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Chris Evert, Tennis Hall of Famer, Says She Has Ovarian Cancer

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The former tennis star Chris Evert, an 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, has an early form of ovarian cancer, she said Friday in a story posted on ESPN.com.

The stage 1C cancer was detected after a preventive hysterectomy, and it has not spread elsewhere in her body, according to the story. Ms. Evert, 67, who began the first of six rounds of chemotherapy this week, is an analyst for ESPN.

The cancer was removed during the hysterectomy, and there is a greater than 90 percent chance it won’t return, according to the story.

“I’ve lived a very charmed life,” Ms. Evert said in the story. “Now I have some challenges ahead of me. But, I have comfort in knowing the chemotherapy is to ensure that cancer does not come back.”

A representative for Ms. Evert did not immediately reply to an email late Friday.

Ms. Evert is one of the most celebrated players in tennis history. She became the first player, male or female, to win 1,000 singles matches and was ranked first or second in the world from 1975 to 1986, according to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Dr. Joel Cardenas, a doctor for Ms. Evert, said in the story that an early diagnosis is more likely if a patient is current on doctor visits, understands her family history and has a good relationship with her gynecologist.

“Women should know the risk factors, too — endometriosis, history of breast cancer and infertility are among them,” he said. “The average age for ovarian cancer diagnosis is 63.”

Genetic testing and counseling are encouraged if a patient has a family history of ovarian cancer, Mr. Cardenas said.

Ms. Evert’s younger sister, Jeanne Evert Dubin, also a professional tennis player, died of ovarian cancer in February 2020 at age 62. Ovarian cancer can run in families, and one’s risk is increased if a mother, sister or daughter has had the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.

Ms. Dubin was with Ms. Evert as the pair rushed through an airport in October 2017 when the older sister noticed Ms. Dubin was out of breath, according to the ESPN story. Shortly after that, a doctor detected ovarian cancer in Ms. Dubin. It was in a late stage and had spread.

“When I go into chemo, she is my inspiration,” Ms. Evert said. “I’ll be thinking of her. And she’ll get me through it.”



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NFL Playoffs: What We Learned From the Wild-Card Games

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Sunday’s contest was over in three possessions, with Tampa Bay scoring rushing touchdowns by the backups Giovani Bernard and Ke’Shawn Vaughn on two of its three possessions. Ryan Succop’s 34-yard field goal in the second quarter ran the score to 17-0, ending an 11-play drive in which Brady barely had to exert himself.

While it was impressive to watch a quarterback in his mid-40s march up and down the field in the postseason, Sunday’s wild-card win didn’t provide any tangible answers as to whether Tampa Bay is equipped to defend its throne against the N.F.L.’s better teams, only that the team is wily enough to try.

Rob Gronkowski still has some of the best hands in football, but he has lost a step and a half, making Godwin’s injury and Brown’s exit stand out in obvious passing situations. Jonathan Gannon, the Eagles’ defensive coordinator, brought a few blitzes in the second half and played zone coverage behind it, and Tampa Bay’s backup receivers couldn’t find the open windows downfield on which this vertical passing game thrives.

Darius Slay and Steven Nelson couldn’t guard Mike Evans (117 yards, one touchdown) without help over the top, but the few times Philadelphia ran man coverage, there weren’t many other outlets available for Brady.

By then, though, Philadelphia had already been buried.

49ers 23, Cowboys 17: San Francisco ran out to an 13-point lead and managed it handily until Jimmy Garoppolo’s fourth-quarter interception allowed Dallas to pull within a score. The Cowboys’ final drive featured a frantic 47-yard scurry that ended when Dak Prescott botched spiking the ball, with 1 second remaining to hurl a Hail Mary touchdown pass, and time expired.

Buccaneers 31, Eagles 15: The Eagles fell into a 17-0 hole early, and their vaunted running game was not equipped to shovel them out. Four players, including quarterback Jalen Hurts, combined for 95 rushing yards that mostly came in garbage time. Tampa Bay relied on rushing touchdowns to open up the field for Tom Brady, who threw for 271 yards on 29 of 37 passing, with two touchdowns.



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Cowboys Come Up Short Against 49ers Long Before Clunky Finish

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ARLINGTON, Texas — There are certain expectations, vast as the horizon, for the local professional football team, and when those expectations go unmet and unfulfilled — as they have for three decades and counting — another disappointing Dallas Cowboys season begets an eventful Dallas Cowboys off-season.

That is the only other phase on the sporting calendar that matters around these parts, where the team owner Jerry Jones and the thousands of fans who trudged out of AT&T Stadium on Sunday evening will, again, lament how one of the N.F.L.’s supposed injustices will go unpunished.

