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Andy Murray Knighted At Buckingham Palace ... Sir Andy!!!

5/16/2019 11:25 AM PDT
Breaking News

Call him Sir Andy Murray now ... 'cause the tennis superstar was at Buckingham Palace on Thursday -- receiving his knighthood from Prince Charles himself!!

The 32-year-old actually learned he'd be receiving the honor back in 2016 ... but he held off on having the ceremony until this week because of his tennis schedule.

What exactly does knighthood entail for Murray? Nothin' crazy ... the award is just a way for the Royal Fam to recognize the 3-time Grand Slam champion's achievements on and off the court.

It's kind of like when Donald Trump gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Tiger Woods

But, Murray was still stoked about the honor afterward, saying, "I'm very proud to receive it. It's a nice day to spend with my family."

It's also a good moment for Murray given what he's been through this past year. Remember, he underwent hip surgery just a few months ago to try to save his tennis career.

Murray seems to be recovering well, but unclear if he'll be ready for Wimbledon this summer.

By the way, Murray is reportedly the first tennis player EVER to be knighted ... Pretty cool, right???

Actor Boris Kodjoe I Could've Been Tennis Pro ... Top 10 in the World!!!

4/27/2019 12:05 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Before he was Captain Robert Sullivan, he was crushin' kids on the tennis court ... and actor Boris Kodjoe tells TMZ Sports he was so good, he could've been one of the best players in the world!!!

We spoke with the "Station 19" actor at LAX about his love for the sport ... and asked him straight-up if he had what it takes to make a career out of it if he wanted to.

As it turns out ... Kodjoe is a freakin' beast ... and says he was ranked in the top 10 at the junior level, went on to play at Virginia Commonwealth University in the '90s on tennis scholarship for 4 years.

So what happened??? Kodjoe explains a back injury forced him to seek employment off the court ... and he ended up doing all right -- he's starred in the movie "Brown Sugar" just a few years later.

Tennis' Justin Gimelstob Files for Restraining Order Against Guy He Beat Up

4/24/2019 11:54 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Ex-pro tennis player Justin Gimelstob has filed court docs to get a restraining order against the man he beat up back in October ... claiming the man is hellbent on revenge. 

Gimelstob was involved in a physical altercation with Randall Kaplan in Brentwood, CA on Halloween 2018. Kaplan claimed he suffered injuries from the incident. Gimelstob claimed Kaplan instigated the fight. 

Gimselstob ultimately pled no contest to felony battery -- which the judge later reduced to a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 3 years probation and 60 days of community service. 

Now, 42-year-old Gimselstob wants a restraining order issued against Kaplan claiming he's convinced Kaplan is "willing to go to great lengths -- both physical and non-physical -- to hurt him."

In his petition for the order, Gimelstob also claims his attorney, Shawn Holley, was contacted by someone in Kaplan's "inner-circle" who said Kaplan is obsessed with Gimelstob and is "seeking to destroy him."

Gimelstob also wants the order extended to include his 5-year-old son. 

Gimelstob's attorney Suann MacIsaac tells TMZ Sports, "Justin Gimelstob pled no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge to accept responsibility for his role in the events on Haloween and to move on with his professional life and focus on his family."

"Today, he filed a civil restraining order against Mr. Kaplan -- who has been obsessed with Mr. Gimelstob for years and provoked the events of Halloween evening to carry out his repeated threats to destroy Mr. Gimelstob. Justin simply wants Mr. Kaplan to stay away from him and his family so he can move on."

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for May. 

Naomi Osaka Getting Close with YBN Cordae ... Not 'Official' Yet

4/18/2019 10:37 AM PDT
Exclusive Details

Naomi Osaka is VERY close to being off the market ... 'cause the #1-ranked women's tennis player in the world is getting REAL close with rapper YBN Cordae!!!

In fact, Cordae made a recent cameo on Naomi's IG -- leading many to think the appearance was their public coming out party. 

But, sources close to the two tell TMZ Sports ... while they're spending a lot of time together lately -- and they like each other -- they're not "officially" an item. At least, not yet. 

