Many of their matches have been meaningful and memorable: Federer’s French Open win to break Djokovic’s 43-match winning streak in 2011 was bookended by two Djokovic wins in U.S. Open five-set semifinals after saving match points in 2010 and 2011. Their final this July at Wimbledon was about as high in quality and excitement as Nadal’s more celebrated win over Federer at Wimbledon in 2008.The Federer-Djokovic relationship has occasionally been tense; last July Djokovic’s father criticized Federer’s character. Other external figures keep the rivalry interesting: Djokovic coach Boris Becker and Federer coach Stefan Edberg are former world No. 1s who played each other 35 times.The statistical side of ranking a sport’s best rivalries is necessarily arbitrary. There is no single, universally accepted way to assess matchups, but here is what we can safely look for in a great rivalry: Frequent, competitive matches in significant situations. Just as the world’s best player probably isn’t best at every shot but must be really good at each one, the Federer-Djokovic rivalry doesn’t rule each category but it’s strong in all of them.Let’s take them in turn.FrequencyNadal-Djokovic is the most common meeting among men’s tour players since 1968. Federer-Djokovic ties for second; its next edition will push it past Ivan Lendl-John McEnroe. Nadal-Federer ranks eighth.SignificanceFedal, as fans call it,4Since Nadal has dominated the rivalry, his name probably should come first, but that doesn’t lend itself to as pithy a nickname. Naderer? ranks higher for total significance of matches. Of their 33 meetings, 20 have come in finals — double the number of Federer-Djokovic finals.After Federer’s match Sunday in London, I asked him to compare his rivalries with Nadal and with Djokovic. He ranked his Nadal tussles higher because of all the finals they’ve played. “I know Novak, the matches and the rivalry is nice,” Federer said. “I really enjoy playing against him. It’s very evenly matched, you know. But I played him more often probably in semis than in finals most likely. I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s kind of how it felt like.”He’s right, but you have to win semis to reach finals. I came up with a quick way to assess the importance of matches in winning titles, which I call title leverage.5A final counts as one, a semi as one-half — since winning a semi gives you a chance to play a final — a quarterfinal as one-fourth and a round-of-16 match as one-eighth. By this measure, Nadal-Djokovic ranks first in title leverage overall, and second at Grand Slams. Nadal-Federer is second in title leverage, and first at Grand Slams. Federer-Djokovic ranks sixth and third, respectively.CompetitivenessSo far, Federer-Djokovic looks like a contender for top rivalry but it’s hardly the leader. Consider competitiveness, though, and today’s top two players are the very best at challenging each other:The rivalry is unusually even. Djokovic, who trails in the head-to-head, has won 47.2 percent of their matches. That’s the highest winning percentage for the man who’s trailing in any rivalry with at least 25 matches. They mount comebacks. Two in nine of their matches were won by a player who trailed by a set at some stage. That’s higher than average and ahead of Nadal-Djokovic, though just behind Nadal-Federer.10Matches are considered comebacks only if they occur in completed matches; walkovers, retirements and defaults aren’t included. The sets are close. They’ve played the closest sets of any rivalry with at least 27 meetings.8If the loser of the set won five or more games, I counted that as leaving no games on the table. So I counted a 7-5 set and a 7-6 set the same, as leaving no games. A 6-4 set left one possible game, a 6-3 set two, and so on. Federer-Djokovic has averaged 1.47 games, compared to an average figure for rivalries of at least 15 matches of 1.73. The smaller the figure, the closer the sets. One-third of their sets have been 7-5 or closer. That’s the highest mark for any rivalry with at least 25 meetings.9The average is 25 percent for rivalries with at least 15 meetings. No amount of evidence will trump taste for most tennis fans. They might appreciate a matchup for the personalities, for the aesthetic joy of watching one player’s backhand volley against another’s forehand passing shot. Or they might adopt a favorite in their hearts, not in their minds, after a single memorable match. As much as I enjoy Federer-Djokovic, and especially was gripped while attending their Wimbledon final this year, I had more fun watching two players ranked outside the Top 100 playing a late-night five-setter in the third round of the 2009 U.S. Open.The players themselves use their own criteria for ranking rivalries.I wanted to lay out my entire statistical case to Federer and Djokovic this week, but their post-match press conferences weren’t the right setting. So I asked them, simply, where their rivalry ranked in their careers. Federer ranked his rivalry with Nadal over his tussles with Djokovic. He also put in a good word for rivalries with players closer to his age or older: Tim Henman, David Nalbandian, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi.11Federer won as high a percentage of his matches against those five as Nadal has won against him.