Federer pulls out
BASEL, Switzerland - Roger Federer pulled out of the Paris Masters yesterday to rest before the ATP World Tour Finals in London. The top-ranked Swiss announced his move to withdraw from the tournament, which starts today, after losing a 2-hour, 44 minute final against Juan Martin del Potro at the Swiss Indoors. "I'm not going. It's the only right decision for me," Federer said. "I had some niggling stuff and I didn't want to take a chance obviously before the World Tour Finals. I need some time to prepare." Federer won the Paris trophy last year, and will defend his London title the following week.
ISTANBUL - Serena Williams cruised to a third WTA Championships title yesterday when she eased past Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-3 in the final. The victory came at the end of a spectacular year for the American veteran who also claimed the Wimbledon, Olympic and US Open titles. The win also took her career head-to-head record over Sharapova to 10-2. "It feels great to have achieved my dream," said Williams. "The Turkish crowd were fantastic. I have never seen so many signs with my name on them before. "Maria won the last time we played in the Championships final, but she's ranked ahead of me so I had nothing to lose."
SYDNEY - Wests Tigers have lured former Manly NRL chief executive Grant Mayer back from the AFL. Mayer has returned to rugby league from three years with fledgling AFL team Greater Western Sydney to be the Tigers' general manager of commercial operations. He has a history with Wests Tigers' new coach Mick Potter, with the pair working together briefly at French rugby league club Catalan Dragons back in 2006. The NRL club has yet to make clear if former coach Tim Sheens will have ongoing role. Mayer worked in events and operations at Canterbury for six years before a three-year stint as Manly boss which ended in 2009.
Ripia gets the nod
WELLINGTON - Problem gambler Willie Ripia has been named in the Maori All Blacks for their short UK tour 10 months after quitting the Western Force amid theft allegations. The 27-year-old former Hurricanes and NZ Maori rep is the sole out-and-out five-eighth in the squad who will play Leicester, an RFU Championship 15 and Canada next month. Ripia, who has undergone counselling for gambling addiction, quit the Force in January after reportedly being caught on security camera footage taking money from players' wallets and bags at the team's Perth headquarters.