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“Everyone thinks it was a money-related issue, but it wasn’t” – Naomi Osaka

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World number one Naomi Osaka has cleared the air saying she was not willing to “sacrifice” her happiness following her surprise split from coach Sascha Bajin 16 days after winning her second grand slam – the Australian Open, after she won her first at the 2018 US Open.




“Everyone thinks it was a money-related issue, but it wasn’t,” said Osaka.

“I wouldn’t put success over my happiness. I’m not going to sacrifice that just to keep a person around.

“That’s one of the most hurtful things I’ve ever heard.”

The 21 year old Japanese, had worked with Bajin for just over a year when she announced the split on Twitter.

Bajin, the 2018 WTA coach of the year, is a former hitting partner of Grand Slam champions Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

Under him, Osaka rose from world number 72 at the start of 2018 to the summit of the rankings little over a year later.

Though no particular reason was given for the split as of now, but Osaka says issues with the German had been “brewing” at January’s Australian Open.

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“I think some people could see that, if they saw how we interacted,” she told reporters at the WTA event in Dubai.

“I’m not going to say anything bad about him because, of course, I’m really grateful for all the things he’s done.

“During the Australian Open, I was just trying to tell myself to get through it. I’m not sure, but I think you guys noticed.”

She expressed optimism over having a new coach in place before March 4, when the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells takes off.

“[The most important thing for me is] just to have a positive mindset,” Osaka added. “I don’t want someone that’s in the box saying negative stuff. That would be the worst.

“[I want] someone that’s kind of direct, not afraid to say things to my face. I’d rather someone say it directly to me than go around my back. That’s one of the biggest things.”

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24 Hours Across Africa

18 Carat gold toilet stolen at Blenheim palace

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‍An 18-carat solid gold toilet is said to be stolen overnight at Blenheim Palace.

A gang broke into the Oxfordshire palace and stole the artwork, Thames Valley Police said.

The working toilet – entitled America, which visitors had been invited to use – has not been found but a 66-year-old man has been arrested.

The burglary caused “significant damage and flooding” because the toilet was plumbed into the building.

The 18th Century stately home is a World Heritage Site and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. It is currently closed while investigations continue.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Thousands bid fare well to Mugabe..

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Zimbabwe’s founder Robert Mugabe was honored as an icon, principled leader and African intellectual giant at a state funeral on Saturday, after a week of disputes over his burial threatened to embarrass President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mugabe led Zimbabwe for 37 years, from independence until he was ousted by the army in November 2017, by which time he was viewed by many at home and abroad as a power-obsessed autocrat who unleashed death squads, rigged elections and ruined the economy to keep control.

He died in a Singapore hospital on Sept. 6 aged 95, far away from a country he left polarized by a raging political rivalry between its two largest political parties, ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC.

His remains will be interred in a mausoleum at the National Heroes Acre in the capital Harare in about 30 days, his nephew said on Friday, contradicting earlier comments that a burial would be held on Sunday.

On Saturday, Mnangagwa walked behind the casket carrying Mugabe’s body as it was wheeled into the center of Harare’s National Sports Stadium and placed on a podium decorated with flowers so that heads of state could say their farewells. Senior army generals and Mugabe’s wife and children followed, as a brass band played.

The 60,000 seater stadium was only half-filled.

In a tribute to his predecessor, Mnangagwa said Mugabe stood in defense of Africans. He urged the West to remove sanctions that were imposed during Mugabe’s rule.

“We who remain shall continue to hear his rich, brave, defiant and inspiring voice … encouraging and warning us to be vigilant and astute,” Mnangagwa said in a speech.

“A giant tree of Africa has fallen. Today Africa weeps.”

Mnangagwa and the ruling ZANU-PF party wanted Mugabe buried at the national shrine to heroes of the 15-year liberation war against white minority rule. But some relatives, expressing bitterness at the way former comrades ousted Mugabe, had pushed for him to be buried in his home village.

Walter Chidhakwa, who spoke on behalf of Mugabe’s family, said Mugabe was an icon who was determined and unflinching in pursuing policies like land reform and later the black economic empowerment program.

Mugabe left behind a country wrecked by hyperinflation, dollarization and deeply entrenched corruption.

But many Zimbabweans also remember Mugabe as their country’s liberator from white minority rule and for broadening people’s access to education and land

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