Serena Williams is taking longer than she had hoped to win her her 22nd grand slam singles title. Brandon Malone / Reuters
Serena Williams is taking longer than she had hoped to win her her 22nd grand slam singles title. Brandon Malone / Reuters

Serena Williams battles self-doubt ahead of Wimbledon defence, and Andy Murray seeded second



LONDON // Serena Williams finds herself under siege from revitalised rivals and an army of doubters as the defending champion starts her bid for a seventh Wimbledon title and a record-equalling 22nd major crown.

Since she walked off Wimbledon’s Centre Court cradling the Venus Rosewater Dish awarded to the women’s champion nearly 12 months ago, Williams has found herself engaged in a losing battle with the history books.

That Wimbledon final victory over Garbine Muguruza meant Williams had won all three of the year’s major titles, putting her within touching distance of becoming the first woman to secure a calendar Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988.

But Williams’s historic bid came to stunning end in the US Open semi-finals when she was beaten by Roberta Vinci.

Also read:

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In the aftermath of that chastening September day in New York, Williams has appeared a more vulnerable figure.

For so long, Williams’s power game and competitive instincts intimidated opponents into submission, but this year she has won only one of her five tournaments, in Rome in May, while enduring a pair of shock defeats in the Australian and French Open finals.

There is a growing sense the emotional scars from the US Open have not fully healed for Williams and Germany’s Angelique Kerber took advantage to shock her in Melbourne in January, while Spain’s Muguruza avenged her Wimbledon loss by beating Serena in Paris earlier this month.

Falling at the final hurdle twice this year has left Williams still stuck on 21 grand slam titles – one short of Graf’s Open era record of 22 and three behind the all-time record of 24 set by Margaret Court – ahead of Wimbledon, which gets underway on Monday.

Williams, 34, is the oldest woman to be ranked No 1 in the world and, with off-court interests including the fashion industry and a recent appearance in a video for pop-star Beyonce's Lemonade single, critics have claimed Williams is no longer so focused on her tennis in the twilight of her glittering career.

Given Williams compiled a remarkable 53-3 match record in 2015, even she had to concede 2016 has been a disappointment by her sky-high standards.

“Not as great as I want it to be,” Williams said when asked to assess her year so far. “I could do better. But honestly, that’s how I felt about 2015.”

In the circumstances, Williams will be relieved to feel grass under her feet as she returns to the venue where she won the first of her six Wimbledon titles in 2002.

“I’ve had people put me down because I didn’t look like them,” Williams said in a recent documentary. “I’ve had people look past me because of the colour of my skin. I’ve had people overlook me because I was a woman. I’m still going.”

With Maria Sharapova absent as she appeals against a two-year ban for doping, the main challengers for Williams’s crown should be second-ranked Muguruza, former Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska and the likes of Kerber, Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka, who defeated Williams in the Indian Wells final in March.

Muguruza, who last year became the first Spanish woman to reach the Wimbledon final since 1994, is the pick of the bunch after winning her maiden grand slam title in such composed and combative fashion at Roland Garros.

The Venezuela-born 22-year-old player’s first-round exit in last week’s Mallorca Open was a setback but she is now fully focused on Wimbledon.

“The truth is I’m disappointed, but now I’m just training harder to arrive ready for Wimbledon,” Muguruza said. “It feels like ages since I last stepped on grass, but it brings me great memories, even though it isn’t a surface I’ve always liked.

“I’ve learned to love it more lately and then reaching the final at Wimbledon, that was something so special.”

Murray seeded second at Wimbledon

Andy Murray will be seeded second at Wimbledon as the British number one targets a third grand slam title.

Murray, who ended this country’s 77-year wait for a men’s champion at the All England Club in 2013, will be in a separate half to top seed Novak Djokovic when the draw is made on Friday.

In the women’s tournament, Johanna Konta is the first British female to be seeded at Wimbledon since Jo Durie in 1984. Konta is seeded 17th.

