Nationals

Murray hasn't heard of any US Open boycott plans

201301202255825461118-p2.jpeg

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.

---

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.

---

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.

---

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.

---

Associated Press Writer Jocelyn Gecker contributed to this report.

Quick Links

Bryce Harper felt he was 'able to just be Bryce' in his first year with Phillies

Bryce Harper felt he was 'able to just be Bryce' in his first year with Phillies

In Bryce Harper’s first season in Philadelphia, the Phillies jumped out to a 33-22 start before surrendering hold of the NL East lead to the Atlanta Braves in June and eventually falling out of the playoff race by the end of September. It was the Phillies’ best season since entering their lengthy rebuild in 2012 but still fell well short of their preseason expectations.

Despite the team’s shortcomings, Harper arrived at the Phillies’ spring training complex in Clearwater, Florida, on Sunday with nothing but good things to say about his club.

“I feel like I was able to just be Bryce,” Harper told reporters during his first media scrum. “It’s funny, in the offseason, all my buddies were like, ‘How’d you like Philly?’ and I was like, ‘Dude, I loved it. Like, it was unbelievable.’ So I think people might look at me and go, ‘Yeah, right, you’re crazy.’ But no, I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the fans. I enjoyed the people.

“That blue-collar feel, that blue-collar mentality. They want you to work hard, they hold you accountable and that made me a better player. It made me want to work hard in the outfield. It made me want to work hard as a hitter. It made me want to play every single day.”

Harper’s defensive numbers took a steep dive in 2018, his final season in Washington. Those metrics may have been attributed to Harper playing it safe in the outfield and going for fewer big plays in order to stay healthy ahead of free agency. After accruing -16 defensive runs saved in right field (a career low) with the Nationals in 2018, he picked up nine DRS in right last year (a career best).

His offensive numbers in 2019 would’ve been considered strong by most players’ standards, but for Harper they probably weren’t as high as the Phillies were hoping to get for what they’re paying. He hit 35 home runs with a career-high 114 RBIs but also struck out (178) more than he ever had in a season and failed to make the All-Star team for the first time since 2014.

Were his comments a shot at his former fan base? Only Harper really knows that. He did congratulate his former teammates on winning the World Series without him, though.

“I watched through the whole series and I never have before,” Harper said, per NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury. “I’m so happy for those guys over there. I played there for eight years and enjoyed my time with the players, but I’m happy to turn the page and be here in Philly.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

Quick Links

2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show: Time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show: Time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

The NHL Trade Deadline is approaching and a few teams have already begun making moves. 

So far, both the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders have executed trades. 

The Penguins acquired veteran forward Jason Zucker from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk, defenseman prospect Calen Addison and a conditional 2020 first-round draft pick.

Will the Caps be making a move soon in hopes improve their defense? 

On Feb. 24 at 2:30 p.m. ET, NHL Insiders from the NBC Sports Regional Sports Network including the District’s representative Rob Carlin will provide insight, analysis and updates on this year’s NHL Trade Deadline. 

Here’s how to tune in:

What: NHL Trade Deadline Show

When: Monday, Feb. 24 at 2:30 p.m. ET

Live Stream: Stream on the MyTeams App on NBC Sports Washington

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: