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BC-Sports Showcase Digest

January 4, 2019

A look ahead to top enterprise and feature stories planned globally by AP Sports. New digests will go out each Thursday and Monday and will be repeated on other weekdays. Please note that story plans may change depending on news and other issues.

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As with all our operations, we welcome and want your feedback. If you have thoughts or questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, deputy sports editor for presentation and storytelling, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia@ap.org.

All times are Eastern.

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FRIDAY, Jan. 4

FBN--NFL TO CURLING

Defensive lineman Jared Allen retired from the NFL in 2015 and wasn’t ready to give up on the competition he’d come to enjoy as a five-time All-Pro in a 12-year career. His solution: Make it to the 2022 Olympics — in curling. Less than a year later, he and three other former NFL players who have never curled before will attempt to qualify for the U.S. championships against curlers who have been throwing stones for most of their lives. By Jimmy Golen. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

THURSDAY, Jan. 10

TEN--Australian Open-Serena & Roger

It was a terrific moment for tennis, drawing tons of attention to an otherwise meaningless exhibition event and a recently dormant sport just starting its new season: Serena Williams and Roger Federer sharing a court for the first — only? — time. They they were, trying to return each other’s sublime serves while facing each other in a mixed doubles match, then kidding around and showering praise on each other during a joint interview, before posing for a selfie seen ’round the world. It was also, potentially, a scary moment for tennis. Williams and Federer are both 37, far closer to the ends of their careers than anyone with a stake in the sport would care to think about. And so the whole scene on New Year’s Day at the Hopman Cup raised a key question, one that will be a backdrop at the Australian Open when play begins in Melbourne on Monday: What happens to tennis when these two GOATS (“Greatest of All Time”) are gone? By Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 4 p.m. Thursday. Stands for TEN--Australian Open Preview.

With:

— TEN--Australian Open-Women’s Capsules. A look at 10 women to keep an eye on during the Australian Open. By Howard Fendrich. UPCOMING: 1,000 words, photos.

— TEN--Australian Open-Men’s Capsules. A look at 10 men to keep an eye on during the Australian Open. By Howard Fendrich. UPCOMING: 1,000 words, photos.

— TEN--Australian Open-Trivia Quiz. Questions (and answers) about the season’s first Grand Slam tennis tournament. By Howard Fendrich. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. (With Spark Video)

— TEN--Australian Open Glance. A brief glance at key facts and figures about the Australian Open. UPCOMING: 300 words.

FRIDAY, Jan. 11

MMA-ONE CHAMPIONSHIP

How many sports fans about a year ago had heard of ONE? Try, none. But the MMA organization out of Asia is going global in 2019 and it’s making the kind of moves that shows it plans to become a player in combat sports. ONE has bolstered its roster with notable U.S.-based talent ahead of a North American television deal with Turner Sports that starts this month. ONE just announced it’s set to host 45 events in 2019. By Dan Gelston. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 3 a.m. Friday, Jan. 11.

TEN--AUSTRALIAN OPEN-CHANGING FINAL SETS

The Australian Open and Wimbledon are finally doing what the U.S. Open has done for decades: figuring out a way to end a fifth set before it becomes another 26-24 slog or — perish the thought — 70-68. While some fans and even players might still like the idea that a match could go on and on and on forever, or seemingly forever, others are thrilled about the change. One outcome is that each of the four Grand Slam tournaments now will resolve matches in a unique way, with the Australian Open — which begins Monday in Melbourne — the only one opting for a 10-point tiebreaker at 6-all in a men’s fifth set or women’s third set. By Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11.

With:

— TEN--Australian Open-What to Know. A look at some of the top story lines to keep an eye on during the two weeks in Melbourne. By Howard Fendrich. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos.

MONDAY, Jan. 14

CAR--IMSA-ALL-FEMALE TEAM

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Jackie Heinricher, a scientist and founder of her own biotech company, enjoys dabbling behind the wheel of expensive cars in her free time. She spends her own money to compete — they call those “gentleman racers” in the sports car world — and Heinricher grew fed up with the lack of opportunities for women. So she created jobs for them and put together an all-female lineup that will debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, one of the most prestigious sports car races of the year. The team isn’t a gimmick, either, as the lineup includes racers who have more on-track success than Danica Patrick ever achieved. Sharing the Acura NSX GT3 at the Rolex are Katherine Legge of England, Simona De Silvestro of Switzerland, Bia Figueiredo of Brazil and Christina Nielsen of Denmark. By AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 3 a.m. Monday, Jan. 14.

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Again, if you have questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia at 215-446-6632 or ogarcia@ap.org.

Thanks,

AP Sports

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