Asked when he had been so disappointed after a loss, Jones said, “I can’t remember.”

The Earth somehow will continue to orbit the sun as another postseason proceeds without the Cowboys, the third seed, who endured a 23-17 loss to the sixth-seeded San Francisco 49ers as predictable as it was deflating. The game’s conclusion was fittingly devastating: Time expired with Dallas, after Dak Prescott ran to the San Francisco 24-yard line, failing to run a final play.

Despite winning the N.F.C. East, sweeping their division rivals and scoring the most points in franchise history — albeit in a 17-game regular season — the Cowboys had an unsettling penchant for wilting against decent competition. San Francisco qualified as better than that. Dallas beat only one team with a winning record — the Philadelphia Eagles, who last week fielded their 11th-stringers — in the last three-and-a-half months.

“We had a team that all year would basically disappoint to some degree and then turn around and show,” Jones said. “This was a game we needed to show.”

As the 49ers advance to the divisional round next weekend at top-seeded Green Bay, which beat San Francisco on a last-second field goal in Week 3, the Cowboys will sift through the detritus of Prescott’s third loss in five career playoff games and determine just what was missing.

On Sunday, it was not one thing that doomed the Cowboys but a cavalcade of clumsiness, of critical penalties and ill-advised laterals and passes lost in the sun. One of the team’s punts, in the third quarter, hit the scoreboard. Citing how “very unusual” that was, the referee Alex Kemp called for a do-over.

If only, the Cowboys might have thought, that could have applied to the entire game. They did not convert their initial first down until they trailed, 10-0. They had 110 yards at halftime. They allowed five sacks.

When they regained possession late in the second quarter, with a chance to take the lead, a promising drive stalled in San Francisco territory on three incompletions, the third evading the hands of a diving Cedrick Wilson by mere inches.

That pass was a microcosm of Prescott’s game. Last week, with Prescott coming off a five-touchdown game at Philadelphia that buttressed the Cowboys’ confidence heading into Sunday, he asked Coach Mike McCarthy what was needed.

“I need you to keep being exactly how you are,” McCarthy replied.

Even if Prescott’s personality didn’t change as time elapsed, his passes did. They zipped high, far and wide — and, in the third quarter, into the hands of a diving K’Wuan Williams, the 49ers cornerback who intercepted another Prescott pass meant for Wilson at Dallas’s 26-yard line.

On the next play, the multidimensional receiver Deebo Samuel took a handoff, cut right and darted inside, scoring a touchdown that extended San Francisco’s lead to 23-7 with 5 minutes 50 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

“People have been trying to find the next Deebo,” Mike McDaniel, the San Francisco offensive coordinator, said last week. “The problem is there’s one Deebo.”

The Cowboys do not have him. But they do have Prescott, a set of tremendous receivers, a strong running game and an opportunistic defense that led the N.F.L. in takeaways. The Cowboys are not a complete team, but a complete team does not exist in these playoffs, and perhaps for that reason Jones reiterated in a radio interview last week that their objective “unquestionably” was to win a championship.

For an organization that identifies itself by titles, the Cowboys have not won any with Prescott, or with Tony Romo, or any other quarterback since Troy Aikman.

Of all the various and sundry subplots underpinning this matchup, none foretold the outcome quite like the power and dynamism of San Francisco’s running attack. It limited the Cowboys’ possessions. It neutralized their defensive strength, a fierce pass rush. It tormented Dallas’s eye discipline with pitches, motion and lead blockers. The 49ers scored both touchdowns on the ground and finished with 169 yards on 38 carries.

A deep red flecked the stands, with throngs of 49ers fans descending on Texas for the revival of a fierce playoff rivalry gone dormant. For so long, San Francisco and Dallas engaged in what seemed near-annual tussles for conference supremacy, though they had not convened in the postseason since January 1995.

The following season, the Cowboys edged Pittsburgh to win the Super Bowl, but they haven’t reached the conference championship game since. The 49ers have been to five over that span — and two Super Bowls, losing both, including two years ago against Kansas City, when Jimmy Garoppolo overthrew Emmanuel Sanders on a deep pass over the middle.

On Sunday, Garoppolo missed Brandon Aiyuk downfield, but otherwise his precision through three quarters enabled the 49ers to reap yardage after the catch. Garoppolo did toss an interception in the fourth quarter to Anthony Brown, with Dallas converting it into a touchdown with 8:02 remaining. But that was as close as the Cowboys got.

