Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka has withdrawn from The Players Championship due to a knee injury.

Koepka has struggled with injury problems over the last year and a half and the American has suffered another setback a month before The Masters gets under way at Augusta. 

The 30-year-old will not be among the field when The Players Championship gets under way at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday due to a strained right knee.

Blake Smith, Koepka's manager, said: "Brooks strained his right knee and he is scheduled to further consult with doctors this week to receive a more extensive evaluation and outlook.

"We will be able to provide additional updates and information as we learn more."

Koepka is eighth in the FedExCup standings and claimed his eighth PGA Tour title by winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February.

He was tied for second when he last teed off on the PGA Tour at the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship at The Concession at the end of last month.

Giannis Antetokounmpo insisted he was not thinking about his perfect performance in the NBA All-Star Game after going 16-for-16 from the field to fuel Team LeBron past Team Durant.

Antetokounmpo was crowned All-Star MVP after posting a game-high 35 points in Sunday's 170-150 victory over Team Durant in Atlanta.

Milwaukee Bucks star and two-time reigning NBA MVP Antetokounmpo did not miss a shot, joining Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in history to go 16-for-16 or better from the field in any game (regular season, playoffs or All-Star Game), per Stats Perform.

It was also the most makes without a miss over an entire All-Star game. The previous record was held by Hal Greer going eight-for-eight in 1968.

"It actually wasn't [on my mind]," Antetokounmpo said of the perfect performance. "I was just trying to just play.

"When you're around guys like [Damian Lillard] and [Stephen Curry] and Chris Paul, it's just easy. Nobody is worrying about me. I'm just playing one-on-one, nobody is double-teaming.

"If you feel good, then I feel good that it will be good. I just get up and have fun and just try to get as many shots as I can."

Team LeBron – without Joel Embiid as he joined Philadelphia 76ers team-mate and Team Durant's Ben Simmons in sitting out due to COVID-19 contact tracing – entered the fourth quarter requiring only 24 points to seal victory under the Elam Ending rule.

Each of the first three quarters started with the score at 0-0 and lasted the standard 12 minutes, with the game clock turned off for the final period and a final target score set.

Team LeBron's Damian Lillard sealed the victory with a three-pointer – the Portland Trail Blazers guard posting 32 points.

Afterwards, Antetokounmpo was named All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP – the award named in honour of the Los Angeles Lakers and NBA great, who died in a helicopter crash last year.

"Obviously, I'm extremely happy at just having the award with the name of Kobe Bryant in my house," Antetokounmpo said.

"It's a great feeling. I wanted to win the one last year really bad and I had a chance to win because I felt like I wanted to have the trophy in my house, but this year I wasn't even thinking about winning it, I was just thinking about having fun, and I had the opportunity to play well.

"My team played great and I was able to just win it and to have the trophy with the name of Kobe Bryant, it's amazing, and I know he would be happy. Yeah, I know he'd be happy."

Former world number one Roger Federer said he has no real expectations for his comeback event at the Qatar Open.

Federer has not played competitively since his semi-final exit at the 2020 Australian Open – the 20-time grand slam champion having undergone knee surgery last year.

The 39-year-old Swiss superstar opted not to travel to Melbourne for this year's Australian Open, but he is set to make his comeback in Doha.

Federer, who holds the record for most Qatar Open titles with three – will start his campaign against either Jeremy Chardy or Daniel Evans at the ATP 250 tournament.

"It's been a long year in some ways, especially rehabbing, being on crutches once and then for a second time, and finally I'm back on a tennis court again, working out, playing sets, playing points," Federer said.

"It's a true pleasure, it's a privilege actually after all this time. I didn't expect it to go as long as it did, we are where we are, I'm so excited to be back on a match court, you know, in a few days here.

"I'm really curious to find out how it's going to go, obviously there's an amazing amount of questions marks surrounding my comeback for me personally.

"I don't know what to expect, I know that expectations from myself are extremely low, and I'm just very happy that I'm playing a tournament again, regardless of the outcome of this event."

On whether he had doubts over returning, Federer added: "You always do have doubts, you know, when you have surgery, there are always days when you feel better and worse. But I think overall I am a very positive person, I have a great team around myself, my family, I am also very distracted, and you know, the idea was to be fully fit again, one day. For life or for tennis.

"So equally important to me, actually life is a little bit more important to me, I wanna go skiing and play basketball, I wanna go playing ice hockey, play tennis in the future, with my children or exhibition matches, you name it, so it's definitely worth it to go through all that pain you know. But the goal was, this is not I'm going to go out, I'm not happy with my knee, we're going to fix it, and then I'm going to come back.

