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Notable sports deaths in 2016

Love, set, match: Serena Williams announces engagement

It’s a love match for women’s tennis great Serena Williams.

>> Read more trending stories

The winner of 22 Grand Slam events announced that she is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Fittingly, Williams announced the news in a Reddit post on her verified account.

A spokesman for Ohanian confirmed that he popped the question while the couple was vacationing in Rome. Ohanian also announced the engagement on his Facebook page, linking to Williams’ Reddit post and writing, “She said yes.”

Williams’ Reddit post read:

“I came home/A little late/Someone had a bag packed for me/And a carriage awaited" Williams said in her Reddit post, which was written like a poem and had a cartoon of the couple at the top. "Destination: Rome/To escort me to my very own 'charming'/Back to where our stars first collided/And now it was full circle/At the same table we first met by chance/This time he made it not by chance/But by choice/Down on one knee/He said 4 words/And/r/isaidyes.”

The 35-year-old Williams and 33-year-old Ohanian have been dating since 2015, according to E! News and have kept their relationship quiet, except for an occasional Instagram post. In the past, Williams had been romantically linked to Patrick Mouratoglou and rappers Drake and Common, People magazine reported.

No date has been announced.

Williams was the runner-up at last year’s Australian Open and won the women’s singles title for the sixth time in 2015. She is the all-time women’s champion during tennis’ Open era; only Margaret Court has won the event more times, taking the title 11 times and four times since the Open era began in the late 1960s.

Ohanian co-founded Reddit, the user-generated news website, in 2005 with college roommate Steve Huffman.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); = id;  js.src = "//;version=v2.8";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> She said yes.Posted by Alexis Ohanian on Thursday, December 29, 2016

2-time Wimbledon champ Kvitova injured in knife attack

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was injured Tuesday by a knife-wielding attacker at her home in Prostejov, Czech Republic, The Associated Press reported.

>> Read more trending stories

The player's spokesman, Karel Tejkal, said the 26-year-old suffered a left hand injury and was treated by doctors.

Tejkal said the incident, which he described as a burglary, occurred Tuesday morning and that Kvitova's injuries were not life-threatening.

Also Tuesday, Kvitova withdrew from the Czech Republic team at next month's Hopman Cup mixed-team tennis tournament because of an earlier foot injury. Earlier on her Twitter account, Kvitova said she was “so disappointed” she could not play in the event.

Sharapova could compete in some major tournaments next year

Maria Sharapova has something to smile about. It was announced Tuesday that the tennis star's two-year suspension for doping has been reduced by nine months.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Sharapova still "bore some degree of fault" for having tested positive for the banned substance meldonium, and it felt a 15-month suspension was "appropriate."

>> Read more trending stories

So now that Sharapova can begin competing again in late April, there's a whole slew of tennis tournaments that can be penciled into her schedule.

The big one? The French Open, which starts in late May.

Sharapova won the women's singles portion of that tournament in 2012 and 2014.

She'll also be able to compete at Wimbledon. Sharapova has competed at this tournament 13 times, but only won once, in 2004.

And Sharapova can attend the 2017 U.S. Open — making January's Australian Open the only grand slam tournament Sharapova can't participate in.

As for her sponsorships, Sharapova might be able to pick up a couple that cut ties with her earlier this year, such as Porsche and watchmaker Tag Heuer.

In response to the court's decision, Sharapova wrote on Facebook, "In so many ways, I feel like something I love was taken away from me and it will feel really good to have it back. ... I am counting the days until I can return to the court."

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Gong show: Strange noise unsettles Murray in U.S. Open quarterfinals

A bizarre noise during Wednesday’s quarterfinals of the U.S. Open led to Andy Murray’s downfall against Japan’s Kei Nishikori, as the No. 2 seed lost control of the match when a gong-like sound over the loudspeakers interrupted play. 

>> Read more trending stories 

Murray led two sets to one and had a break point in the third game of the fourth set, which would have given him a 2-1 lead. Murray seemed to be in control of the point when something that sounded like a loud gong rang from the speakers.

Umpire Marija Cicak immediately called a let and ordered the point replayed. Murray threw his hands up in disgust and immediately complained about the ruling.

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Murray dropped the next three points to lose the game, and then brought up the call again with Cicak at the ensuing changeover, saying something similar had happened earlier and play had continued.

“Exactly the same thing,” Murray said. ''And I told you.''

He also spoke to a tournament supervisor about it, pleading his case and saying, “That's not fair.” 

Murray would lose the next seven games, including the final five games of the fourth set. He would lose 7-5 in the fifth and deciding set.

“I could have won the match for sure,” Murray told The Associated Press.

U.S. Open officials later released a statement saying the sound was from a digital audio sound processor that malfunctioned. 

