Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz cruised into the first round of the French Open with straight-sets wins on Monday. Djokovic, pursuing a record 23rd Grand Slam title, brushed past Aleksandar Kovacevic while Alcaraz comfortably beat Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli.
Luciano Spalletti on Monday said that he would be leaving Napoli at the end of the season after guiding the Italian club to a first Serie A title in decades.
England coach Brendon McCullum said he expects pacers James Anderson and Ollie Robinson to be fit for the Ashes despite ruling them out of the Test against Ireland.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 30 May, 2023:
Djokovic, Alcaraz through to French Open second round
Novak Djokovic started his bid for a men’s record 23rd Grand Slam singles title with a straight-sets victory over Aleksandar Kovacevic in the French Open first round on Monday, as Carlos Alcaraz dazzled in his opening victory.
Two-time Roland Garros champion Djokovic held off a late rally from his American opponent on Court Philippe Chatrier to clinch a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/1) victory.
He has still not lost in his opening match of a major since the 2006 Australian Open.
The 36-year-old will face Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, who he has beaten four times in as many meetings, in the second round.
Djokovic is only seeded third at Roland Garros this year despite the absence of his great rival and 14-time winner Rafael Nadal through injury, behind world number one Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev.
He is tied with Nadal for most men’s Slam singles trophies and just one behind the 23 of Serena Williams. Margaret Court holds the all-time record of 24.
Alcaraz began his attempt to win a second Grand Slam title in fine style against Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli, the world number 159 playing in a Grand Slam for the first time.
The top seed played some wonderful shots as he powered to a 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 victory, despite also struggling to get over the line.
Spaniard Alcaraz is the favourite to win the title in the absence of his compatriot Nadal and is slated to meet Djokovic in the semi-finals.
Alcaraz will next play Japan’s Taro Daniel.
Canadian 10th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime suffered a third defeat at the opening hurdle in four visits to Roland Garros as he lost 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 to Fabio Fognini.
British 14th seed Cameron Norrie came through a five-set thriller on Court Suzanne Lenglen to beat home wildcard Benoit Paire 7-5, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist will take on resurgent Frenchman Lucas Pouille for a third-round berth.
Former champion Stan Wawrinka, 38, out-fought Albert Ramos-Vinolas over four hours and 35 minutes, winning 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 1-6, 6-4 to set up a clash with Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Zhang Zhizhen became the first Chinese man to win a main-draw match at the tournament since 1937 when his opponent Dusan Lajovic retired injured while trailing 6-1, 4-1.
In the women’s draw, Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina won her first match at a Slam event since the 2022 Australian Open, beating last year’s semi-finalist Martina Trevisan 6-2, 6-2.
French fifth seed Caroline Garica gave the home fans something to cheer with a 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-4 win over Wang Xiyu.
Former runner-up Sloane Stephens dumped out 16th seed Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 6-4 and 2021 losing finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Linda Fruhvirtova 6-2, 6-2.
French Open results on Monday, the second 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):
Carlos Alcaraz (ESP x1) bt Flavio Cobolli (ITA) 6-0, 6-2, 7-5
Taro Daniel (JPN) bt Christopher O’Connell (AUS) 6-0, 6-2, 6-4
Denis Shapovalov (CAN x26) bt Brandon Nakashima (USA) 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3
Cameron Norrie (GBR x14) bt Benoit Paire (FRA) 7-5, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
Fabio Fognini (ITA) bt Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN x10) 6-4, 6-4, 6-3
Diego Schwartzman (ARG) bt Bernabe Zapata Miralles (ESP x32) 1-6, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-0, 6-4
Novak Djokovic (SRB x3) bt Aleksandar Kovacevic (USA) 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/1)
Luca Van Assche (FRA) bt Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 6-1, 6-1, 6-3
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP x29) bt Arthur Fils (FRA) 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x19) bt Wu Yibing (CHN) 7-6 (7/4), 6-1, 6-1
Juan Pablo Varillas (PER) bt Shang Juncheng (CHN) 4-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) bt Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 1-6, 6-4
Marcos Giron (USA) bt Hamad Medkedovic (SRB) 6-0, 6-2, 1-6, 6-0
Jiri Lehecka (CZE) bt Jan-Lennard Struff (GER x21) 7-5, 1-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
Thiago Tirante (ARG) bt Botic van de Zandschulp (NED x25) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Zhang Zhizhen (CHN) bt Dusan Lajovic 6-1, 4-1 – retired
Jannik Sinner (ITA x8) bt Alexandre Muller (FRA) 6-1, 6-4, 6-1
Daniel Altmeier (GER) bt Marc-Andre Huesler (SUI) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
Aslan Karatsev bt Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-1, 6-2
Frances Tiafoe (USA x12) bt Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Borna Coric (CRO x15) bt Federico Coria (ARG) 7-6 (7/3), 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-3
Pedro Cachin (ARG) bt Dominic Thiem (AUT) 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (7/1), 4-6, 6-2
Tomas Martin Etcheverry (ARG) bt Jack Draper (GBR) 6-4, 1-0 - retired
