Boris Becker appeals for help in tracking down missing Grand Slam trophies

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Boris Becker alongside Billie Jean King ahead of this year's Australian Open.

​Bankrupt former tennis star Boris Becker on Wednesday appealed for help in tracking down five missing Grand Slam trophies which he needs to sell to help pay off his debts.

The German shook up the tennis world at Wimbledon in 1985 when, as an unseeded player, he became the then youngest-ever male Grand Slam champion at the age of 17, defending the trophy the following year.

Becker, 50, went on to win six Grand Slam trophies in a glittering career and reached world number one, amassing more than $25 million in prize money.

But the German, who coached former world number one Novak Djokovic to multiple Grand Slam titles, was declared bankrupt by a court in London last year.

His London-based bankruptcy trustees said in a statement issued on Wednesday that Becker had helped collect some of the trophies and other memorabilia that he amassed during his career.

But the trustees added: “A number of the trophies of Mr Becker’s career are unaccounted for as Mr Becker is unable to recollect where they are located.”

The statement said the All England Tennis Club, which hosts Wimbledon, the German Tennis Federation, the US Tennis Association, Tennis Australia and the International Tennis Hall of Fame, do not appear to have the missing trophies.

“Mr Becker and his bankruptcy trustees are therefore issuing a joint appeal to the public for any information that may assist with locating Mr Becker’s missing trophies, which include the trophies for his victories at the Australian Open (1991 and 1996) and Wimbledon (1985, 1986, 1989), The President’s Challenge Cup (1985 and 1989), and The Renshaw Cup 1989).”

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the joint trustees via email at [email protected]

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Serena Williams to make her comeback at next month's USA-Netherlands Fed Cup tie

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Serena Williams, who has not played a competitive match since capturing last year’s Australian Open, will return to the court next month at a Fed Cup tie, the United States Tennis Association announced Tuesday.

Williams was pregnant when she won her 23rd major crown last January in Melbourne. She gave birth to a girl, Alexis Olympia, last September and married father Alexis Ohanian in November.

The defending Fed Cup champion Americans will play host to the Netherlands in a first-round tie February 10-11 on an indoor hard-court at Asheville, North Carolina.

Joining 22nd-ranked Williams on the US squad will be her sister seven-time Grand Slam champion, Venus, and ninth-ranked CoCo Vandeweghe, a semi-finalist at last year’s US and Australian Opens in her best major results.

This will be the first time in two years that either Williams sister has been on the US Fed Cup squad. The US women have never lost in eight ties when both Williams sisters have been named to the squad, the most recent of those wins in 2015.

Last year’s US Open runner-up Madison Keys was not named in the squad but she told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday that she spoke with team captain Kathy Rinaldi, who asked her to commit to the second Fed Cup tie of the year instead.

Keys is thrilled Serena is coming back.

“I think it’s always great to have Serena around and playing. She’s the best female tennis player ever, arguably the best tennis player ever. So to have her playing in the sport is always good. Also to have her playing Fed Cup, it’s always fun to be on a team with Serena. I’m very much looking forward to having her back on the tour,” said the 22-year-old Keys.

Serena last played Fed Cup in April 2015, when she won two singles matches in a World Group playoff loss to Italy in Brindisi.

Venus, ranked fifth, won two singles matches in her most recent Fed Cup appearance in a 2016 tie against Poland in Hawaii.

Vandeweghe went a combined 8-0 in singles and doubles for the US Fed Cup team last year, the first player with eight wins in the same year in more than 20 seasons.

The final member of the US squad and the Dutch line-up will be announced next week, the USTA announcement said.

The Americans are 6-2 against the Dutch in their all-time rivalry, but the most recent meeting was a 5-0 US home sweep in 1998. The only Dutch wins came in 1968 and 1997.

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Rafael Nadal to be sidelined for three weeks after picking up injury at Australian Open

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World number one Rafael Nadal faces three weeks out after being diagnosed with a torn inner hip muscle during his Australian Open quarter-final defeat, his management said Wednesday.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion had a scan in a Melbourne hospital after he retired early in the fifth set of his match with Croatia’s Marin Cilic on Tuesday.

“The MRI (scan) showed a grade one injury of his illiopsoas on his right leg,” his management said in a statement.

“He will be resting over the next days once back in Spain and will start with anti-inflammatory physiotherapy.

“He will start his rehabilitation and pre-adaptation process to the tennis court in two weeks, starting progressively his training and practice.”

The Nadal team said the Spanish star was expected to be fully recovered in three weeks and could resume playing in Acapulco late next month.

“Three weeks is the normal time to totally recover and he will resume his tennis schedule as planned, playing Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami,” the statement said.

The Spaniard was forced to withdraw when trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the fifth set and called on tour organisers to do more to halt injuries to top players.

His comments followed the withdrawals of Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori before the tournament started and Novak Djokovic struggling ahead of his exit on Monday.

“Somebody who is running the tour should think a little bit about what’s going on. Too many people are getting injured,” Nadal said.

“I don’t know if they think a little bit about the health of the players. I don’t know if we keep playing on these very hard surfaces what’s going to happen in the future with our lives.”

It was the second time Nadal had been forced to pull out with injury in Melbourne after calling it quits in the third set of his 2010 quarter-final against Andy Murray with a knee problem.

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