Djokovic withdraws from Qatar Open, plunging Australian Open participation into further doubt

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12-time major winner Djokovic pulled out of Abu Dhabi on Friday.

Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from next week’s Qatar Open to place a further question mark on his participation in the Australian Open.

The Serbian has been sidelined for the last six months and was unable to play in an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi on Friday when an elbow injury flared up.

He said in a statement on his personal website: “Unfortunately, the situation with the elbow has not changed for the better since yesterday. I still feel the pain. Therefore, I will have to withdraw from the ATP tournament in Doha.”

Djokovic added: “After thorough consultations with the medical team, we decided to keep up with the therapies and elbow treatments.

“Only when I’m 100 per cent ready to play, will I be able to come back. I hope it will be soon. I want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding.”

Djokovic has not played a competitive match since Wimbledon in the summer, and had been due to face Roberto Bautista Agut in Abu Dhabi on Friday before pulling out.

His great rival Andy Murray – who has also been out of action since Wimbledon – stepped in to replace him for the one-set match.

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Venus Williams cleared of charges over fatal Florida car crash

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Tennis star: Williams.

Venus Williams will not be charged in a fatal two car smash in June that killed a passenger in the other car, according to the US media quoting the Florida police.

Police concluded neither driver was at fault and no charges would be filed in the collision which took place in a busy intersection in Palm Beach Gardens, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper reported on Wednesday.

“Based upon this investigation and relevant Florida state statutes, no charges will be filed in this case,” according to an 18-page traffic homicide investigation released by Palm Beach Gardens police.

The police said an unidentified third car cut Williams off as she tried to cross a six-lane highway. That sparked a series of events that ended with a Hyundai sedan, driven by Linda Barson, running into the passenger side of Williams’ SUV which was stopped in the intersection.

Barson drove into the intersection when the light turned green, striking Williams’ vehicle.

Both Williams and Barson, were not injured but Barson’s husband, Jerome, died 13 days after the smash.

“The unknown dark-colored vehicle … started a sequence of events resulting in (Barson) crashing into (Williams),” the police report said.

Barson’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams.

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Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna dies aged 49 after battle with cancer

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Novotna with the Wimbledon title in 1998.

Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna has died from cancer aged 49.

The Czech player, who won the 1998 singles title at SW19, lost her battle with the disease on Sunday, the WTA announced on its website on Monday morning.

A statement read: “It is with deep sadness that the WTA announces the passing on Sunday, November 19, of Jana Novotna.

“After a long battle with cancer, Jana died peacefully, surrounded by her family in her native Czech Republic, aged 49.”

At the peak of her powers in the 1990s, Novotna features in one of the most enduring images in the long history of Wimbledon after famously being consoled by the Duchess of Kent after losing the 1993 final to Steffi Graf.

She was known for her battling qualities, though, and overcame another final defeat in 1997, this time to Martina Hingis, to finally get her hands on the trophy in 1998, beating Frenchwoman Nathalie Tauziat.

That ended up being her only grand slam title in singles, though she was prolific in the doubles, winning 12 grand slams in the women’s doubles and ticking off the full set of Wimbledon, the French Open, the Australian Open and the US Open. She also won mixed doubles titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

Novotna also represented her country with success, claiming silver medals at the 1988 and 1996 Olympics as well as a bronze in Atlanta.

She was the world number one ranked player in doubles in 1990 and got as high as number two in the singles in 1997.

WTA chief executive officer Steve Simon said: “Jana was an inspiration both on and off court to anyone who had the opportunity to know her.

“Her star will always shine brightly in the history of the WTA. Our condolences and our thoughts are with Jana’s family.”

Former British number one Jo Durie paid tribute to Novotna’s spirit on court.

She said on Twitter: “Oh no how terrible sad. All thoughts to her family and friends. So glad Jana won Wimbledon. Such a fighter on court & a wicked sense of humour.”

Former American doubles star Pam Shriver added: “Jana was as kind as she was athletic, as smart as she was competitive. I can’t believe she is gone this soon. Her smile lives forever young.”

Former British player Andrew Castle, now a commentator for the BBC, said: “What a terrible shame. She was good fun of an evening, a champion on court, so tough to play against. And her smile was wonderful.”

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