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Murray hasn't heard of any US Open boycott plans

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Murray hasn't heard of any US Open boycott plans

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Andy Murray says he hasn't heard of any plans for a boycott of the U.S. Open over an added day without extra compensation.

The tournament is moving to a Monday men's final.

``I know that the ATP are not particularly happy with the Monday final. I know that's an issue because however much revenue they make from having an extra day on their tournament hasn't really reflected in the increase in the prize money,'' Murray said Monday after his fourth-round win over Gilles Simon at the Australian Open.

``Since the player meeting, I haven't discussed with any of the players what was said there, what the plans are,'' Murray said.

He said the players have been advocating for increased prize money, but not with an additional day of play.

``I think that's what they're disappointed with,'' said Murray, who won his only Grand Slam title at the 2012 U.S. Open. ``But I personally haven't spoken with anyone about boycotting the event.''

``I don't want to go into that here at all, not the place for it,'' he added. ``Got the second week of a Slam to focus on. Can discuss that after the event. ``

Last year, organizers of the Australian Open were also faced with the threat of a player strike, in part due to discontent over how prize money was distributed at the major tournaments.

The Australian Open responded by taking the lead among Grand Slams in increasing prize money this year, making it the richest event.

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EGO CHECK: Martina Navratilova says only a ``big ego'' could have driven Lance Armstrong to lie about doping for so many years, and she thinks he should never be allowed to compete in any sport again.

The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion said she didn't watch Armstrong's TV interview with Oprah Winfrey, during which he admitted to doping while winning seven Tour de France titles, because she'd already made up her mind about him.

``There is no justification for what he did,'' Navratilova said. ``Lying about it with such conviction for so many years, suing people and winning and just denying it so many times. I mean, it takes some serious ego to be able to do that. Clearly, he has a big ego.

``He should never be able to compete anywhere at any level. If it was just a one-time deal, OK, but every year he raced, he was cheating. It's unimaginable.''

Navratilova is in Melbourne to play in the Australian Open legends doubles event.

She's confident tennis is a clean sport, but thinks anti-doping authorities should be giving players blood tests on a more consistent basis.

When told that top-ranked men's player Novak Djokovic said he hadn't received a blood test in six months, Navratilova said: ``He shouldn't be slipping through the cracks that much.''

``Some people may be tested once a month and then some get tested maybe once or twice a year,'' she said. Anti-doping authorities ``need to figure that out a little bit better, but overall I think tennis is in pretty good hands.''

Navratilova is teaming with that other famous Martina, five-time major winner Martina Hingis, in the legends doubles event. The Martinas beat Lindsay Davenport and Cara Black in a single set 7-6 (4) on Monday.

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THE NEXT SERENA: Three-time major winner Lindsay Davenport doesn't believe the future of American women's tennis will be so bleak once Serena Williams retires.

Davenport, in Melbourne to play in the Australian Open legends event, says teenagers Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys have the kinds of weapons necessary to become future top-10 stars.

``It's not about just getting the ball back in play anymore. It's about being able to finish points. It's about having a good serve. I think both of them have that,'' she said.

Stephens, 19, will play Williams in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal Wednesday. Keys, 17, upset Austria's Tamira Paszek in the first round at Melbourne Park before losing to fifth-seeded German Angelique Kerber in the third round.

Davenport predicts it will be a few years, however, before Williams is ready to quit. She foresees Williams winning a few more major titles.

``She's at 15. The next record for her to break would be Martina (Navratilova) and Chris (Evert) - they're at 18. I think she'll for sure get to 19,'' Davenport says.

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TWEETING WITH THE ENEMY: It was 4 a.m. on Monday, about two hours after Novak Djokovic had ripped off his shirt to celebrate his thrilling five-set win over Stanislas Wawrinka in the Australian Open.

But before turning in, Djokovic fired off one last tweet. It was to his opponent.

``Stan, thank you very much!! I am sorry for your loss.. Wish you all the best for the rest of the season.. It was great pleasure,'' Djokovic wrote.

Still awake himself, Wawrinka replied four minutes later: ``Congrats for the fight tonight! Good luck for the rest of the tournament.''

Then the 27-year-old Swiss player tweeted another message in French: ``Ca fait mal... Tres mal ........'' or ``That hurts. Really hurts.''

Djokovic next faces No. 5 Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals.

