Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Murray admits being out of shape after Davis Cup scare
Former world number one Andy Murray admitted he was not in the best physical shape to open Britain's Davis Cup Finals campaign after narrowly avoiding a shock defeat to unheralded Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor on Wednesday. The 32-year-old had not played a competitive match since winning the European Open title in Antwerp, his first since returning after having had hip surgery in January.
NBA roundup: Pelicans dump Blazers in Anthony's debut
Jrue Holiday had 22 points and 10 assists as the host New Orleans Pelicans spoiled Carmelo Anthony's debut by defeating the Portland Trail Blazers 115-104 on Tuesday night. Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans' leading scorer, returned from a four-game absence caused by a sore knee to add 21 points. JJ Redick had 18, Nicolo Melli scored 14 and E'Twaun Moore 11 as New Orleans won for just the fifth time this season but the third time in four games.
Baby Shark headed overseas: Parra to play in Japan
Outfielder Gerardo Parra agreed to a contract with the Yomiuri Giants, the Japanese professional baseball team announced on Wednesday. Parra, whose popularity increased after using "Baby Shark" as his walk-up song, batted .250 with eight homers and 42 RBIs in 89 games last season for the Washington Nationals. The 32-year-old spent his first 30 games of the campaign with the San Francisco Giants.
NHL roundup: Isles nip Pens, extend point streak to 15
Brock Nelson scored his second goal of the game, on his own rebound at 2:55 of overtime, as the visiting New York Islanders downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 on Tuesday to stretch their point streak to 15 games, matching a franchise record. Ryan Pulock tied it 4-4 for New York with 1:32 left in regulation on a blast from the center point with goalie Semyon Varlamov pulled.
Rallying: Citroen leaves world championship as Ogier exits
Citroen is leaving the world rally championship with immediate effect after six-times world champion Sebastien Ogier announced his departure from the team, the French manufacturer said on Wednesday. Citroen Racing said it had made the decision "due to the absence of a first-class driver available for (the) 2020 season."
Senators' Ryan to enter player assistance program
Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan will take leave from the team while participating in the NHL/NHL Players' Association assistance program, the league and union announced Wednesday. The NHL and NHLPA also announced that they will have no further comment on the situation.
Boxing: American Martin gets four-year ban for anti-doping violation
American boxer Ryan Martin has been suspended for four years by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) on Wednesday after testing positive for prohibited substances last year. Martin tested positive for the presence of androsterone and etiocholanone, which are metabolites of testosterone, following an in-competition test after his match against Josh Taylor in Glasgow on Nov. 3, 2018.
King Kokoskov named Serbia coach for Olympic push
Sacramento Kings assistant coach Igor Kokoskov has taken charge of his native Serbia in a bid to steer them to next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo, the Balkan nation's basketball federation (KSS) said on Wednesday. Kokoskov will continue in a dual role as an assistant to Kings' head coach Luke Walton as he aims to steer Serbia through the Olympic basketball qualifiers next June.
From prayer to boxing: Naples church offers jobless youths lifeline
Thwacks and thumps echo through the hallway of the 17th-century church in a neglected Naples neighborhood as 21-year-old Nico Rodrigues and 20 other youngsters go through their paces in the boxing ring. Rodrigues is one of 60 young people who have found an escape from the local area's harsh streets in the boxing project founded a year ago by Father Antonio Loffredo to steer jobless d youths from a potential life of crime.
Andy Murray gave Britain a winning start in their opening Davis Cup Finals tie against the Netherlands but only after suffering a huge scare against an inspired Tallon Griekspoor on Wednesday. After nearly three hours, Murray, playing in his first Davis Cup tie since 2016 and only five months after returning to the sport following career-saving hip surgery, clawed out a 6-7(7) 6-4 7-6(5) victory to put his team 1-0 up in the Group E clash.
(With inputs from agencies.)