Tennis gold medalist Andy Murray corrects sexist reporting

Tennis gold medalist Andy Murray shut down a BBC reporter who seemed to forget that women's tennis is a thing.

"You're the first person ever to win two Olympic tennis gold medals. That's an extraordinary feat, isn't it?" the BBC's John Inverdale said.

"Well, to defend the singles title. I think Venus and Serena have won about four each," Murray said.

>> Read more trending stories

Inverdale was interviewing Murray after his victory over Juan Martín del Potro of Argentina. It was Murray's second consecutive Olympic gold.

He's the first person to take gold in singles tennis twice in a row but, as he noted, both Williams sisters have won two more golds than he has overall.

>> For complete Olympic coverage, click here

His quick fact check won him praise online, but his comments aren't really a surprise.

Murray has called himself a feminist in the past and has said women have played a large role in his tennis career.

He was coached by a woman for a time, and he credits his mother with introducing him to the game.

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Men's Tennis: 2016/17 schedule announced

From UGA Sports Communications

ATHENS, Ga. – The 2016-17 Georgia men’s tennis schedule, which includes a trip to Puerto Rico in the fall and a minimum of 12 matchups against NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago, will culminate with the return of the NCAA Championships to Athens, head coach Manuel Diaz announced on Wednesday. 

The 2017 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships will be held at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex for the 32nd time in school history on May 18-29. Georgia has hosted the men’s championships on 24 occasions and the women’s championships three times, in addition to four combined tournaments, most recently in 2014. 

“We are excited about this year’s schedule, which will conclude with us hosting the NCAA Championships in May,” Diaz said. “Athens has been home to so many great memories for tennis coaches, players and fans from all across the nation, and we look forward to everyone being on our campus once again for this one-of-a-kind event.

“As far as the schedule itself, we are thrilled about the trip to Puerto Rico in September to kick off the season and look forward to a strong fall from our guys before we head into dual-match play. The SEC is always very tough and competitive, and this year will be no different. We also face several strong non-conference teams who will be in contention for the national championship this season, so that will help us get ready for postseason play. We are excited about this upcoming season and look forward to getting it started in September.”


Notable aspects of Georgia’s 2016-17 schedule:

** The fall season opens with a trip to Puerto Rico for the Palmas Tournament on Sept. 9-11, followed by the USTA Pro Circuit in Columbus, Ohio. Georgia then returns home to host the Southern Intercollegiate Championships on Sept. 23-26. In all, Georgia will play in nine tournaments in the fall.  

** Georgia hosts the ITA Kickoff Weekend for the ninth consecutive year on Jan. 27-29. Joining the Bulldogs in Athens will be Alabama, Washington and Purdue. The ITA Team Indoor Championships will take place Feb. 17-19 in Charlottesville, Va.   

** The SEC/Pac-12 Showdown will be held Feb 4-5 in Gainesville, Fla. Along with the Bulldogs, USC, UCLA and host-school Florida will participate in the event.  

** Georgia will welcome six SEC schools — Ole Miss, Arkansas, LSU, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina — to the Dan Magill Tennis Complex this spring. The Bulldogs have not lost to an SEC opponent at home since 2012 (4-3 to No. 9 Kentucky) — a string of 26-straight matches. Georgia will travel to Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Auburn and Texas A&M.   

** Georgia’s non-conference slate features four teams who will all be in contention for a national title this season — USC, UCLA, Wake Forest and Ohio State. The four squads combined for a 106-8 record last season, winning a combined 93 percent of their matches. 

** The NCAA Championships return to Athens for the third time since 2012. Georgia played host to 13 NCAA Championships in a row from 1977-89. In 2006, the NCAA opted to have one combined site for the men’s and women’s championships. The Bulldogs have won the NCAA title six times, including five in Athens.


2016-17 Georgia Men’s Tennis Schedule

Sept. 9-11, Palmas Tournament (Puerto Rico)

Sept. 19, USTA Pro Circuit (Columbus, Ohio)

Sept. 23-26, Southern Intercollegiates (Athens)

Oct. 3-5, All-America Qualifiers (Tulsa, Okla.)

Oct. 6-10, All-America Championships (Tulsa, Okla.)

Oct. 13-16, ITA/Oracle Championships (Malibu, Calif.)

Oct. 19-24, ITA Southeast Regionals (Tallahassee)

Oct. 31, USTA Pro Circuit (Charlottesville, Va.)

Oct. 31, USTA Pro Circuit (Birmingham, Ala.)

Nov. 3-6, USTA/ITA National Indoor Collegiate Championships (New York)

Nov. 4-6, Bulldog Scramble (Athens)

Jan. 14-16, MLK/Georgia Tech Invitational (Atlanta)

Jan. 20, at Georgia Tech (Atlanta)

Jan. 27-29, ITA Kickoff Weekend (Athens)

Feb. 4-5, SEC/Pac 12 Showdown (Gainesville, Fla.)