"For me there was no other story to it, and rehab wasn't as hard as maybe people make it seem, even though people around me are very impressed how I go about it, but for me it's only but normal to be really, really professional about it."

Novak Djokovic made history after breaking Roger Federer's record for most weeks as world number one on the ATP Tour.

Djokovic surpassed Federer after beginning his 311th week as the number one player in the men's rankings on Monday.

Serbian star Djokovic reclaimed the top ranking from fellow superstar Rafael Nadal in February 2020 and finished as year-ending number one for the sixth time – tying the mark set by Pete Sampras.

Djokovic, who first topped the men's rankings in July 2011, went on to celebrate a record-extending ninth Australian Open title at Melbourne Park in February.

With Federer turning 40 in August and Nadal a year older, the 33-year-old Djokovic has time on his side in pursuit of more history.

Djokovic has won 18 grand slams, two adrift of Federer – who is set to make his long-awaited ATP comeback in Qatar this week – and Nadal.

"I think it's an ultimate challenge to be honest, of course, winning a slam and being in history, the longest-ever number one," Djokovic said in Melbourne last month.

"You can have a great grand slam, a great tournament, a great couple of months, or even a great season but to do it over and over again, to be actually contender for historic number one, you need to play well and have a consistency from January to November, ever single year.

"I've been fortunate to do that and put myself in a position to make history in that regard. I'm very, very proud of that and privileged to be in that position.

"It's also a relief because it has been definitely my main goal, other than winning slams and now that I'll be managing to achieve it, I'll focus myself more on slams and adapt my calendar and schedule because when you're going for number one, you have to play all year and you have to play all the biggest tournaments.

"You can't allow someone else to earn more points than you. It's like a constant pressure, I think, and expectations that you have to deal with. It's definitely fulfilling to achieve that."

Federer now sits sixth in the rankings, having not played competitively since the 2020 Australian Open.

Nadal remains second, though he is set to be leapfrogged by Australian Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev in the next rankings release on March 15.

Russian Medvedev will be the first player, other than Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Andy Murray, ranked in the top two since July 2005.

Giannis Antetokounmpo added another MVP award to his growing collection as the Milwaukee Bucks superstar guided Team LeBron to a 170-150 victory over Team Durant in Sunday's All-Star Game.

The previous three All-Star contests had pitted LeBron James against Antetokounmpo in a mouth-watering Team LeBron versus Team Giannis matchup.

But James and Antetokounmpo joined forces for this year's 70th All-Star Game as the later fuelled Team LeBron to a comprehensive win in Atlanta.

Two-time reigning NBA MVP Antetokounmpo – drafted first by Los Angeles Lakers superstar James – led Team LeBron to a fourth consecutive All-Star triumph behind his game-high 35 points on 16-for-16 shooting.

Antetokounmpo joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history to go 16-for-16 or better from the field in any game (regular season, playoffs or All-Star Game), per Stats Perform. Chamberlain accomplished the feat twice in the regular season in 1966-67 (18-for-18 and 16-for-16).

Antetokounmpo's performance earned All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP honours for the first time in his career.

Team LeBron – without Joel Embiid as he joined Philadelphia 76ers team-mate and Team Durant's Ben Simmons in sitting out due to COVID-19 contact tracing – entered the fourth quarter requiring only 24 points to seal victory under the Elam Ending rule.

Each of the first three quarters started with the score at 0-0 and lasted the standard 12 minutes, with the game clock turned off for the final period and a final target score set.

Team LeBron's Damian Lillard sealed the victory with a three-pointer – the Portland Trail Blazers guard posting 32 points.

Stephen Curry, who won the Three-Point Contest as All-Star proceedings were condensed into one day amid the coronavirus pandemic – had 28 points for Team LeBron, including eight three-pointers in 22 minutes.

Jaylen Brown was next best for Team LeBron, while James tallied four points, four assists, two rebounds and a block in 13 minutes of action and Chris Paul posted six points and 16 assists.

Bradley Beal (26), Kyrie Irving (24 and 12 assists), James Harden (21), Jayson Tatum (21), Donovan Mitchell (15), Zach Lavine (13) and Zion Williamson (10) all had double-digit points for Team Durant.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons was crowned the 2021 NBA Slam Dunk champion on Sunday.

This year's All-Star Game Slam Dunk Contest was a lot different in more ways than one in Atlanta.

It took place at half-time of the All-Star showdown and was lacking in star power, with just three participants – Simmons, Obi Toppin (New York Knicks) and Cassius Staley (Indiana Pacers).

