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Since 1st March, 1999
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Serena may not play this year

Vienna: Serena Williams has pulled out of next week’s $585,000 Linz WTA tournament due to personal and health reasons, the organisers said on Wednesday.

“It’s totally uncertain whether Serena will even compete in another tournament on the WTA Tour this year,” said Linz tournament organiser Peter-Michael Reichel.

The American Wimbledon and Australian Open champion underwent knee surgery in August and is mourning the death of her elder sister, who was fatally shot in a Los Angeles suburb last month. Williams was seeded second at the Austrian tournament, behind Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne. Russian Elena Bovina will take Williams’ place.

Becks, agent part ways

London: David Beckham has parted ways with his commercial agents and pledged to concentrate on playing for both his country, ahead of Euro 2004 in Portugal, and for his club Real Madrid. Beckham announced late Tuesday that he had left the SFX Sports Group and would turn down new advertising deals in the short term. A written statement released by the Beckham camp said: “Beckham has today confirmed he has parted company with the SFX Sports Group.

“His contract was due for renewal and he has decided he will be focusing entirely on football and not taking on any new commercial activity in the short term — except as part of his club commitments.

Five Gunners plead guilty

London: Five Arsenal players have admitted improper conduct charges, while two from Manchester United have denied them after a bust-up at Old Trafford last month, the FA said on Wednesday. England defender Ashley Cole, French skipper Patrick Vieira, and midfielder Ray Parlour (2), have admitted charges of improper conduct, while defender Martin Keown has admitted his charge of violent behaviour.

Cameroon defender Lauren has admitted one charge of violent conduct and two of improper conduct, while an improper conduct charge levelled at Jens Lehmann will be withdrawn. United’s Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo, who faced one count of improper conduct each, have denied the charges.

Villa give Alpay time with family

London: Aston Villa’s Turkey defender Alpay Ozalan, who taunted England skipper David Beckham last weekend, has been given time off to be with his family, his club said on Wednesday.

Villa issued a short statement on the club’s website on Wednesday to confirm that manager David O’Leary had met Alpay and given him permission to “spend more time with his family.” It added: “As a consequence, he will not figure in preparations for this weekend’s trip to Birmingham City.”

Borg asked to pay taxes

Stockholm: The Swedish tax authorities have told former tennis star Bjorn Borg he must begin to pay taxes in his home country after decades of tax exile, a newspaper report said on Wednesday.

Borg lives with his wife and new-born son in Stockholm. Borg failed to give a more detailed account of his whereabouts. The tax authorities said he was liable for income tax in Sweden.

Korir to run

New York: Sammy Korir, who came close to setting a marathon world-best time in Berlin last month when he finished a second behind Paul Tergat, has signed up to run in the New York marathon next month, race officials said on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old Korir became an unexpected rival to fellow Kenyan Tergat, who eventually outsprinted him in the fastest race in history.

Sport on Screen

Cricket, India vs New Zealand — 2nd Test, Day I, live from 9.30 am on DD Sports
Cricket, Australia vs Zimbabwe — 2nd Test , Day I, Live from 5.57 am (Friday) on ESPN
World of Rugby from 3 pm on Star Sports

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