Victoria Azarenka, fresh off beating Serena Williams in the Sony Ericsson Open final in Florida, has been forced to withdraw from the Family Circle Cup tennis tournament due to an inflamed right shoulder.

The Family Circle Cup is scheduled to begin Saturday with qualifying matches on Daniel Island. The main draw begins Monday with a strong player field including defending champion Serena Williams, 2004 champion Venus Williams, 2008 Olympic gold medalist Elena Dementieva, and 2008 runner-up Vera Zvonareva.

"I am really sorry that I have to withdraw from the Family Circle Cup in Charleston next week due to an injury in my right shoulder," said Azarenka, a 19-year-old from Belarus who rose to No. 8 in this week's world rankings. "I was looking forward to returning to Charleston and building on the momentum that I have from the past few weeks. I am looking forward to returning to Charleston in 2010."

See today's Post and Courier for a special section previewing the Family Circle Cup.


Starting linebacker LeRoy Hill has chosen to stay away from the Seahawks' voluntary — but highly encouraged — minicamp for veterans this week.

The former Clemson star wants a multiyear contract instead of signing a tender offer worth a guaranteed $8.3 million for 2009 as Seattle's designated franchise player. Seattle and Hill's representatives remain in touch, though little progress has been made in negotiations.

Coach Jim Mora said he hoped Hill would be at Tuesday's first practice of the minicamp, but that did not happen.

--The agents representing one of the NFL draft's top prospects, defensive tackle B.J. Raji, strongly disputed a report that the former Boston College player failed a drug test at the league's scouting combine in February.

In an e-mail sent to The Associated Press, Brian Murphy and Mark Humenik referred to the reports as "cowardly" and "malicious," noting their client has not been notified by the NFL of any failed test. The e-mail also noted that the NFL has issued a statement challenging the report initially posted on

--Tank Johnson, a player with legal troubles in his background, is joining the Bengals, a team that frequently has dealt with such issues. The 27-year-old defensive tackle agreed to a contract with Cincinnati after a stint with the Cowboys.