The chaotic regular season gave way to a postseason that, until Sunday evening, had unfurled as projected, with all three higher-seeded teams advancing. The Cowboys, yet again, are the outlier.



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Rafael Nadal Returns to Australian Open With More Modest Expectations

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MELBOURNE, Australia — As he begins his 20th season on the ATP Tour, Rafael Nadal, famously exacting and particular on the court, is allowing himself — and others — some grace.

In a news conference last week, a reporter asked Nadal how he felt about the conditions in Melbourne, given that “you haven’t reached the semifinals at the Australian Open since you won the title in 2009.”

After an initial look of puzzlement while listening to the question, Nadal, amused, gently pushed back on its premise, given that he has reached the final at Melbourne Park four times since winning the 2009 title. “I am very sorry to tell you,” Nadal said, listing the years in which he had made the final. “I don’t want to.”

In an interview, Nadal said that while “normally I don’t play if I don’t think that I will be good,” that he was ready to lower expectations for himself out of a desire to compete.

“Because I didn’t play for five, six months, I really take it in a different way,” Nadal said. “I said, OK, I want to be back on the tour, even if the preparation is not fantastic. I need to be back if I want myself to be competitive again as soon as possible. I need to be there. I need to practice with the guys. I need to be playing some professional matches — and that’s what I did.”

Nadal had looked ready to return to the tour when he entered an exhibition in Abu Dhabi in December, but he became one of six players at the event to contract the coronavirus. After testing negative on the morning of his trip home to Spain, Nadal began to feel ill on the plane. Out of concern for older relatives, he went straight from the airport to a hospital to get tested before returning home, and he stayed isolated after receiving his result.

After four days of painful symptoms and high fevers, Nadal had another three days of fatigue. “I was destroyed, like super-tired,” said Nadal, who said he was vaccinated. “I was not able to move much.”

Nadal climbed back onto an exercise bike eight days after his diagnosis and slowly began pedaling uphill toward a recovery. After just two practices near his home in Spain, Nadal decided to take the trip to Australia for more preparation and to play some real, if low-stakes, matches.

In his first tournament since last August, Nadal won a small ATP 250 competition in Melbourne in the first week of the season. He faced one of the least daunting paths of his career — three opponents ranked outside the top 90 and his quarterfinal opponent pulled out before their match.

Those breaks gave Nadal a quick road to extending a long streak: his 7-6(6), 6-3 win in the final over the American serve-and-volleyer Maxime Cressy made this the 19th straight season in which he has won at least one ATP title. (In all but the first of those years, Nadal had always won at least two.)

There has, of course, been quality in Nadal’s quantity, including the 20 Grand Slam singles titles that have him in a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Asked how his win in the warm-up tournament might set him up for the Australian Open, where Nadal could take sole possession of the record for the first time, Nadal, who missed both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year, quickly set expectations.

“I mean, I didn’t play five-sets matches since Roland Garros,” he said. “And, of course, my preparation could be better. But here I am. I don’t expect; I just try to go day by day. I know the situation is not ideal for me to try to have an amazing result on the first Grand Slam. But you never know. If you are not here, it is difficult to have any chance. Being here, I want to try my best.”

Nadal spoke with generosity, if audible frustration, about Djokovic, who had been a clear favorite to win a record 10th Australian Open men’s singles title this month before complicating his chances by attempting to enter the country and play while unvaccinated. After being detained at an airport when the exemption he provided to get around the country’s vaccination requirements was deemed insufficient, Djokovic’s ordeal ended on Sunday when a court in Melbourne denied his request to overturn the government’s decision to revoke his visa.

“Of course it’s not good for tennis, not good for him, not good for distracting the attention from what’s important to talk about tennis and in our world,” Nadal said. “But in that way, I really feel sorry for him, you know? Even if we think a different way and we have different perspectives of the things that you have to do in these tough moments of the pandemic. I really feel a lot of sorry for him.”

Though Nadal has spoken this month of a need to listen to medical experts and of “consequences” — Djokovic is one of only three players in the ATP Top 100 to remain unvaccinated — in this interview Nadal said that he wanted to discuss Djokovic, whom he has faced an ATP-record 58 times, “more about a human person than a tennis player, no?”

“I have a huge respect for him, in general terms,” Nadal said. “We did a lot of things together; we enjoyed a lot of important moments on court. We did important things for our foundations together, too. So, in some way, I wish him all the best. I really believe that it’s important that he goes out, he explains everything.”

He added: “But I wish him the best. Even if we think different, he’s a colleague on the tour, and I respect his decisions. Even if we are not agreeing.”



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