Feb. 12, at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio)

Feb. 17-19, ITA National Team Indoor Championships (Charlottesville, Va.)

March 3, at Vanderbilt (Nashville, Tenn.)

March 5, at Kentucky (Lexington, Ky.)

March 10, vs. Ole Miss (Athens)

March 12, vs. Arkansas (Athens)

March 17, vs. Wake Forest (Athens)

March 19, at Tennessee (Knoxville, Tenn.)

March 23, vs. LSU (Athens)

March 25, vs. Alabama (Athens)

March 30, at Mississippi State (Starkville, Miss.)

April 1, at Auburn (Auburn, Ala.)

April 7, vs. Florida (Athens)

April 9, vs. South Carolina (Athens)

April 15, at Texas A&M (College Station, Texas)

April 26-30, SEC Tournament (Knoxville, Tenn.)

May 13-15, NCAA First and Second Rounds (TBA)

May 18-29, NCAA Championships (Athens)

Maria Sharapova says she's going to Harvard Business School

What do you do when you're a tennis superstar and you get suspended from playing the sport for two years? Why not business school? Or, more specifically, why not Harvard Business School?

>> Read more trending stories

Don't ask Maria Sharapova how it happened, but that's apparently what she's decided to do with her down time.

Sharapova was suspended earlier this month for two years after she failed a drug test. In a report issued by the International Tennis Federation she was labeled "the sole author of her own misfortune" because she hid regular pre-match use of a newly banned substance from anti-doping authorities and members of her own entourage.

The ban, handed down by a three-person Tennis Anti-Doping Program tribunal appointed by the International Tennis Federation, was backdated to Jan. 26, when Sharapova last played. She tested positive for meldonium that day after losing to Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarterfinals.

Wayne Montgomery advances in Singles Championship

From UGA Sports Communications

TULSA, Okla. — Georgia sophomore Wayne Montgomery used an impressive 6-1, 6-3 victory against Liberty’s 93rd-ranked Sam Matheson on Wednesday to advance to the second round of the 2016 NCAA Singles Championship at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center. 

Bulldog senior and 17th-ranked Austin Smith ended his run in the NCAA Singles Championship, as he fell, 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 to Oklahoma’s 25th-ranked Axel Alvarez-Llamas. 

Smith will now pair with fellow senior Ben Wagland in doubles competition, as the two begin play on Thursday against Tulane’s Chi-Shan Jao and Dominik Koepfer. Montgomery advances to face Virginia’s No. 9-ranked Thai-Son Kwiatkowski on Thursday at Noon CT/1 p.m. ET. 

Smith finished singles play this season with an SEC-best 21 dual-match singles victories, while compiling 33 wins overall. Of those 33 total victories, the First-Team All-SEC performer won 20 matches against ranked opponents. The Cumming, Ga., native had a stellar week in Tulsa during the team championships, going 2-0 on his way to earning NCAA All-Tournament Team honors at the No. 1 singles position.  

Montgomery’s win on Wednesday was the 27th victory of the season and the first NCAA Singles Championship win of his career. The Somerset West, South Africa native has now won eight of his last 10 matches. 

Three Bulldogs set to compete in NCAA Individual Championships

From UGA Sports Communications

TULSA, Okla. — Georgia senior Austin Smith, as well as teammate and Bulldog sophomore Wayne Montgomery, are set to compete in the 2016 NCAA Singles Championship, while Smith will pair with fellow senior Ben Wagland in the doubles draw. Singles play starts on Wednesday, with doubles to follow on Thursday at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center. 

Pairings for the 64-player singles draw and the 32-team doubles championship were announced on Tuesday. Smith, a top-16 seed, will play Oklahoma’s Axel Alvarez, while Montgomery will play Sam Matheson from Liberty University. Smith and Wagland will open doubles play in the Round of 32 versus Chi-Shan Jao and Dominik Koepfer fromTulane on Thursday. 

Smith and Montgomery enter this year’s singles championship after both earned First-Team All-SEC honors for their efforts in guiding the Bulldogs to a perfect 12-0 SEC record and the team’s fourth-straight conference championship. Smith played No. 1 singles and doubles all season long for the Bulldogs, and established himself as one of the top players in the league throughout the 2015-16 campaign. The Cumming, Ga., native led the SEC in dual-match wins with 19 and compiled 18 overall victories against ranked opponents. 

The Bulldog duo of Smith and Wagland entered the 2015 NCAA Championships as the No. 1 overall seed and followed that up with another strong season. The duo compiled 29 overall wins and finished 16-4 at Georgia’s No. 1 doubles court. 

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