Serena won't be seeded at French Open

PARIS - When Serena Williams takes the court in Roland Garros next week, she will do so sporting a different look. She won’t have a number next to her name. The three-time French Open champion and 23-time Grand Slam winner will be playing in her first Slam since taking maternity leave following the 2017 Australian Open. She gave birth to a daughter in September. But despite her success in majors, Williams will not be seeded in the Open. “This year again, tournament officials will establish the list and ranking of the women’s seeds based on the WTA ranking,” the French Tennis Federation said in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday. “Consequently, [the seeds] will reflect this week’s world ranking.” Williams made her initial return in March at Indian Wells in Southern California.–Reuters

 

 

Spain coach extends contract to 2020

MADRID - Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has extended his contract until 2020 in a pre-World Cup boost for one of the tournament favourites. "We are going to sign a contract for two additional years," said the president of the Spanish football federation, Luis Rubiales. It is a clear sign of confidence from the Spanish federation in the 51-year-old former goalkeeper as he goes into his first major tournament in charge of the side. "It was very simple because we have immense admiration and respect for Julen and all his team," added Rubiales. "He is the best person to lead the national team." The new deal takes Lopetegui through to the next European Championships, which will be held across the continent in 2020. The contract renewal comes a day after Lopetegui announced his 23-man squad for World Cup.–AFP

 

 

Bjorn names Ryder Cup vice-captains

LONDON - Europe captain Thomas Bjorn named Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald as vice-captains for this year's Ryder Cup against the United States on Tuesday. Westwood has played in the past 10 contests since making his debut in 1997 and was on the winning side seven times, while Harrington was vice-captain in 2014 and 2016. McDowell, who claimed the winning point at Celtic Manor in 2010, and Donald will make their debuts in the backroom staff at Le Golf National in Paris as Europe seek to regain the trophy following defeat at Hazeltine two years ago. The quartet could still qualify for the biennial contest, which takes place from September 28-30, but Westwood (117th) is the only player currently ranked inside the world's top 200.–AFP

 

 

Buffon to make a decision on PSG

MILAN - Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon said Monday that he will make a decision this week on whether he will be joining PSG. Buffon, 40, played his final game for the Italian giants in a 2-1 win over Verona on Saturday, capping a 17-year career in Turin that harvested seven consecutive Serie A titles. "PSG? I need a week to be calm and analyse everything. These aren't simple choices. At 40, you can't make decisions in the heat of the moment," Buffon told Sky Sports Italia after playing in former Italy team-mate Andrea Pirlo's testimonial at the San Siro on Monday. "Do I speak French? No," he added. Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi earlier in the day poured cold water on suggestions Buffon could step in to replace the French club's number one goalkeeper, Alphonse Areola. –AFP

 

 

MOSCOW: The commemorative 100-ruble banknote for the 2018 FIFA World Cup football tournament. Some 20 million polymer banknotes will be put into circulation starting on May 22.–AFP