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Associated Press Writer Jocelyn Gecker contributed to this report.

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Wizards' John Wall reveals he's about to start jogging in rehab from Achilles injury

Wizards' John Wall reveals he's about to start jogging in rehab from Achilles injury

A couple of weeks ago, John Wall was spotted at a Washington Mystics game with no brace to support his Achilles injury, a sign that his rehab from the injury was moving in the right direction. 

On Monday night at the 2019 NBA Awards, the Wizards point guard gave affirmation that he is indeed continuing to get healthier and stronger.

"I feel great, man," Wall told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller on the red carpet. "I'm doing a great job with my body, taking care of that."

Specifically, Wall has been able to slowly increase what he can do on his legs. The recovery and rehab for an injury as severe as his is a long road, and the point guard is making sure not to speed up the process and risk hindering the progress. However, he's about to reach a pretty big milestone in the journey during the coming weeks.

"I'm about to start jogging in like two weeks. Just riding the bike, I get to do exercises standing up now, so I don't have to sit down. I'm able to move, do ladder steps, doing those types of things," Wall said. "Just taking my time and progressing and letting everything heal the right way so I don't force myself back and get another injury."

As Wall continues to work to get back on the court, he's had plenty of motivational factors pushing him through some grueling months. His recent string of injuries have left some wondering if he'll still be an elite player when he finally.

He's heard those comments and he's using them to his advantage.

"I'm one of those guys that's very driven by all the hate and all the negative talk I'm getting. Keep it going," Wall said.

"Everybody said I can't be myself, I won't be nowhere near as good again. That's all the other stuff that's going to fuel me. I don't get upset about it, you're entitled to your own opinion. Please keep it going."

The haters have given Wall some extra juice, but so has his son Ace. Spending the offseason getting right has allowed Wall to work in another area of life: fatherhood.

The newest addition to his family has taken his desire for greatness to new heights.

"I've always had that drive that I want to be the greatest. To have a son like that, that's watching everything I can do. Even though he doesn't understand what's going on, he's putting memories in his head," Wall said. 

"So that gives me extra, extra motivation to another level I never thought I could. Like I said before, that's the best blessing a man could ever ask for is to have a son."

While Wall's offseason has been a busy one as he juggles rehab and being a dad, he's still been very involved in everything going on inside the franchise.

He's already chatted with first-round draft pick Rui Hachimura, and is excited for what is to come for the Wizards. Wall is also hoping that Hachimura will help improve his Japanese so that he can grow a larger following internationally. 

As the calendar slowly turns to July, both Wall and the Wizards' offseasons will ramp up. It's been an up and down time for both lately, but he's excited about the future.

"I think it's good," Wall said about the Wizards situation. "We added some pieces. See what we do in free agency to add some guys to bring back or we're going to go after somebody new. I think we'll be fine."

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Bradley Beal wins the 2019 NBA Cares Community Assist Award three years after John Wall

Bradley Beal wins the 2019 NBA Cares Community Assist Award three years after John Wall

While he was putting together the best season of his career, Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal was also making a profound impact off the court and those efforts have earned him a significant honor, the NBA's 2018-19 Community Assist Award.

The news was revealed at Monday's NBA Awards in Santa Monica, CA as Beal got the nod over nine other finalists. He is the second Wizards player to win the honor in just the last four years following John Wall in 2015-16.

Beal was involved in a variety of charitable efforts this past season. He has partnered with the Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Northeast Washington to help underprivileged youth. He visited the school in December and gave out shoes.

During the All-Star break in February, as he made his second appearance in the annual showcase, Beal handed out meals at a food bank alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This past year he also gave out Christmas presents in the Washington area and took a group of kids on a tour of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

Beal was named a finalist for the Community Assist Award in April along with Jarrett Allen (Nets), Mike Conley (Jazz), Khris Middleton (Bucks), Donovan Mitchell (Jazz), Dwight Powell (Mavs) and Pascal Siakam (Raptors). Part of the criteria was based on fan voting through social media that was held from April 24 through May 25.

Beal, 25, continues to ascend on the court as well. This year he posted career-highs in points (25.6/g), assists (5.5/g) and rebounds (5.0/g). He nearly made All-NBA in late May with the most votes of any guard that was left out.

In Beal and Wall, the Wizards have quite the combination. Both have been All-Stars on the court and now both can say they won the NBA's top honor for charity work as well.

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