Illinois; Xavier Williams, from miao1234's blog

MELBOURNE, Australia -- One by one, Serena Williams is matching the feats of tennis greatest legends. . Her next challenge comes at the Australian Open, which starts Monday with Williams seeking her 18th Grand Slam title -- an accomplishment that would match Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. "It would mean a lot to be on the same level as such great players," Williams said in a pre-tournament news conference Saturday, quickly adding a dash of humility. "I still have a lot of work to do. I obviously want to reach that level, but Im not there yet." "Hopefully, Ill get there," she added. The No. 1-ranked, No. 1-seeded player is entering the new season after a spectacular year. In 2013, Williams won 78 of her 82 matches including the French Open and the U.S. Open. She earned more than $12 million in prize money, a record for womens tennis. At 32, an age where most professional players are in decline, Williams is playing the best tennis of her career, says Navratilova, who predicts that Williams will win in Melbourne and go on to eclipse Steffi Grafs 22 major titles in the Open era. "If she can stay healthy, theres no doubt she can go into the 20s. The sky is the limit," Navratilova said earlier this week. In terms of Grand Slam titles, no woman playing professional tennis today comes close. In a distant second place is Williams big sister, Venus, who won seven major titles during a career that is now waning because of age, injuries and an autoimmune disease that saps her energy. Venus last Grand Slam win came at Wimbledon in 2008. No. 2 Maria Sharapova, a four-time Grand Slam winner, is coming back after playing just one post-Wimbledon match in 2013 due to hip and shoulder injuries. She sat out the last two months of the 2013 season and says she is still nursing her shoulder with "precautionary" anti-inflammatories at times. "Im happy to be back playing a Grand Slam," said Sharapova, who tore her rotator cuff in two places in 2008, requiring surgery that kept her off the tour for nearly a year. "Im happy to get myself back in form and really start well here." The player who is considered the greatest threat to Williams is No. 2 Victoria Azarenka, the two-time Australian Open defending champion. Williams has defeated Azarenka in 14 of their 17 matches -- but Azarenka has excelled more recently in Melbourne where Serena has won five titles but none since 2010. Asked why she has stumbled in Melbourne in recent years, Williams half-joked: "I just wasnt able to stay on two feet. Literally." Last year, Williams tumbled to the court in her first-round match after turning her right ankle. She was then upset in the quarterfinals by Sloane Stephens. "Ive been doing a lot of exercises for my ankles and trying to make sure that theyre pretty stabilized," said Williams. Williams got a strong start to the new season, with back-to-back wins over Sharapova and Azarenka earlier this month in Brisbane. She beat Sharapova in the semifinals and overcame Azarenka in the final. In Melbourne, Williams will only get the chance to play one of them. Azarenka and Sharapova are on the opposite side of the draw from Williams and could end up playing each other in the semifinals. Sharapovas first-round match is against Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Tuesday, when Azarenka faces Johanna Larsson of Sweden. Williams starts her Australian Open campaign Monday against Australian teenager Ashleigh Barty and has 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur and two-time Australian finalist Li Na in her half of the draw. Barty, who is 17 and ranked 153rd, is bound to have rowdy home crowd support as she steps onto centre court against the worlds top player. "Obviously theyll want Ashleigh to win, (and want) her to do well," Williams said. "Under any other circumstances. Id probably be rooting for her as well." . In their first significant move of the off-season, the Mets agreed with outfielder Chris Young on a $7. . Parrish, 34, went scoreless in two games last season with the Buffalo Sabres. He had 17 goals and 34 assists in 56 games with the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League.Philadelphia, PA ( - The so-close-and-yet-so-far-away feeling for NFL prospects might be epitomized by Zach Zenners hotel window at the East-West Shrine Game this week. My window looks out on the ocean, the three-time All-American running back from South Dakota State said Wednesday morning from St. Petersburg, Florida, but I havent been there yet. Oh, surely there must be time for some pleasure amid all the business. I just got done taking a Troutwine test, Zenner pointed out. Well then, that fun performance profiling surely reflected Zenners intelligence and intangibles such as competitive desire and mental toughness. Perhaps his reaction time on the test mirrored his acceleration on the field. A color will be spelled out, like the word red, for example, Zenner explained the psychological evaluation. But the color of the word red will be black. And youre supposed