Short Sport, January 19, 2013

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 January, 2013, 3:22am

Molik to take over as Aussie Fed Cup captain

Former world number eight Alicia Molik was named Australia's new Fed Cup captain yesterday in place of Dave Taylor, who has decided to focus on coaching former US Open champion Sam Stosur. Australia have won the women's team competition seven times, second only to the US, but their last win came in 1974 and they last reached the final back in 1993. "Dave has left big shoes to fill and I am really inspired by the challenge," Molik said. "It is an exciting time in Australian tennis and we have the talent in this team to produce some great results." Reuters


Ferrari won't repeat poor start, says Alonso

Fernando Alonso is confident Ferrari will fight for the Formula One world title right from the start this season. He picks Lewis Hamilton as the man to beat, rather than triple champion Sebastian Vettel. Alonso lost out on the title in the final race of last season, finishing just three points behind Vettel as Ferrari's poor start to 2012 proved costly. Speaking at Ferrari's annual winter retreat in the Italian Dolomites, Alonso said: "It is maybe impossible to be worse than last year, so I am confident." Alonso said Vettel "deserved to win three titles in a row" but added "Hamilton remains my strongest rival." AP


Nadal returns a week earlier than anticipated

Rafael Nadal, out of action since the middle of last season because of injury, will make his return at next month's ATP clay-court event in Vina del Mar, Chile, a week earlier than expected. Nadal's camp announced on Tuesday that he would make his long-awaited comeback at the Brazil Open in Sao Paulo, on February 11-17. But the French Open champion said on his Facebook page that he would in fact return to action in Chile on February 4. "I am pleased to confirm my participation at the Vina del Mar tournament in Chile," he posted. "I would like to thank the tournament organisers for the invitation and to say that I believe I have many fans in [Chile], I can finally meet them in person." AFP