Djokovic crushes Nadal for record seventh Australian Open title and 15th major

Seven years ago at the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic battled past Rafael Nadal in a historic, marathon final.

On Sunday it was the same end result but more like a 20-meter sprint thanks to Djokovic’s brilliance.

The Serb crushed a shell-shocked Nadal in front of a stunned Rod Laver Arena 6-3 6-2 6-3 to become the

first man in Australian Open history to amass seven titles.

That five hour, 53-minute contest in 2012 that at times left both men gasping for air and led to, unusually, organizers giving them chairs during the trophy presentation? Nowhere to be found.

Instead the world No. 1 needed a mere two hours, four minutes to see off the second-ranked Nadal in what was the most lopsided men’s final in Melbourne in games since Andre Agassi surrendered five to Germany’s Rainer Schuettler in 2003.

Djokovic won all but 13 of his service points, registering 34 winners overall and a minuscule nine unforced errors after routing Lucas Pouille in the semifinals.

About the only thing he got wrong Sunday was speculating he made 15 unforced errors in the last two matches. It was actually 14.

“It’s quite pleasantly surprising to myself, even though I always believe I can play this way, visualize myself playing this way,” said Djokovic. “At this level under the circumstances, it was truly a perfect match.”

He took sole possession of third place on the all-time men’s list with 15 majors — passing Agassi’s chief rival Pete Sampras — and pulled to within two of Nadal and five of leader Roger Federer.

“I do want to definitely focus myself on continuing to improve my game and maintaining the overall well-being that I have, mental, physical, emotional, so I would be able to compete at such a high level for the years to come and have a shot at eventually getting closer to Roger’s record,” said Djokovic.

“It’s still far.”

Second ‘Novak Slam?’

Closer, if Djokovic wins the French Open in June — and that is certainly a possibility despite Nadal’s prowess at Roland Garros — the 31-year-old would complete the “Novak Slam” of capturing four consecutive majors for a second time. He is one of two men to upend 11-time champion Nadal at the French Open.

Yes, this is the same Djokovic who plummeted outside the top 20 last year following elbow surgery and a general malaise.

Federer and Nadal are usually the first two players mentioned in discussions of the men’s “Goat” — greatest of all time — but Djokovic is seriously butting in.

Federer and Nadal have never won four straight majors and Djokovic also holds winning records against both, now 28-25 against the Mallorcan.

And this was supposed to be a Nadal in form.

The left-hander — armed with a new service motion — didn’t come close to dropping a set en route to the final and had only been broken in one match, his opener against Australia’s James Duckworth.

Yet Nadal, in his first tournament since the US Open due to ever more injuries, faced a considerable step up in competition from the six others he swatted away at Melbourne Park.

“I played fantastic tennis during both weeks, but probably playing that well I didn’t suffer much during both weeks,” said Nadal. “Five months without competing, having that big challenge in front of me, I needed something else. That something else probably today I don’t have it yet.”

Nadal upped the aggression in his game but he said all the inactivity didn’t allow him to work on his defense, which is usually a mainstay.

“To play against a player like him, playing the way he played tonight, I needed that defensive game to finally have the chance to be offensive, no?” said Nadal. “When he was hitting, it’s true that maybe it was difficult to beat him even if I was at my 100%. But probably will be a little bit more fight.”

He will have to wait, again, to become the first man in the Open Era to bag each of the majors at least twice.

No stranger to injury heartbreak at the Australian Open, this defeat won’t hurt Nadal as much since he was never really into the match. It was unlike in 2012, when he rallied to force a fifth set and led the decider 4-2, or when he fell to Djokovic in five sets in the Wimbledon semifinals last July.

“In terms of mental pain, it’s harder the semifinals of Wimbledon than this one,” he said. “In the semifinals of Wimbledon, I was so close and I was playing so well, having a lot of matches in a row, winning Roland Garros, playing so well on clay. I had that extra intensity in that moment.

