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WIMBLEDON WATCH: Heat ticket-holder Andy Murray keeping tabs on LeBron James' contract choice

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LONDON - Wimbledon champion — and basketball fan — Andy Murray has a message for LeBron James: Please don't go.

Murray is a Miami Heat season-ticket-holder, so he's keeping tabs on what happens with James during the NBA off-season.

"I hope he stays in Miami," Murray said Wednesday after reaching the third round at the All England Club. "But, yeah, I guess we'll obviously have to wait and see what his decision is."

James' agent let the Heat know Tuesday that the four-time NBA MVP will opt out of the final two years of his deal, which allows him to become a free agent next week. He still could return to Miami.

"There's no guarantees he's going to leave, just because he opted out of his contract. I guess we'll just have to wait a few weeks," said Murray, who often trains in Florida. "But my season tickets last for another year or two, so ideally, I'd rather he stayed."

— By Howard Fendrich —


PINGPONG VICTORY: Ernests Gulbis went from semifinalist at the French Open to second-round loser at Wimbledon, but he jokingly took some solace from a victory over two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka — at pingpong, that is.

The two are pals, and Azarenka mentioned this week that she discussed fine art with Gulbis.

When he was asked about that, Gulbis said they had dinner together.

And then he made sure to mention what happened when they grabbed some paddles at the place Azarenka is staying at during Wimbledon.

"She didn't tell you how she lost to me in table tennis? She bragged all evening about how good she is in table tennis," he said with a smile Wednesday, "but then I showed her who is the true table tennis champion."

Azarenka could not immediately be reached for comment.

— By Howard Fendrich —


ORDERLY START: It's as much a tradition as strawberries and cream at Wimbledon — the orderly start to each day when the gates open at the All England Tennis Club and those holding grounds passes are allowed in.

While seats at Centre Court and Courts 1 and 2 are reserved, seating on all other courts — on Wednesday, there were 14 others in use — is on a first-come, first-served basis, increasing the possibility for a mad dash for prime seats.

But not at Wimbledon.

Just before 10:30 a.m., an announcement is made warning those already inside the gates to prepare for the approaching crowds. In reality, there's not much chance of being run over, thanks to the methodical work of three straw-hat-wearing stewards and four or five security personnel who follow them.

In behind are several hundred fans who make their way in a group from the main spectator gate along a pathway parallel to Centre Court and then are released near the media centre to go on their merry way. Even after the stewards drop their length of chain link rope, the crowds toddle off at a quick pace, but hardly anyone runs.

— By Dennis Passa —


ANDY TO THE RESCUE — Andy Murray rescued a dog on a busy street a few minutes from his home on the way to practice, causing his mother Judy to wonder if her son might not be injured in the process.

Murray said Wednesday after his second-round win over Blaz Rola that he was stopped at a traffic light when he saw the dog running in the road over the weekend.

"I basically was like, 'What's going on?'" Murray said. "I didn't see an owner. Then I just jumped out the car. You just get visions of a car coming round that corner and hitting the dog. So I just stopped in front of the traffic, got out, stopped the traffic, then tried to stop the dog."

Murray said he grabbed the dog by the collar and "threw it in the back of my car, then drove to the place where people where I live walk the dogs. I called the number that was on the tag. But as I was leaving the message, my (mother) had bumped into the owner and gave the dog to the owner."

Earlier Wednesday, Judy Murray said she feared for her son's safety when he rescued the labradoodle — a cross between a Labrador retriever and a poodle.

She said her reaction was: "What you doing? You're on the way to Wimbledon and you're going to get run over."

She said the dog's owner was surprised to see who had saved her pet.

"Andy was sitting in the car and she just went 'Oh, my god!'"

— By Dennis Passa —


Wimbledon Watch follows tennis' grass-court Grand Slam tournament in London as seen by journalists from The Associated Press. It will be updated throughout the day.

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