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Wednesday Sports in Brief

April 21, 2022 GMT

TENNIS

LONDON (AP) — Tennis players from Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to play at Wimbledon this year because of the war in Ukraine, the All England Club announced Wednesday.

Among the prominent men’s players affected by the ban are reigning U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev, who recently reached No. 1 in the ATP rankings and is currently No. 2, and No. 8 Andrey Rublev. The women’s players affected include No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka, who was a Wimbledon semifinalist last year; Victoria Azarenka, a former No. 1 who has won the Australian Open twice; and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the French Open runner-up last year.

Medvedev, Rublev and Pavlyuchenkova are from Russia; Sabalenka and Azarenka are from Belarus.

Wimbledon begins on June 27.

LONDON (AP) — Former professional tennis player Pam Shriver, now a television commentator for ESPN and the BBC, says that she “had an inappropriate and damaging relationship with my much older coach” that began when she was 17 and he was 50.

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In a first-person account published Wednesday by British newspaper The Telegraph, Shriver describes a “painful and emotional journey” that included what she writes was a relationship with coach Don Candy that lasted a little more than five years.

Candy died in 2020.

The 59-year-old Shriver turned pro in 1979, a year after she made it to the U.S. Open singles final at age 16. She beat Martina Navratilova in the semifinals before losing the title match to Chris Evert.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKTBALL

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jay Wright shocked college basketball Wednesday night with his immediate resignation at Villanova, the Big East program he led to two national championships and four Final Fours in a Hall of Fame career.

The 60-year-old Wright guided Villanova to titles in 2016 and 2018 and just led the Wildcats to the Final Four, where they lost to national champion Kansas. He went 520-197 in 21 seasons at the school and 642-282 overall, also coaching Hofstra from 1994–2001.

Kyle Neptune, who served on the Villanova coaching staff before accepting the head coaching position at Fordham in 2021, returned to replace Wright.

NBA

PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix Suns All-Star guard Devin Booker has a right hamstring strain, clouding his status for the remainder of the team’s first-round playoff series against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Suns said Booker’s MRI on Wednesday confirmed a “mild” hamstring strain. Booker was hurt in Tuesday’s Game 2 loss during the third quarter when he tried to defend a New Orleans shot on a fast break. The 25-year-old was sprinting downcourt, jumped and then grabbed at his right hamstring after he landed.

The Pelicans won the game 125-114 to even the series at 1.

NHL

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PITTSBURGH (AP) — U.S. women’s hockey star Amanda Kessel is joining the Pittsburgh Penguins for an executive management program that could put her on track to work full time in an NHL front office.

Kessel is the first participant in the new program the team unveiled Wednesday. She follows the lead of retired U.S. star and Hockey Hall of Famer Cammi Granato and other women in NHL management roles.

Kessel said she was excited to learn on the job with the Penguins, where she’ll work alongside team executives in hockey operations, marketing and broadcasting departments.

GOLF

Pebble Beach is the third course to become an anchor site for the U.S. Open, with the USGA announcing Wednesday four U.S. Opens and four U.S. Women’s Open over the next 26 years.

Pebble Beach joins Pinehurst No. 2 and Oakmont Country Club as anchor sites, a strategy that allows the USGA to return to its most famous U.S. Open courses more frequently.

The USGA made sure the women were not left behind.

The U.S. Women’s Open will be held on America’s most famous seaside course for the first time next year, and then it will return three more times in 2035, 2040 and 2048.

SOCCER

WASHINGTON (AP) — D.C. United fired coach Hernán Losada on Wednesday and gave assistant Chad Ashton the job on an interim basis with the club in last place in the MLS Eastern Conference.

United is 2-4-0. Its most recent MLS game was a 3-2 loss to Austin on Saturday after D.C. led 2-0 with 10 minutes left.

Losada was in his second season in the nation’s capital. He was hired by D.C. United in January 2021, and at age 38 was the youngest active MLS coach at the time. The club went 14-15-5 and missed the playoffs last season.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

BALTIMORE (AP) — Towson has hired Coppin State’s Laura Harper as its new women’s basketball coach.

Towson announced the move Wednesday. Harper coached Coppin State for two years. The Eagles went 15-13 last season for their first winning season since 2013-14.

Harper replaces Diane Richardson, who led Towson to a school-record 24 wins last season before taking over the program at Temple.

AUTO RACING

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Three Indianapolis 500 winners spun while coming out of the pits Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and four-time race champion Helio Castroneves hit the second turn wall with about 80 minutes left in an unusually chaotic testing session.

Castroneves was taken to the track’s infield medical center where he was checked and cleared to drive shortly after the crash. The Brazilian won last year’s race in the same car that hit the wall.

The testing session was delayed early in the day for about 90 minutes following rain. After the track dried, temperatures in the high 40s and warmed up into the low 60s as drivers took to the track

Castroneves wasn’t the only veteran who had trouble with the chilly, breezy conditions. Alexander Rossi, who won the 500 in 2016, and Will Power, the 2018 champion, also spun in the warmup lane.

SPORTS BUSINESS

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Syracuse’s Carrier Dome has a new look and now will get a new name.

The university announced Wednesday that Carrier Global Corp. has agreed to end Carrier’s hold on naming rights to the venue, which is home to the school’s basketball, football and lacrosse teams, effective May 1. A new name was not revealed.

According to a report last week in Sportico, Syracuse-based JMA Wireless, a local technology company, will assume naming rights. An email from The Associated Press seeking comment from the company was not answered.

OBITUARY

Bob Babich, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame who played linebacker in the NFL for the Chargers and Browns, has died. He was 74.

Babich died April 3 at his home in Clairemont, California. His death was reported by the National Football Foundation on Wednesday.

A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Babich played for coach Bo Schembechler at Miami (Ohio) University. He was a captain and a first-team All-American at linebacker in 1968, subsequently voted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994. He is still the only player from the Mid-American Conference school in Oxford, Ohio, to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Babich was selected by the San Diego Chargers in the first round of the 1969 NFL draft. He spent three years with the Chargers and six more in Cleveland, mostly playing middle linebacker.

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