to identify the color of the word. You read red, but the color of the word is black, so you need to select black. Its all in a day in the life of a player trying to make a bigger name for himself at a college football all-star games. A player from an FCS program, like Zenner, has been a star for a while, but in the buildup to the NFL Draft in May, he has to overcome the stigma of playing on the smaller-school level. There are so many success stories, of course, but the perception still remains. Just this past Saturday, Coastal Carolina All-American linebacker Quinn Backus represented the FCS level well by claiming American team MVP honors with six tackles and an 87-yard pick-six at the Medal of Honor Bowl in Charleston, South Carolina. The three biggest all-star games are up next. The Shrine Game and the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Carson, California, will be played Saturday, while the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, will follow on Jan. 24. Zenner will get a long look from NFL teams. What must be particularly intriguing to them is the 6-foot, 220-pound back is the only Division I player, and just the second in NCAA history, to rush for at least 2,000 yards in three different seasons. He has a patient, north-south style, but can find another gear in the open field, as evidenced by five runs of 75 yards or more in his college career. Hes also a solid pass catcher. Zenner is one of 11 FCS players at the Shrine Game. At last years game, an FCS quarterback, 2013 Walter Payton Award winner Jimmy Garoppolo from Eastern Illinois, was named the offensive most valuable player. Its been great being here, its been an honor, its been interesting and a good experience so far, Zenner said. I think Im doing OK. The interviews go pretty fast because I dont have any, like, previous arrests or anything to explain. On the field Monday, I was a little rusty, but yesterday I had a better practice. So, hopefully, Illl have another good one today. It takes a little bit to get used to. I think everyone did well in college. But I was part of a high school all-star team, so Ive been in a similar situation. Its the same thing as getting to a college for the first time. Everyone was the big dude in high school. Its a similar feel except at a higher level. While Zenner is focused on fulfilling his NFL dream - he also will participate at the leagues annual scouting combine in Indianapolis next month - he has a pretty good fallback plan. As part of the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Class, an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship awaits him for medical school. The inaugural recipient of the Mickey Charles Award, which honors academic achievement by an FCS student-athlete, Zenner carried a 3.86 grade point average before completing his undergraduate work at SDSU last month. But, oh, does the Minnesota native ever wish he could find time to get to the beach this week. I want to take advantage of it, but I wont have time today, he said. Maybe tomorrow, I might. FCS Players in Upcoming All-Star Games All Times ET East-West Shrine Game Saturday, Jan. 17 Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 4 p.m. (NFL Network) East Roster (head coach Mike Singletary): Derrick Lott, DT, Chattanooga; Dean Marlowe, FS, James Madison; Tre McBride, WR, William & Mary; Davis Tull, DE/OLB, Chattanooga; Tye Smith, CB, Towson West Roster (head coach Jim Zorn): John Crockett, RB, North Dakota State; Kyle Emanuel, DE, North Dakota State; Tevin McDonald, FS, Eastern Washington; MyCole Pruitt, TE, Southern Illinois; Xavier Williams, DT, Northern Iowa; Zach Zenner, RB, South Dakota State NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Saturday, Jan. 17 StubHub Center, Carson, California 4 p.m. (ESPN2) American Roster (Mike Holmgren): Tony Bell, SS, UT Martin; Antoine Everett, OG, McNeese State; Jerry Lovelocke, QB, Prairie View A&M; Zack Wagenmann, DE, Montana National Roster (Mike Martz): Malcolm Agnew, RB, Southern Illinois; DeAndre Carter, WR, Sacramento State; Ace Clark, SS, Western Carolina; Nick Easton, C, Harvard; Channing Fugate, FB, Eastern Kentucky; Jake Rodgers, OT, Eastern Washington; DeAnte Saunders, CB, Tennessee State; Ross Scheuerman, RB, Lafayette; Corey Simmons, TE, Northwestern State Senior Bowl Saturday, Jan. 24 Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama 4 p.m. (NFL Network) Accepted Invites (head coaches Ken Whisenhunt of the North roster and Gus Bradley of the South roster): Nick Boyle, TE, Delaware; Imoan Claiborne, CB, Northwestern State; David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa; Dezmin Lewis, WR, Central Arkansas; Kyle Loomis, P, Portland State; Robert Myers, OG, Tennessee State; Jaquiski Tartt, S, Samford; Lynden Trail, OLB, Norfolk State; Tyler Varga, RB, YaleCheap Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Authentic China Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '

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By miao1234
Added Aug 18 '16


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