As one source put it, "Just give it a week."

21-year-old Osaka has been a BEAST on the pro tennis circuit -- famously beating Serena Williams at the U.S. Open back in 2018. She was also just named in Time's 100 most influential people. 

21-year-old Cordae is a fast-rising star in the rap game -- he's backed by Dr. Dre and recently hung out with Diddy. He's the real deal. 

Cordae is part of the YBN collective -- one of the hottest young groups in music. He is also expected to be named to XXL's Freshman list in 2019.

Just this week, Osaka posted a video with Cordae -- and captioned it, "Can’t take this guy anywhereeeee lol"

Bottom line -- they're not officially official ... but it's only a matter of time.

Tennis Star Petra Kvitova Man Who Stabbed Wimbledon Champ ... Gets Prison

3/26/2019 9:46 AM PDT
Breaking News

The scumbag who stabbed 2-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova during a 2016 home invasion robbery has been sentenced to serve 8 years in a Czech Republic prison, officials say. 

Kvitova was slashed badly during the Dec. 2016 incident at her C.R. apartment -- suffering major damage to her left hand while trying to fend off her attacker. 

While bleeding all over her apartment, Kvitova offered the attacker 10,000 Czech crown (roughly $440) ... which he took and left. 

The suspect was eventually identified as Radim Zondra -- and he was captured in May 2018. The trial took place in February and Kvitova personally testified against him. 

As for her injuries, Kvitova underwent surgery to repair damage to the tendons in her left hand and 2 nerves. All five of her fingers on her left hand were also injured in the attack. 

What was even worse for Kvitova -- she's known for having a powerful left hand ... so the attack could have derailed her career. 

The good news ... 29-year-old Kvitova returned to tennis less than 5 months after the attack and has already climbed her way back to the #2-ranked women's tennis player in the world. Amazing. 

As for the criminal, in addition to prison -- he was also ordered to pay back the $440 he stole. 

Kvitova has been dominating this year -- she reached the final at the Australian Open and is currently competing in the Miami Open. 

She won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014. 

Naomi Osaka Blasts 'Absurd' Lawsuit Ain't Paying Ex-Coach 20% For Life!

3/18/2019 12:16 PM PDT
Exclusive Details

12:16 PM PT -- Osaka has lawyered up with attorney to the stars Alex Spiro and he's attacking Jean's claim as straight-up "absurd."

"While it comes as no surprise that Naomi's meteoric rise as an international icon and inspiration would lead to some false claim, this silly 'contract' that Naomi never saw or signed -- which purports to give away part of herself at the age of 14 -- is particularly absurd," Spiro says. 

"This case has no merit and we will move past it.”

The tennis coach who began working with Naomi Osaka back when she was 13 claims her father signed a contract promising him 20% of her career earnings ... and now he's coming to collect. 

The man behind the lawsuit is Christophe Jean -- who says Naomi's father, Leonard Francois, hired him to work with Naomi and his other daughter, Mari, back in 2011. 

Jean says Francois couldn't pay his rates at the time, so they struck a deal in which Jean agreed to accept 20% of Naomi and Mari's tennis prize money and endorsement deals forever. 

That's not a typo ... Jean says he has a copy of the contract where Francois agrees that the term of the deal is "indefinite." It's included in Jean's suit, filed in state court in Florida. 

Of course, Naomi -- now 21 years old -- has blossomed into a tennis superstar, currently ranked #1 in the world ... and famously beat Serena Williams at the 2018 US Open

According to the official WTA website, she's made more than $10.8 MILLION during her career -- and that's not including endorsement money. 

So, Jean wants his cut -- at least $2 million -- which is why he's suing Naomi, Mari and Leonard. 

The other possible issue ... can a parent promise a cut of a minor child's future adult earnings? And, can a judge enforce such a contract?

It's not exactly cut and dry. We're looking into it. 

Originally Published -- 7:05 AM PT

Serena Williams Tennis Punished Me For Taking Maternity Leave

3/8/2019 7:14 AM PST
Breaking News

Serena Williams says the pro tennis ranking system is "biased" against working moms -- and she's living proof -- claiming she took a HUGE hit for taking maternity leave and it's simply not right. 

