French/Wimbledon double still the ultimate challenge
LONDON A lot has changed since tennis turned professional in 1968, from the colour of the balls to players’ hairstyles and advances in racket and string technology.
French trio Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud and Francis Coquelin have all signed new long-term deals at Arsenal, the Premier League club said on Thursday.
Koscielny, who has made 273 appearances since his arrival in 2010, revealed on his Twitter account that he has extended his stay until 2020.
Striker Giroud, who has scored nine goals in 19 appearances this season, was the club's top scorer last campaign with 24 goals in all competitions, while Coquelin is a key midfield figure who has made 131 appearances for the club.
"We are very pleased that three important members of our team have committed to us for the long term," manager Arsene Wenger told the club website.
"Olivier has big experience in the game now and has become a more and more complete player since joining us. Francis has made tremendous technical strides over the past few years because he's so focused every day.
"Laurent is of course a key part of our squad and I believe one of the best defenders in the world today. So overall, this is great news for us."
The contract extensions will be a relief for Arsenal after questions were raised about their ability to retain their best players amid protracted negotiations with influential duo of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
Arsenal are currently fifth in the league table, eight points behind leaders Chelsea after 20 games, and they travel to face second-from-bottom Swansea City on Saturday.
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)
DUESSELDORF, Germany Chris Froome may look far from his best and might say this year's route does him no favours, but the Briton is the overwhelming favourite to win his fourth Tour de France crown next month.
LONDON The plaque on the wall of Court 18 at Wimbledon bears the legend The Longest Match. The 2010 encounter between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut that it commemorates, lasting 11 hours and 5 minutes and spread over three days, has passed into tennis folklore.