Schumacher still in coma
Michael Schumacher remained in an induced coma yesterday after spending a third night in hospital with severe brain injuries sustained during a skiing accident in the French Alps. The German racing great entered the New Year in a critical condition with his family at his bedside and doctors unsure of his future after a second operation to remove a blood clot in his brain. The seven-time world champion fell and slammed his head on a rock while skiing off-piste on Sunday at the upmarket Meribel ski resort. On Tuesday, doctors were surprised by a slight improvement in his condition which allowed them to perform the second nearly two-hour long procedure, but said he was “not out of danger” yet. Jean-Francois Payen, head of the intensive care unit at the hospital in the French Alpine city of Grenoble, warned that Schumacher was not out of the woods. “We cannot speculate on the future,” Payen said. “We cannot say he is out of danger, but we have gained some time.”
GOLF / TENNIS
McIlroy, Wozniacki engaged
Two-time major golf champion Rory McIlroy and former women’s tennis world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki announced their engagement yesterday in postings on Twitter. McIlroy, the 24-year-old former world No. 1 from Northern Ireland, posted pictures of himself and Wozniacki, and a diamond ring on a woman’s left ring finger. “Happy New Year everyone! I have a feeling it’s going to be a great year!! My first victory of 2014 #shesaidyes!!” he posted. On her Twitter page, Wozniacki posted the same pictures with the caption “Happy New Year everyone! Rory and I started 2014 with a bang! ... I said YES!!!!” Wozniacki, 23, withdrew from a WTA event in Brisbane last weekend due to a shoulder injury, but the Dane is looking forward to playing in Sydney next week in a tune-up event for the Australian Open. McIlroy captured his first major title at the 2011 US Open and added another at the 2012 PGA Championship. Wozniacki is still seeking her first Grand Slam title.
Chelsea post annual loss
Chelsea have posted annual losses of more than US$80 million, but the club remains confident of complying with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules. The club slipped back into the red a year after making a profit for the first time since Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich’s takeover in 2003. Chelsea lost ￡49.4 million (US$81.7 million) in the year to June 30 last year, after making a profit of ￡1.4 million in 2011-2012, but UEFA allows unlimited investment on infrastructure and youth development, which Chelsea believes accounted for about ￡15 million in spending in 2012-2013. UEFA is allowing losses of up to 45 million euros (US$62 million) in the first monitoring period — 2011 to last year — without the risk of being barred from European competition.
Phaneuf signs new deal
The Toronto Maple Leafs locked up a key member of their defense by signing captain Dion Phaneuf to a seven-year contract extension, the team said on Tuesday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by the team, but local reports said the contract is worth US$49 million. “Dion is our team leader and has been a pillar in our building process,” Maple Leafs general manger Dave Nonis said. “He has proven to be a very durable and reliable defenseman in all facets of the game.” Phaneuf, 28, began his career with the Calgary Flames, but was traded to Toronto in 2010. Phaneuf has 110 goals and 245 assists in 630 career games.