Djokovic withdraws from ATP Cup in Sydney: organisers

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) – Novak Djokovic has pulled out of the ATP Cup in Sydney, organisers said on Wednesday, heightening doubts about his vaccination status and whether he will defend his Australian Open title. “World No.1 Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the 2022 ATP Cup. Team Serbia will now be led by world No.33 Dusan Lajovic,” organisers said in a statement ahead of Saturday’s start to the tournament. There has been intense speculation as to whether […]

NBA reduces Covid-19 isolation time for some players: report

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — The NBA has reduced quarantine time from 10 days to six for vaccinated players and coaches who come into contact with Covid-19 or contract the disease but are asymptomatic, ESPN reported Monday. Teams were informed in a league memo obtained by ESPN about the move, which came the same day the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reduced the isolation time for those with asymptomatic Covid-19 from 10 […]

Butler returns to lead Heat over Magic

LOS ANGELES, United States  (AFP) — Jimmy Butler returned from an eight-game injury absence to post a double-double in the Miami Heat’s 93-83 NBA victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday. Butler, who was sidelined with a bruised tailbone, scored 17 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, handing out four assists and coming up with three steals. His return from an injury that has seen him miss 15 games this season couldn’t have been more […]

Canada’s Shapovalov tests positive for Covid in Sydney

World number 14 Denis Shapovalov has tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Sydney, he said Sunday, highlighting the virus threat to the Australian Open. The 22-year-old was among the first players to enter Australia ahead of the ATP Cup teams event from January 1, where he was supposed to be playing for Canada, and with the first Grand Slam of the year three weeks away. He said on Twitter he was experiencing mild symptoms […]

Depleted Hawks hold off 76ers, NBA champion Bucks beat Mavs

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 10 of his 15 points in the final four minutes and the short-handed Atlanta Hawks held off the Philadelphia 76ers 98-96 on Thursday as the NBA continued to grapple with a Covid-19 surge. The Hawks were without seven players because of Covid-19 concerns, but they still managed to pull off the upset in Philadelphia, where Sixers star Joel Embiid missed a potential tying shot as time […]

Embiid sparkles in Sixers win while Morant return spoiled

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Joel Embiid scored 41 points and sparked an undermanned Philadelphia squad to victory at Boston on Monday while Oklahoma City spoiled the NBA return of Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant. Cameroonian big man Embiid also delivered 10 rebounds, five assists, four blocked shots and his last of two steals in the dying seconds to deny the Celtics a chance at a tying 3-pointer in powering the 76ers over Boston […]

Warriors’ Kerr named USA coach through ’24 Olympics

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Steve Kerr, a five-time NBA champion player and three-time NBA champion coach, was named Monday as coach of the United States national team through the 2024 Paris Olympics. Kerr, a 56-year-old American, served as an assistant to coach Gregg Popovich on the US squad of NBA stars that captured Olympic gold in August at Tokyo. “I’m incredibly honored and humbled to represent our country,” Kerr said. “It’s a thrilling […]

Nadal tests positive for Covid in latest blow for tennis legend

by Daniel SILVA MADRID, Spain (AFP) — Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal said Monday he had tested positive for Covid-19, putting in doubt his participation in the Australian Open next month where he was expected to make his comeback to major competition after months of injury. The Spanish former world number one said he took a test when he returned to Spain from Abu Dhabi where he took part in an exhibition tournament last week, […]

Booker makes impact in return, Trail Blazers cool off Grizzlies

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Devin Booker scored 16 points in his return from a seven-game absence as the NBA-leading Phoenix Suns rolled over the Charlotte Hornets 137-106 on Sunday. Booker, who had been out due to a left hamstring strain, made four three-pointers and had six rebounds and five assists in 26 minutes for the Suns, who led by as many as 29 points in the first half. The Suns own the best […]

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai denies making sexual assualt claim

BEIJING, China (AFP) — Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has denied accusing anyone of sexual assault in her first media comments since publicly alleging that a top Communist Party official forced her to have sex. The quickly-censored claims posted on social media last month by the former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion sparked international concern, with the United Nations and fellow tennis stars among those voicing fears for her wellbeing. But in comments to […]

Nets ready to welcome Irving back for road games: reports

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — The Brooklyn Nets are ready to welcome Covid vaccine holdout Kyrie Irving for the team’s away NBA games, multiple US media outlets reported Friday. As long as he remains unvaccinated, Irving can’t play games at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center because of New York vaccine mandates. In October, the Nets said they would not welcome him back until he was able to be a full-time player, even though he would have […]

Top scorer Durant pours in 34 as under-manned Nets beat Sixers

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Kevin Durant finished with 34 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists as the short-handed Brooklyn Nets beat Joel Embiid’s Philadelphia 76ers 114-105 on Thursday in New York. Durant, who is the league’s leading scorer, delivered a four-point play with 1:46 remaining and the game tied. The first-place Nets were missing seven players because of Covid-19, leaving them with just nine players available for the game, played in front of […]