sport

Moscow mania

In last night's recording of 'Talking Travel', producer James & I shone the spotlight on Moscow. 
 
Tune into Women's Radio Station all next week to catch the episode in which we reveal the Moscow must dos - and give those of you who aren’t a paid up member of the football tribe, a primer on the forthcoming FIFA World Cup which is taking place in Russia for the very first time.
Let the countdown begin!

www.womensradiostation.com

 

Wimbledon watching

Get out your tennis whites and stock up on strawberries and cream because Wimbledon 2016 is here!

As tennis Grand Slams go, Wimbledon is without a doubt the best. As the oldest tennis tournament in the world, SW19 oozes prestige whereas Flushing Meadows is unpredictable, Melbourne Park is often unbearably hot and Roland Garos is dusty.


Who will be the toast of this years’s tournament? Check out The Sybarite’s suggestions below…


MEN
 

Borna Coric
What 19-year old Borna Coric - the youngest player in the top 100 - lacks in experience on the senior circuit, he more than makes up for in confidence. “Obviously I think I'm very good," he remarked after shocking Rafael Nadal at the Swiss Open in October 2014 and defeating Murray at the 2015 Dubai Championship, before reaching the third round at the French Open in both 2015 and 2016.

The Croatian starlet is on fire - and people have been noticing too.The Zagreb native was named ATP Star of Tomorrow, in addition to being included in Forbes' 30 Under 30 sports list for 2016 alongside golfer Jordan Spiethin.


Elsewhere Goran Ivanisevic - aka one of Croatia's greatest tennis exports - is on record as saying: “Definitely he can win a grand slam. He's one of the five, six guys that is definitely going to dominate in men's tennis in the next five or 10 years. The way he plays points, the way he's fighting - he's like a pit bull.” Meanwhile Coric’s compatriot, Marin Cilic - the 2014 US Open Champion - commented: “He is one of the rising stars and is definitely going to be at the top.”


Make no mistake: the Croat is on the fast track to super stardom and it clearly suits him, as the tattoo on his arm attests: “There is nothing worse in life than being ordinary’ .

 

Andy Murray
The wild haired one from Dunblane surely has to fancy his chances of lifting the famous Wimbledon trophy for the second time.

The world number two, who reached the finals of the Australian and French Opens this year and, last Sunday, was crowned king of Queens for the fifth time following a three-set win over Milos Raonic, has been seeded second in the men's singles at Wimbledon. This means that Murray wouldn’t meet Serb tennis sensation Novak Djokovic (the man who pipped him to the post in the two Grand Slam finals of this year so far), until the final as they are in opposite sides of the draw.

The Scottish ace himself is confident he can add to his Grand Slam haul at SW19 telling The Guardian: “I can definitely still win more slams. I've just got to take the chances when they come.”

Regardless of whether he triumphs at Wimbledon on Sunday 10 July or not, the new Father has won something that few ever expected would happen during his dour teenage days - the nation’s heart- as the capture of two BBC Sports Personality of the Year titles bears testament too. (Sir?) Andy: The Sybarite salutes you.

WOMEN

Johanna Konta
It’s not all about Andy Murray… Joanna Konta is another home favourite who will take to the lawn at the All England Club next week. What’s more the world number 18 will be the first British female to be seeded (17) at Wimbledon since Jo Durie back in 1984…

The Sydney born tennis player is now in her sixth year on the WTA tour but it’s only over last 12 months or so that she has registered on everyone’s radar. Konta’s semi-final appearance at this year's Australian Open came off the back of victories over eighth seed Venus Williams and 21st seed Ekaterina Makarova and follows on from her reaching the fourth round of the US Open at the end of 2015.

At the time of going to press, the Australian born Brit had set up a last-16 meeting at Eastbourne against Petra Kvitova and appeared confident she could continue her winning streak at Wimbledon. “This is my home tournament. It definitely gives me that extra feeling of comfort. I can pop in my car and go home, I get to ask my dad or mum please make my breakfast,” Konta, 26,  told The Express. “I'm happy with the time I have been getting on grass."

