In Brief | Nation and World June 19
Patriots tight end Gronkowski has back surgery
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski underwent back surgery on Tuesday, his fourth operation this year.
The latest surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Watkins and was successful, said Drew Rosenhaus, Gronkowski’s agent.
On May 20, the Patriots star had the most recent operation on the left forearm that he broke on Nov. 18 while blocking for an extra point in a 59-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts. He had an operation soon after, the first of four on his forearm.
He broke it again in the Patriots’ first playoff game, a 41-28 win over the Houston Texans on Jan. 13, and has had three forearm operations since then. Rosenhaus said the surgery performed last month was expected to be the last on his forearm.
Pavel Datsyuk, Red Wings agree on 3-year extension
DETROIT — The Detroit Red Wings accomplished their No. 1 goal of this offseason by agreeing to a new deal with Pavel Datsyuk.
Datsyuk and the Red Wings agreed on a three-year contract Tuesday, two days before his 35th birthday, to keep the Russian superstar with the franchise through the 2016-17 season.
Datsyuk can’t sign the contract until July 5 because he was entering the last year of his current deal. Soon after the season ended with a Game 7 loss in the second round at Chicago, Datsyuk said he wanted to stay with the Red Wings instead of returning home to play in Russia following the 2013-14 season.
The center led Detroit with 15 goals and 49 points in the 48-game, lockout-shortened season.
He was tied for third on the team with nine points in the postseason, which ended in the second round against Chicago.
AP Source: Couture agrees to extension with Sharks
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Sharks agreed to a contract extension with star center Logan Couture to keep him off the market next summer.
A person familiar with the deal confirmed the extension, which was first reported by Comcast SportsNet California. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the contract can’t be signed until the free agency window opens July 5.
Couture is owed $3 million next season in the final year of a two-year, $5.75 million contract. Couture would have been eligible to be a restricted free agent next summer. The person would not say how long Couture’s new deal would last, but Comcast reported it was expected to be for five more seasons.
The 24-year-old Couture has emerged as one of the Sharks’ top players the past two years in all facets of the game, becoming the team’s most reliable goal-scorer, drawing the toughest defensive matchups and becoming a leader in the locker room. Couture is expected to become part of the formal leadership group next season, replacing the departed Ryane Clowe as an alternate captain.
Venus Williams pulls out of Wimbledon, citing back
WIMBLEDON, England — Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams has pulled out of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament because of a lower back injury.
Williams’ agent, Carlos Fleming, said Wimbledon was told of her decision Tuesday.
Williams, who turned 33 on Monday, was bothered by her back during a first-round loss at the French Open last month, then cited that injury when she and her younger sister Serena withdrew from the doubles competition in Paris.
The older Williams played at Wimbledon each of the last 16 years — never missing it since her debut in 1997. She won the title in 2000-01, 2005 and 2007-08. Williams lost in the first round at the All England Club last year.
Play begins at Wimbledon next Monday.
US qualifier Hampton advances at Eastbourne
EASTBOURNE, England — American qualifier Jamie Hampton upset top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 7-6 (2), 6-2 Tuesday in the first round at Eastbourne on Tuesday.
Radwanska, who won the title in 2008, struggled throughout the match at the Wimbledon warm-up tournament.
Second-seeded Li Na advanced to the second round, beating Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-4. She’ll play 2011 champion Marion Bartoli.
Also advancing were 2012 runner-up Angelique Kerber, who defeated Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 6-4, and fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova, who stopped Monica Niculescu 6-4, 6-1. Fifth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki advanced after leading 6-2, 2-2 when defending champion Tamira Paszek retired with a left-thigh injury.
In the men’s event, Kevin Anderson was upset 7-6 (4) 6-2 by Julien Benneteau, and Bernard Tomic defeated James Ward 6-3, 6-4.
Malisse ousts Ferrer on grass in Netherlands
ROSMALEN, Netherlands — French Open finalist David Ferrer lost his first-round match Tuesday at the Topshelf Open, a grass-court tournament held the week before Wimbledon.
A single service break in the second set was enough for Xavier Malisse of Belgium to beat the defending champion and top-seeded Ferrer in straight sets, 7-6 (3), 6-3.
Second-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka edged Steve Darcis 7-6 (5), 6-4. Darcis was a late replacement for Dutchman Igor Sijsling, who pulled out with a stomach problem. The only other seeded player to reach the second round was fifth-seeded Jeremy Chardy, who beat Lucas Pouille 7-5, 6-4.
Top-seeded and 2011 champion Roberta Vinci had no problem, stopping Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 6-3 in the first match on center court to reach the second round.
Fourth-seeded Kirsten Flipkens rallied from a set down to overcome Francesca Schiavone 3-6, 6-3, 6-0, and Carla Suarez Navarro advanced to the quarterfinals by beating Sofia Arvidsson 6-3, 6-4.
Benoit Paire was another seeded player who didn’t make it past the first round, retiring after losing the first three games of the match to fellow Frenchman Michael Llodra.
American Steve Johnson gets Wimbledon wild card
LONDON — Steve Johnson of the United States joined Frenchman Nicolas Mahut as a wild card at Wimbledon.
The 100th-ranked Johnson from Orange, Calif., will play in the singles at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament for the first time since becoming a full-time professional last summer. He won the ATP Challenger title at Nottingham last week to earn his wild card, which was announced Tuesday.
Mahut had already been granted his invitation.
Also receiving wild cards for the tournament starting June 24 were British duo James Ward and Kyle Edmund.
The 18-year-old Edmund won his first match on the ATP Tour at the Aegon International this week. He’s joined by Matthew Ebden of Australia, who won the mixed doubles title at the Australian Open in January with Jarmila Gajdosova.
The women’s wild cards include five British players: Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong, Johanna Konta, Tara Moore and Samantha Murray.
They’re joined by Lucie Hradecka of Czech Republic, Andrea Petkovic of Germany and Alison Riske of the United States.
From wire sources