Serena to skip Madrid, citing lack of fitness
MADRID • Tennis' former world No. 1 Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Madrid Open as she continues to regain full fitness ahead of the French Open later this month, the tournament's organisers said yesterday.
The 36-year-old American, who won the Madrid Open in 2012 and 2013, returned to the WTA Tour in March after giving birth to her first child last September.
She missed the first Grand Slam of the year at the Australian Open in January and could also be ruled out of the May 27 to June 10 French Open.
Ferdinand floored by boxing rejection
LONDON • Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand said yesterday he was "disappointed" after being refused a professional licence by British boxing authorities.
The 39-year-old, coached by former World Boxing Council super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall, had been backed by betting company Betfair as part of the "Defender to Contender" challenge.
"Having been training four to five times a week since announcing the aim of achieving a professional boxing licence and stepping into the ring, it is with a heavy heart that I am hanging up my gloves," he wrote on Facebook.
Super Rugby may move into the US
SYDNEY • Super Rugby chiefs are reportedly considering expanding into America, undeterred by downsizing after just two seasons with 18 teams.
Australia's Fairfax Media said a leaked paper titled Sanzaar 2030 Strategy examined long-term options, including a push into North America.
It said one possibility was a 20-team, four-conference format likely to feature at least one US side. There are currently 15 teams, including Argentina's Jaguares and Japan's Sunwolves.