Azarenka announces comeback ahead of Wimbledon

LONDON Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka said on Monday she is "ready to start competing" again after the birth of her son and intends to target Wimbledon by taking part in one of grass events that precede it.

The 27-year-old Belarusian won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013 and was beaten by Serena Williams in the US Open final in both years. Williams will miss Wimbledon this year after announcing her own pregnancy last month.

United's financial muscle may prove too much for Ajax

By Philip O'Connor
| STOCKHOLM

STOCKHOLM Manchester United and Ajax will both have a chance to burnish their proud European traditions and finish the season on a high note as they meet in the final of the Europa League in Stockholm on Wednesday.

The game pits the financial might and strong defence of a United team that has conceded just seven goals in the competition against a youthful Ajax team that is capable of offensive fireworks, but has struggled away from home.

Rooney may have to leave United to extend career - Neville

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney may have to leave the club to extend his career "at the highest level", former United defender Phil Neville has said.

Rooney has made 42 appearances in all competitions this season, most of them as a substitute, with manager Jose Mourinho relying on top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic before a knee injury ended the Swede's campaign.

On your marks - competition for Tokyo Olympics mascot starts in August

TOKYO Tokyo Olympic organisers announced on Monday a competition to design the mascots for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and said elementary school students would vote for the winners.

"We are praying for the birth of a mascot that will be loved and praised by the world," Ryohei Miyata, a member of the organising committee, said at a news conference.

Japanese residents can submit their designs on the Tokyo 2020 official website during a two-week period starting on August 1.

Arsenal owner Kroenke says his shares in club not for sale

Arsenal majority owner Stan Kroenke's KSE (Kroenke Sports & Entertainment) UK Inc said on Monday its shares in the Premier League club were not for sale after media reports that the club's second-largest investor had made an offer to buy out Kroenke.

"KSE is a committed, long-term investor in Arsenal and will remain so," KSE UK said in a statement, adding that its shares in the club have never been for sale.

How Herrera became unlikely leader of Mourinho's United

By Richard Martin
| BARCELONA

BARCELONA Ander Herrera attracted admiration from the last four Manchester United managers, from being man-marked by Alex Ferguson to being scouted by David Moyes and signed by Louis Van Gaal, but it is under Jose Mourinho that the little Spaniard has truly thrived.

The Spain international pipped top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic and world record signing Paul Pogba to United's Player of the Season award in his third campaign at the club, in which he has grown into one of Mourinho's most loyal disciples.

Liverpool leave for Australia on Champions League high

LONDON Liverpool had little time to celebrate the return of Champions League football to Anfield before the squad departed for Australia on Monday to play in a post-season friendly linked to the club's 125th anniversary.

Juergen Klopp's side, who finished fourth after beating Middlesbrough 3-0 in their final Premier League game on Sunday, will line up against the recently crowned A-League champions Sydney FC at the ANZ Stadium on Wednesday.

Ajax will offer true test in Europa final, says Blind

Manchester United must not underestimate Ajax Amsterdam in the Europa League final on Wednesday, defender Daley Blind has said.

United finished sixth in the Premier League, 24 points behind champions Chelsea, while Ajax finished second in the Dutch league, one point behind champions Feyenoord.

"They fought to be in the final and they are there for a reason," he says. "When you reach a final you absolutely cannot afford to underestimate your opponents.

Zverev downplays French Open chances despite Rome victory

German Alexander Zverev says he cannot rest on his laurels after beating Novak Djokovic to win the Italian Open on Sunday and has set his sights on bigger titles in order to retain his place in the world's top 10.

The 20-year-old stunned world number two Djokovic 6-4 6-3 to become the youngest winner of a Masters 1000 tournament since the Serb himself in Miami in 2007.

The win also helped Zverev surge up to number 10 in the world rankings for the first time in his career.

Guardiola promises improvement after first English season

Manchester City are already working on how they can improve next season after sealing a spot in the Champions League, manager Pep Guardiola said as he mulled over potential targets in the summer transfer window.

City secured a top-four finish for the sixth consecutive season with a 5-0 win over Watford on Sunday but Guardiola failed to win a trophy for the first time since 2009, after enjoying widespread success at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

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