Australian Open organizer defends Maria Sharapova draw decision

Russia's Maria Sharapova holds the Women's singles trophy during the official draw ceremony ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament. (REUTERS)
Updated 11 January 2018

Australian Open organizer defends Maria Sharapova draw decision

MELBOURNE: The Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has defended the decision to invite Maria Sharapova to the draw ceremony.
Serena Williams, the defending champion, is missing the tournament, and in her place organizers controversially chose Sharapova to represent the women.
The Russian, a former champion in Melbourne, entered Margaret Court Arena carrying the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup at the same venue she failed a doping test for meldonium two years ago.
Tiley said he had no issue with the decision, pointing to Sharapova’s status as a former champion — she lifted the trophy in 2008.
In the absence of Williams and Victoria Azarenka, who is currently fighting for the custody of her son Leo, Sharapova and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber are the only former winners in the draw.


NBA star Durant rules himself out for rest of season

Updated 06 June 2020

NBA star Durant rules himself out for rest of season

  • NBA star ruptured his right Achilles tendon in last June’s NBA Finals
  • Kevin Durant among a dozen NBA players who tested positive for coronavirus in the spring

LOS ANGELES: NBA superstar Kevin Durant, who has not played since he tore his Achilles tendon a year ago, said he would not make his debut with the Brooklyn Nets when the season resumes late July in Orlando.
“My season is over. I don’t plan on playing at all,” in the 2019-2020 season, Durant said in an interview Friday with The Undefeated.
“We decided last summer when it first happened that I was just going to wait until the following season. I had no plans of playing at all this season.”
The NBA suspended its season on March 11 as the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, leaving professional sport in North America at a standstill.
The league’s board of governors on Thursday gave the green light to a plan to restart the season at Disney World in Orlando, Florida on July 31, without spectators.
The news was followed by speculation over whether Durant would appear.
Durant, who was the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player for the Golden State Warriors in their 2017 and 2018 championship runs, ruptured his right Achilles tendon in last June’s NBA Finals.
He then left California to join Brooklyn, where fans were hoping he would form a formidable duet with Kyrie Irving, who also arrived last summer.
“It’s just best for me to wait. I don’t think I’m ready to play that type of intensity right now in the next month,” said Durant.
He said however that his rehab was going well.
“I’m doing well. Working out every day. I’m moving. I’m feeling like a normal player again,” he told The Undefeated.
Plans to restart the league received the approval of the players’ union on Friday, although some details remain to be ironed out.
Durant, who is among a dozen NBA players who tested positive for coronavirus in the spring, has not said whether he will accompany his teammates to Florida.