"When I returned to tennis from maternity leave, I was penalized for taking time off: my ranking dropped from #1 in the world to #453," Serena wrote in an op-ed for Fortune

"That required me to face tougher competition earlier in the French Open, which led to a pectoral injury that forced me to drop out."

Serena gave birth to her daughter, Olympia, back in Sept. 2017 -- but there were complications which required Serena to undergo emergency surgery following the delivery. 

Everyone is okay now ... and Serena returned to tennis 8 months after giving birth. The problem? Serena says the extremely low ranking the ATP and WTA gave her when she returned was super unfair and forced her to overcome obstacles she shouldn't have had to overcome! 

"I fought hard personally, making it to the Wimbledon final shortly after, but I also fought hard publicly against the biased ranking system. We must stop penalizing women when they return to their careers after having children."

She added, "Women deserve to be given the same respect and opportunities as our male counterparts. We are entitled to the same open doors."

The good news ... the WTA announced back in December they recognized this very problem -- and vowed to give protection to mothers who return to the tour after giving birth. 

The WTA says female players who give birth will be able to use their pre-maternity leave ranking to enter 12 tournaments over a 3-year period, which seems like a practical solution. 

Oh, and don't worry about Serena -- she returned to the Top 10 rankings just last month ... because she's the G.O.A.T.

Steve Harvey Will Smith as Serena's Dad? ... Hell Yeah!!!

3/6/2019 9:42 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Skin color controversy be damned, Steve Harvey thinks Will Smith would be the PERFECT guy to play Serena Williams' dad on the big screen.

There's a new movie being shopped around about Richard Williams -- Serena and Venus' father -- and it appears Will Smith is the #1 choice to play the #1 dad.

But, there's been a major backlash from people who say Will's complexion is too LIGHT to match the real Richard ... and critics are already calling for potential producers to find a more dark-skinned actor. 

Steve Harvey doesn't see it that way ... telling TMZ Sports the beloved entertainer can do no wrong.

"Hell yeah, Will Smith is a good choice for everything."

Smith hasn't officially signed on to the project or even commented about it publicly. The project is only in the "spec script" stage.

However, there's been a push on social media for other actors to get the lead role -- suggested names have included Don CheadleForest Whitaker and even Usher.

We asked what Harvey thought about the latter ... and it's safe to say he ain't buyin' it.

"Come on, man."

As for the biopic ... Deadline reports its working title is "King Richard" and will tell the story of how the world's most famous tennis parent raised the 2 sisters from the streets of Compton to international tennis superstardom, despite Richard having no real tennis experience of his own. 

Venus and Serena both went on to become the #1 ranked tennis players in the world ... sitting #1 and #2 on the all-time women's tennis career earnings list. 

Tennis' Justin Gimelstob Denies Alleged Halloween Assault ... I'm Not Violent!

2/22/2019 2:29 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Justin Gimelstob -- an ex-tennis star and broadcaster -- says he did NOT beat the hell out of a man during a trick-or-treating run last Halloween ... telling TMZ Sports he's not a violent person.

As we previously reported ... Gimelstob -- a former doubles champ who's coached tennis star John Isner -- was arrested after he allegedly roughed up a man named Randall Kaplan on Oct. 31, 2018.

According to Kaplan ... Gimelstob punched him "more than 50 times" in the face and head during the alleged assault and threatened to "f**king kill" him.

Gimelstob was charged with felony battery ... but when we got him out after his latest court date in L.A. on Thursday -- he told us he's an innocent man.

"I'm not the person that's been depicted here," Gimelstob says ... adding that he's NOT a violent person.

Gimelstob is facing up to 4 years in prison AND a fine of up to $10,000. He previously pled not guilty to the charge back in December.

Justin's due back in court next week.

Gimelstob was a star in doubles matches back in the late '90s ... winning with partner Venus Williams in both the 1998 Australian Open and 1998 French Open mixed doubles tournaments.

Gimelstob -- who's become a star broadcaster in retirement -- has taken a leave of absence from his role as an analyst on the Tennis Channel while his case plays out in the court system.

