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Feb. 26, 2013 at 5:00 PM
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Spokesman denies Nadal to skip tournaments

ACAPULCO, Mexico, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Rafael Nadal's camp is denying reports Tuesday the world No. 5-ranked tennis player will skip two ATP Masters tournaments next month.

It was reported that Nadal would miss the Masters tournaments in Indian Wells, Calif., on March 4-11 and the March 18-25 event in Miami because of ongoing issues with his right knee.

But Nadal's publicist Benito Perez-Barbadillo Jerez issued a posting Tuesday on Twitter that the report was based on speculation.

Nadal has said recently he would only play in clay-court events, including this week's Abierto Mexicano Tercel in Acapulco, Mexico, through the French Open. The Masters tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami are on hard courts.

Nadal was sidelined the second half of the 2012 schedule because of tendinitis in his right knee. He has played in two tournaments this year, finishing runner-up to Horacio Zeballos in Chile and winning the ATP stop in Sao Paulo. Both of those tournaments were on clay.

He says the knee is improving but he's going to be cautious with it.

"It's better and I've been able to compete but it's still bothering me," he said in Acapulco. "It's better on some days and worse on others, which isn't ideal for someone like me, because my idea of competing is based on giving it all at all times."

He said he will limit his play to clay courts through the French Open in May. Nadal has won the French Open each of the last three years. He's won seven French Open titles 2005-12. He missed the 2009 French Open because of a knee injury.

Former star athlete denies raping coed

MISSOULA, Mont., Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A former star quarterback at the University of Montana has testified the sex he had with a fellow classmate a year ago was entirely consensual.

Jordan Johnson, 20, detailed for jurors in Missoula the extent of his relationship with a coed who later accused him of raping her, ABC Sports reported Tuesday.

Johnson said he and the woman exchanged text messages about classes before they started seeing each other in person.

"She came to my dorm room and I came to her dorm room," he told the court.

Police testified on the night of the alleged incident the woman invited Johnson to her room to watch a movie.

Johnson said the two began kissing on the woman's bed before things went further.

"If she had said stop or no, I would have stopped," he testified.

A month-and-a-half later, the woman reported to police that Johnson raped her.

Wrestler returns Olympic gold in protest

MAKHACHKALA, Russia, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A Russian wrestler said he has returned his Olympic gold medal to protest a proposal to cut wrestling from the 2020 Games.

Sagid Murtazaliev, who won heavyweight freestyle gold in 2000, sent his medal back to the International Olympic Committee, R-Sport reported Tuesday.

"The decision to return my Olympic medal was not easy for me," Murtazaliev said in a letter addressed to IOC President Jacques Rogge. "But after much thinking, I decided anyway to follow the example of the great Bulgarian wrestler Valentin Yordanov.

Last week Yordanov returned the gold medal he won in Atlanta in 1996.

Murtazaliev said he took the step to protest a recent recommendation by the IOC executive committee not to include wrestling as a core sport in the Olympic program.

A final decision on the program for the 2020 Games will be made in September.

Armstrong will challenge USPS doping suit

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Lance Armstrong plans to argue that the civil fraud suit filed against him is too old to go forward, a person close to his defense team has told USA Today.

The newspaper said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told USA Today that Armstrong's lawyers plan to argue the suit is past the six-year statute of limitations and also that the main issue is not whether Armstrong cheated.

The main issue, the defense team will argue, is whether Armstrong defrauded the U.S. government.

"We will say there was enough information (about doping on the USPS cycling team) to put you (the government) on notice, and you should have filed a false claim before," the Armstrong defense source said.

Armstrong confessed to doping last month after denying it for more than a decade.

The U.S. Justice Department announced Friday that it has joined the civil fraud case against Armstrong for doping under the False Claims Act.

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