“For me, it was a big chance lost to win another Wimbledon. Tonight I didn’t have that chance. It’s easier to forget, yes.”

Irrespective of that, no player has ever got into Nadal’s head like Djokovic.

Flying start

The latter came out flying, while Nadal appeared tentative.

He only conceded one point in the first three games and only gave up one point on serve in the entire first set.

He smothered Nadal, who, seemingly frazzled by his own start, showed little of his previous sparkle.

To sum up his woes, Nadal even whiffed on a forehand in the seventh game of the first.

That first set was always going to be pivotal. Djokovic held a 17-1 record against the Spaniard when winning the first set away from Nadal’s favored clay, with the solitary reverse coming courtesy of a retirement at Wimbledon in 2007.

Shots Nadal executed with little fuss turned into unforced errors, much like when Federer would err on seemingly simple shots in a phase when Nadal bossed their head-to-heads.

A case in point came on Nadal’s lone break point at 2-3 in the third. With time to rip a backhand cross court, he sent his drive into the net.

A psychological battle, this tennis.

Djokovic has now beaten Nadal in eight straight hard-court outings and in nine of their past 11 matches overall, aided by a crosscourt backhand that his foe might have nightmares about.

“I don’t want to say I figured him out because I don’t want that to bounce back at me in any way in the future,” said Djokovic. “I might have figured him out for the match, but not for life.

“I’m sure we’re still going to have a lot of matches against each other on different surfaces. I look forward to it. I really hope we will because this rivalry has been the most significant rivalry, the one that impacted me on a personal and professional level than most in my life.”

Nadal sent a backhand long on a second championship point, before shaking umpire James Keothavong’s hand, then Djokovic’s.

Djokovic proceeded to drop to his knees at Rod Laver Arena in celebration.

He was again the king of Melbourne and is still the king of the tennis world.

Prince Harry, Prince William ‘have had a rift,’ not Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton, says royal filmmaker

PASADENA – For months, rumors have swirled that Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton have been in an alleged feud. However, one royal filmmaker told Fox News that’s not exactly what’s happening.

Nick Bullen, who has been making programs about the British royal family for nearly 20 years and has worked closely with Prince Charles for eight, claims the royal tiff is actually between Prince Harry and Prince William.

“It comes out in the ‘Royal View’ — and what comes out is that it’s a much sexier story to have two duchesses at war,” Bullen told us of the talk show, which aims to separate fact from fiction regarding the royals.

“Let’s have these two super glamorous women — one British, one American. One an actress, one sort of an English rose. Let’s put them against each other,” he explained, adding “that’s the sexy sort of media story.”

“But what we find out on the show is the reality is, as [host] Tim [Vincent] says, it’s somewhat different,” the co-founder and executive editor revealed during the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Los Angeles.

“It’s actually that William and Harry have had a rift. I think you know, look. All brothers fall out. All families fall out. Their fallout at the moment is becoming public.

“I think people don’t want to think about that with these two boys,” he admitted. “These are two boys who lost their mother [Princess Diana] at a really early age, and the fairy tale is that they are closer than ever, and need each other, and I think that’s probably true, but equally they are two grown men in their 30s, starting their own families, different wives, they are moving to different parts of the country, different duties.”

As for if Bullen was surprised when he, Vincent and co-founder Gregor Angus learned that the alleged “rift” has been between Harry, 34, and William, 36?

“Yeah. I think it was sad. I think it was really, really sad, because you don’t want to hear this, but again, it goes back to them being real people,” Bullen explained. “We forget that they are people. We’ve all fallen out with our brothers and sisters over the years, and hopefully, it’ll be fine.

“I think the Prince of Wales and the queen are working incredibly hard to try and make sure everybody reunites,” he noted. “But it is, we were surprised to hear that it was the brothers.”

Added Vincent: “The royal family’s mantra is ‘Never complain. Never explain.’ I think the ‘Royal View’ goes somewhere toward explaining what’s going on with the experts.”

