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Serena Williams talks fashion, not fouls at Las Vegas event

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LAS VEGAS — Serena Williams talked about her fashion business and her family, but not tennis fouls during a Friday appearance before a business trade group in Las Vegas.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion wasn’t asked about gender equality in sports or an argument she had last weekend with the chair umpire at her U.S. Open finals match in New York during about 25 minutes onstage with Sarah Robb O’Hagan, chief executive of Flywheel Sports, at the National Retail Federation trade show.

Williams, who took no questions from the audience, said previously she felt she had been treated more harshly than a male player would have been for smashing her racket and arguing with match official Carlos Ramos during her straight-set finals loss to Naomi Osaka of Japan on Sept. 8 in New York.

Williams received three code violations and was penalized a point and one game. She was later fined $17,000.

The incident drew a volley of commentary in recent days.

Tennis icon Billie Jean King said she believes tennis applies a double standard to women compared with men, and a similar outburst by a male player would have drawn no repercussions.

A cartoon caricature of Williams appeared in an Australian newspaper drew comparisons to U.S. racial stereotypes of the past.

In Croatia, U.S. Davis Cup team captain Jim Courier said he thought the gender issue had been polarized and, in some ways, politicized.

“It’s been quite the week,” O’Hagan said before steering the conversation away from controversy.

“It isn’t the first time you have had to deal with unfair judgment against you, and yet you have this amazing ability to come back with such courage and grace,” she said.

She drew applause praising Williams for calming a riled-up audience that booed the U.S. Open outcome to refocus the moment on Osaka’s victory.

“I feel it’s really important to stand up for what you believe in,” Williams said, “especially if it can affect the future and affect a lot of people in the future. That’s what it’s all about.”

Williams also was asked about what O’Hagan termed “epic comebacks” during her 20-year tennis career, including having a baby a little more than a year ago.

The tennis star, who has her own fashion line, advised business owners to “really figure out, `What can I do to revamp and bring it back to the top?”‘

“Really, it’s just about having a great team … and rolling up your sleeves and hard work,” Williams said. “I work really, really hard at my game. And then I work super hard at my fashion business. And I’m working incredibly hard at being a mom.”

Osaka’s coach wins first WTA Coach of the Year award

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Sascha Bajin has been chosen as the first winner of the WTA Coach of the Year award after helping Naomi Osaka collect the U.S. Open title.

The women’s tennis tour announced its annual honors Monday.

The first season as a team for Bajin and Osaka produced her first WTA title at Indian Wells, then her first Grand Slam title in New York, where she beat Serena Williams in the final. Bajin used to work with Williams.

Bajin tweeted that he was “speechless and turning a bit red,” adding that it’s “easy to be a good coach when you have a great student.”

Petra Kvitova was given her sixth consecutive sportsmanship award and seventh overall, while Bethanie Mattek-Sands earned the player service award.

Mike, Bob Bryan set to reunite for doubles in Auckland

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) Mike and Bob Bryan are set to reunite as a doubles combination next month in New Zealand when the brothers begin their 21st season on the ATP Tour.

Bob Bryan has been sidelined since injuring his hip in the lead-up to the French Open, and Mike paired with fellow American Jack Sock to win the Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles and the ATP Finals, taking the world No. 1 ranking on his own.

With Bob back to full fitness, the 40-year-old twins will reunite for the ASB Classic hardcourt tournament in Auckland before heading to Melbourne for the Australian Open.

The Bryan brothers have won 114 doubles titles together, more than any other pairing, and have held the No. 1 doubles ranking jointly for 438 weeks. They have won 16 Grand Slam doubles titles together and a further 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles between them, adding an Olympic gold medal in 2012.

But they have yet to win a match in Auckland.

“We are stoked to be coming back to Auckland,” the brothers said in a joint statement.”We’ve got a bit of a point to prove.

“We’ve won 114 titles together but are yet to get the W in Auckland. We’ve got to change that. Here’s hoping 2019 can be our year.”