Bottom line? It’s shaping up to be a great Wimbledon for Brits.

 

Madison Keys
American men's tennis may be in big trouble (no American man has won a Slam in singles since Andy ‘A-Rod’ Roddick won the U.S. Open way back in 2003) but American women’s tennis is doing well - and not just because of the Williams sisters.

Titan of tennis Serena (and her elder sibling Venus) are being pushed by the powerful Madison Keys - the first American woman to make the top 10 since 1999 - who, Serena herself, says can be “the best in the world”.  Meanwhile Brad Gilbert - the mental maestro behind Andre Agassi's six Grand Slam titles -  believes the 21-year-old will “become No 1 in the world in the next 24 to 36 months and win Grand Slams.”


Certainly Madison - who first became interested in the sport because she liked Venus Williams’ white tennis dress - possesses the game to pose problems on grass. (FYI: she comfortably won this year’s Aegon Classic title on grass).

Will Keys’ masterful serve and forehand power her into the Wimbledon final a fortnight from now? Watch this space…

Top five kitesurfing spots

World Record Breaking kite surfer and Cornwall local, Dreya Wharry, shares her top five kitesurfing destinations to inspire us to give her beloved sport a go. See you in the water?

West coast of Oz
I’ve had great times there, it’s warm and the wind is amazing, it’s like clockwork. The wind’s called 'The Freemantle Doctor' and is such a friendly wind to sail and learn new tricks in, because the wind is regular and so constant. The whole coast is fantastic with so much space, wave spots and flat spots galore, but my favourite place would probably be Lancelin as there is a lagoon, a bay and waves all in the same area. The sand is white, and the sea is so clean and clear. There are other people to ride with and enjoy the day with, but not too many! 

Watergate Bay Cornwall
My home spot, Watergate Bay Cornwall, as it has an emotional connection for me. I learnt to kite as well as surf here. I even got married here! It is one of the most stunning beaches I have been on and the sailing is always fun and challenging. On a sweet summer’s day the waves gently roll in and, more often than not, it’s savage rollers sweeping in. One of the great things about kiting is that you can see the coastline from a completely different perspective. It’s only when you are out there (beyond the surf!) that you can really appreciate how beautiful and wild the British seashore really is. And Cornwall is hard to beat.

Lecaute France
As it was the first competition I went to; not ideal to learn at as the wind tends be offshore but this makes it perfect for speed racing as the water is smooth. As a result this is where Henry and I decided Kaye should break her record in Beyond the Surf. Leucate’s beaches are based around a low-lying, huge sandy estuary. There are two main winds here: one from the mountains in the north-west called the Tramontane which is a strong, cold wind and the other is from the south-west called Marine which is lighter but more constant. 

Caberete Dominican Republic
I’ve had so many good times here (too many to mention) and, again, its warm, sunny and the wind is great. It seems to hold you in the air for a second longer than anywhere else. This is the Caribbean at it’s wildest in more ways than one. The less said the better about the rum and the party atmosphere! It is simply a beautiful place boasting palm trees beaches, sunshine and Ive even seen the odd turtle too. It can be packed with kiters and wind surfers but you can always find a little bit a space to yourself then head back … to the party. 

Tarifa Spain
I spend a lot of time here because you get a lot of time on the water and we can drive down with the dog. Tarifa is ranked as one of the windiest spots in Europe! This means it can be extremely windy - 35knts + when the Levenete blows which isn't always fun! As a kiter you become somewhat obsessive about wind. And there’s hell to pay if there isn’t any! But Kiting in Tarifa especially, is as much about the lifestyle too: warm, weather, the great friends we meet and of course, tapas and red wine. The beaches are huge here and it’s fabulous to kick back at the end of the day watching the lights come on in Africa just across The Straights of Gibraltar with the Atlas mountains silhouetted in the distance with a glass of wine in your hand sat out side your van with good friends after a tiring day on the water. It is heaven!  Don’t hesitate get out there beyond the surf, you’ll love it.


