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Serena Williams says she apologized to Sharapova

As her agent nodded along approvingly from a front-row seat, Serena Williams sounded contrite and composed. Well rehearsed, too.

Williams is the defending champion at Wimbledon, where play begins Monday. More than half the questions at a news conference Sunday concerned what the American was quoted as saying in a recent magazine article — and Russian Maria Sharapova’s forceful verbal swipe in reaction to that story.

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“It definitely hasn’t been easy,” the top-ranked Williams said of the stir created by a Rolling Stone profile posted online Tuesday. “And I feel like I really wanted to say: I apologize for everything that was said in that article.”

Williams said she approached the No. 3-ranked Sharapova to try to smooth things over by extending an apology at a players’ party Thursday. The back-and-forth between them can be traced to a passage where the story’s author surmised something critical Williams said referred to Sharapova.

But Thursday’s talk didn’t end the matter because Sharapova delivered this broadside at her news conference Saturday: “If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids.”

Given a chance to react directly to that swipe 24 hours later, Williams declined, saying: “I definitely was told of (Sharapova’s) comments. I definitely like to keep my personal life personal. I think it would be inappropriate for me to comment on it.”

Williams has been linked romantically to her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou. Neither has confirmed publicly whether they are a couple, but Sharapova’s shot Saturday was taken as a reference to Williams and Mouratoglou.

Track and field

Gay, Lagat earn U.S. titles

Tyson Gay won the 200 meters in 19.74 seconds at the U.S. championships in Des Moines, Iowa, completing a sprint double in the 100 and 200.

Gay, 30, put to rest any questions about his surgically repaired hip by winning the races in the world’s fastest times for this year. He took the 100 Friday in 9.75.

“I’m pretty tired,” he said. “I’m just glad I’m leaving the race healthy.”

In the women’s 200, Kimberlyn Duncan won in 21.80, beating Olympic champion Allyson Felix (21.85).

Ex-Washington State standout Bernard Lagat won the 5,000 in 14:54.16. Including indoor competition, the 38-year-old Lagat has won nine U.S. championships.

Boston medal is returned

The men’s champion of this year’s Boston Marathon returned his winner’s medal to Mayor Thomas Menino to honor the city and those killed and injured in the bombings near the finish line April 15.

“Sport holds the power to unify and connect people all over the world,” Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia said through a translator. “Sport should never be used as a battleground.”

More than 6,400 athletes gathered on Boston Common for the 10-kilometer run organized by the Boston Athletic Association, the same nonprofit that handles the annual marathon.


Investigators keep quiet

Authorities continue to investigate, but not talk about, the killing of a semipro player whose body was found about a mile from New England tight end Aaron Hernandez’s home.

A spokeswoman for the Bristol County district attorney’s office said officials are not releasing details and added they also are not talking about the cause of death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, whose body was found last Monday. His death was ruled a homicide.

Hernandez, 23, was questioned and his home searched as part of the police investigation into the Dorchester, Mass., man’s death. Members of Lloyd’s family have said Hernandez and Lloyd were friends who spent time together on the day of Lloyd’s death.


• World Cup soccer champion Spain defeated Nigeria 3-0, setting up a semifinal showdown with Italy in the Confederations Cup in Brazil on Thursday. In a semifinal match Wednesday, Brazil faces Uruguay. The final is Sunday.

• In Major League Soccer, Portland extended its unbeaten streak to 15 matches with a 3-0 home victory over the Colorado Rapids.

Frederic Piquionne, Will Johnson and Ryan Johnson scored for the Timbers.

Portland (7-1-9) and Real Salt Lake (9-5-3) are tied for the MLS lead with 30 points.

In other matches, rookie Gyasi Zardes scored on a header in the 44th minute to give the Los Angeles Galaxy a 1-0 victory over Chivas USA in Carson, Calif., and Philadelphia beat visiting New York 3-0.

Shenise Johnson’s jumper with 36.1 seconds left in overtime lifted the San Antonio Silver Stars to a 78-77 victory over the host New York Liberty in a WNBA game.

In other league games, Angel McCoughtry scored 34 points to lead visiting Atlanta to a 78-77 victory over Connecticut; Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus each scored 22 points as host Minnesota beat Tulsa 88-79; and Lindsey Harding had 22 points for the Los Angeles Sparks in a 79-69 victory over visiting Washington.

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