Vincent further revealed that “the suggestion” the alleged “rift” is between Prince Harry and Prince William came from one of the show’s guests who is “well-placed.”

“The suggestion was – from somebody well-placed – it was one of the guests, that actually it’s the brothers. It’s the two princes that don’t get on. The actual wives actually are still finding their feet or have found their feet, and they’re very happy in the situation they find themselves, but it’s the brothers themselves who have been closer than anybody up until now.”

Breast cancer awareness products profit off survivors’ suffering

Pink ribbons, pink candles, pink sweaters, pink yogurt labels, pink lipstick: There’s an endless array of products sold in the name of breast cancer awareness, appealing to shoppers’ sense of advocacy and activism by offering an easy way to support a cause. Pink products — which proliferate especially during October, designated since 1985 as Breast Cancer Awareness Month — supposedly give a percentage of profit to cancerresearch or awareness. The idea is that the money contributed by buying these branded items helps bring the disease one step closer to eradication.

But the actual benefit to this pink overload isn’t so rosy. There’s been backlash for years now over “pinkwashing” and the commodification of breast cancer. Activists have pointed outthat the money trail of allocated funds to cancer research is nearly impossible to track, and survivors have spoken out about how they feel their disease is being exploited in the name of profit. Medical experts also fear that breast cancer awareness products do just that — bring “awareness,” without offering any tangible information about the disease to help educate the public.

Gayle Sulik, a medical sociologist with the University at Albany, has spent years researching the pink products industry and how companies have turned breast cancer awareness into big business. Her 2011 book, Pink Ribbon Blues, won awards and critical acclaim for taking on the shadowy industry.

Sulik has since gone on to start the Breast Cancer Consortium, a research group dedicated to highlighting critical health literacy and evidence-based medicine. I spoke with her recently about the history of pink products, why the idea of shopping for a cause is rooted in sexism, and how shoppers can make educated decisions about how to advocate with their dollars. This interview has been edited and condensed.

Chavie Lieber

How did you initially get into this field of research? What tipped you off to it?

Gayle Sulik

I started looking into breast cancer when I was in graduate school. A friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35. She was treated, cancer-free for a few years, and then had a recurrence that spread to other parts of her body. She was treated for metastatic breast cancer until she died at age 40.

During her last few years, we talked a lot about what she was going through. She had no interest in support groups or pink ribbons or cancer walks; she just wanted to live. She didn’t see the point, beyond the possibility of raising money for research. So I started to look into [money for research]. The more I looked, the more I learned that something else was going on and it had nothing to do with research. Breast cancer got “branded,” and companies were using the pink ribbon as a logo, not the rallying call it was intended to be.

Chavie Lieber

Where does the pink ribbon as a symbol for breast cancer come from?

Gayle Sulik

[The idea started with] Charlotte Haley, a 68-year-old activist [whose mother and sister battled cancer]. She was giving out peach ribbons [in the early ’90s] to raise awareness about the lack of federal funding for breast cancer prevention. She tied peach ribbons by hand to notecards saying, “The National Cancer Institute annual budget is $1.8 billion; only 5 percent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.” Haley wrote editorials, contacted public women, and gave out the peach ribbons at local venues in her community to spread the message.

Evelyn Lauder [whose family owned the beauty company Estée Lauder] asked Haley to use her peach ribbon for a Self magazine [campaign], but Haley declined because she did not want her message to be watered down or commercialized. The simple solution? Change the color. Evelyn Lauder and Self magazine introduced the pink ribbon as their official symbol for breast cancer awareness during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1992.

The color pink symbolized the virtuous and blameless aspects of breast cancer and the femininity the disease threatened. By 1993, breast cancer became the darling of corporations, and the pink ribbon was its logo.

Chavie Lieber

Why is October associated with breast cancer?

Gayle Sulik

The first national breast cancer awareness movement was in 1985, and it was a week long. It was helped started by Betty Ford, [a breast cancer survivor], with the idea to spread information. It eventually moved to the month of October, although now the timeline to profit off of breast cancer awareness is all year long. Mother’s Day is a big time for breast cancerawareness, and Komen races happen all throughout the year. Avon [which also runs breast cancer awareness events] has said that they, too, are not confined to October. But this time of year is when you start to see pink products everywhere.