Meghan Markle Hits Fancy NYC Restaurant ... With Serena Williams

2/20/2019 6:25 AM PST

Meghan Markle took her fetus for a night on the town Tuesday -- hitting the famous Polo Bar restaurant for dinner with her pal Serena Williams ... and we've got the video. 

Her Royal Highness had a busy day -- she flew into New York for her baby shower at The Mark Hotel earlier in the day ... where friends like Abigail Spencer and Jessica Mulroney helped celebrate the mom-to-be. 

Afterward, it was off to Ralph Lauren's Polo Bar -- famous for its $20 "RRL Hot Dog" -- which comes with sauerkraut, sweet relish & mustard on a toasted brioche bun.  

If she didn't have the dog, she missed out. 

On the way out, 37-year-old Meghan strutted to her waiting SUV while clutching a fancy black Stella McCartney purse. 

FYI, everything Meghan touches seems to sell out in minutes -- guessing royal fashion-aholics already snapped up the remaining stock. 

Serena followed Meghan and got in the same SUV. 

By the way, Serena and Meghan have been close for years -- they met at a Super Bowl party back in the day and grew so close, Meghan even invited the tennis legend to her wedding to Prince Harry

Serena Williams Pottery Hottery

2/15/2019 9:21 AM PST
Breaking News

Betcha didn't think pottery could be so appealing ... but, here's Serena Williams to prove it's definitely possible.

The tennis superstar put more than just her clay curves on display at a pottery studio on Thursday ... rockin' a leopard print shirt and some jean shorts that would make Daisy Duke proud.

Serena -- a Jehovah's Witness -- doesn't celebrate holidays, so she hit up Avenue Pottery in South Florida with some friends for GALentine's Day instead!!!

Serena picked out the matching outfits with her friend ... and posted about the experience, saying, "I’m really getting into pottery."

Of course, Serena addressed not celebrating holidays when her baby, Alexis Olympia, turned 1 back in September ... saying, "Olympia doesn't celebrate birthdays. We're Jehovah's Witnesses, we don't do that."

Williams' hubby certainly doesn't seem to mind not celebrating V-Day ... saying, "Those pottery skills tho" with a set of eye emojis.

Yeah, dude. Pottery skills.

Andy Murray Undergoes Hip Surgery Thinks He Looks Fat

1/29/2019 6:14 AM PST
Breaking News

Tennis superstar Andy Murray says he's in some serious pain after undergoing hip surgery in London early Monday morning -- but even worse ... the guy thinks he's fat. 

The 31-year-old Wimbledon champ has been in so much pain from his messed up hip over the past 2 years that he's considered retiring from tennis if the doctors can't fix him up. 

So, he went under the knife on Monday -- and seems to be optimistic. 

"I underwent a hip resurfacing surgery in London yesterday morning...feeling a bit battered and bruised just now but hopefully that will be the end of my hip pain," Murray said. 

"I now have a metal hip as you can see in the 2nd photo 👉👉 and I look like I've got a bit of a gut in photo 1."

Dude, you don't have a gut. 

The good news for Murray, tennis star Bob Bryan has previously had the same procedure and returned to the court after only 5 months of recovery. 

If Murray has the same results, he could compete at Wimbledon in July. 

Fingers crossed. 

Andy Murray Topless Suntan with Mom ... Retirement is Great!!

1/16/2019 7:43 AM PST
Breaking News

Andy Murray's freein' the nip in retirement ... ditching his shirt to catch some rays with his mom in Australia!!

The British tennis superstar announced his plans to retire due to injuries earlier this month ... and might've just played his last match after losing in the first round of the Australian Open.

Murray started his first full day off with a topless suntan in Melbourne with his mom ... strollin' the Yarra River and enjoying the R&R.

BTW -- Murray has 3 grand slam titles and was once the top player in the world.

The 31-year-old has hinted at a possible return down the road ... so maybe we haven't seen the end of Murray. But, if it is the end, the dude looks like he'll be just fine.

Catch those rays, Andy ... you deserve it!!

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