Tattooed Tipsarevic eliminates Hewitt in 1st round


Tattooed Tipsarevic eliminates Hewitt in 1st round

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) His heavily tattoed arms include one in Japanese that says, ``Beauty Will Save the World.''

No. 8-ranked Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia says his wife has barred him from getting more - and he listens to her because his rise through the rankings started when they married in 2010.

``Honestly, I don't know why but from the moment I got married I started producing great results,'' Tipsarevic said during a humorous on-court interview after beating Lleyton Hewitt 7-6 (4), 7-5, 6-3 in the first-round of the Australian Open on Monday.

Hewitt's first-round exit brought an abrupt halt to his long-running effort to end a drought for Australian men at Melbourne Park dating back to 1976. He has played a record 17 consecutive Australian Opens and was cheered on by a packed center court crowd that chanted his name: ``Let's go Lleyton, let's go!''

The 3-hour, 2-minute match was filled with exciting points and fast-paced scrambling on both sides of the net. It tipped in Tipsarevic's favor during the second set when he was a double break down but powered back aided by big serves to win.

``He's such a good ball striker. Even when I did attack he came up with some unbelievable passing shots,'' said the former No. 1-ranked Hewitt, and winner of 2001 U.S. Open and 2002 Wimbledon. ``His scrambling and passing shots from out of position were exceptional tonight.''

Known for his towering self-confidence, Hewitt's post-match comments were more humble than a day earlier. When asked Sunday if he felt unlucky to have drawn the No. 8 seed in the first round, Hewitt replied with typical bravado: ``I don't care. I'll knock him off, try to take his spot in the draw.''

For now, the Serbian's spot in the draw is secure. He was elated by his win, saying he had expected a tough match from Hewitt but was stunned by his stamina.

``It's really amazing. I mean, the guy had so many injuries, and he is turning 32 this year, and the balls that he's making you play just to finish the point!'' said Tipsarevic, a U.S. Open quarterfinalist last year. ``I really needed to produce some extraordinary tennis.''

Tipsarevic turned pro in 2002 and was ranked 46 when he married Serbian TV host, Biljana Sesevic, in July 2010. Coincidentally or not, from then on he steadily climbed the rankings, breaking into the top 10 in Nov 2011 and has remained ever since.

Asked about the body art on his arms, he said he has six tattoos and doesn't regret any but is taking a break.

``I am currently on an embargo from my wife not allowing me to do any more,'' he said.

He faces Lukas Lacko in the second round, after the Slovak defeated Gilles Muller 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (3).


GOLD, BABY: If all her money just vanishes one day, Venus Williams can always cash in on her Olympic gold medals.

``I have hid them in a sack,'' she said with a smile, when asked where she keeps all her medals. ``One day if I become a statistic and I lose all my money, then I have to melt all the gold off.''

Joking aside, Williams has won four gold medals, including three from winning women's doubles alongside sister Serena at the 2012 London Olympics, the 2008 Beijing Games and 2000 Sydney Games. In Sydney she also won the singles tournament.

But it's the most recent one from London that helped lift her spirits.

Williams took a seven-month break from tennis after being diagnosed in 2011 with an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue. She returned to tennis in March and went on to win the Wimbledon doubles trophy followed by her latest Olympic medal.

``Gold, gold, gold, baby. So you know, that was awesome,'' Williams said after advancing to the second round with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan.

At 32, she's not talking about retirement yet but once she quits tennis she knows what she does not want to do.

``Hopefully, like I said, I won't run out of money and have to commentate,'' she said, again laughing. ``But if I do, I will be commentating.''

Her 18 years in tennis have built up a decent nest egg of $28.5 million in career prize money.


COMEBACK TRAIL: Sam Querrey is the highest-ranked - and only seeded - American man at the Australian Open this year, but he doesn't think of himself as the leader of the U.S. team.

World No. 13 John Isner would have been the highest-ranked American in Melbourne, but he had to pull out with bone bruising in his right knee, leaving No. 22 Querrey as the Americans' top player in the men's draw.

``Serena's probably the real leader,'' Querrey quipped after his 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 first-round win over Spanish qualifier Daniel Munoz-De La Nava on Monday.

``I'm cheering for the other guys and they're cheering for me so we're all in it together, but I don't feel like too much of a leader.''

A year ago, Querrey was just happy to get into the Australian Open without having to play the qualifying tournament. An injury to his right elbow led to surgery that sidelined him for months in 2011, causing his ranking to fall to No. 125. He lost in the second round in Melbourne last year to Australian Bernard Tomic.

Querrey has spent the past year and a half trying to climb back up the rankings, playing several second-tier Challenger events to earn back points he lost.

His next opponent in Melbourne is another American on the comeback trail - Brian Baker. The 27-year-old Baker also had surgery on his right elbow, in February 2008, one of five major operations he underwent over a six-year span. Baker started 2012 ranked No. 456 in the world; by the end of the year, he was up to 61st.

Querrey and Baker have only played each other once - at a Challenger event in Sarasota, Florida, last April. Querrey won that match in three sets.

``We've both sort of come a long way since then,'' Querrey said.


Associated Press writer Justin Bergman contributed to this report.