It means Murray cannot face world number one Djokovic, who currently holds all four grand slam titles, until the final.

Murray has lost 13 of his last 15 matches against the Serb, including at the Australian and French Open finals this year, but he has won their last two meetings on grass.

Seventeen-time major champion Roger Federer is seeded third and his Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka comes in at four. Canada’s Milos Raonic, who has hired John McEnroe as coach, is sixth.

Serena Williams will be top seed in the women’s draw as the American looks to equal Steffi Graf’s open-era record by sealing a 22nd grand slam triumph.

Williams has failed at the last hurdle in her last two major tournaments, enduring surprise defeats at the Australian and French Open finals this year.

Her conqueror at Roland Garros, Garbine Muguruza of Spain, is seeded second with Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, the 2012 finalist, third.

Konta’s placing at 17th come as reward for a remarkable 12 months, in which she has reached the last 16 at the US Open and the semi-finals at the Australian Open. The 25-year-old’s world ranking has shot up from 146th to 18th.

Seedings at Wimbledon are determined using a combination of a player’s ranking points and their results in grass-court matches.

Play at the third grand slam tournament of the year starts on Monday.

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How the bonus system works

The two riders are among several riders in the UAE to receive the top payment of £10,000 under the Thank You Fund of £16 million (Dh80m), which was announced in conjunction with Deliveroo's £8 billion (Dh40bn) stock market listing earlier this year.

The £10,000 (Dh50,000) payment is made to those riders who have completed the highest number of orders in each market.

There are also riders who will receive payments of £1,000 (Dh5,000) and £500 (Dh2,500).

All riders who have worked with Deliveroo for at least one year and completed 2,000 orders will receive £200 (Dh1,000), the company said when it announced the scheme.

ILT20 UAE stars

LEADING RUN SCORERS
1 Nicholas Pooran, 261
2 Muhammad Waseem (UAE), 248
3 Chris Lynn, 244
4 Johnson Charles, 232
5 Kusal Perera, 230

BEST BOWLING AVERAGE
(minimum 10 overs bowled)
1 Zuhaib Zubair (UAE), 9 wickets at 12.44
2 Mohammed Rohid (UAE), 7 at 13.00

3 Fazalhaq Farooqi, 17 at 13.05
4 Waqar Salamkheil, 10 at 14.08
5 Aayan Khan (UAE), 4 at 15.50
6 Wanindu Hasaranga, 12 at 16.25
7 Mohammed Jawadullah (UAE), 10 at 17.00

Most polluted cities in the Middle East

1. Baghdad, Iraq
2. Manama, Bahrain
3. Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
4. Kuwait City, Kuwait
5. Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
6. Ash Shihaniyah, Qatar
7. Abu Dhabi, UAE
8. Cairo, Egypt
9. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
10. Dubai, UAE

Source: 2022 World Air Quality Report

MOST POLLUTED COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD

1. Chad
2. Iraq
3. Pakistan
4. Bahrain
5. Bangladesh
6. Burkina Faso
7. Kuwait
8. India
9. Egypt
10. Tajikistan

Source: 2022 World Air Quality Report

The specs

Engine: Twin-turbocharged 4-litre V8
Power: 542bhp
Torque: 770Nm
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Price: From Dh1,450,000
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Kill Bill Volume 1

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Uma Thurman, David Carradine and Michael Madsen
Rating: 4.5/5

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo
Power: 190hp at 5,600rpm
Torque: 320Nm at 1,500-4,000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 10.9L/100km
Price: From Dh119,900
On sale: Now

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
THE SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Transmission: Constant Variable (CVT)

Power: 141bhp 

Torque: 250Nm 

Price: Dh64,500

On sale: Now

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

The specs: 2018 Dodge Durango SRT

Price, base / as tested: Dh259,000

Engine: 6.4-litre V8

Power: 475hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque: 640Nm @ 4,300rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Fuel consumption, combined: 7.7L / 100km

