MIAMI - World number ones Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams head the fields in the WTA and ATP Masters Miami hardcourt event that begins today, although several big names including Sam Stosur will be among the missing. Rafael Nadal, who secured the Indian Wells title on Sunday for his third title since his comeback from nagging knee injuries, and Swiss World No.2 Roger Federer are absent on the men's side, which features 45 of the world's 50 top players. Injured World No.10 Stosur is missing on the women's side, having suffered a right calf injury that forced her to drop out of her quarter-final at Indian Wells.
LONDON - Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has pulled out of the England squad for the World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Montenegro, national team coach Roy Hodgson announced on Monday. Ferdinand had been called up by Hodgson for the first time, but despite withdrawing from the squad, he has told the England manager that he still wants to play international football. "I'm disappointed Rio will not be available, but due to the detailed pre-planned training and medical programme he must follow it's not possible," said Hodgson, who met Ferdinand in London on Sunday.
LONDON - Ireland centre Brian O'Driscoll has been cited for stamping on Italy flanker Simone Favaro during Sunday's Six Nations match in Rome. O'Driscoll was sin-binned for the offence in the 30th minute of Italy's 22-15 win, and could face further punishment. The 34-year-old, one of Ireland's greatest players, was competing in perhaps his last game for his country, although he is likely to be picked in the Lions squad for the tour to Australia in June and July.
DHAKA - The Bangladesh Cricket Board on has banned umpire Nadir Shah for 10 years on charges of corruption. "Shah will not be considered for retainership for 10 years and during this period he will not be eligible for any assignment under the jurisdiction of the BCB," the board said in a statement. The 49-year-old Shah stood in 40 one-day internationals before corruption charges against him were brought up by an Indian television channel during a sting operation last year.
COPENHAGEN - Rolf Soerensen, one of Denmark's most successful professional cyclists, admitted on Monday to using blood-boosting EPO and cortisone in the 1990s, ending more than a year of denials. "I used EPO periodically in the 90s," Soerensen, now 47, said in a statement. "I have also in some cases used the substance cortisone. There is no other excuse than that I did what I felt compelled to do to be an equal among peers."
ORLANDO, Florida - Sport has a new power couple: Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn confirmed they're dating. Two months after rumours began circulating in Europe, Woods and Vonn posted separate items on their Facebook pages on Monday afternoon to announce their relationship. The posts include photos of golf's 14-time major winner and the Olympic and World Cup downhill ski champion.