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We have ourselves a goalie rotation in Washington


We have ourselves a goalie rotation in Washington

It’s happened. The Caps no longer seem to have a No. 1 goalie anymore, they have a No. 1 and 1a.

That’s right, we have a goalie rotation in Washington.

“There's no sense riding one,” Barry Trotz said after practice on Monday. “[Braden Holtby] is coming back and looking better every game and [Philipp Grubauer] played pretty well for a long stretch so why not have both of them going?”

Grubauer got the start Sunday in Philadelphia and Holtby is slated to get the start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. After that we will have to wait and see.


Trotz has no layout for which goalie he wants to start and when in the remaining ten games. He is not thinking about each goalie splitting five games or which one he wants to use more.

Nope. Trotz has just one thing on his mind. It is all about who starts the next game, that’s it.

“I think you just go with a guy that's hot at the time and your team feels comfortable with and go from there,” Trotz said.

So where does this leave the goaltending situation when it comes to the playoffs? A goalie rotation is all well and good in the regular season, but he has to have one starter for the postseason, right?

Not necessarily.


When Trotz was asked if he philosophically believed in having one starter for the playoffs, Trotz initially said he would not answer, but then said, “Why don't you ask Mike Sullivan what he thinks.”

Sullivan, of course, is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins who has led his team to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons despite turning to both goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray in both seasons.

While Pittsburgh’s goalie rotation was largely based on injury, however, it still provides an example of how using both goalies can work in the playoffs and that seems to be the path the Caps are headed on at the moment.

Said Trotz, “You just have to go with your gut who you think is going to get the job done.”

UMBC's NCAA Tournament hopes end vs. Kansas State, but its Cinderella run was unforgettable


UMBC's NCAA Tournament hopes end vs. Kansas State, but its Cinderella run was unforgettable

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — UMBC's improbable run through the NCAA Tournament was brief. The statement the Retrievers made and their place in history is forever.

For one weekend in March, the tiny commuter school from Baltimore known for its academics and championship-winning chess team captured the hearts of the college basketball world and beyond. UMBC became the first No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 in March Madness, a victory over Virginia that made the Retrievers the ultimate Cinderella.

The fairytale came to an end Sunday night in a 50-43 loss to No. 9 Kansas State -- heartbreaking because it was a game UMBC could have won, but still satisfying because the Retrievers touched so many people by accomplishing what many thought was impossible.

"We put our name on the map. We gave hope to teams that come to the tournament with lower seeds," said senior guard K.J. Maura. "I think we gave hope to guys that are not even that tall like me. People that feel like they are underdogs in their life, I think we gave hope to everything they want to do in life."


Stephen Curry noticed the team and sent UMBC the sneakers the team wore against Kansas State. The Golden State Warriors had his Curry 5s, which are in limited release, and other swag sent to the team. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams declared the Retrievers "Surgeon General approved" and posted a photo of himself on Facebook wearing a sweatshirt from his alma mater.

NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers tweeted to UMBC guard Joe Sherburne, who claims to be Rodgers' biggest fan. And for a team addicted to the video game "Fortnite," their dreams were made when Ninja, a popular gamer who recently played against rapper Drake and JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers, FaceTimed with the team early Sunday.

"They play with passion, they play with heart, they play together," coach Ryan Odom said. "We do things together for one another, and obviously when you have a big win like that (over Virginia) and it's so shocking, you know, people love to see that. They love to see the upset.

"And our guys handled it with grace and understood the circumstances. They weren't pounding their chests or anything. They expected to be here and expected to compete."

When UMBC returned to the locker room following its ouster, Odom had written just one word on the whiteboard. The Retrievers needed a buzzer-beating 3 against Vermont to win their conference title and make the NCAA Tournament, but they showed up believing they could beat Virginia, and the same about Kansas State.


So Odom simply penned "Proud" on the board for his players.

"Just very proud of these kids and what they've been able to do as the representatives that they are for our university," Odom said. "Just captured our country and beyond, to be honest, from a sporting perspective and it's really, really neat to see."

Sherburne said Odom relayed stories from friends who had texted or called from outside the country to rave about UMBC. Near tears after an 0-for-9 shooting night, Sherburne found consolation in the joy UMBC brought to so many.

"From when we beat Vermont until the last two hours were the greatest time of my life," Sherburne said. "What we did, everyone in here, it's the greatest time of our lives."

Odom arrived at UMBC two years ago and inherited a team accustomed to losing. He told them he was going to get them to .500 that first year; they thought he was joking. But slowly the culture changed and the Retrievers did everything Odom told them they could accomplish.

And then some.

"When I got here, first we were a four-win team that year, and then the next year we went on to win seven games," said graduate student Jairus Lyles. "Then Coach Odom and his staff came in, we won 21 games and this year we had a tremendous season."

Odom doesn't know how far the UMBC program can grow. Those four letters are now synonymous with the biggest upset in college basketball history, but it's a long way from becoming a basketball school.

"UMBC is a unique place -- lot of high achieving kids on campus," Odom said. "We want guys that want to be great from a basketball perspective and want to play after college. But, at the same time, we want folks that are highly motivated academically that want to do great things past basketball. Because the air goes out of the ball at some point for everybody."