Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Patriots use element of surprise in Super Bowl pursuit 2013-01-14T201207Z_1_BRE90D12L_RTROPTC_0_US-NFL-PLAYOFFS-PATRIO TS.XML () -
Djokovic delivers, Sharapova ruthless on opening day
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic served up only flashes of his best tennis on the opening day of the Australian Open but took a comfortable first step on the path he hopes will lead to an unprecedented hat-trick of titles at Melbourne Park in two weeks' time. Perhaps keeping energy in reserve for the battles that lie ahead, the world number one's workmanlike 6-2 6-4 7-5 victory over Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu on Monday summed up a day where the year's first grand slam failed to really fire.
Lance Armstrong apologizes to staff of cancer foundation
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Former champion cyclist Lance Armstrong apologized to the staff of the cancer foundation he started on Monday, the same day Oprah Winfrey was scheduled to interview him in what is widely expected to be his first admission of doping. "He had a private conversation with the staff, who have done the important work of the foundation for many years," said Livestrong Foundation spokeswoman Katherine McLane.
Chiefs player legally drunk when he killed girlfriend: autopsy
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher was legally drunk when he killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins and then took his own life last month, according to an autopsy released on Monday. The report showed Belcher had a blood alcohol content of .17 - more than double the .08 level that by Missouri law makes a driver drunk.
A's reward manager Melvin with two-year extension 2013-01-14T210120Z_1_BRE90D148_RTROPTC_0_US-BASEBALL-ATHLETICS- MELVIN.XML () -
Spurs guard Ginobili out 10-14 days with injury 2013-01-14T213621Z_1_BRE90D154_RTROPTC_0_US-NBA-SPURS-GINOBILI. XML () -
Murray and Federer fire up at Melbourne Park
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Andy Murray's campaign for a second straight grand slam title gets underway on Tuesday when he takes center stage against Robin Haase in the first round of the Australian Open. Big things are expected of the 25-year-old Briton in 2013 after he finally shook the grand slam monkey from his back with his U.S. Open triumph in his fifth major final.
McGinley should be Ryder Cup captain, says McIlroy
ABU DHABI (Reuters) - World golf number one Rory McIlroy wants Ireland's Paul McGinley to be Europe's 2014 Ryder Cup skipper, rather than Colin Montgomerie, with a decision on the captaincy due on Tuesday. Victorious 2010 captain Montgomerie has been linked to the position a second time for next year's event in the eight-times European Tour order of merit winner's native Scotland, something McIlroy disagrees with.
Retiring Cooke bows out with swipe at drug cheats
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's 2008 Olympic road race champion Nicole Cooke retired from cycling on Monday with a parting shot at the drugs cheats who she said had "robbed" her. "I do despair that the sport will ever clean itself up when rewards of stealing are greater than riding clean. If that remains the case, the temptation for those with no morals will always be too great," Cooke, 29, told the BBC.
McIlroy says Nike deal will improve his game
ABU DHABI (Reuters) - World number one golfer Rory McIlroy praised the clubs of his new sponsor Nike on Monday saying he was hitting the ball further than ever after agreeing a multi-year sponsorship deal with the U.S. sportswear firm. Although commercial terms were not disclosed, media reports say the agreement with the Northern Irishman unveiled on Monday is worth as much as $250 million over 10 years, one of the most lucrative in global sports as Nike moves on after dropping disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong last year.