Former players urge Bartoli to rethink or face regret

The world number seven stunned the tennis world on Wednesday by calling it a day at the age of 28, six weeks after her first grand slam triumph.


“What she did at Wimbledon was fantastic, but she will regret this decision when Wimbledon comes,” Ivanisevic, unable to defend his 2001 Wimbledon title because of a shoulder injury, said in a statement released by the ATP on Thursday.

“There is nothing like playing at Wimbledon as ‘Wimbledon champion’,” added the big-serving Croat, who retired from the sport in 2004 after losing to Australian Lleyton Hewitt in the third round of the grasscourt grand slam on Centre Court.

Former men’s world number four Forget said the decision announced after a second-round defeat by Romanian Simona Halep at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati sounded too hasty.

“Marion is a very smart girl, she is so dedicated about the sport that I’m always very cautious about someone’s quote right after a defeat,” the former French number one said in the same ATP statement.

“I hope she is going to change her mind. You don’t want to have regrets looking back. Being a professional player is such an exceptional job and you don’t want to look back a few months or years later and think ‘why did I stop?’.”


He advised Bartoli to simply take a break rather than pack up her rackets for good.

“Don’t rush it, just don’t rush it,” he said.

“Take time, go to the beach for a few days, go running in the park, just get your head together … if you don’t want to play the next week, just don’t play it, if you want to miss the U.S. Open, fine, but just don’t quit.

“Don’t take such a radical decision only a few weeks after winning the biggest tournament in the world.”

French tennis federation president Jean Gachassin, who was not aware of Bartoli’s decision before she made it public, said he had not lost hope of persuading her to reverse her decision.

“Some champions have come back like (Kim) Clijsters or (Justine) Henin and I hope I will make Marion change her mind in the coming months,” he told French broadcaster L’Equipe 21.

Former world number one Clijsters won the U.S. Open twice in 2009 and 2010 and the 2011 Australian Open when she returned to the sport after retiring.

“Marion has been such a fighter. I want her to continue training because I know she’s going to miss tennis,” Gachassin added.

French tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou was convinced this was not the end of Bartoli’s tennis career.

“Marion, hope you are already preparing your comeback … I checked if we weren’t the 1st of April when I read.” he wrote on Twitter.

(Reporting by Gregory Blachier; Editing by Sonia Oxley)

Ansell keen to grow in China and Brazil

Protective clothing and condom maker Ansell expects its earnings to grow in the year ahead despite weakness in its Asian and European markets.


Ansell made a net profit of $136.8 million in the year to June 30, a five per cent rise from the previous year’s $130 million.

Sales grew by 10 per cent to $1.3 billion and earnings rose by 11 per cent from the previous year, due primarily to Ansell’s purchase of four new businesses in the year.

That helped to offset flat trading conditions in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Ansell said.

In the US, sales of protective glovewear fell following the country’s decision to reduce military spending and withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

The slowing Australian economy also impacted sales of industrial gloves.

But revenue from emerging markets increased, making up 27 per cent of Ansell’s total revenue, up from 25 per cent a year earlier.

This was aided by its acquisition of a protective clothing operation in Brazil and a condom distributor in Guangzhou, China.

Chief executive Magnus Nicolin forecast earnings to grow by high single digits or low teens in 2013/14, despite warning that conditions is some markets will be weak.

“Although some improvement in the global economic environment is anticipated in (2013/14) in North America and Latin America, this is expected to be offset by weakness in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific,” Mr Nicolin said.

The company increased its unfranked final dividend to 22 cents per share, up from 20.5 cents at the same time last year.

Ansell shares were were up $1.05, or 5.7 per cent, at $19.50 at 1300 AEST.

NZ house prices rise again in July

New Zealand house prices rose in July as more houses changed hands, suggesting first-home buyers are trying to secure properties ahead of possible Reserve Bank restrictions on buyers with low deposits.


The median house price rose 6.6 per cent to $NZ385,000 ($A340,076) in July from the year earlier month, with all 12 regions posting an increase, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.

Some 6,777 dwellings changed hands, up 15 per cent from the year earlier, with nine regions recording an increase, the institute said.

The Reserve Bank is expected to raise the benchmark interest rate from a record low 2.5 per cent next year in part to contain the housing market in Auckland, where a supply shortage has driven up prices, and Christchurch, which is being rebuilt following a series of earthquakes.

The strong property market figures for July come as the central bank mulls the use of new macro-prudential tools to restrict the volume of low equity mortgages on concern pressure in the housing market poses a risk to financial stability.

“It is the most active winter the residential real estate market has seen for a while, with the volume of sales higher than would normally be expected for this time of year,” Institute chief executive Helen O’Sullivan said.

House sales were at a six-year high for the month of July.

“Reports from agents around the country suggest that first home buyers are moving quickly to secure properties ahead of any move by the Reserve Bank to impose lending restrictions on buyers with lower deposits.”

July is usually one of the quietest months for real estate but the normal winter slowdown hasn’t happened this year, Ms O’Sullivan said.