“Both of these rivalries that I have with Roger and Rafa are special in their own way,” Djokovic said Wednesday. “I do feel those rivalries have contributed to my success a lot.” And he, like Federer, put in a good word for Nadal-Federer. “Their rivalry was amazing, and still is.”CORRECTION (Nov. 14, 5:25 p.m.): Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova played each other 80 times, including in 60 finals, according to the Women’s Tennis Association. An earlier version of a footnote to this article said that they played each other 56 times, including in 47 finals. (There is some disagreement about their record; Tennis Abstract lists 56 Evert-Navratilova matches and 47 finals while the International Tennis Federation lists 59 non-walkover matches and 50 finals.) They play very few duds. Just 47 percent of their matches have ended in straight sets, below the average rate of 58 percent and below the level for Nadal-Djokovic, though just above the 45 percent for Nadal-Federer. And just 14 percent of Federer-Djokovic matches have been what I call duds: straight-setters without a set 7-5 or closer. The rate is at least 30 percent for the two Nadal rivalries, and averages 33 percent overall for frequent matchups. They rarely leave any tennis unplayed. They’ve played 77.6 percent of possible sets in their matches.6If they finish a best-of-five-set match in four sets, they’ve played 80 percent of possible sets. That’s above average for rivalries with at least 15 matchups,7The average figure is 75 percent. Unless otherwise noted, the averages in this section are among matchups with at least 15 meetings since the professional era began. better than Nadal-Djokovic and behind only Nadal-Federer, by a nose, among rivalries with at least 27 meetings. read more

Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (June 30, 2015), we discuss the U.S. women’s national soccer team lineup, preview Wimbledon and discuss the weirdness of NBA free agency. Plus, our Significant Digit of the week: Luke Ridnour was traded this week for the fourth time this offseason, to the Toronto Raptors.Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above.Below are some links to what we discuss on this week’s show:Allison McCann on the greatest Women’s World Cup game of all time.Andy Murray defending his coach ahead of Wimbledon.A full list of NBA free agents.Significant Digit: Luke Ridnour, the man that no team, and every team, wants. Hot Takedown More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. read more

OSU center Pat Elflein (65) looks across the line of scrimmage during the second half against Indiana on Oct. 8. The Buckeyes won 38-17. Credit: Mason Swires | Assistant Photo EditorLast Saturday, Ohio State struggled in pass protection with a team that averaged just a half sack a game in Michigan State. Buckeyes’ quarterback J.T. Barrett was hurried three times, and hurried seven of his passes. Barrett, who threw for just 86 yards against the Spartans, has taken a high level of abuse in recent weeks, carrying the ball 35 times in the last two weeks, on top of being sacked. This year, OSU has allowed its quarterbacks to be dropped in the backfield 17 times through 11 games.Although OSU has given up over a sack a game, Michigan’s defensive line is a different kind of beast with pass rushing. On defense, the Wolverines have 36 sacks, more than the team had all last season, including bowl games.The tendency of quarterbacks to be injured by the Michigan defense this season has been noted by coaches from Jim Harbaugh’s staff. So far, five opposing starters have been knocked out of games with injuries when playing against the Maize and Blue. When asked about the topic, Michigan junior defensive end Chase Winovich said it is never something that teams take pride in, but it’s just a matter of fact when playing a sport as physical as football. After Maryland starter Perry Hills hurt his shoulder against the Wolverines, Winovich was unapologetic in his answer to why so many quarterbacks have been injured against his team.“It’s a violent game,” he said. “Nobody makes it out alive. Nobody’s safe in this game, especially if you’re playing quarterback against us. We’re coming.”While Winovich did express his desire for a quick recovery by Hills, the message was clear. Michigan pulls no punches when hitting opposing signal callers. OSU players were asked about the strange statistic on Monday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Adding to an already heated rivalry with serious playoff implications, many members of the team did not seem pleased with the comments made by the Michigan defensive end.Among them was redshirt junior guard Billy Price. Cooler heads prevailed for Price, who said he understood the tall order of keeping Barrett off the long list of injured starter“If you have a defensive line making a statement like that, that’s a challenge,” Price said. “We look forward to getting after it and protecting J.T.”Historically, the battle up front between Michigan and OSU has determined the outcome. The last time the Wolverines topped the Buckeyes, then-OSU quarterback Braxton Miller was dropped four times. Without time to pass, the Buckeyes could be in for a long game. Although OSU’s offensive attack depends mostly on running the ball and wearing down a defense, Michigan is allowing just 108 yards rushing per game to opponents.Even more frightening, Michigan has given up just four rushing touchdowns this season, one of the lowest marks in the entire NCAA. Redshirt senior center Pat Elflein has been pitted against the Wolverines before, and has witnessed firsthand the physicality of the trenches in The Game. OSU has faced more than one stout defensive front this season, but Saturday will be the ultimate test.Even with a formidable defense wanting nothing more than to drag Barrett down in the backfield, Elflein remains confident in his unit’s ability to dictate the outcome and is unaffected by the comments made by Winovich.