Stepanek takes a break
Radek Stepanek is suffering from a fatigue syndrome and has to rest for about two months. Czech Republic Davis Cup team spokesman Karel Tejkal said on Wednesday it was not clear whether the 31-year-old could recover in time for the World Team Cup in Duesseldorf, Germany, next month, and could miss the French Open which begins on May 23. Stepanek, ranked 18th, could even be in doubt for the Davis Cup quarterfinals in July in Chile.
Maradona said ‘good night’
Maradona’s personal doctor said on Wednesday the Argentina coach required 10 stitches to his mouth after being bitten by one of his pet dogs when he put his face close to the animal’s face to say good night. “He [Maradona] told me that it’s common he gets close to the dog like this before he goes to bed,” Alfredo Cahe said. “[He] said the dog moved suddenly. He said the dog had never behaved like this in the three years he’s had her.” Maradona was bitten on the upper lip on Tuesday by his pet Shar Pei.
Andretti, Petty team up
Two of the biggest names in US motorsport — Andretti and Petty — will join forces to enter a car in this year’s Indianapolis 500, the two teams said on Wednesday. Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti and NASCAR great Richard Petty will combine behind a car in the May 30 race at the famed Brickyard that will be driven by John Andretti, cousin of team boss Michael. For two races, including a warmup in Kansas, John Andretti will join the Andretti Autosport stable of drivers alongside cousin Marco Andretti, Danica Patrick, Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay. “Richard is a legend and has millions of fans worldwide and hopefully a few of them are going to become Andretti Autosport fans after the month of May,” Michael Andretti said on a conference call to announce the partnership.
Fiji ban upheld
Fiji’s National Olympic Committee said it could not understand the basis of a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision upholding its ban from October’s Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. Fiji appealed the ban to the CAS in Lausanne, Switzerland, and urged its athletes to stay in training for the games, but the court yesterday rejected its appeal. Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth last September when military ruler Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who seized power in a 2006 coup, refused to bow to demands to hold elections next year.
All Blacks schedule changes
The All Blacks will now start their quest for a third Grand Slam in five years against England later this year after the Rugby Football Union (RFU) agreed to a date change for their test match. Graham Henry’s side had originally been scheduled to play England at Twickenham as the last of their four tests on Dec. 4, but the RFU have agreed to shift the fixture to the start of the tour on Nov. 6. “We indicated to the RFU that, if possible, we would have preferred to play the match earlier in November to allow our players the chance to get home earlier,” New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said in a statement yesterday. The All Blacks will also meet Scotland in Edinburgh on Nov. 13, Ireland in Dublin on Nov. 20 and Wales in Cardiff on Nov. 27.
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.