Chelsea have appointed Mauricio Pochettino as their new manager from the 2023-‘24 season. The London club endured a torrid 2022-‘23 season finishing 12th in the Premier League.
Aryna Sabalenka won a politically charged first round match at the French Open against Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk. The latter refused to shake hands with Sabalenka, who is from Belarus – a key military ally of Russia in the war in Ukraine.
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev won their opening matches.
In the Premier League, former champions Leicester City were relegated as Everton managed to survive the drop to the English Championship.
Meanwhile, Australia head coach Andrew McDonald has back veteran opener David Warner ahead of the Ashes Series.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 29 May, 2023:
Chelsea hire Pochettino as new manager
Chelsea hired Mauricio Pochettino as their new manager on Monday as the Argentine accepted the daunting task of reviving the troubled Premier League club.
Pochettino agreed a two-year contract with an option for an additional year and will return to the Premier League four years after being sacked by Chelsea’s London rivals Tottenham.
The 51-year-old had been out of work since being dismissed by Paris Saint-Germain in July 2022.
“Mauricio is a world-class coach with an outstanding track record. We are all looking forward to having him on board,” Chelsea co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali said in a statement.
Pochettino, who will begin his new role on July 1, replaces Frank Lampard after the former England midfielder returned to Chelsea as caretaker boss until the end of the season.
Lampard was Chelsea’s third manager of a dismal campaign that featured Boehly sacking Thomas Tuchel in September and then axing his successor Graham Potter in April after less than seven months in charge.
Pochettino emerged as the favourite after Chelsea held talks with the former Spain manager Luis Enrique and Julian Nagelsmann, who was sacked by Bayern Munich in March.
Pochettino verbally agreed to take charge at Chelsea in April, but the appointment was put on hold until the end of the season.
With the Blues wrapping up their lacklustre Premier League campaign with a draw against Newcastle on Sunday, Pochettino flew into England to officially seal the deal.
Pochettino will arrive at Stamford Bridge to find a club in crisis after ending the season 12th in the Premier League – their first bottom half finish since 1996.
They also lost to Manchester City in the FA Cup and League Cup and made a limp Champions League quarter-final exit against Real Madrid.
Believed to be keen to sign a new goalkeeper, central midfielder and striker, Pochettino has a big job on his hands.
Just two years after Tuchel led the Blues to Champions League glory, Chelsea face a rare season without European football.
Boehly reportedly told his players their season had been “embarrassing” after a home defeat against Brighton that featured fans shouting abuse at the American.
Boehly has come under fire after overseeing a haphazard £550 million ($679 million) spending spree on new signings.
That record outlay failed to fix Chelsea’s numerous issues and left them with such a bloated squad that there weren’t even enough places in the changing rooms for every player to have their own seat.
Pochettino will have to fix the fractured morale among a squad packed with frustrated stars keen to leave after failing to secure regular game-time.
Sabalenka off to good start
Aryna Sabalenka won a politically-charged French Open duel against Marta Kostyuk on Sunday as jeers and boos rained down on the defeated Ukrainian who refused to shake hands with her Belarusian opponent.
World No 2 and Australian Open champion Sabalenka swept 10 of the last 12 games to win 6-3, 6-2 as she kick-started her push to reach the second week in Paris for the first time.
Kostyuk honoured her pledge not to shake hands with Sabalenka in protest at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Belarus is a key military ally of Moscow.
The 20-year-old Kostyuk, who has been a vociferous critic of the decision to allow Russian and Belarusian players to keep competing on tour since the invasion of her country, questioned the crowd’s motives in booing her stance.
“I want to see people react to it in 10 years when the war is over. I think they will not feel really nice about what they did,” she said.
“I didn’t expect it. People should be honestly embarrassed.”
Tsitsipas through to second round
Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who blew a two-sets lead to lose the 2021 final to Novak Djokovic, made the second round with a 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7) win over 455th-ranked Czech player, Jiri Vesely.
Vesely, who had previously only played in two second-tier Challenger events this year, squandered four set points which would have forced a deciding set.
Andrey Rublev, the seventh seed and Monte Carlo champion in April, defeated Laslo Djere of Serbia 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Rublev has made the quarterfinals in Paris on two occasions.
Greek eighth seed Maria Sakkari, a semi-finalist in 2021, fell at the first hurdle, losing 7-6 (5), 7-5 to Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic.