“I know they’re a good defensive line,” he said. “We’ve faced good defensive lines this year and I don’t really care about any (talk) because we are going to do our job and we’re going to run the ball and protect our quarterback.”Elflein and Price will get their chance to back their claims on Saturday in Ohio Stadium against Michigan. Kickoff is set for noon. read more

first_imgA Change.org petition for more lifeguards at Camber Sands Mr Ravi’s younger brother, Ajirthan, 19, said: “There wasn’t any lifeguards cruising around, because they would have quickly noticed these boys drowning, and could have at least saved their lives.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. He said: “Ken and Inthushan got stuck in water. So what they do is the three boys try to save them.”He said attempts failed and Mr Srithavarajah was brought out first and declared dead straight away.”My bro and Kobi had heartbeats and managed to survive for a few minutes but after first aid they couldn’t recover.”Both died within 15 minutes after being pulled from the water, he said.The bodies of Ken and Mr Sriskantharasa were discovered later that evening, he said, adding that he thought they had got their legs caught in the “slippery mud” and sand on the seabed.Chief Superintendent Di Roskilly, of Sussex Police, said: “This has been an incredibly tragic incident and we are offering their next of kin support at this difficult time and our thoughts are with them.” Relatives of some of the men have criticised the lack of lifeguards at Camber and suggested they may have stood a chance of survival if the beach had been manned.Mr Ravi’s family said they felt “very angry” at the lack of response from the authorities following the death of another man, Brazilian Gustavo Silva Da Cruz, 19, at Camber last month. A Change.org petition for more lifeguards at Camber Sands Local resident Emily Van Eyssen, 44, said money raised through car parking charges at Camber should fund lifeguards there throughout the summer.The five young men had gone to the coast for a day trip from London.Mr Ravi’s brother said his sibling died after trying to rescue two of his friends who had become trapped beneath the water. A spokesman for Rother district council said that, despite there being no lifeguards, there were summer patrols to advise people of potential dangers.In recent years, Camber has attracted people from outside the area who were unfamiliar with the sea and the dangers it poses, he added.An online petition started a month ago calling for lifeguards at Camber has now reached more than 6,800 signatures. Lifeguards will patrol Camber Sands over the Bank Holiday weekend after five young friends died during a day trip to the coast.The local council accepted an offer from the RNLI to provide a temporary team of up to six lifeguards at the beach, near Rye in East Sussex.The RNLI also said a team will be on hand to give safety information to all beach-goers between Saturday and Monday.The development came as Sussex Police formally identified the five men who died on Wednesday as inquiries into their deaths passed to the county coroner.They were Kenugen Saththiyanathan, 18, known as Ken, and his brother Kobikanthan, 22, known as Kobi, both of Erith, south-east London.Their friends Nitharsan Ravi, 22, of Plumstead, south-east London; Inthushan Sriskantharasa, 23, of Grays, Essex; and Gurushanth Srithavarajah, 27, of Welling, south-east London also died.last_img read more

first_imgLawyer Lucie Rose Mrs Keys, a psychotherapist, said: ‘When someone, after 34 years of marriage, can do this to his wife and still plead for her to take him back, it really does beggar belief as to who this man is because I don’t know him. I really don’t know who he is.’Mrs Keys said her husband, with whom she has two children, had “completely run out of chances” and she would press ahead with the divorce.When approached Mr Keys said: “It won’t surprise you to hear I have nothing to say.”Miss Rose also refused to comment. Keys with wife and daughterCredit:Getty After being shown photographs of the pair at the Hyatt Regency Hotel London – The Churchill, where they shared a meal at the hotel’s restaurant The Montagu, Julia Keys said: “‘I am utterly stunned. Last year he bullied me into making a public statement saying the affair did not take place.“I did it for the sake of our family even though I knew he had been carrying on with her. After that he apologised and bought me roses and a teddy in an attempt to patch our marriage up.”Mr Keys left Sky Sports in disgrace after making a series of sexist remarks to fellow presenter Jamie Redknap about one of his former girlfriends and female match officials Sian Massey.He went on to land a £420,000 a year tax free TV presenting job in Qatar, from where he flew to London on Tuesday morning.Mrs Keys, who was not told by her husband that he was staying at the £400 a night hotel, told the Daily Mail: “He promised me that he would not see Lucie again. And this week he sent me texts saying he was categorically not with her and had no feelings for her any more. The irony is that when they were together in that hotel this week, I received a “love heart” in a text and a message which said, ‘I love you,’ from Richard. He wrote, ‘Please let me come home, I love you, I can’t live without you.’ He is a pathological liar.” Lawyer Lucie RoseCredit:TIM STEWART NEWS LIMITED Mrs Keys, 57, who suffers from a rare thyroid cancer, filed for divorce on the grounds of adultery last summer at a British court.When she then discovered that he was still seeing Miss Rose – despite travelling to Doha, where he works, in an attempt to patch up their marriage in the autumn – she arranged for her lawyers to send divorce papers to both of them again. The wife of sports presenter Richard Keys has branded him a “pathological liar” after it was claimed that he has continued his affair with a woman 32-years his junior.Mr Keys, 59, had last year pressured his wife Julia, into saying his affair with Lucie Rose, a 27-year-old lawyer and friend of his daughter Jemma, had never taken place.But it has now emerged that he spent two nights with Miss Rose at a five-star hotel in West London last week, where the couple were photographed arm in arm. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Keys with radio co-presenter Andy Gray Keys with radio co-presenter Andy Gray Keys with wife and daughterlast_img read more

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. This stunning picture shows the moment dolphins leaped out of the water to the shock of some nearby surfers.As the surfers prepared to ride the waves in the blue Cornish sea, the water mammals disrupted their plans.Father-of-four Malcolm, of Newport in Wales, was visiting family when he caught sight of the show.”I was walking down a coast I hadn’t visited in a while,” said marine mammal watcher, Malcolm.”A friend bought me a pasty and I sat down to eat it and the next thing I knew I was watching these dolphins.”last_img read more

first_imgA Liberal Democrats councillor who made a “male appendage” joke at a Labour rival called John Thomas has been found to have breached standards. Councillor Nigel Porter made the jibe during a Leicester City Council meeting in October last year.He was debating with City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby about a development in his ward of Aylestone when he was heckled by Mr Thomas. I won’t take any lectures from a man named after a male appendageCouncillor Nigel Porter He also complained that another colleague had directed a mental health slur at him by suggesting he needed to seek psychological assistance at the same October meeting.He added: “It’s called innuendo. It’s a joke.The council and this committee seem determined to pursue a vindictive complaint.”If Cllr Thomas was offended he must have a very, very, thin skin. He is only upset because he lost face.”A future standards committee will now decide what sanctions to enforce on Cllr Porter. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Councillor John ThomasCredit:Leicester Mercury / SWNS.com Video footage from the council’s webcast shows the moment Cllr Porter immediately retorted: “I won’t take any lectures from a man named after a male appendage.”John Thomas is a slang description of a penis derived from DH Lawrence’s novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover.Lord Mayor Steven Corrall, who chaired the meeting, asked the councillor to retract the comment but he refused.Cllr Porter was reported to Leicester City Council’s standards hearing sub-committee after the exchange.The committee decided the councillor had breached the rules after a meeting on Monday night.At the standards hearing on Monday night, Cllr Porter insisted the words he had used were not offensive. Councillor John Thomaslast_img read more

first_imgThey have won 13 Wimbledon titles between them, but there is one other thing this year’s four favourites have in common – they are all over 30. SW19’s old guard have succeeded in defying the physical demands of the grand slam with seven of the final 16 players in the men’s singles aged 30 or above for the first time in generations.Among them are the tournament’s four favourites Roger Federer, 35, Rafael Nadal, 31, and 30-year-olds Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.They are joined by 34-year-old Gilles Muller and 31-year-olds Kevin Anderson and Tomas Berdych. Fitness experts have suggested the sport’s increased pace from the 1980s onwards led to players reaching their peak at a younger age. But evolutions in racket technology and longer points has made the sport more mentally challenging for younger, less experienced players in recent years.When he turned 30 earlier this year, Murray also commented on the increasing average age of players, saying: “When I was starting out, a lot of players would have stopped – or at least started to struggle – at maybe 31, 32. Just before I came on the tour, it was even as early as 28, 29. But now, if your body and your health are fine, there’s no reason why you can’t compete at the top into your early-to-mid-30s.” But Williams, who is competing in her 20th Wimbledon, said: “I guess when you walk on the court, I don’t think either of us is thinking about the age.”You’re thinking, ‘How do I win?'” