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Sharapova gets shot at virtual revenge over Serena as pair sign up for star-studded online tournament

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The Williams sisters will join the likes of Maria Sharapova and celebs such as Gigi Hadid to battle online for charity on the Nintendo Switch in the first ever Mario Tennis Aces Tournament.

Coronavirus may have stopped competitive sport for some time, but it can’t get in the way of sibling rivalry. Sunday May 3rd will see the first Mario Tennis Aces Tournament take place online as eight of the world’s top tennis pros and celebs grab their Nintendo Switch controllers and take place in an event titled the ‘Stay at Home Slam’.

Venus and Serena Williams will both be competing, along with recently-retired Maria Sharapova, Naomi Osaka, Kei Nishikoria and celebrities including Hailey Bieber and Gigi Hadid – with $25,000 each donated to a charity of their choosing. The winner of the event overall will also receive an additional $1 million donation.

Organized by IMG, the Mario Tennis Aces tournament will be broadcast live on Facebook on May 3 at 4pm Eastern Time and will feature commentary by racket-smashing tennis legend John McEnroe and YouTube star iJustine.

The doubles partners scheduled to pair up to do battle in the “Mushroom Kingdom” are:

Serena Williams & Gigi Hadid

Naomi Osaka & Hailey Bieber

Venus Williams & JuJu Smith-Schuster

Maria Sharapova & Karlie Kloss

Kei Nishikori & Steve Aoki

Madison Keys & Seal

Taylor Fritz & Addison Rae

Kevin Anderson & Ryan Tannehill

For Sharapova, who retired from the sport earlier this year as a five-time Grand Slam winner, it could be one last chance to avenge a run of 19 straight defeats against American legend Serena – even if in virtual form.

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We spread rumours of Rafael Nadal doping’ because he was too good, says French star

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Gilles Simon believes doping rumours were spread about Rafael Nadal as many were uncomfortable with the idea he could simply be better than Roger Federer.

There were allegations of a connection between Nadal and Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor who was ultimately jailed for his part in a Spanish cycle doping scandal.

No evidence has ever been produced linking Fuentes to Nadal, though, who has always very successfully denied any rumours to the contrary.

However, Simon believes the rumours only existed to discredit opinions that Nadal could actually be a better tennis players than Federer rather than just a better athlete.

“It is difficult to conceive [for some] that, in terms of game, Rafael Nadal could be better than Roger Federer,” Gilles Simon wrote in his new autobiography This Sport That Makes You Crazy

“We even spread rumours of doping on his account.

“Nadal does not fit into the framework. Moreover, I emphasize here that we never talk about the physique of Federer, who has little to envy that of Nadal.

“That he went five sets at 35 like what he did in Australia in 2017, it’s extraordinary. But no one noted this point.”

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