National Sports News

Maria Sharapova beats Roberta Vinci in return from doping ban

STUTTGART, Germany — Looking relieved, Maria Sharapova waved to the crowd and blew kisses after winning her first match on her return from a 15-month doping ban on Wednesday. The five-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1 beat Roberta Vinci 7-5, 6-3 in the opening round of the Porsche Grand Prix. Sharapova had earlier been given a lukewarm welcome by the 4,500 spectators, receiving a polite applause and some whistling when she entered the sold-out arena. “It was the best feeling in the world,” Sharapova said about finally stepping on court again for a professional match. “I have been waiting for this a long time.” Sharapova said she had “a pretty normal life” and “grew as a person” while being away from the circuit, until getting back to tennis training in January. Wednesday’s match was the Russian’s first since losing to Serena Williams in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Australian Open, and her first match on clay in nearly two…

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Gareon Conley: Rape allegation ‘not true’

Former? Ohio State cornerback? Gareon Conley?has spoken out about a rape accusation made against him, saying in a statement to ESPN’s Josina Anderson that the claim is “completely false.” “I pride myself on doing things the right way on and off the field,” Conley said. “The things being said about me and what happened that night are not true and don’t fit my character at all. I realize that I put myself in the situation and I could have used better judgment. However, I have worked tirelessly to put myself in position to have the honor of being an NFL draft pick and these untrue allegations are putting a huge cloud over my name and the NFL Draft.” A woman has accused Conley of raping her in a Cleveland hotel earlier this month, according to Cleveland police. Conley has not been arrested nor have charges been filed against him as Cleveland police investigate the allegations.?Police spokeswoman Jennifer Ciaccia said investigators are making arrangements to…

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Browns’ Joe Thomas: ‘Willing to accept’ the risks of playing in NFL

Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas is experiencing memory loss, he said in an interview released Wednesday. Thomas could not say, though, whether playing in the NFL has caused the problem. “I definitely expect memory loss,” Thomas said on “In Depth With Graham Bensinger.”?”I’m already seeing memory loss, and maybe that’s just because of my old age or maybe it’s football, it’s hard to tell. “I mean, there’s no double-blind studies when it comes to people’s life. It’s just a part, I think, of sometimes getting older. And it’s hard to tell it’s because of football or because you’re 32 and you’re not 21 anymore and you have a lot of stuff going in your life.” What kind of memory loss? Bensinger asked. “Short-term memory loss — hard times remembering, like things that have happened recently,” he said. “Like, you walk to the grocery store and you’re like, ‘Huh, I can’t remember what I needed to get.’ “Just little stuff like…

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Serena Williams returns to No. 1 in WTA rankings after pregnancy news

Serena Williams reclaimed the No. 1 ranking on the WTA Tour on Monday for the eighth time in her career. The 23-time Grand Slam winner, who announced her pregnancy last week, takes over the top spot for the 317th week overall, third all time behind Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova. Williams’ latest leap to the No. 1 position might be only a temporary one, however; if Angelique Kerber wins her first two matches at this week’s Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, she will once again unseat Williams atop the rankings. The news for Williams comes on a day when she made her first public comments regarding her pregnancy. In an Instagram post Monday, Williams wrote a letter to her unborn child, sharing her excitement in reaching No. 1 again. In that post, Williams also put to rest any doubt about her return to the court in 2018, writing, “I can’t wait for you to join the players box next year. But most…

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Bulls’ Rajon Rondo not ready to return for Game 5 vs. Celtics

Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo?said that he will not return for Game 5 against the? Celtics?Wednesday night despite making an attempt to return early from his fractured right thumb and ailing right wrist. Sources told ESPN that Rondo held a private workout on Tuesday in hopes of getting a better read on how feasible a comeback would be after missing only two games. He said Wednesday that it’s too early to say whether he could play in Game 6 on Friday. ?”He wants to play bad,” one source close to Rondo said Tuesday night. “As of right now, it’s still tender and he’s erring on the side of waiting until Game 6.” Rondo has switched from a cast to a soft splint and participated in most of practice Tuesday while protecting the injured hand. Rondo suffered the injury in Game 2 and was expected to be in a hard cast for at least seven to 10 days. In the wake of the Bulls’ two home defeats that evened the series at 2-2, Rondo…

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