Chavie Lieber

Can anyone use the pink logo to make money off products now, or is it trademarked?

Gayle Sulik

Some groups have trademarked a certain style of ribbon. Susan G. Komen has trademarked their style of pink ribbon, for example, so if you see their ribbon on a product, it means that item is partnered with Komen. But a general pink ribbon is not trademarked, so, yes, anyone can put a ribbon on anything. The industry is completely unregulated, so anyone can make products that are pink and say they are donating money to breast cancer, and no one is held accountable.

Chavie Lieber

Who are the players in the breast cancer awareness economy, and how big a market is it?

Gayle Sulik

It is everywhere. You could say that the pink ribbon has helped create a cottage industry surrounding breast cancer awareness, because companies are “riding the tails” of the pink ribbon. Everyone you can imagine is making pink products. There’s pink clothing, grocery items like eggs and yeast with pink labels, pink tech. There was even a pink fracking drill bit from Baker Hughes a few years ago — that is going into the ground, so what sort of awareness does that bring? That also caused a lot of scrutiny on behalf of Komen, which has a history of questionable partnerships.

To give you a good picture of how pervasive this pink industry is, I’ll walk you through a trip I took to Pennsylvania two weeks ago: I took a flight with American Airlines, where they had pink ribbon napkins. There were pink ribbon signs at the rental car agency. A few hours later, I passed a tow truck in a little town in Pennsylvania that said “Towing for Tatas” with a pink ribbon too. Then I passed a bank with a sign of people wearing pink ribbons. And this was all in a few hours! There were so many pink products, but none of it actually tells me anything.

Chavie Lieber

Does anyone know where the money going to breast cancer awareness actually goes?

Gayle Sulik

The vast majority of funding for breast cancerresearch comes from the federal government, not from cause marketing campaigns. With money coming from pink products, the numbers are difficult to track because they’re not all part of official cause marketing programs. That’s the main issue with this industry: Anyone can buy anything that says it’s related to breast cancer awareness, or has imagery about it, but it could just as easily not be related to the cause at all. For a lot of companies, it’s just another way to profit, since October is the season of breast cancer.

Think of companies like Estée Lauder or Ann Taylor. They both have big connections to breast cancer. Go into Ann Taylor and there will be a promotion to have a percentage off that goes to the Avon Foundation, so breast cancer is a promotion for the shopper. Every other time of year, they will market with some other type of promotion. So the way I see it, it’s just another advertising campaign. It’s marketing to make a certain amount of money, which they can write off through advertising.

Chavie Lieber

But what’s wrong with spending money on marketing that goes to awareness about the disease?

Gayle Sulik

While awareness campaigns stimulate interest in breast cancer as a trendy social cause, they do little to promote knowledge about breast cancer. The commercialization of breast cancerhas contributed a lighthearted approach to awareness and advocacy that very often centers on fun-filled activities in the name of breast cancer awareness. This trivializes breast cancerand limits our ability to comprehend what it’s really like to face the disease, live with medical uncertainty, and accept the difficult realities of risk, recurrence, treatment, and even death.

In the book Hiding Politics in Plain Sight, Patricia Strach shows how cause marketing in particular waters down problems like cancer, transforming advocacy into individualized, easily marketable products and services that limit how we think about these problems and what we can do to solve them.

Chavie Lieber

What does raising money for awareness even mean? I’ve been told by other breast cancerresearch experts that a lot of the money just goes back into T-shirts and bracelets that are given away at races and stuff.

Gayle Sulik

What does awareness mean? We don’t know. What I personally think it means is brand recognition: seeing a pink ribbon and knowing it has to do with breast cancer. But it doesn’t necessarily mean the money is going anywhere trustworthy, and it doesn’t mean that it’s going to research or to helping people.