In a condensed format, first-time participant Simons dazzled at State Farm Arena, where he defeated New York's Toppin in the final to win the title.

Simons' self-lob, where he attempted to kiss the rim but fell just short, was chosen by the judges via a 3-2 vote ahead of Toppin.

Toppin had opted for a between-the-legs effort from just inside the free-throw line.

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry was dramatically crowned Three-Point Content champion on the final shot in Atlanta.

Gearing up for Sunday's All-Star Game, two-time MVP Curry reigned supreme thanks to his final shot – a two-point money ball that put him ahead of Utah Jazz star Mike Conley in a shooting masterclass.

Curry bested Conley and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics in the final round to become just the seventh player to win the contest multiple times, and the first to do so since Jason Kapono (2007-08).

Three-time NBA champion Curry, who posted a final round score of 28, previously won the three-point competition in 2015.

Curry dedicated the win to injured Warriors team-mate Klay Thompson, who claimed the contest in 2016.

"The Splash bros, we are back," Curry said. "This one goes out to Klay Thompson, we got it done big fella."

Indiana Pacers star Domantas Sabonis upstaged Luka Doncic and Chris Paul to win the NBA Skills Challenge.

Sabonis defeated Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic in Sunday's final, ahead of the All-Star Game in Atlanta.

After losing to Miami Heat star Bam Adebayo in last year's decider, Sabonis went all the way in 2021 in a competition testing ball-handling, passing and shooting ability.

"I just wanted to come out here and have fun with," Sabonis said on TNT after the win.

Sabonis eased past New York Knicks All-Star forward Julius Randle in the opening round before stunning Mavericks star Doncic in the semi-finals in another flawless victory.

Vucevic topped veteran star Paul of the Phoenix Suns, but he was unable to stop Sabonis – who nailed a three-pointer on his fourth attempt for the title.

 

 

Bryson DeChambeau claimed his eighth PGA Tour title after reigning supreme at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

U.S. Open champion and big-hitting American star DeChambeau won by one stroke following his one-under-par 71 in Orlando, Florida on Sunday.

DeChambeau was at his brilliant best as he tamed Bay Hill in a low-scoring final day in windy conditions.

After smacking a 377-yard driver over the lake at the sixth hole, DeChambeau held his nerve to drain a five-foot par for victory ahead of Lee Westwood (73) at 11 under.

"It's been quite a battle this entire time. I don't even know what to say. To win at Mr Palmer's event — it's going to make me cry," a teary DeChambeau said. "It means the world to me."

DeChambeau also singled out 15-time major champion Tiger Woods, who is recovering following a near-fatal single-car crash last week.

Woods holds the record for the most Arnold Palmer Invitational trophies with eight.

"He obviously had done really well here ... we just talked about keep fighting no matter what happened, play boldly like Mr Palmer did," DeChambeau said.

"My heart has been heavy with Tiger and what's been going on with him and I just kept telling myself 'it's now how many times you get kicked down it's about how many times you can pick back up and you keep going'. That's what I surely did out there today."

Canadian golfer Corey Conners finished third at eight under following his final-round 74, two strokes ahead of Andrew Putnam (71), Richy Werenski (73) and former world number one Jordan Spieth (75) – who is searching for his first win since 2017.

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy ended the tournament in a tie for 10th, eight shots adrift of DeChambeau, after shooting a four-over-par 76.

Tyrrell Hatton – the defending champion – closed out his campaign with a final-round 77 to be 10 strokes behind the winner.

Blake Griffin has cleared free agency waivers and is set to join Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving on the Brooklyn Nets, according to reports.

The Athletic reported six-time All-Star Griffin was expected to link up with the NBA's latest 'big three' after leaving the lowly Detroit Pistons.

The 31-year-old, whose deal in Detroit was set to run until 2022, agreed a contract buyout with the Pistons earlier this week.

Griffin was tipped to join a contender, with the Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers mentioned alongside the Nets in initial reports.

But the star-studded Nets will seemingly get their man as they boost a roster that already includes three 2021 All-Stars.

The 24-13 Nets – second behind the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference – had been expected to add size after Jarrett Allen left in January as part of the blockbuster three-team trade that saw former MVP Harden arrive from the Houston Rockets.

Allen is now playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, where Andre Drummond – one mooted option – has sat out of action ahead of a potential move.

But Brooklyn are instead making Griffin their newest recruit, hoping he can stay fit for an extended period having played just 38 games since the start of last season.

Griffin has averaged 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 20 games this season for the Pistons (10-26), bottom in the east and only behind the Minnesota Timberwolves (7-29) for the worst record in the league.