Muchova, the world No 43, also defeated Sakkari in the second round last year and now has four successive wins over top 10 opponents at the Grand Slams.
Third-seeded Jessica Pegula won an all-American battle with Danielle Collins, 6-4, 6-2.
Britain’s Dan Evans was the highest seed to fall in the men’s draw, losing 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to Australian wild card Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Portugal’s 80th-ranked Nuno Borges withstood 38 aces and 85 winners from John Isner to defeat the veteran American 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 7-6 (9), claiming victory on a sixth match point after four hours on court.
France’s Alize Cornet was another veteran to lose on opening day, going down 6-3, 6-4 to Camila Giorgi of Italy. Cornet was playing in her 19th Roland Garros and 65th consecutive Grand Slam.
French Open results on Sunday, the first day of the 2023 championships at Roland Garros (x denotes seeded player; players representing Russia and Belarus are banned from competing under the name or flag of their countries):
Men’s singles first round
Matteo Arnaldi (ITA) bt Daniel Galan (COL) 2-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-2
Lorenzo Musetti (ITA x17) bt Mikael Ymer (SWE) 7-5, 6-2, 6-4
Alexander Shevchenko bt Oscar Otte (GER) 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/2)
Lucas Pouille (FRA) bt Jurij Rodionov (AUT) 6-2, 6-4, 6-3
Jason Kubler (AUS) bt Facundo Diaz (ARG) 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
Sebastian Ofner (AUT) bt Maxime Cressy (USA) 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), 6-2
Sebastian Korda (USA x24) bt Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 6-4, 7-5, 6-4
Nuno Borges (POR) bt John Isner (USA) 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 7-6 (11/9)
Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) bt Emilio Nava (USA) 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-2
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x5) bt Jiri Vesely (CZE) 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (9/7)
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) bt Hugo Grenier (FRA) 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3
Tallon Griekspoor (NED) bt Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-4, 2-6, 0-6, 7-5, 6-3
Hubert Hurkacz (POL x13) bt David Goffin (BEL) 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
Karen Khachanov (x11) bt Constant Lestienne (FRA) 3-6, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3
Radu Albot (MDA) bt Patrick Kypson (USA) 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) bt Dan Evans (GBR x20) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) bt Ben Shelton (USA x30) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Ugo Humbert (FRA) bt Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-3, 6-3, 6-1
Corentin Moutet (FRA) bt Arthur Cazaux (FRA) 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
Andrey Rublev (x7) bt Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Women’s singles first round
Karolina Muchova (CZE) bt Maria Sakkari (GRE x8) 7-6 (7/5), 7-5
Nadia Podoroska (ARG) bt Jessika Ponchet (FRA) 6-0, 6-2
Sara Errani (ITA) bt Jil Teichmann (SUI) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM x27) bt Anna Bondar (HUN) 6-4, 6-2
Leylah Fernandez (CAN) bt Magda Linette (POL x21) 6-3, 1-6, 6-3
Clara Tauson (DEN) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 6-0
Leolia Jeanjean (FRA) bt Kimberly Birrell (AUS) 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3
Liudmila Samsonova (x15) bt Katie Volynets (USA) 6-0, 6-1
Mayar Sherif (EGY) bt Madison Brengle (USA) 6-3, 6-1
Anastasia Potapova (x24) bt Taylor Townsend (USA) 6-1, 6-2
Elise Mertens (BEL x28) bt Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) 6-1, 6-4
Camila Giorgi (ITA) bt Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-3, 6-4
Jessica Pegula (USA x3) bt Danielle Collins (USA) 6-4, 6-2
Storm Sanders (AUS) bt Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
Daria Kasatkina (x9) bt Jule Niemeier (GER) 6-3, 6-4
Zheng Qinwen (CHN x19) bt Tamara Zidansek (SLO) 6-3, 6-1
Magdalena Frech (POL) bt Zhang Shuai (CHN x29) 6-1, 6-1
Kamilla Rakhimova bt Sara Bejlek (CZE) 6-0, 6-3
Iryna Shymanovich bt Panna Udvardy (HUN) 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 6-1
Aryna Sabalenka (x2) bt Marta Kostyuk (UKR) 6-3, 6-2
Leicester relegated, Everton survive
Leicester were relegated from the Premier League just seven years after a spectacular title triumph as Everton prolonged their 69-year stay in the English top flight by beating Bournemouth 1-0 on Sunday.