Companies use the breast cancer brand and its association with the color pink to market to women during awareness season. It’s an intentional strategy to sell more stuff and gain consumer loyalty. Consumers seem to like supporting causes with their purchases.

Over the years, “pinkwasher” has become a common term used to describe the hypocrisy and lack of transparency that surrounds Breast CancerAwareness Month and fundraising. It was coined by the group Breast Cancer Action in response to growing concerns about pink ribbon commercialization and the glut of pink ribbon products on the market. This has been going on since 2002.

Chavie Lieber

Do you think all companies that make pink products are doing it for the wrong reasons?

Gayle Sulik

No. I think across the board, some people have good ideas, and some companies want to give money. There are those with good intentions. But in this industry, it’s not about intentions; it’s about following the money and seeing where it lands. I’ve seen companies get specific, like saying they are raising money for a specific research project or helping someone pay off their medical bills. But because of the ubiquity of this, people are not looking to see where the money is going. Now there’s this watered-down message, and it’s hard to find a meaningful campaign that is actually trying to do good things.

Chavie Lieber

In your research, what have you found is the reaction cancer survivors have to this industry?

Gayle Sulik

I’ve heard survivors say they feel like companies are making money off their suffering, off their disease. It makes people angry because they are being used as profit. These companies don’t really care about the people suffering; they care about the advertising effects. I’ve also seen a chasm with women who’ve been treated and have no evidence of disease and those for whom cancer returned and are now in treatment until they die from the disease. Anyone who doesn’t fit the mold of the triumphant, plucky breast cancer survivor doesn’t have much of a place in the pink industry.

Chavie Lieber

So you think this industry also objectifies women?

Gayle Sulik

Absolutely. The images of races and walks, and products, show a very specific type of woman. The difficult realities of cancer are much less palatable for public consumption, and that’s why the look of a woman in the breast cancer awareness industry is sexualized.

Chavie Lieber

How is she sexualized, though? Isn’t this disease literally about breasts?

Gayle Sulik

No, this is about a systemic cancer. What kills people when they have cancer is not a disease of the breast; it’s when it spreads to other organs. This is a huge issue with breast cancerawareness because it is all about the boobs.

The other thing, though, is that you can talk about breasts with objectifying them. I have never seen in any disease-oriented campaign the amount of skin that gets shown with breast cancerones. There is tons of cleavage; women are always touching their breasts. Even serious subjects, like covers from Time magazine, have this type of imagery. Women’s bodies and their breasts are always the focus point. I think it’s important to see this disease as something that’s full-body, not just homing in on chest level.

Chavie Lieber

Do you think this concept of shopping and spending money on breast cancer has anything to do with the fact that this is largely a woman’s disease?

Gayle Sulik

Absolutely. I’ve seen some similarities with the “Movember” movement, which is for prostate cancer awareness. There’s overlap, with a mustache and the ribbon, in that people don’t know what they are aware of. But in terms of the sheer amount of product, it’s not at all similar between men and women.

Part of this is because women have been more consumers of the kind of stuff that’s being marketed. Women, as a target, niche group, are a driver, especially when you look at what sells the most, like cosmetics “for a cause.” Even the NFL got into breast cancer awareness. Why? Because they wanted to increase women football fans. When you start to pick apart the layers, the motivations for this industry become pretty clear.

Chavie Lieber

What can shoppers do? Do you recommend avoiding all pink products?

Gayle Sulik

I would say that if there’s a campaign, they should actually look into what organization the money is going to. Look and see if the organization actually exists, if it’s actually named and is credible. If a product says it “supports breast cancer awareness” but is really vague, that’s probably a red flag (or pink flag!) and you should walk away.

People should also try to find a timeline, because one big issue we see a lot is that companies will give a percentage of sales of something until October 31, but then the leftover stuff is being sold and they money isn’t being donated. But overall, do your due diligence. There’s no federally mandated rules for best practices of marketing campaigns, so it’s up to consumers to hold companies accountable.