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

The five new places of worship

Church of South Indian Parish

St Andrew's Church Mussaffah branch

St Andrew's Church Al Ain branch

St John's Baptist Church, Ruwais

Church of the Virgin Mary and St Paul the Apostle, Ruwais

 

SPECS

Engine: 4-litre V8 twin-turbo
Power: 630hp
Torque: 850Nm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
Price: From Dh599,000
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The past winners

2009 - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

2010 - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

2011 - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2012 - Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2013 - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

2014 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

2015 - Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

2016 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

2017 - Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

How to help

Send “thenational” to the following numbers or call the hotline on: 0502955999
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The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

The Case For Trump

By Victor Davis Hanson
 

SPEC SHEET: APPLE M3 MACBOOK AIR (13")

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Storage: 256/512GB / 1/2TB

I/O: Thunderbolt 3/USB-4 (2), 3.5mm audio, Touch ID

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

Battery: 52.6Wh lithium-polymer, up to 18 hours, MagSafe charging

Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD

Video: Support for Apple ProRes, HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10

Audio: 4-speaker system, wide stereo, support for Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio and dynamic head tracking (with AirPods)

Colours: Midnight, silver, space grey, starlight

In the box: MacBook Air, 30W/35W dual-port/70w power adapter, USB-C-to-MagSafe cable, 2 Apple stickers

Price: From Dh4,599

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

How being social media savvy can improve your well being

Next time when procastinating online remember that you can save thousands on paying for a personal trainer and a gym membership simply by watching YouTube videos and keeping up with the latest health tips and trends.

As social media apps are becoming more and more consumed by health experts and nutritionists who are using it to awareness and encourage patients to engage in physical activity.

Elizabeth Watson, a personal trainer from Stay Fit gym in Abu Dhabi suggests that “individuals can use social media as a means of keeping fit, there are a lot of great exercises you can do and train from experts at home just by watching videos on YouTube”.

Norlyn Torrena, a clinical nutritionist from Burjeel Hospital advises her clients to be more technologically active “most of my clients are so engaged with their phones that I advise them to download applications that offer health related services”.

Torrena said that “most people believe that dieting and keeping fit is boring”.

However, by using social media apps keeping fit means that people are “modern and are kept up to date with the latest heath tips and trends”.

“It can be a guide to a healthy lifestyle and exercise if used in the correct way, so I really encourage my clients to download health applications” said Mrs Torrena.

People can also connect with each other and exchange “tips and notes, it’s extremely healthy and fun”.

THE APPRENTICE

Director: Ali Abbasi

Starring: Sebastian Stan, Maria Bakalova, Jeremy Strong

Rating: 3/5

THE LOWDOWN

Romeo Akbar Walter

Rating: 2/5 stars
Produced by: Dharma Productions, Azure Entertainment
Directed by: Robby Grewal
Cast: John Abraham, Mouni Roy, Jackie Shroff and Sikandar Kher 

JOKE'S ON YOU

Google wasn't new to busting out April Fool's jokes: before the Gmail "prank", it tricked users with mind-reading MentalPlex responses and said well-fed pigeons were running its search engine operations .

In subsequent years, they announced home internet services through your toilet with its "patented GFlush system", made us believe the Moon's surface was made of cheese and unveiled a dating service in which they called founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page "Stanford PhD wannabes ".

But Gmail was all too real, purportedly inspired by one – a single – Google user complaining about the "poor quality of existing email services" and born "millions of M&Ms later".

Innotech Profile

Date started: 2013

Founder/CEO: Othman Al Mandhari

Based: Muscat, Oman

Sector: Additive manufacturing, 3D printing technologies

Size: 15 full-time employees

Stage: Seed stage and seeking Series A round of financing 

Investors: Oman Technology Fund from 2017 to 2019, exited through an agreement with a new investor to secure new funding that it under negotiation right now. 

