The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rafter tempted to bid adieu

Melbourne: Australia’s twice US Open champion Pat Rafter said on Saturday that he was tempted to retire from the professional game.

The 29-year-old, who is currently taking a year-long break and recently became a father for the first time, said he was enjoying his time away from competition.

“It’s hard to say at this stage. I’m leaning towards not (playing),” Rafter told Australia television. “I will make a decision probably in the next couple of months.”

Asked if he felt frustrated while watching the action from the 2002 US Open on television, Rafter added: “The US Open’s a great tournament but I’ve been there and I’ve done it and I feel like I don’t have to do that again.”

Cyclist gets lifetime ban

Colorado Springs: American Tammy Thomas, a silver medallist in the sprint competition at the 2001 World Championships, received a lifetime ban from cycling on Friday for failing a dope test.

The US Anti-Doping Agency announced the decision by a three-member panel of the American Arbitration Association/North American Court of Arbitration for Sport after Thomas had tested positive for the prohibited substance norbolethone.

The 32-year-old tested positive in an out-of-competition check in Chula Vista, California, on March 14.

Thomas, who received a one-year ban in 2000 for tested positive for an elevated testosterone, is ranked second in the Union Cycliste International (UCI) World Cup rankings in the sprint and ninth in the 500m time trial.

Keane sleeping on FA threat

London: Manchester United captain Roy Keane says he will not lose any sleep if he is charged by the FA with bringing the game into disrepute.

The former Ireland midfielder sparked controversy with comments from his forthcoming autobiography, serialised in a British newspaper, that he deliberately fouled Manchester City’s Alf Inge Haaland in a Premier League match in April 2001.

“I gave an honest account,” Keane told British newspapers on Saturday. “If I am to be charged, or whatever might happen, I will face those charges if and when they come. But I’m not losing any sleep.”

Keane faces legal action from Norwegian Haaland and City and the FA has said it would not shy away from punishing United’s skipper if it decided his comments brought the game into disrepute, but was waiting until it had read the book in full.

Asprilla says sorry to fans

London: Colombian striker Faustino Asprilla has apologised to fans at English third division side Darlington after failing to turn up for a medical at the club.

Asprilla, a former Newcastle and Parma player, had been paraded by Darlington in front of their fans and the club expected to sign him this week after persuading the British government to grant him a work permit. But the Colombian claimed that no agreement had been reached and that the money on offer was not enough for him to live on in England.

“I am very sorry it didn't work out,” the striker told Sky TV. “I travelled 20,000 miles with the intention to play for Darlington. I would still like to play for them in the future. We never agreed on a deal.

Darlington chairman George Reynolds claimed he had agreed a deal with the flamboyant player worth £17,000 pounds ($26,420) a week.

Milan sign on Nesta

Rome: AC Milan have signed Italy defender Alessandro Nesta from Serie A rivals Lazio, the club announced on its website on Saturday.

Milan said the five-year contract would last until June 2007 but provided no further details.

The deal ends a period of long and troubled negotiations. Earlier this month, AC Milan said they had decided not to pursue their interest in Nesta because the player was too expensive.

Lazio at that time had refused an offer of 26 million euros ($25.27 million) for the highly rated centre back and the two Italian clubs decided to end talks.

Sunil denied two-in-a-row

Gulbarga: Slovakia’s Victor Bruthans won in the Stellar ITF Futures Saturday, foiling Sunil Kumar Sipaeya’s bid to win back-to-back titles with a hard-earned 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 win. The third-seeded held his nerve in the rain-interrupted final. Sunil was recently included in the Indian teams for the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie versus Australia and the Pusan Games. The Indian pair of Harsh Mankad and Ajay Ramaswami overcame Slovaks Bruthans and Michel Varsanyi 6-4, 6-4.

n Cricket, Tri-series meet: Kenya vs Pakistan, live f rom 11.55 am on ESPN n Formula One: Belgian Grand Prix, live from 4.30 pm on STAR Sports n Tennis: US Open, live f rom 8.00 pm and 4.30 am (Monday) n Soccer: Spanish league, live from 11.30 pm on ESPN

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