TENNIS

Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 U.S. Open champion, will take a mental break from tennis and sit out the start of next season, including the Australian Open, saying Monday she wants to “re-set, recover, and grow” after a challenging two years that included getting COVID-19.

The 21-year-old from Canada wrote in a posting on Twitter that she was affected mentally and physically by “multiple weeks in isolation quarantining” and that her grandmother’s stay for several weeks in a hospital’s intensive care unit because of the coronavirus “really hit me hard.”

“A lot of days, I did not feel like myself, especially while I was training and/or playing matches. I felt like I was carrying the world on my shoulders,” Andreescu said. “I could not detach myself from everything that was going on off the court; was feeling the collective sadness and turmoil around and it took its toll on me.”

Andreescu joins other professional athletes who have cited the need for time away from competition to gather themselves mentally – including, for example, Naomi Osaka, a four-time major title winner and former No. 1-ranked player in tennis. Osaka took a break after pulling out of the French Open in May and again after her loss at the U.S. Open in September, sitting out the remainder of the season.

Andreescu was 19 when she capped a breakthrough season by upsetting her idol, Serena Williams, in the U.S. Open final two years ago. Soon after, Andreescu rose to a career-best No. 4 in the WTA rankings.

But in October 2019, she tore the meniscus in her left knee and was gone from the tour for about 15 months.

Andreescu returned to action at this year’s Australian Open, where Williams offered this assessment: “She has a bright future. She’s really young; rather incredibly mature. I’ve always said I think her light burns brightly. She really has a great game to continue to win more Grand Slams.”

Andreescu won her opening match in Melbourne, then lost in the second round. She wound up going 4-4 in Grand Slam tournaments in 2021, including a fourth-round run at the U.S. Open and first-round exits at the French Open and Wimbledon.

That was part of an overall 17-12 mark on tour with no titles this season, leaving her ranking at No. 46 entering 2022.

PREP SCHOOLS

BOYS’ HOCKEY: Michael Belleau scored the winning goal early in the third period as North Yarmouth Academy edged Buckingham Browne & Nichols School 5-4 at Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Nathanel Peretz had a goal and three assists, Daxton St. Hilaire, Louka Vamvakas and Jack Tuite also scored, and Aidan Farion made 24 saves for NYA.

BASEBALL

OBIT: Kenneth Moffett, the federal mediator during the 1981 baseball strike who briefly succeeded Marvin Miller as the second head of the players’ association, has died. He was 90.

Moffett died Nov. 19 at his home in Alexandria, Virginia, said his wife, the former Mary Taddeo. He had been ill with dementia for about six months and the death certificate cited natural causes, she said.

Moffett was part of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in 1980, when baseball players and owners reached an agreement that put off a work stoppage until the following year. As deputy director of the FMCS during the 50-day strike that interrupted the 1981 season, he shuttled between the parties, set up bargaining sessions and suggested frameworks for settlement.

He also worked at the FMCS during the August 1981 strike by the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization against the Federal Aviation Administration. President Ronald Reagan ordered the firing of workers who did not return to their jobs.

Moffett is survived by his fourth wife, whom he married in 1999; and three children from his first wife, Barbara: son Kenneth Jr., director of negotiations at the National Treasury Employees Union; son John; daughter Laura Tornell; and brothers Robert and Jack. Moffett’s three previous marriages ended in divorce.
A memorial service is scheduled for Friday at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Arlington.

MAJORS: Right-hander Robert Suarez is guaranteed $11 million over two seasons in his contract with the San Diego Padres.

Suarez gets a $1 million signing bonus payable by Jan. 15 as part of the deal announced just before the start of Major League Baseball’s lockout.

He has a $5 million salary next season, and the deal includes a $5 million player option for 2023 with a $1 million buyout. Suarez must decide on the option by the fifth day after the 2022 World Series. If Suarez declines the option, he would become a free agent.

As part of the deal, the Padres agreed Suarez cannot be assigned to the minor leagues without his consent.

BASKETBALL

WNBA: The New York Liberty and Coach Walt Hopkins parted ways, less than two years after he was hired.

“We thank Walt for his spirit & commitment over the last two seasons, in which the team developed 3 WNBA All-Rookie Team members & Rookie of the Year,” the team tweeted.

Hopkins led the Liberty to the playoffs this season after going 2-20 his first year. New York improved to 12-20 this season before losing to Phoenix 83-82 in the opening round of the playoffs on a free throw in the last few seconds.

The 36-year-old Hopkins served as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Lynx before being hired by New York in January 2020.

New York had the league’s rookie of the year, Michaela Onyenwere, and a solid young core led by Sabrina Ionescu, Betnijah Laney and Natasha Howard.

Sandy Brondello is out as the Phoenix Mercury’s coach after leading the team to the WNBA finals in her eighth season.

The Mercury announced the team and Brondello mutually agreed to part ways and her contract, which expired after the 2021 season, will not be renewed.

“She oversaw our program with the utmost integrity and I’m sincerely grateful for her partnership and friendship,” Mercury GM Jim Pitman said in a statement. “Sandy and her family will always be part of the X-Factor family and we wish them the best. At the same time, we understand an eight-year tenure for a head coach is an exception in any professional sport, and we are confident a new voice is necessary for our team at this time.”

A former WNBA player and four-time Australian Olympian, Brondello led the Mercury to the 2014 WNBA title and to the finals last season, where they lost 3-1 to the Chicago Fire.

Brondello was the 2014 WNBA coach of the year and served as the team’s vice president of player personnel. The Mercury went 150-108 under Brondello.


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