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “There is a bit of that clash right now, the young ones trying to push out, especially the 35-plus guys. “But then there’s a strong, strong team as well around the generation of Rafa and Murray and Djokovic obviously, as well.” Andy Murray  It is not just the men’s tournament which has seen experienced players prevailing in the final stages. Venus Williams, 37, who is the oldest woman to reach the fourth round since 1994, will today face Ana Konjuh, a 19-year-old who born seven months after Williams competed in her first grand slam. The average age of this year’s final 16 is over 28 – higher than the previous ten years, with a 35-year-old featuring for the first time since Tommy Haas in 2013.Despite the younger generation’s attempts to push them out of the field, seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer says they are “still hanging on”.In fact Monday will see ten of the top 16 seeds competing in the fourth round, the most to reach the second week at Wimbledon in a decade.Discussing the experience of this year’s competitors, Federer said: “It’s nice to see them still hanging on, still enjoying the tour, still being tough out there, making it difficult for the youngsters to break through.  ‘There’s no reason why you can’t compete at the top into your early-to-mid-30s,’ Andy Murray has said Credit:Ashley Western/Getty last_img read more

first_imgThe distinct smell emanating from the house at the end of the cul-de-sac had been familiar to the neighbours for years. But when masked gangsters forced their way into the property, demanding its occupants hand over their cannabis stash, the middle-aged couple were understandably bewildered.The couple, it emerged, had a plant growing in their front garden commonly called Caucasian Crosswort, which gives off a smell resembling cannabis, and which the bungling burglars appear to have mistaken for the drug.On discovering that the house was not, in fact, a cannabis factory, the gang made off instead with cash and other personal items. “It was by the front door,” she said. “We could sometimes smell quite a strong scent but we thought it was foxes as there are a lot around there.”An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said they were still investigating the aggravated burglary that occurred in the early hours of August 15.“Masked men went into the property and threatened the occupants, before making off with cash and other personal items,” he added.“Officers with the local neighbourhood team have been providing support to the victims and recently identified a plant growing in the victims’ garden commonly called Caucasian Crosswort, which gives off a smell resembling cannabis.“We believe this smell may have led to a case of mistaken identity, with the offenders believing cannabis was being grown at the property.“We’ve advised the victims to remove the plants and would appeal to anyone with information about this incident to come forward.” “The smell is so distinct, it really does smell like cannabis,” he told the Telegraph.“It’s more intense when it’s hot and dry.“It’s an uncommon garden plant that makes good ground cover and is easy to grow but it comes from Iran and is an unusual plant to find in the UK.” Gardener Alan DownCredit:Bristol Post/SWNS.com One of the plants at the house in Bristol smelt strongly of cannabis Mr Down said he was able to identify the plant, which has delicate pink flowers, because he had spotted it once on a farmyard in Cornwall and taken a photograph.“I like a challenge,” he added. “I knew roughly what it was but it took me a little while. The police were very grateful. I assume this couple will dig it up now.”Neighbours said the smell had emitted from the garden for at least ten years but most thought it was foxes.One neighbour said: “The smell is quite strong. It always smelt as if it was where foxes had been.“The couple who live there didn’t plant it, it’s been there for many, many years.“But I’m not sure how anyone would even know about it. Unless you were looking for it, you couldn’t possibly know it was there. No one would have cause to walk past that house.” One of the plants at the house in Bristol smelt strongly of cannabisCredit:SWNS.com But the pair were left traumatised and utterly baffled about what had led to the mistake. Police officers called to the property, in Winford, Bristol, were equally confused.They could smell the strong scent of cannabis outside the house but were unable to identify the source.Eventually, one of the officers contacted Alan Down, a local horticulture expert, asking for help.”The police officer who came to see me said he specialised in drugs,” Mr Down said.”He knew of several plants that smelled like cannabis but he couldn’t see them in the garden.”Mr Down told the officer to take cuttings of the smelliest plants in the couple’s garden and he soon identified the culprit as Phuopsis stylosa, known as Caucasian Crosswort. The previous owner of the house, who did not wish to be identified, had lived there from 1999 and said she believed it was already in the well-established garden when she purchased the house and had no idea where it had come from. Gardener Alan Down Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more