Those numbers are down on his career average, including 8.7 boards per game, the same mark that Harden has reached for the Nets this season – a team-high among those still on the roster.

Brooklyn rank 14th in the league with 44.3 rebounds per game in 2020-21.

Diego Schwartzman claimed his first ATP Tour title on home soil as he defeated qualifier Francisco Cerundolo in the final of the Argentina Open on Sunday.

After losing in his two previous finals in Argentina, Schwartzman finally came good in his home city of Buenos Aires with a 6-1 6-2 victory. 

The world number nine was in complete control from the off, breaking six times and conceding on his serve just once as he took just 81 minutes to wrap up a fourth Tour title.

Cerundolo's run to the final had at least ensured that whoever came out on top in the showdown would result in the first Argentine champion of the competition since 2008, when David Nalbandian triumphed in a clash with compatriot Jose Acasuso.

"I'm very, very happy, it's been an amazing week for me," Schwartzman said in the trophy presentation.

"It's the first time that [I have won at] home. Two years ago, I reached the final here and lost. I was very unhappy, but two years later I have my revenge against Francisco who is a great player."

Danish teenager Clara Tauson landed a first WTA Tour title as the former junior world number one triumphed at the Lyon Open on Sunday.

The 18-year-old beat Swiss opponent Viktorija Golubic 6-4 6-1 in a final contested by two qualifiers, achieving her breakthrough win in an hour and 29 minutes.

Golubic saved five match points but eventually was put away by Tauson, who has spent most of her senior career to date on the second-tier ITF tour.

She caused a major shock at the French Open in September by beating US Open semi-finalist Jennifer Brady in the first round, and Tauson should now become a more familiar presence at the higher level.

The win carries the youngster into the WTA top 100 for the first time, and it completed an impeccable trip to France that saw Tauson win all seven of her matches, including two qualifying rounds, in straight sets.

She said of her performance: "I think I've been really solid; especially after the first set, I've come out good in every single match."

Quoted on the WTA website, Tauson added: "I just kept my game going. It's been a weird week like that, normally I have some fall-outs, but I haven't had any of those this week, so I'm very happy with that."

Tauson shocked Russian top seed Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round at the start of the week in Lyon, and Alexandrova lost to another teenager on Sunday as the Dubai Tennis Championships began.

The world number 33 was handed a tough draw against American Coco Gauff, who scraped through 7-6 (7-3) 2-6 7-6 (10-8) in a match lasting two hours and 41 minutes.

Gauff served 12 double faults, including seven in the deciding set, but found a way through to the second round.

Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ons Jabeur and Alize Cornet were among the other winners on day one. The top eight seeds, who include Iga Swiatek, Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina and Petra Kvitova, have all received byes to round two of the WTA 1000 event.

Philadelphia 76ers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will not play in Sunday's NBA All-Star Game after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

The NBA confirmed the duo had been exposed to the individual in Philadelphia prior to travelling to the event in Atlanta.

It will keep the Sixers pair out of the annual game, although it will have no impact on the rest of the players, a statement said.

ESPN reported Zion Williamson would take Embiid's place in the starting five for Team Durant. Simmons had been set to appear from the bench for Team LeBron.

The Sixers are 24-12 this season at the top of the East, led by Embiid, who is in the running for the MVP award.

The fifth-year center is averaging 30.2 points and 11.6 rebounds in 2020-21.

Andrey Rublev maintained his magnificent form by beating Marton Fucsovics in straight sets to win the Rotterdam Open.

Rublev won Sunday's final 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 to claim his fourth consecutive ATP 500 title.

The world number eight from Russia has now won 13 of his 14 matches this year, his only defeat coming against Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

Rublev won 75 per cent of points on his first serve, winning the first set on a tie-break after saving four break points in the opening game.

Fucsovics was unable to turn it around in the second set, Rublev claiming his second win in three meetings with Fucsovics.

Just the one break in the opening game of the second set was enough for Rublev to add to his victories in Hamburg, St. Petersburg and Vienna last year.

 

 

After two days of sunshine, the heavens opened on the third day of the 2021 Piranha Senior Invite in Plantation, Florida, for the finals but it didn’t change the course of Alia Atkinson’s dominance over the proceedings.

Jan Blachowicz says he wants to fight Glover Teixeira next following Saturday's victory over Israel Adesanya at UFC 259 in Las Vegas.

Light heavyweight champion Blachowicz won by unanimous decision to defend his title and hand Nigeria-born New Zealand-based Adesanya the first defeat of his mixed martial arts career.

