For the second time in less than three years, former women's tennis world No. 1 Justine Henin. The 5'6" Belgian, 28, burst onto the WTA scene a decade ago with a blasting backhand: She owned Roland Garros with four wins from 2003 through '07, sandwiched U.S. and Australian Open crowns in the middle, and won again in Flushing Meadows in '07. But the following May, Henin abruptly retired, citing a lack of "desire and flame." Having watched Roger Federer complete a career grand slam at the '09 French Open, Henin returned after 20 months to pursue an elusive Wimbledon win. Though unranked, she advanced to the final of the Australian Open in January 2010, but that was as far as she would go. Her 2010 Wimbledon bid ended in the fourth round, after she fell hard on her right elbow. The lingering effects of that injury led to Henin's second retirement last week after a third-round loss in Australia.
By the Spanish Cycling Federation, a one-year ban for three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador. On July 21, the day before the 17th stage of last year's Tour, Contador tested positive for traces of clenbuterol, a banned drug used to gain muscle mass while losing weight. The federation also recommended that the 28-year-old Spaniard be stripped of his 2010 Tour victory. Contador has steadfastly denied doping, blaming the test results on contaminated beef. But according to a report in The New York Times, the federation's findings may also include evidence of Contador's having received a blood transfusion during the race. He has until Feb. 9 to argue his case before the federation makes its official ruling, which could then be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland. "It's a question of honor," Contador said. "I feel like a victim—a victim of the system."
February 7, 2011
By Japan for a record fourth time, soccer's Asian Cup, in Doha, Qatar, with a 1--0 victory over Australia last Saturday (right). For Japan, which won its first Asian title in 1992, the victory was sweet, but there was little reason for the host country to celebrate. Beginning barely a month after FIFA controversially awarded Qatar the 2022 World Cup, the three-week tournament was plagued by chronic attendance problems. Khalifa Stadium, which seats 40,000, was nearly full for the final, but some 3,000 ticket holders were shut out of the arena minutes before kickoff and roughed up by police. "I hope it will not give a bad impression," said Asian Cup operations director Jassim al-Rumaihi, who blamed the snafu on the attendance of the royal family.
By Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo, that his positive test for the banned steroid dehydroepiandrosterone was the result of his unwittingly consuming an "energy drink" that contained the drug. The NBA suspended Mayo last Thursday for 10 games. "As athletes we should be responsible for what we put in our bodies," he said. "I understand that." It was another low point in a nightmare season. The former first-round pick is averaging 12.2 points, down more than six from his rookie year, and has started just a third of Memphis's games. In December, Mayo's father, Kenneth Maurice Ziegler, was charged in Huntington, W. Va., with attempted murder after he allegedly hit a police officer with his car; and in January, Mayo got into a fight on the Grizzlies' charter with teammate Tony Allen over a card game. Mayo is eligible to return on Feb. 15.
With the Titans after more than 16 seasons, coach Jeff Fisher, 52, whose run in Tennessee had made him the NFL's longest-tenured active coach. He ranks 19th in career regular-season victories with a 142--120 record but was 5--6 in the postseason—three of those wins came during the Titans' run to Super Bowl XXXIV. Fisher had a stormy five-year relationship with mercurial quarterback Vince Young, who had the support of owner Bud Adams. After a 6--10 season in 2010, Adams decided to part ways with Young and Fisher's job seemed safe. But last week Fisher abruptly departed. (Some reports say he may have quit because of a shake-up to his coaching staff.) "I've been coaching for 25 years, and it's time," he said. "I need a break."
For sale by Fred Wilpon, principal owner of the Mets, a 20% to 25% stake in the club, to offset potential losses—as much as $1 billion—in a lawsuit filed by the trustee charged with recovering money on behalf of the victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, in which Wilpon was an investor. The club, which spent just $8.1 million for free agents this off-season, will not be offering any stake in its profitable SNY cable network, which seems certain to dilute the incentive for investors to sink money into a franchise that Forbes valued at $858 million last year.
Percent increase in the value of the Heat from 2009 to '10, the largest leap in the NBA, according to Forbes. The Heat were the seventh-most-valuable team, behind the No. 1 Knicks; the No. 32 Cavs were down 26%.
Injuries suffered per week per NFL team in 2010, an increase from 3.2 for 2002 through '09, according to an NFLPA study meant to show the increased danger of the game.
Price advertised online for a Super Bowl parking spot located a tenth of a mile from Cowboys Stadium.
Final score in Christian Heritage (Utah) High's girls' basketball win over West Ridge Academy last week, a game in which the losing team didn't score until the fourth quarter.
Half-court shots sunk in one minute by 5'4" UW--Green Bay junior guard Eric Valentin, doubling Chris Paul's '08 world record.
Years since double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius of South Africa last lost a 100-meter Paralympic race before Jerome Singleton of the U.S. edged him at the worlds in New Zealand.
THEY SAID IT
Norwegian snowboarder, on his gold-medal-winning triple cork in last Friday's big-air competition of the X Games, ranked by some as the greatest trick in the event's history:
"It's probably the stupidest thing I've done in my whole life."