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Bryan brothers set sights on Rio for finale

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Bryan brothers set sights on Rio for finale

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Mike and Bob Bryan have one more Olympic Games left in them at Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and then they plan to finally stop playing. And maybe relax.

The Bryan brothers have little left to accomplish on the tennis court. They've won 12 Grand Slam titles, finished No. 1 for eight of the past 10 years, and competed in three Olympic Games, winning gold last year in London.

But the chance to defend that gold will keep them in the sport for three more years.

``I think that's where we see the finish line. We'll be 38. We'd like to maybe go out at that spot,'' Mike Bryan said. ``And then we'll sail off into the sunset.''

``Maybe just stay in Rio for the rest of our lives,'' Bob chimed in. ``Check into a motel on the beach and drink some margaritas.''

The Bryans stayed on track for a possible 13th Grand Slam doubles title by beating Daniele Bracciali and Lukas Dlouhy 6-3, 7-5 Wednesday to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open.

They next face the Italian team of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini for a chance to reach their fifth straight Australian Open final.

``It's still fun. We create goals and new challenges each time we step out of the house in January,'' Mike Bryan says. ``The goal is to finish No. 1. That's it. That's really what we play for.''

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THE PAIN GAME: Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova sports a tattoo on her right bicep reading, ``Pain doesn't kill me, I kill the pain.''

A frightening moment during her Australian Open quarterfinal against No. 1 Victoria Azarenka on Wednesday put that maxim to the test.

Serving in the first game of the second set, Kuznetsova landed awkwardly after a fault, stumbled forward and nearly fell on the court.

She played through the pain, but never recovered in the match, winning only one more game in the 7-5, 6-1 loss.

Kuznetsova later said she thought she had reinjured the right knee that had kept her off the tour for six months last year. It was the first major layoff of her career - ending her run of 40 straight Grand Slam appearances - and she didn't want to have another.

``I was really scared because I almost broke it again,'' said the Russian, whose ranking has slipped to 75th. ``My knee went backward, the same way, exactly. It was like millimeters, very close, so I (thought) I broke it again the same way I did.''

Even though she lost, the 27-year-old Kuznetsova never imagined being back in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam so soon after the injury. The time off definitely did her some good - she feels refreshed and can see playing for several more years.

``I never had a thought of stopping tennis,'' she said. ``I always loved (the sport), but I wanted to have this desire to bring me back. This is what happened.''

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REDFOO'S RED SHIRT: After Redfoo cheered her on, Victoria Azarenka helped her rap star friend promote his latest single.

Redfoo, the LMFAO frontman, sat in Azarenka's box during her quarterfinal win over Svetlana Kuznetsova, clapping and yelling ``Come on Vika!'' He wore a red sleeveless T-shirt that read ``Keep Calm and Bring Out the Bottles.''

During the on-court interview after the match, Azarenka was asked if the message on Redfoo's shirt had helped her keep calm.

``I was looking more at the part that says, `Bring out the bottles,''' Azarenka joked.

Then she clarified: ``It's his new single which is absolutely great and you all should buy it on iTunes,'' she said.

Azarenka faces Sloane Stephens in the next round after the American teenager beat 15-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams in their quarterfinal.

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Associated Press writer Jocelyn Gecker contributed to this report.

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Rewatching 'All Or Nothing': It's clear why Ron Rivera wanted Thomas Davis on the Redskins

Rewatching 'All Or Nothing': It's clear why Ron Rivera wanted Thomas Davis on the Redskins

Pete Hailey is rewatching Amazon's All Or Nothing, a behind-the-scenes look at the 2018 Panthers, to learn about Ron Rivera and other key people who are now a part of the Redskins. Here's his review of episode seven, "Vicious Cycle."

When Ron Rivera and the Redskins signed Thomas Davis earlier this month, they no doubt did it in part because they believe he can help their defense. While some doubt how much of a difference Davis will be able to make — he did just turn 37, after all — he still is easily the team's most established linebacker and did play all 16 games for the Chargers in 2019.

The signing, however, isn't just for what the veteran can do for three hours on the field every weekend, and that's a crucial part of his acquisition that some of its skeptics are missing. And in episode seven of Amazon's Panthers-focused edition of All Or Nothing, Redskins fans get the chance to see what Davis can provide outside of game day.

In this chapter of the series, Carolina is hurting. They're in the middle of a losing streak that's costing them their postseason spot, and the defense's decline is the biggest reason for that. 

So, during a midweek meeting for that side of the ball, Rivera steps in and tries to send the group a message.

"No accountability," the coach says. "That’s something that’s missing on this defensive unit that used to happen. Used to happen a lot more than it is now."

