Andy Murray withdraws from Wimbledon

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LONDON (AP) — Two-time champion Andy Murray pulled out of Wimbledon on Sunday because of a bad hip that has been a problem for about a year and was surgically repaired less than six months ago.

The All England Club announced Murray’s withdrawal a day before the grass-court Grand Slam tournament begins.

“I’ve made significant progress in practice and matches over the last 10 days, but after lengthy discussions with my team and with a heavy heart, we’ve decided that playing best-of-five-set matches might be a bit too soon in the recovery process,” Murray said in a statement released by his manager. “We did everything we could to try to be ready in time.”

Murray’s first-round match against Benoit Paire was scheduled for Tuesday. Murray beat Paire in the fourth round at Wimbledon last year as the defending champion, then lost to Sam Querrey in the quarterfinals, clearly hampered by the hip, and did not play again for the rest of 2017.

The 31-year-old Murray had an operation in January and returned to competition a little less than two weeks ago.

“I will start practicing on the hard courts from tomorrow and continuing with my rehab and recovery and I’m looking forward to the U.S. hard-court season,” Murray’s statement read. “Thanks for all the messages of support, and I’m excited to finally be back playing after so long out.”

In 2013, he became the first British man in 77 years to collect a Wimbledon singles title, and he won the championship again in 2016. He’s reached at least the quarterfinals in each of his past 10 appearances at the All England Club.

Considered a member of the ruling “Big 4” quartet of men’s tennis, along with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Murray also won the 2012 U.S. Open and two Olympic singles gold medals.

But all of his time away meant the former No. 1-ranked Murray has fallen out of the top 150 and he was not seeded at Wimbledon.

At a pre-tournament news conference Saturday, he said he planned to play in the tournament unless, he explained, “I wake up and don’t feel good.”

He added: “There’s certain things that are still tricky and things I’m still trying to work through. These things are significantly better than what they were a few months ago. That’s for sure. But, you know, again, it just takes time.”

The first match of his comeback came at the Queen’s Club grass-court tournament on June 19. Still with a hitch in his gait, Murray played more than 2½ hours before losing to Nick Kyrgios in three sets.

This past week, again on grass, Murray beat fellow three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka, before losing to countryman Kyle Edmund.

“I don’t think I played amazing in the matches,” Murray said Saturday, “but I think I’ve done well, considering the opponents.”

There will be no opponents for him next week at a place that has come to define his career. Instead, Murray’s spot in the draw will be taken by Jason Jung of Taiwan, who lost in qualifying.

MORE: Wimbledon draws announced

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Elena Fanchini, medal-winning Alpine skier, dies at 37

Elena Fanchini
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Italian skier Elena Fanchini, whose career was cut short by a tumor, has died. She was 37.

Fanchini passed away Wednesday at her home in Solato, near Brescia, the Italian Winter Sports Federation announced.

Fanchini died on the same day that fellow Italian Marta Bassino won the super-G at the world championships in Meribel, France; and two days after Federica Brignone — another former teammate — claimed gold in combined.

Sofia Goggia, who is the favorite for Saturday’s downhill, dedicated her win in Cortina d’Ampezzo last month to Fanchini.

Fanchini last raced in December 2017. She was cleared to return to train nearly a year later but never made it fully back, and her condition grew worse in recent months.

Fanchini won a silver medal in downhill at the 2005 World Championships and also won two World Cup races in her career — both in downhill.

She missed the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics because of her condition.

Fanchini’s younger sisters Nadia and Sabrina were also World Cup racers.

USA Boxing to skip world championships

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USA Boxing will not send boxers to this year’s men’s and women’s world championships, citing “the ongoing failures” of the IBA, the sport’s international governing body, that put boxing’s place on the Olympic program at risk.

The Washington Post first reported the decision.

In a letter to its members, USA Boxing Executive Director Mike McAtee listed many factors that led to the decision, including IBA governance issues, financial irregularities and transparency and that Russian and Belarusian boxers are allowed to compete with their flags.

IBA lifted its ban on Russian and Belarusian boxers in October and said it would allow their flags and anthems to return, too.

The IOC has not shifted from its recommendation to international sports federations last February that Russian and Belarusian athletes be barred, though the IOC and Olympic sports officials have been exploring whether those athletes could return without national symbols.

USA Boxing said that Russian boxers have competed at an IBA event in Morocco this month with their flags and are expected to compete at this year’s world championships under their flags.

“While sport is intended to be politically neutral, many boxers, coaches and other representatives of the Ukrainian boxing community were killed as a result of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, including coach Mykhaylo Korenovsky who was killed when a Russian missile hit an apartment block in January 2023,” according to the USA Boxing letter. “Ukraine’s sports infrastructure, including numerous boxing gyms, has been devastated by Russian aggression.”

McAtee added later that USA Boxing would still not send athletes to worlds even if Russians and Belarusians were competing as neutrals and without their flags.

“USA Boxing’s decision is based on the ‘totality of all of the factors,'” he said in an emailed response. “Third party oversite and fairness in the field of play is the most important factor.”

A message has been sent to the IBA seeking comment on USA Boxing’s decision.

The women’s world championships are in March in India. The men’s world championships are in May in Uzbekistan. They do not count toward 2024 Olympic qualifying.

In December, the IOC said recent IBA decisions could lead to “the cancellation of boxing” for the 2024 Paris Games.

Some of the already reported governance issues led to the IOC stripping IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition in 2019. AIBA had suspended all 36 referees and judges used at the 2016 Rio Olympics pending an investigation into a possible judging scandal, one that found that some medal bouts were fixed by “complicit and compliant” referees and judges.

The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

Boxing was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games announced in December 2021, though it could still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” IOC President Thomas Bach said then.

This past June, the IOC said IBA would not run qualifying competitions for the 2024 Paris Games.

In September, the IOC said it was “extremely concerned” about the Olympic future of boxing after an IBA extraordinary congress overwhelmingly backed Russian Umar Kremlev to remain as its president rather than hold an election.

Kremlev was re-elected in May after an opponent, Boris van der Vorst of the Netherlands, was barred from running against him. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in June that van der Vorst should have been eligible to run against Kremlev, but the IBA group still decided not to hold a new election.

Last May, Rashida Ellis became the first U.S. woman to win a world boxing title at an Olympic weight since Claressa Shields in 2016, taking the 60kg lightweight crown in Istanbul. In Tokyo, Ellis lost 3-0 in her opening bout in her Olympic debut.

At the last men’s worlds in 2021, Robby Gonzales and Jahmal Harvey became the first U.S. men to win an Olympic or world title since 2007, ending the longest American men’s drought since World War II.

The Associated Press and NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.

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