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Jewel of the Expo 2020

252 projectors installed on Al Wasl dome

13.6km of steel used in the structure that makes it equal in length to 16 Burj Khalifas

550 tonnes of moulded steel were raised last year to cap the dome

724,000 cubic metres is the space it encloses

Stands taller than the leaning tower of Pisa

Steel trellis dome is one of the largest single structures on site

The size of 16 tennis courts and weighs as much as 500 elephants

Al Wasl means connection in Arabic

World’s largest 360-degree projection surface

What is the FNC?

The Federal National Council is one of five federal authorities established by the UAE constitution. It held its first session on December 2, 1972, a year to the day after Federation.
It has 40 members, eight of whom are women. The members represent the UAE population through each of the emirates. Abu Dhabi and Dubai have eight members each, Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah six, and Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain have four.
They bring Emirati issues to the council for debate and put those concerns to ministers summoned for questioning. 
The FNC’s main functions include passing, amending or rejecting federal draft laws, discussing international treaties and agreements, and offering recommendations on general subjects raised during sessions.
Federal draft laws must first pass through the FNC for recommendations when members can amend the laws to suit the needs of citizens. The draft laws are then forwarded to the Cabinet for consideration and approval. 
Since 2006, half of the members have been elected by UAE citizens to serve four-year terms and the other half are appointed by the Ruler’s Courts of the seven emirates.
In the 2015 elections, 78 of the 252 candidates were women. Women also represented 48 per cent of all voters and 67 per cent of the voters were under the age of 40.
 

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Company profile

Company name: Ogram
Started: 2017
Founders: Karim Kouatly and Shafiq Khartabil
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: On-demand staffing
Number of employees: 50
Funding: More than $4 million
Funding round: Series A
Investors: Global Ventures, Aditum and Oraseya Capital

The specs: 2018 BMW R nineT Scrambler

Price, base / as tested Dh57,000

Engine 1,170cc air/oil-cooled flat twin four-stroke engine

Transmission Six-speed gearbox

Power 110hp) @ 7,750rpm

Torque 116Nm @ 6,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined 5.3L / 100km

BLACKBERRY

Director: Matt Johnson

Stars: Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton, Matt Johnson

Rating: 4/5

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
Severe headache
Pain behind the eyes
Muscle and joint pains
Nausea
Vomiting
Swollen glands
Rash

EXPATS

Director: Lulu Wang

Stars: Nicole Kidman, Sarayu Blue, Ji-young Yoo, Brian Tee, Jack Huston

Rating: 4/5

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

Pathaan

Director: Siddharth Anand 

Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham 

Rating: 3/5

The alternatives

• Founded in 2014, Telr is a payment aggregator and gateway with an office in Silicon Oasis. It’s e-commerce entry plan costs Dh349 monthly (plus VAT). QR codes direct customers to an online payment page and merchants can generate payments through messaging apps.

• Business Bay’s Pallapay claims 40,000-plus active merchants who can invoice customers and receive payment by card. Fees range from 1.99 per cent plus Dh1 per transaction depending on payment method and location, such as online or via UAE mobile.

• Tap started in May 2013 in Kuwait, allowing Middle East businesses to bill, accept, receive and make payments online “easier, faster and smoother” via goSell and goCollect. It supports more than 10,000 merchants. Monthly fees range from US$65-100, plus card charges of 2.75-3.75 per cent and Dh1.2 per sale.

2checkout’s “all-in-one payment gateway and merchant account” accepts payments in 200-plus markets for 2.4-3.9 per cent, plus a Dh1.2-Dh1.8 currency conversion charge. The US provider processes online shop and mobile transactions and has 17,000-plus active digital commerce users.

• PayPal is probably the best-known online goods payment method - usually used for eBay purchases -  but can be used to receive funds, providing everyone’s signed up. Costs from 2.9 per cent plus Dh1.2 per transaction.


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