Sports shorts: Bad back forces Murray to pull out of French Open

2013-05-22T00:00:00Z Sports shorts: Bad back forces Murray to pull out of French OpenStaff And Wire Reports Staff And Wire Reports Arizona Daily Star

LONDON - Andy Murray withdrew from the French Open on Tuesday because of a chronic back injury and will focus on preparing for the start of the grass-court season next month.

The U.S. Open champion met with specialists this week after being forced to pull out of his second-round match against Marcel Granollers of Spain at the Italian Open last Wednesday.

"It's a really tough decision, and I love playing in Paris, but after seeking medical advice, I am not fit to compete," Murray said in a statement. "Apologies to the organizers."

The French Open, the second Grand Slam tournament of the year, starts Sunday.

• Top-seeded Marion Bartoli and No. 2 Tamira Paszek were bounced from the first round of the Strasbourg International in Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday.

Bartoli, a former Wimbledon finalist, lost to Camila Giorgi 6-3, 6-2, and Paszek fell to French wild card entry Virgine Razzano 6-1, 6-4.

• In Urbana, Ill., No. 12 seed Stanford defeated third-seeded Texas A&M 4-3 Tuesday to win the NCAA women's tennis championship.

Stanford (22-4) won the national title for the 17th time. The Cardinal earned its seventh title under coach Lele Forood. Texas A&M finished 26-4.

In the men's match, second-seeded Virginia defeated top-seeded UCLA 4-3 to win its first title. The Cavaliers (30-0) reached the national semifinals in six of the last seven seasons. UCLA finished 29-2.

Golf

Anchored putting banned; UA 12th

Golf's two governing bodies outlawed the anchored putting stroke used by four of the last six major champions, approving a rule that starts in 2016 and urging the PGA Tour to follow along so the 600-year-old sport is still played under one set of rules.

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club and the U.S. Golf Association adopted Rule 14-1b, which prohibits players from anchoring a club against their bodies.

"We strongly believe that this rule is for the betterment of the game," USGA President Glen Nager said. "Rule 14-1b protects one of the important challenges in the game - the free swing of the entire club."

• The UA women's golf team was 12th after the first round of the four-day, four-round NCAA Championships on Tuesday in Athens, Ga.

USC and San Jose State shared the lead at 4-under 284. Arizona was 10 over.

Arizona sophomore Andrea Vilarasau was Arizona's top scorer with an even-par 72, tied for 20th. Sophomore Manon Gidali was tied for 33rd after shooting a 73.

NFL

Calif., Houston to get Super Bowls

BOSTON - The NFL will celebrate its 50th Super Bowl in northern California, where its newest, most high-tech venue is being built.

That makes South Florida, in the midst of a spat over expensive stadium renovations, a loser for the 2016 game. Miami took a double loss when Houston was awarded the 2017 championship game.

Next Feb. 2, the game goes outdoors in a cold-weather site for the first time, at MetLife Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands. The 2015 game will be played in Glendale.

• New England's Rob Gronkowski, a former Arizona Wildcats tight end, had his fourth surgery on Monday on the left forearm that he broke Nov. 18 while blocking for an extra point against the Colts. He broke it again early in the Patriots' first playoff game, a win over the Texans.

Diving world championships

UA's Pickens entered in 2 events

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Arizona Wildcat Samantha Pickens and 14 other American divers will compete at the world championships in Barcelona, Spain, in July.

Pickens will compete in the 1-meter event and will team with Amanda Burke in the synchro 3-meter springboard.

The team was selected during trials that ended Monday at Florida State's Morcom Aquatics Center.

WNBA

GMs pick Mercury to win title

NEW YORK - WNBA general managers are predicting the Phoenix Mercury, with a healthy returning roster and the addition of No. 1 draft pick Brittney Griner, to win the championship, and Los Angeles' Candace Parker to be selected the MVP.

Griner is the overwhelming favorite for Rookie of the Year, picked by 75 percent of the respondents in the annual WNBA.com GM survey released Tuesday. The Mercury was the top choice to win the title, with 33 percent of the votes.

Includes material from a news release

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