Names In The News
Spanish tennis player RAFAEL NADAL has opted to pull out of the ATP Indian Wells and Miami Masters 1000 events as he continues to recover from a knee injury. In the last couple weeks Nadal played in Viña del Mar and Sao Paulo tournament on clay. Nadal said, "The knee continues to bother me." The Spaniard "does not want to risk the European clay court season where he has the most to lose" (MARCA, 2/26). ... The NBA Houston Rockets "have signed German center TIM OHLBRECHT to a two-and-a-half year contract." Ohlbrecht, who left Germany in November to play for the Rio Grand Valley Viper in the NBA D-League, "will join Dallas Mavericks DIRK NOWITZKI and CHRIS KAMAN as the third German player in the NBA" (DPA, 2/26). ... Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) club Artland Dragons "have signed Serbian player BRANISLAV RATKOVICA." The 27-year-old guard, who most recently played for Turkish club Olin Edirne, "signed a contract until the end of the season" (SID, 2/25).
TIME TO WALK AWAY: Former German football national team player TORSTEN FRINGS "has retired from the sport." The 36-year-old, who played last season for Major League Soccer side Toronto FC, "has ended his 18-year career" (BILD, 2/26). ... Former Argentina and Napoli striker DIEGO MARADONA has returned to Naples to "plead his innocence" over a €40M ($52M) tax bill issued to him by the Italian justice system. Hundreds of supporters greeted the 52-year-old on his arrival at Naples airport on Monday "but he declined to speak to the press about claims he owes the Italian state millions of euros in unpaid taxes" until Tuesday's press conference (THE INDEPENDENT, 2/26). ... Ligue 1 Paris St. Germain Coach CARLO ANCELOTTI said that DAVID BECKHAM "will be in the starting line-up" when the club takes on Ligue 1 Olympique Marseille in a French Cup last-16 tie on Wednesday (REUTERS 2/26). ... Six-time Olympic champion USAIN BOLT will race over 200 meters at the Paris Golden League meeting on July 6 "as part of his buildup" for the World Championships in Moscow next month (REUTERS, 2/26). ... Harlequins Dir of Rugby CONOR O'SHEA "has ruled himself out of the running to become Ireland's next coach and intends to continue" in his current position (SKY SPORTS, 2/26).
HAIL THE WINNERS: Qatar Olympic Committee Secretary General SHEIKH SAOUD BIN ABDULRAHMAN AL-THANI honored the Qatar Paralympic team "in recognition of their success" in the GCC Paralympic Championship 2013 held in Khalifa International Stadium (GULF TIMES, 2/25). ... Former Fulham and West Ham defender JOHN PAINTSIL "has been rushed to hospital in Ghana after collapsing at home." The footballer, who was arrested last week on charges of assault, "isn't said to be seriously ill" (London DAILY MAIL, 2/26). ... Surrey batsman TOM MAYNARD, who was expected to be selected for England, had been using cocaine daily for months and was four times over the drink-drive limit when he was killed on a rail track (LONDON TIMES, 2/26). ... GARY LINEKER is "close to finalizing" a new deal with the BBC that will see him stay for at least another four years. One of the terms under discussion is that the former England striker is "given the opportunity to switch from hosting the Saturday to the Sunday Match of the Day, depending on the strength of the fixtures" (London DAILY MAIL, 2/25).