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ATP to assist in tsunami relief

The men's tennis tour and some of the sport's biggest names will join organizers of a Madras tournament next week in assisting victims of the tsunami that devastated India's south coast.

The ATP, the governing body of men's tennis, will donate the $25,000 sanctioning fee for the Chennai Open to UNICEF emergency efforts in the state of Tamil Nadu, of which Chennai is the capital.

Roger Federer, Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt, the top-ranked players, will auction autographed rackets, with the money also going to UNICEF relief.

"We have all witnessed unimaginable scenes from South Asia the last few days," said Swedish star Jonas Bjorkman, who will play in Madras. "The horrific tragedy that has followed the earthquake at sea last Sunday is impossible to fully comprehend or put into words. But it is possible to act."

The Chennai Open, South Asia's lone ATP Tour event, begins Monday and runs through Jan. 9. The decision to proceed came after all the players confirmed they would compete and several said they wanted to donate prize money, tournament promoter Ravi Krishnan of International Management Group said.

"We were naturally worried about the tournament's fate, but it's going to be played as originally scheduled," Krishnan told the Associated Press Friday.

Madras has hosted the tournament the past seven years. The event will help launch the new season, with other tournaments in Adelaide, Australia, and Doha, Qatar.

"We have a deep connection with Asia," ATP chief executive Mark Miles said. "We hope that our activities and support via UNICEF relief efforts provide some help during this trying time."

NHL

Bertuzzi wants hearing

Todd Bertuzzi has requested a hearing with commissioner Gary Bettman to determine if the Vancouver forward's indefinite suspension for his attack on Colorado's Steve Moore should be lifted. Pat Morris, Bertuzzi's agent, said he is waiting to hear from Bettman. NHL chief legal counsel Bill Daly has said Bettman at some point soon wants to schedule a hearing, a move backed by the union. Bertuzzi was suspended for the balance of the regular season and playoffs for his hit on Moore during a March 8 game in Vancouver. On Dec. 22 in Vancouver, Bertuzzi pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm. He received probation and was ordered to perform community service.

CAPITALS: Forward Jeff Halpernis returning to Switzerland to play for the top division Kloten Flyers. Earlier this season, Halpern played for a Swiss B League club, recording five goals and 12 assists in 15 games.

AUTOS

An American first

NASCAR driver Robby Gordon won the opening leg of the Dakar Rally, the first American to capture a stage in the car division of the world's most grueling road race. Gordon, driving a Volkswagen in his first Dakar Rally, covered a 4-mile sprint along a beach outside Barcelona in 4 minutes, 20 seconds.

ET CETERA

DOPING: U.S. sprinter Mickey Grimes was suspended for two years after testing positive for steroids, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said.

SOCCER: Coach Adnan Hamad, who led Iraq to the semifinals at the Athens Olympics in August, resigned because of security concerns and trouble getting players to join the national team. Argentina's Carlos Tevez was voted the best player in Latin America for second straight year.

RUNNING: Kenyans Robert Cheruyiot and Lydia Cheromei won the St. Silvester road race in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Cheruyiot, who also won in 2002, completed the 9.3-mile course in 44 minutes, 43 seconds. Cheromei won for the third time, finishing in 53:01.

SAILING: Britain's Aera won the annual Sydney to Hobart race, finishing ahead of Nicorette to become the 12th non-Australian boat to win the Tattersalls Cup. It covered the 628 miles in 3 days, 2 hours, 33 minutes, 43 seconds.

Compiled from Times wires.

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