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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.”

Murray completes fairytale return, Lopez claims 2 titles

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LONDON (AP) Andy Murray completed a fairytale return from hip surgery by winning the Queen’s Club doubles title with Feliciano Lopez, who ended Sunday with two titles after earlier winning the singles title as well.

The Spaniard is the first man to win both titles at the grass-court tournament in London since Mark Philippoussis in 1997.

Murray spent five months away from the sport until this week. He and Lopez defeated Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 7-6 (6), 5-7, 10-5 in the doubles final – not long after Lopez outlasted Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (2) in the singles.

Murray capped a remarkable week 146 days after undergoing what he hopes was career-saving hip surgery. In January he had said he was planning to retire after Wimbledon because of the severe pain he felt on a daily basis.

The three-time Grand Slam champion is approaching Wimbledon, which starts July 1, full of confidence after playing freely and without pain as he secured his first doubles title since winning with his brother Jamie Murray in Tokyo in 2011. Murray won’t play singles at Wimbledon but has already confirmed that Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert will partner him in the men’s doubles.

Murray and Lopez hadn’t played together in a tournament before beating top-seeded Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah on Thursday. They completed their darkness-delayed quarterfinal win over British duo Daniel Evans and Ken Skupski on Saturday, right before their semifinal win over Henri Kontinen and John Peers.

Lopez, who had been forced to play in three matches on Saturday including his singles semifinal, played almost 5 hours of tennis altogether on Sunday. He reaffirmed his status as the tournament’s oldest winner at age 37 with the singles title.

The veteran Spaniard was already its oldest winner when he took the title in 2017.

Lopez was playing his first final since defeating Marin Cilic in the decider two years ago and was made to work hard by the 34-year-old Simon.

Lopez saved all but one of the break points he faced and converted three of his 13 opportunities to prevail in 2 hours, 49 minutes. Lopez had won five of their previous seven meetings and all four on grass.

Lopez is the first wild card to claim the title since Pete Sampras defeated Tim Henman to win in 1999. He would have been the oldest player to win a tour-level title since the 43-year-old Ken Rosewall won the Hong Kong Grand Prix final in 1977, but Roger Federer beat him to that accolade after winning his 10th Halle Open title earlier Sunday. Federer is a month older than Lopez.

Barty beats Goerges in Birmingham final to take No. 1 spot

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BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) Ashleigh Barty defeated Julia Goerges 6-3, 7-5 to win the Birmingham Classic title on Sunday, a victory that ensures the Australian will be No. 1 in the rankings on Monday.

The 23-year-old Barty, who lost the final to Petra Kvitova in 2017, did not drop a set all week at the grass-court tournament, and she fought back from being 4-5 down in the second set to beat the German in 1 hour, 28 minutes.

Goerges fought back tears as she congratulated her friend on taking top spot in the rankings ahead of Wimbledon, which starts July 1.

French Open champion Barty, currently ranked No. 2, will take over from Naomi Osaka, who lost 6-2, 6-3 loss to Yulia Putintseva in the second round on Thursday.

Barty is only the second Australian woman to hold the top spot after Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976.

Barty, who extended her winning streak to 11 matches, and Goerges reached the semifinals in doubles together before Barty withdrew from their semifinal with a right arm injury.