Otago recorded a new record median price of $NZ266,778 while the Nelson/Marlborough region recorded the largest increase in median price from the year earlier, up 15 per cent, followed by Central Otago Lakes and Taranaki.

Seven West Media shares slump, Kardashian stock soar

If you’re on the network, starring in a successful show, then your personal profits are up.


Shares in Seven West Media slumped as much as 23 per cent today, after investors reacted to the company’s profit warning two days ago.

Seven West, which owns Network Seven and The West Australian, said a lacklustre advertising market will see earnings for this financial year fall to between $460million and $470million.

Brokers are also unhappy with the underperformance of shows like Dancing With The Stars and Australia’s Got Talent when you compare them with their respective 2011 ratings.

Only last week, Network Ten also blamed a soft advertising market for a 70 per cent drop in half year profit.

But as traditional media stuggle to grow profits, the reality is, others are growing their bottom line.

One of the biggest bottoms in the business, and I can say that because she trades on her curvy figure, is Kim Kardashian.

Forbes has reported, the Kardashian clan has just signed a $40million three year deal with America’s E! Network, to continue with the show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

At that price, it is the most profitable deal in reality television history.

It’s interesting because a number of US media outlets have been predicting the decline of the Kardashian conglomerate, most noticably, the New York Post which attempted to point out cracks in their empire.

But the new deal cements the Kardashian’s place in pop culture, whether you like them or not.

I’m indifferent.

If the family is smart enough to grow their own personal empire and businesses on the back of their television exposure, then well done to them.

However, let’s not forget though, that what really triggered the Kardashian’s rise to fame, was Kim Kardashian’s sex tape. Moral much?

But as they say, sex sells, and Americans are buying in to the Kardashian story in droves.

In fact, 3 million Americans watch the show every week and season 7 is about to premiere across the Pacific next month.

The new deal, doesn’t include current spin off shows like Kim and Kourntey Take New York and Khloe and Lamar, so there’ll be extra cash coming in there.

And get ready for more spin off shows, because the deal reportedly allows E! first look privileges at any unscripted projects by the family.

The irony of all of this, is that while the show is broadcast on FOXTEL in Australia, Seven also runs it on its digital channel.

I wonder if there’s a market for “Going with the Goncalves’”

Napoli get Benitez off to a flying start

Mazzarri, on the other hand, was made to suffer as Inter Milan spluttered to a 2-0 win with late goals from Yuto Nagatomo and Rodrigo Palacio at a half-empty San Siro.


Mazzarri, Inter’s sixth coach since Jose Mourinho left after completing the treble three years ago, was greeted by a lukewarm atmosphere as he replaced Andrea Stramaccioni who led Inter to a dismal ninth last season, including seven home defeats.

“These boys hadn’t won at home for 4-1/2 months, they had to exorcise a psychosis,” Mazzarri told Sky Sports Italia.

“We are getting better and we are finding a balance. We are improving more than I had anticipated, we’ve done a lot in a short space of time.”

In other games, AS Roma beat promoted Livorno 2-0 on coach Rudi Garcia’s debut while Hernanes and Antonio Candreva, from a penalty, scored in the first 20 minutes to set up a 2-1 win for Lazio over Udinese.

Torino overcame Sassuolo, another promoted side 2-0, while Cagliari beat Atalanta 2-1 and Parma and Chievo played out a goalless stalemate.

Cagliari, unable to find a suitable venue in Sardinia, played their game in Trieste on the border with Slovenia, around 1,000 kilometres from their base.


There was plenty for Benitez to celebrate at Napoli as Gonzalo Higuain also made an impressive debut following his move from Real Madrid while Pepe Reina in goal was barely tested.

Callejon his the post early on and put Napoli ahead in the 32nd minute from a rebound after Hamsik’s shot had been saved.

Higuain had a goal ruled out for offside shortly afterwards before Hamsik scored a brilliant second, slaloming his way through the defence before scoring from a narrow angle despite being off-balance.

Although Napoli slowed after the break, they were still in control and Hamsik turned in Goran Pandev’s cross just after the hour for their third.

It was a different story at San Siro where Mazzarri was visibly relieved on the touchline when Rodrigo Palacio sealed victory with Inter’s second goal in stoppage time after Yuto Nagatomo had put them ahead with a fortuitous goal.

Mazzarri, Inter’s sixth coach since Jose Mourinho left after completing the treble three years ago, was greeted by a lukewarm atmosphere for his first league game since replacing Andrea Stramaccioni who led Inter to a dismal ninth last season.

Inter dominated the game but, with captain Javier Zanetti, defender Walter Samuel and striker Diego Milito still missing with long-term injuries, their play was disjointed and shoddy.

Genoa, playing their first match under new coach Fabio Liverani, offered little threat of their own and Inter finally broke through with 15 minutes left when Jonathan’s deflected cross caught their defence offguard and Nagatomo headed in at the far post.

Argentine Mauro Icardi, signed from Sampdoria in the close season, saw his header hit the crossbar shortly afterwards before compatriot Palacio latched on to Fredy Guarin’s through ball to slip the ball past Mattia Perin.

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by John Mehaffey)