Image credit: iStock

Dreya has contributed to Beyond the Surf by hwNeild (March 2016; HNL; £7.99 paperback, £3.99 ebook) which is available to purchase now. 

 

The low-down on Dreya

* Dreya Wharry (married name Bennett) has been surfing since she was 14

* Gladiator Champion in 1996 with two international titles in consecutive years

* Wingwalker since 1997 where she worked with the crunchi flying circus appearing all over the Uk and Europe

* Got into kitesurfing just after her Gladiator win when a local guy Henry Ashworth invited her to get involved in his business on the beach

* Professional Kitesurfer since 2000

* Competed nationally as a surfer and internationally on the world tour as a kitesurfer.

* Competed on the world tour obtaining her highest rank of 3rd in the world.

* World record for longest journey by kite from watergate bay to Dungarven in Ireland . 

* The previous year Dreya and seven friends from the world tour including the world champ made a mass crossing from the isles of Scilly to Watergate Bay.  

* Has a degree in Architectural stained glass 



Read more: Top five kitesurfing spots - TNT Magazine 
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A bling swing

Forget night clubs, golf clubs are where it’s at…Cast aside any preconceptions of golf being the preserve of the rich and pompous for in recent years the game has undergone a renaissance and has shaken off its tweed trousers and brogues image. Thanks in part to golf loving celebrities (step forward Samuel L Jackson, Justin Timberlake, David Beckham, Catherine Zeta Jones, Cindy Crawford et al) and sexy young swingers such as Anna Rawson and Ian Poulter, golf is now hip and it’s cool to be seen on the fairways. Inspired by the recent Masters, I signed up for a lesson... Despite being a complete novice, I was confident that if I wanted to be able to play golf, I could and would. After all how hard could it be to hit a little white ball with a stick? Fast forward to reality and my first ever lesson - a patience testing process. Fortunately patience is something my 'coach' possessed in buckets.

You won’t get anywhere in this game without a good grip and after talking me through the tools of the trade (clubs fall into two categories – irons and woods - and no you shouldn’t hack your way around the course only using irons), I was shown how to make friends with my club. Your grip should be neither too strong nor too weak and it’s vital that a V is formed on the right hand and that only two knuckles are visible on the left hand. Having gotten a grip (pardon the pun), it was time to turn my attention to the set up; a good set up correlates to a good swing. ‘Tigers’ in training are advised to bend forward from the waist and bend their knees slightly while sticking their bottoms out. Sounds embarrassing eh, but in practice your derriere doesn’t look half as ridiculous as you’d think. Weight should be spread evenly on both feet, which should be about as wide as your shoulders.

Set up sorted, my coach then positioned the ball and – here comes the hardest part – showed me how to swing the club. I’m not going to lie to you; the swing is a tricky motion that came take months to master. In theory a swing should consists of a (right handed) golfer taking the club back to the right, then accelerating down to the left – cleanly swiping the ball – before smoothly following through. In theory. But after many minutes spent turning my body rather than the club and endless air shots, I did finally manage to send the ball airborne. The dratted white ball may have only scuffled a few metres off the ground as opposed to sailing sky high, but hey it did get off the ground and as Sinatra once sang: “They can’t take that away from me.”

I ended the 30 minute lesson feeling exhilarated and uplifted and encouraged to pursue the game that Mark Twain once described as a “good walk spoiled”. It’s a decision that my teacher approved of and one he assured me that makes sense. For essentially golf is a game that is open to all regardless of whether you’re fat (John Daily springs most readily to mind) or thin, male or female, young (Michelle Wie anyone?) or old (Mark O Meara was no spring chicken when he won a Major at the age of 41). It transcends language barriers and in this era of obsesity represents a great form of exercise. I’d rather walk around a verdant golf course, than pound the treadmill anyday. Oh and did I mention that these days an increasing amount of business is conducted on the golf course? Become a golfer and there is no need to be left like a lemon on your own in the office when the next company golf day rolls around. Time then to give golf a go…