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Justine Henin retires, citing elbow injury

The 28-year-old's comeback is cut short following her third-round loss at the Australian Open last week.

January 26, 2011|Staff and wire reports
  • Justine Henin announced her retirement Wednesday less than a week after losing in the third round of the Australian Open.
Justine Henin announced her retirement Wednesday less than a week after… (Matthias Hauer / U.S. Presswire )

Former No. 1 Justine Henin retired from tennis for a second time Wednesday, citing a lingering right elbow injury that cut short her comeback from a glittering career that included seven Grand Slam titles.

"I have undergone several tests the past few days, confirming that my elbow has sustained a lot more damage during my adventure in Australia," the 28-year-old Belgian said on her website.

She made the announcement five days after losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-4, 7-6 (8), in the third round of the Australian Open.

"The past few weeks, there was a little bit more pain every day, but I thought my willpower would prevail. Today, the tests and my doctors are adamant," Henin said.

She was ranked No. 1 when she abruptly announced her retirement in 2008, only to return 20 months later and reach last year's Australian Open final. She partially tore a ligament in the elbow in a tumble at Wimbledon last year and hasn't been the same since.

"It is clear now that I have to accept that my career ends for good," said Henin, currently ranked No. 13. "Even if it is hard, very hard, at a time when I came back with enormous fighting spirit."

She had been slated to face the United States in a Fed Cup match along with Kim Clijsters next week.

Henin won her first Grand Slam at the French Open in 2003 and fell in love with the tournament, taking the clay title three straight years from 2005 to 2007. She also won the U.S. Open in 2003 and 2007 and the Australian Open in 2004.

Spanish officials seek to ban Contador

Spanish cycling officials want three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador banned for one year for failing a 2010 Tour doping test.

Contador confirmed the proposed sanction in a statement released by his spokesman. He said the Spanish federation's disciplinary committee informed him of the decision.

If banned, Contador would lose his third Tour title because of the positive clenbuterol result he blames on contaminated meat. The Spanish cyclist also would be ineligible to compete in this year's Tour.

Contador has 10 days to challenge the one-year proposal by presenting new evidence or material, according to Spanish federation rules. After that, the four-person disciplinary committee will reconvene to decide whether to uphold or change the proposed sanction.

With seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong back in retirement, Contador is cycling's biggest star, so it would be devastating for the sport if he is banned.

The 28-year-old Contador, who also won the Tour in 2007 and 2009, said he will hold a news conference on Friday in Palma de Mallorca, where he is taking part in preseason training with his Saxo Bank-SunGard team.

Showtime, CBS to package Pacquiao-Mosley fight

In what could mark a sea change in how major boxing matches are televised in the U.S., Manny Pacquiao's May 7 bout against Shane Mosley at MGM Grand in Las Vegas will be a pay-per-view product of Showtime, the cable network announced.

The deal, in the works throughout the month, marks pound-for-pound king Pacquiao's first non-HBO pay-per-view bout since 2006, and will include four fight preview episodes of Showtime's "Fight Camp 360," which will air on CBS.

"What's behind this is we have a terrestrial platform that reaches so many people that you don't have with a premium network," Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said, referring to HBO. "HBO does a great job, but the distribution we'll have advancing this fight, the awareness of the event we'll generate by having CBS participate — this opportunity is absolutely enormous."

A Showtime spokesman said announcers Gus Johnson, Al Bernstein and former boxer Antonio Tarver are expected to call the bout, which will be a WBO welterweight title defense by Pacquiao against the veteran Pomona fighter Mosley, 39, a former three-division world champion.

Showtime will also broadcast a March 12 Arum fight pitting super-welterweight champion Miguel Cotto versus Ricardo Mayorga in Las Vegas. HBO was originally expected to televise Pacquiao-Mosley, but Arum never fully committed and HBO balked at airing the Cotto fight.

— Lance Pugmire

Hornets meet attendance mark

Fears of an imminent move by the New Orleans Hornets to another city were muted when the NBA team met an average attendance requirement of 14,735 per game for this season through January, preventing the franchise from opting out of its lease with the New Orleans Arena, a state-owned venue, for another year.

The financially struggling Hornets — who were on a nine-game winning streak entering Wednesday's play — were acquired by the NBA in early December, and the league is hoping to sell the team to local investors. But if the attendance benchmark had not been met, the NBA would have been free to look elsewhere for a buyer.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said the next goal was to encourage more fans to buy season tickets to help secure the team's long-term future in New Orleans.

— Jim Peltz


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