"What did I always used to tell you about defense, Thomas?" he then asks his longtime stalwart. "It’s hard! The hardest thing to do in the NFL is play defense and they’re making it harder on you guys now. So the only way you can get better is to accept that it’s hard and then work at being comfortable when you’re un-(expletive)-comfortable."

"If you don’t accept that opportunity, if you don’t take advantage of that opportunity, then shame on you," Rivera finishes before walking out of the room.

At that point, the guys prepare to leave. That's when Davis stands up and addresses them, too.

"Listen, man, why does it even take that?" he says. "Why does it even take that? Why does the (expletive) head coach gotta come stand up in our (expletive) defensive meeting room? It’s pretty obvious, man, that some of us just don’t (expletive) get it. You don’t understand."

"We’re sitting comfortable in these (expletive) seats right now," Davis continues. "But if (expletive) keeps going like this on this side of the ball, this (expletive) room’s going to look totally different. If you’re a competitor and it means something to you, this (expletive) should hurt you to your core. Let’s approach this (expletive) like we’re supposed to."

Every NFL coach has to make statements like Rivera made multiple times a season. Inevitably, a few of those statements won't quite hit like others, which is why having a player who is on the same page and who can deliver them as well is incredibly beneficial.

That's precisely what Davis did there for Rivera. That's also precisely why bringing Davis in was a priority for Rivera.

Washington's new leader imported a coordinator, position coaches, a trainer and a cap analyst from Carolina, citing how vital it was for him to be surrounded by people he's comfortable with and who understand his values. 

While the Scott Turners and Pete Hoeners and Ryan Vermillions will no doubt make Rivera's transition easier, they could've only helped the players so much in their own transition to Rivera. That's where Davis will now fit in and be so key.

At times, that'll look like it did in All Or Nothing, where he echoes the coach's words. It can go the other way, too, where he'll able to communicate something from those on the roster to the man in charge of it. Overall, it should lead to a more cohesive operation.

Yes, it'll be on Davis to contribute with his on-field performance. That's what matters most in the NFL, like any other sport. But just know that his presence will impact the Redskins in lots of other ways in 2020 — and that impact could last far longer than his individual tenure with the organization.

Links to past reviews:

Episode 1: Rivera doesn't flinch after adversity hits

Episode 2: Rivera shows his feelings on distractions

Episode 3: Special teams truly mean something to Ron

Episode 4: Young Redskins will have a chance in 2020

Episode 5: Rivera goes off, and you'll want to see it

Episode 6: Watch this example of the coach's integrity

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Draft Trade Simulator: Can the Redskins find a deal with the Dolphins?

Draft Trade Simulator: Can the Redskins find a deal with the Dolphins?

The Redskins hold the No. 2 overall selection in the NFL Draft and there could be plenty of suitors for the pick. JP Finlay works through hypothetical draft day trades. 

No NFL team holds more draft capital than the Dolphins, and no NFL team has been more connected with Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa than the Dolphins. Add that up, and it's entirely possible Miami will trade up to get him. 

The only way to guarantee Tagovailoa lands with the Dolphins is for Miami to trade up to the second overall spot, and that assumes the Bengals take Joe Burrow with the top pick. 

How does that happen? Let's take a look.

Parameters

The best comparison would be the 2017 draft day trade between the Bears and the 49ers. San Francisco was in a clear rebuild mode, like the Redskins now, and sitting on a pick they didn't have to use. As great as the prospect of Chase Young is to the Redskins, more picks could be more appealing for Ron Rivera and company.

In 2017, Chicago moved up from the third overall pick to the second overall pick to take QB Mitch Trubisky, and beyond swapping those picks with the Niners, the Bears also sent over two third-round picks and a fourth-round pick. The two third-round picks were divided up over two seasons. 

That's significant compensation to move up one spot, and if Miami and Washington were to pull off a deal it might need to be more because the Dolphins and Redskins sit three spots away from one another. 

Important to note too that Miami holds two second-round picks, and the Redskins don't have any. Assuming every draft pick holds a numeric value, the Dolphins could make up that gap quickly if they offered to swap first-rounders and send a second-round pick over as well. 

Looking at the comps and the realities, perhaps the Dolphins could offer to swap first round picks and add a second and an additional Day 3 pick for the Redskins for the chance to draft Tua. 

Outlook

This seems far-fetched. 

After Washington traded for Kyle Allen last week, it appears the Redskins are ready to roll with Allen and 2019 15th overall pick Dwayne Haskins at quarterback. With that move, the mirage of Washington drafting Tagovailoa seems to vanish. That means the Dolphins can wait patiently with the fifth pick and still take Tua. Probably.

Could Miami get spooked and want to move up? Of course. Crazy things happen at the draft, and nobody saw Chicago moving up for Trubisky a few seasons ago. 

Don't bet on it though. Expect the Redskins to take Chase Young with the second overall pick. 

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