Blachowicz, who won 49-46, 49-45, 49-45, is now eyeing his next bout and identified Teixeira, who was a backup for Sunday's event, as his preferred opponent.

Teixeira, 41, has a 32-7 mixed martial arts record and last beat Thiago Santos by submission in November.

"I think he deserves that, and I would like to fight against Glover next because he deserves [it]," Blachowicz said.

"He is not so young, so he doesn't have time and I want to fight against him when he's in good shape, not later.

"But we have to wait a little bit because right now I want to rest, spend some time with my family, so if he wants to wait, he will be next."

The Crusaders made it two wins from two games to start the 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa season with a 33-16 victory over the Hurricanes in Christchurch on Sunday.

The 2019 Super Rugby champions trailed 6-0 early but capitalised on Ardie Savea's sin binning to pile on 33 unanswered points to race away with an emphatic victory which underlined their title credentials.

The Crusaders finished with five tries to two, led by All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor who scored a double, while he set up Richie Mo'unga (four conversions) for his try.

Flanker Ethan Blackadder and lock Scott Barrett also touched down before half-time as the hosts opened up a 26-6 lead at the break.

After Taylor's second try in the 46th minute, the Hurricanes pulled one back thanks to Ricky Riccitelli with steady rain falling in the second half.

Will Jordan was disallowed a try for the Crusaders after he was unable to ground the ball cleanly.

Moments later the Hurricanes went down the other end to add respectability to the score with Peter Umaga-Jensen scampering over in the corner.

"It wasn't a complete performance but we can be happy with the result nonetheless," Crusaders captain Barrett told Sky TV.

World number 10 Petra Kvitova says Doha feels like home after taking out her second Qatar Open title in her third final in four years over Garbine Muguruza in Saturday's final.

Kvitova needed little over an hour to get past 16th-ranked Muguruza 6-2 6-1, securing her 28th victory on the WTA Tour and first since winning in Stuttgart in 2019.

The Czech was the Qatar Open runner-up last year to Aryna Sabalenka and champion over Muguruza in 2018, while she did not compete in 2019.

"It's been a great run in Doha," Kvitova said on court post-match.

"It's been a great whole week. I just feel like home a little bit. I love the court, I love everything and the people are really friendly as well."

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova hit 11 winners and was dominant on her serve throughout.

After a strong opening set, Kvitova was broken by Muguruza early in the second but the Czech hit back by winning the next six games to secure the win, extending her head-to-head record over the Spaniard to 5-1.

Muguruza said: "Today I think Petra played very well from the baseline, and it was hard to try to make her move, or try to do much… It really wasn't my day."

Lee Westwood surged into the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational ahead of Bryson DeChambeau, who stole the show with a monstrous 370-yard drive on the sixth.

English 47-year-old Westwood shot a seven-under 65 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead at 11 under heading into the final day, sitting ahead of DeChambeau (68) and previous leader Corey Conners (71), who are tied for second.

Keegan Bradley shot a round-best eight-under 64 with his 59th career bogey-free round to move into equal fourth alongside Jordan Spieth (68) at nine under.

Westwood made his move with five birdies on the front nine on Saturday. He also hit an eagle on the 16th and a birdie on the challenging 18th..

"The first time I played here I felt 'this was good'," said Westwood, who has plenty of experience playing at Bay Hill.

"I like the way it makes you shape the ball into some of the fairways. It suits my game. I'm not the longest through the air anymore so it helps when I can use a lot of the fairway."

DeChambeau, who was the Invitational runner-up in 2018, had the crowds roaring on the 590-yard dog leg par-five sixth hole when he ambitiously succeeded in driving to clear the water in a 370-yard carry.

The 2020 U.S. Open champion shot a 68, including six birdies, but his monster drive was all the talk, having teased on social media that he would attempt it in the lead-up.

"I've never had so many people cheering me on to do something pretty cool," the American said.

"To have that opportunity and execute it was pretty special. Hopefully it's something I can do tomorrow again.

"I was definitely nervous. I caught it pretty solid. I didn't know how else to react."

Overnight leader Conners let slip his dominant position but remains in the hunt after two bogeys and three birdies for the round.

Early leader and 2018 Invitational winner Rory McIlroy slipped to equal seventh after an even-par round.

Doug Ghim drew level with McIlroy after an outstanding seven-under 65, with the duo joined at seven under by Jazz Janewattananond (69) and Richy Werenski (69).

Janewattananond made a hole-in-one at the 14th, while Spieth also produced an ace in the third round – his coming at the second.

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