Roger Federer

Roger Federer has decided to skip this week’s tournament in Miami to continue his rehab after two right knee operations. Dita Alangkara/Associated Press

Roger Federer is withdrawing from this month’s Miami Open so he can spend extra time preparing to “work his way back out on tour,” his agent told The Associated Press on Monday.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion has not competed in more than a year after having two operations on his right knee during last season.

Federer, who turns 40 in August, is scheduled to make his return to the tour next week in a hard-court tournament at Doha, Qatar. He posted a photo of himself on Twitter last Friday with the caption: “The countdown to Doha begins.”

That will be his first event since he reached the semifinals at the Australian Open in February 2020.

QATAR OPEN: Jennifer Brady lost her first match since the Australian Open final, falling to Anett Kontaveit 6-1, 6-2 in the first round of the Qatar Open.

Brady, who lost to Naomi Osaka in her first major final just over a week ago, made 25 unforced errors against her Estonian opponent. Kontaveit had only nine unforced errors and didn’t face a single break point against the seventh-seeded American.

“I was expecting a very, very tough match but I’m very happy with the way I played and very pleased to get to the second round,” Kontaveit said.

Kontaveit will play three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber in the second round after the German beat wild card Cagla Buyukakcay of Turkey 6-4, 6-2.

LYON OPEN: Top-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova was knocked out in the opening round by 139th-ranked Clara Tauson of Denmark in Lyon, France.

Tauson won convincingly 6-3, 6-4, showing a better second serve. She finished the first set with an ace, and the match on a long serve return by the Russian.

No. 2-seeded Fiona Ferro barely avoided the same fate as Alexandrova, as she was made to fight for nearly three hours to overcome Magdalena Frech of Poland 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 in the empty hard court stadium.

No. 6-seeded Sorana Cirstea of Romania lost to Nina Stojanovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-0 for the first time. Stojanovic reached the Australian Open doubles semifinals.

RANKINGS: Novak Djokovic is gaining on Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Grand Slam standings, and he’s already caught Federer in another significant statistic: As of Monday, Djokovic has been No. 1 in the ATP rankings for a total of 310 weeks.

That equals Federer’s career record for most time spent atop the rankings. And no matter what happens over the next week, Djokovic is assured of breaking Federer’s mark on March 8.

Pete Sampras is third on the list, with 286 weeks.

Djokovic’s Australian Open championship last month gave the 33-year-old from Serbia 18 Grand Slam singles trophies. Only Federer and Nadal, each with 20, have more.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:

WNBA: What appears to be the final – and arguably most important – offseason domino fell for the Seattle Storm when the team announced the signing of four-time WNBA champion Sue Bird on Monday.

It had been a foregone conclusion that Bird, an unrestricted free agent and the league’s oldest player at 40, would return for her 18th season and 20th year with the franchise. After guiding the Storm to the 2020 WNBA championship last October, she expressed a desire to defend the title assuming “my health and my body allows me to do so.”

COLLEGES

MEN’S BASKETBALL: Michigan finally broke the stranglehold of Gonzaga and Baylor atop The Associated Press poll, taking advantage of the Bears’ loss at Kansas to leap into the No. 2 spot behind the Bulldogs.

Gonzaga continued to hold down the top spot in the Top 25, just as it has all season, receiving 59 of 63 first-place votes among national media members. But the Wolverines picked up the other four to climb into second while the Bears, whose unbeaten season was foiled by the Jayhawks on Saturday night, dropped back to third place.

Illinois climbed one spot to fourth and Iowa gave the Big Ten three teams in the top five.

• No. 11 Florida State has extended Coach Leonard Hamilton’s contract through the 2024-25 season.

The deal is set to keep Hamilton on the FSU sideline until he is 76 years old. It will pay about $562,500 for the remainder of this season and then about $2.3 million for each of the next four seasons.

Those figures are separate from numerous performance incentives such as $150,000 for winning an Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season or tournament title, $275,000 for reaching a Final Four and $500,00 for winning a national championship.

• University at Albany men’s basketball coach Will Brown is out after two decades.

Brown said in a news release that he and the school had agreed “to mutually part ways.” The 2020-21 season was the final year of his contract extension.

The university, which plays in the America East Conference, said it will begin a national search for a successor immediately.

Brown, who was hired in December 2001, took a team that had recently become a Division I member (1999) and built it into a solid mid-major. His teams posted a record of 315-295 and earned five NCAA Tournament berths.

The Great Danes’ 2020-21 season ended Sunday with a loss to Hartford in the America East Tournament quarterfinals. They finished 7-9, their third straight losing season.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Texas A&M moved up to No. 2, its highest ranking ever in The Associated Press poll, a day after winning its first Southeastern Conference regular-season title.

The Aggies (22-1) beat then-No. 5 South Carolina on Sunday to win the conference title and then moved up a spot in the Top 25.

UConn remained the top choice in the poll, getting 27 first-place votes. The Huskies finish off their regular season on Monday night against Marquette.

North Carolina State fell to No. 3, with Stanford and Louisville rounding out the first five teams in the poll.

Baylor, South Carolina, Maryland, UCLA and Indiana were the next five.

SOCCER: The U.S. Soccer Federation’s athletes council removed one of its members Sunday, a day after he made a speech at the federation’s annual general meeting against removing an anti-kneeling policy.

Seth Jahn, a 38-year-old from Florida who played for the U.S. seven-a-side ParaOlympic team at the 2015 Parapan American Games, spoke against repeal of what was known as Policy 604-1, put in place in response to U.S. women’s team star Megan Rapinoe kneeling in support of Colin Kaepernick.

The USSF board voted to repeal the policy on June 9, a decision the online annual meeting affirmed Saturday by 71.34% voting in favor of repeal.

• The U.S. men’s soccer team will play 47th-ranked Jamaica on March 25 at Wiener Neustadt, Austria, the first of two exhibitions with the full player pool in Europe on FIFA international fixture dates.

The Americans had previously scheduled a March 28 match against Northern Ireland in Belfast. The Jamaica game was announced Monday by the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The matches will be just the third and fourth in 16 months with the full player pool, a schedule caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The 22nd-ranked U.S. tied 0-0 at Wales on Nov. 12, followed four days later by a 6-2 win over Panama at Wiener Neustadt.


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