BRISBANE, Australia (AP): Milos Raonic got one back on Roger Federer to start the new season. After losing coach Ivan Ljubicic to the Federer camp leading into 2016, Raonic achieved something nobody else born in the 1990s has managed to do against the 17-time major winner – beat him twice. The 25-year-old Canadian broke Federer’s serve once in each set of a 6-4, 6-4 win yesterday in the Brisbane International decider, reversing the outcome of their meeting in last year’s final at the Australian Open warm-up tournament. Ljubicic was in Federer’s corner for the final. Carlos Moya, who will join Raonic’s coaching crew, doesn’t arrive in Australia until next week. He’s got a good base to work off, starting with Raonic’s eighth career title and only his second win in 11 matches against Federer. It was a boost coming off a troubled end to 2015, when Raonic missed the last three weeks with a back problem, having missed the French Open earlier in the season with a foot injury, parted company with Ljubicic and finished out of the top 10. “It does great things – it signifies within the team how concrete and good the work we’re doing is,” Raonic said of his win. “At the same time, with the difficulties I’ve had last year, it’s maybe a good way for me to show the other guys I will face going in Melbourne, you know, I’ve got my stuff back together and I can play some good tennis again.” Raonic attacked top-seeded Federer with his booming serve and forehand, as expected, but also went to the net 13 times in the first set and won 10 of those points to put him on course for the win. Federer, who went 6-5 in finals in 2015 – with all five losses coming to top-ranked Novak Djokovic – struggled earlier in the week with lingering flu-like symptoms, but improved with four matches in four days, including wins over Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals and Dominic Thiem in the semis. Raonic “did well. It was a tough match – (my) legs were a little bit wobbly,” Federer said. “Still, considering the week I’ve had, I’m actually quite happy. That’s why I’m not down or anything or disappointed. “If I would’ve known I would’ve made the finals five days ago I would’ve been unbelievably happy.” BIG BOOST
LONDON (AP):The IOC advised national Olympic committees yesterday to follow the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidance on dealing with the Zika virus ahead of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, asserting its confidence that the games will be safe.Brazil has been hit hard by the mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to severe birth defects in infants, raising concerns about the outbreak’s potential impact on South America’s first Olympics in August.The International Olympic Committee (IOC) sent a note to all national Olympic committees outlining the latest medical advice concerning the Zika virus, the most recent problem for a country already dealing with a severe economic crisis and a sprawling corruption scandal.”All parties are taking action to address this topic, and are following developments closely,” the IOC said.The two-page note from the IOC medical commission repeated advice for travellers to take precautions against mosquito bites and for women who are planning to become pregnant to assess the potential risks of travelling to areas infected with the virus.”The IOC remains in close contact with the WHO to ensure that we have access to the most up-to-date information and guidance, from now through to Games time,” the IOC statement said. “At the same time NOCs should consult with their national health authorities to get advice and guidance.”The IOC did not say the Olympics were threatened in any way and made it clear that it expects the Aug. 5-21 games to be secure for athletes and visitors.”We remain confident that there will be a safe environment for successful and enjoyable games in Rio de Janeiro,” the statement concluded.