Leeds will also return to the Championship after three seasons in the Premier League as their relegation was confirmed by a 4-1 defeat to Tottenham.
Abdoulaye Doucoure was Everton’s hero after the Mali midfielder smashed home from the edge of the box on 57 minutes to spark jubilant celebrations around Goodison Park.
In contrast, Leicester were crestfallen as they went down, despite their 2-1 win over West Ham.
Everton began the afternoon in control of their own fate but put a raucous support of 40,000 fans at Goodison Park through the mill before securing survival.
“There’s cracks here but it’s not broken and we’ve shown that. We’ve shown the fighting spirit,” said Everton manager Sean Dyche.
“We shouldn’t be in this position and we’ve got to learn from this.”
Arsenal beat Wolves
Granit Xhaka marked his potential farewell appearance for Arsenal with two goals as the Premier League runners-up finished the season with a 5-0 rout of Wolves on Sunday.
Xhaka is reportedly set to join German club Bayer Leverkusen in the close-season after seven years in north London.
If the Swiss midfielder does leave the Emirates Stadium, he went out on a high after scoring twice in the first half.
While Xhaka’s impending departure had yet to be confirmed, the huge cheer that greeted his name before kick off added to the feeling this was his final Arsenal outing.
The supporters’ fond farewell was evidence of Xhaka’s remarkable turnaround after he infamously swore at the crowd during a 2019 match with Crystal Palace - an incident that saw him stripped of the captaincy.
“Well deserved. He’s had an incredible season,” Arteta said.
“I think one year back I spoke to him and I told him ‘there’s a question mark on you, you have to deliver more, you have to be better’.
“He went back and he started to train the next day. He came back in preseason four kilos less, fit, with this (focused) face and really willing to do it. He’s been exceptional.
“He’s been a key part of the team, the success of the team and I’m so happy everybody is appreciating what he’s done.”
Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus and Jakub Kiwior were also on target to ensure Mikel Arteta’s men went into the off-season on an uplifting note after the agony of their failed title bid.
English Premier League results on Sunday, the final day of the 2022/23 season:
Arsenal 5 (Xhaka 11, 14, Saka 27, Jesus 58, Kiwior 78) Wolves 0
Aston Villa 2 (Luiz 8, Watkins 26) Brighton 1 (Undav 38)
Brentford 1 (Pinnock 85) Manchester City 0
Chelsea 1 (Trippier 27-og) Newcastle 1 (Gordon 9)
Crystal Palace 1 (Hughes 66) Nottingham Forest 1 (Awoniyi 31)
Everton 1 (Doucoure 57) Bournemouth 0
Leeds 1 (Harrison 67) Tottenham 4 (Kane 2, 69, Porro 47, Moura 90+5)
Leicester 2 (Barnes 34, Faes 62) West Ham 1 (Fornals 79)
Manchester United 2 (Sancho 39, Fernandes 55) Fulham 1 (Tete 19)
Southampton 4 (Ward-Prowse 19, Sulemana 28, 47, Armstrong 64) Liverpool 4 (Jota 10, 73, Firmino 14, Gakpo 72)
Warner backed by Australia coach
Australia’s head coach Andrew McDonald on Wednesday backed under-pressure David Warner to play “a really significant part” in the Ashes starting next month in England.
The 36-year-old opening batter has been a mainstay of the Australian team since making his debut against New Zealand in 2011.
But the left-hander approaches the Ashes and World Test Championship final against India at The Oval with one century in his past 32 innings and a mediocre record in England.
“We’re optimistic with what Dave’s got left,” McDonald told SEN radio on Wednesday, addressing doubts about Warner’s immediate future on the side.
“We’ve picked him in the squad and we feel that he’s going to play a really significant part in the Ashes and the World Test Championship final, and that’s why he’s on the plane.
“We think he’s got some good games left in him.”
While Warner made Australia’s 17-man squad for the first two Ashes Tests and the preceding WTC final, selectors have kept their options open beyond that.
Former vice-captain Warner missed much of this year’s blockbuster tour of India with a fractured elbow, which came on the back of an extended lean spell with the bat.
Warner has previously hinted at retirement from Test cricket this year to focus on the game’s shorter formats.
The WTC final starts on June 7 and the first Ashes Test is from June 16 at Edgbaston.
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day