Alex de Minaur (AUS x18) bt Ilya Ivashka 6-1, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (CZE) bt Veronika Kudermetova (x11) 6-3, 6-1
Aliona Bolsova (ESP) bt Kristina Kucova (SVK) 6-2, 6-1
Kayla Day (USA) bt Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 7-5, 6-1
Madison Keys (USA x20) bt Kaia Kanepi (EST) 6-1, 3-6, 6-1
Ekaterina Alexandrova (x23) bt Viktoriya Tomova (BUL) 6-1, 2-6, 6-1
Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) bt Nao Hibino (JPN) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
Diana Shnaider bt Rebecca Marino (CAN) 6-3, 7-5
Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA x14) bt Tatjana Maria (GER) 6-0, 6-1
Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA) bt Petra Kvitova (CZE x10) 6-3, 6-4
Simona Waltert (SUI) bt Elizabeth Mandlik (USA) 6-1, 4-6, 6-2
Bernarda Pera (USA) bt Anett Kontaveit (EST) 7-6 (8/6), 6-2
Donna Vekic (CRO x22) bt Dayana Yastremska (UKR) 6-2, 7-5
Elina Avanesyan bt Belinda Bencic (SUI x12) 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova bt Linda Fruhvirtova (CZE) 6-2, 6-2
Camila Osorio (COL) bt Ana Bogdan (ROM) 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
Caroline Garcia (FRA x5) bt Wang Xiyu (CHN) 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-4
Anna Blinkova bt Ysaline Bonaventure (BEL) 6-2, 6-0
Elina Svitolina (UKR) bt Martina Trevisan (ITA x26) 6-2, 6-2
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x17) bt Tereza Martincova (CZE) 6-3, 7-5
Peyton Stearns (USA) bt Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 7-6 (9/7), 6-2
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) bt Alycia Parks (USA) 6-4, 6-0
Sloane Stephens (USA) bt Karolina Pliskova (CZE x16) 6-0, 6-4
Varvara Gracheva bt Dalma Galfi (HUN) 6-4, 2-6, 6-1
Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) bt Maryna Zanevska (BEL) 7-5, 7-6 (7/3)
‘Tired’ Spalletti confirms Napoli exit
Luciano Spalletti confirmed Monday that he will leave Napoli at the end of the Serie A season after winning their first league title since the days of Diego Maradona.
Speaking at an event at the Italian national team’s Coverciano training centre, Spalletti said that he would take time away from football and would not be immediately moving to coach another team.
“I need to take some time to rest because I’m pretty tired,” Spalletti said.
“I don’t know if you can call it a year’s sabbatical but I won’t be working. I won’t be coaching Napoli or any other team.”
The 64-year-old guided Napoli to their third Scudetto – their first since 1990 – with five matches to play after a magical campaign in which his team played some of the most thrilling football in Europe.
Napoli’s title triumph was the crowning glory of Spalletti’s long and eventful coaching career which had brought plenty of plaudits but few trophies.
It was his first Italian league crown and first trophy of any sort in Italy since the Italian Cup won at Roma in 2008.
He did win league titles in Russia with Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2010 and 2012.
Spalletti will bow out as Napoli coach on Sunday evening when the newly-crowned champions host relegated Sampdoria at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
Italian media report that former Barcelona and Spain coach Luis Enrique is the favourite to replace Spalletti next season.
Spalletti’s departure had been expected as both he and Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis hinted recently that a hugely successful two-year spell in southern Italy was coming to an end.
On Sunday De Laurentiis told Italian state broadcaster RAI that Spalletti had asked to go on sabbatical despite having a year left on his contract.
“He’s a free man, he’s given us something and I thank him, it’s right that he does what he wants,” he said on current affairs programme Che Tempo Che Fa.
Napoli exercised an option to extend Spalletti’s contract until the end of next season, but the manner in which it was done – via email and without discussion between the two parties – reportedly irked the coach.
Spalletti will effectively be on gardening leave for next season and will return to his vineyard in Tuscany, as he did during the two-year period before he took charge at Napoli when he was still under contract with Inter Milan after being replaced by Antonio Conte.
Anderson, Robinson to be fit for Ashes bid
England head coach Brendon McCullum expects James Anderson and Ollie Robinson to be fit for the Ashes clash with Australia despite ruling the pace bowlers out of this week’s Test against Ireland.
Anderson strained his groin while on Lancashire duty and Robinson suffered an ankle issue playing for Sussex earlier this month.
The pair will remain sidelined when England host Ireland at Lord’s in a four-day match prior to the first Ashes Test.
The five-match series against Australia begins on June 16, but McCullum is confident Anderson and Robinson can return in time for the opener in Birmingham.
“For the first Ashes Test, I think they should be fit,” McCullum said on Monday.
“They won’t be fit for this one against Ireland. We’ll just have to monitor it over this next sort of while, but we’ve got some great options right throughout the squad.
England already have fitness concerns over a number of other bowlers, with Jofra Archer and Olly Stone struggling with elbow and hamstring problems respectively.
With Anderson and Robinson ruled out, Stuart Broad will lead the bowling attack against Ireland but Mark Wood will have to be assessed before a final decision is made on his fitness.
All eyes were on captain Ben Stokes during England’s training session on Monday.
There are doubts over how much he will bowl this summer following an Indian Premier League series where he only played twice and sent down just one over for Chennai Super Kings.
McCullum remains positive the talismanic all-rounder can still make an impact with the ball.
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day