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Ferrer eyes up a Kiwi record

TENNIS: World number five David Ferrer will complete his Australian Open preparations by seeking a record-equalling fourth Auckland Open title.

Spaniard Ferrer, who has enjoyed his best year on the ATP tour by winning six titles on four different surfaces, has captured the past two titles in Auckland, which concludes two days before 2013's first grand slam begins in Melbourne.

The 30-year-old reached the last eight at all four grand slam tournaments this season, the first time he has achieved the feat in his 12-year career.

Ferrer, who has won 17 career titles, has a proud pedigree on the courts of New Zealand's largest city, winning three times in eight visits.

If he claims the title at next year's tournament that runs from January 7-12, he will join Australia's Roy Emerson as the only four-time winners of the title. Emerson won in 1960 and then again from 1965-67.

Cross-country boss resigns

ATHLETICS: Anne Keenan-Buckley has announced her resignation as manager of the Irish international cross-country teams.

Laois native Keenan-Buckley is stepping down "because of my disillusionment with the high performance management and the direction it is taking".

Only a week ago, Athletics Ireland (AI) released a statement denying speculation that she was about to quit.

"This wasn't an easy decision for me," said Keenan-Buckley.

"I first competed for Ireland when I was 14 and gave 36 years of my life to athletics at international level, before my recent involvement at team management level.

"But I felt I had exhausted every option, and I hope and believe I have taken the right decision in the best interests of all the athletes involved and myself."

Roche plans a new Irish team

CYCLING: Nicolas Roche is to set up his own Irish-based team in 2013.

While the project's development is still in its infancy, and beginning its search for sponsors, the current Ag2r professional and Tour de France star is in the process of creating a new team, specifically for Irish junior riders.

The new team, tentatively dubbed the 'Nicolas Roche Performance Team', came about after discussions with some of the domestic cycling fraternity.