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Nadal, Lopez win Olympic tennis men’s doubles for Spain

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RIO DE JANEIRO- Rafael Nadal added a second Olympic tennis gold medal to all of those Grand Slam trophies, teaming with Marc Lopez to win the men’s doubles championship for Spain at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Nadal and Lopez came back from a break down in the third set and claimed the last three games to beat Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau of Romania 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the final Friday.

Nadal, a 14-time champion at major tournaments, also won an Olympic title in singles at the 2008 Beijing Games. This is the first medal for Lopez.

The silver for Mergea and Tecau is the first tennis medal for Romania in Olympic history.

The bronze went to Steve Johnson and Jack Sock of the United States. They beat the Canadian team of Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-4 earlier Friday.

Sock and Pospisil won the Wimbledon doubles championship together in 2014.

It was another busy day for Nadal, who won his singles quarterfinal in three sets earlier Friday.

Nadal does not play doubles often on tour, focusing on a singles career that has included stints at No. 1 in the rankings and a record nine French Open titles. Of his nine previous doubles championships, four came with Lopez as his partner, although they hadn’t played even one match together this year until arriving in Brazil.

Lopez won his first Grand Slam doubles title at the French Open in June, pairing with Feliciano Lopez – they’re not related – to beat American twins Bob and Mike Bryan in that final.

On Friday, the Romanians appeared to get the upper hand when they broke Marc Lopez to lead 4-3 in the final set. Lopez double-faulted to love-40, then hit a mediocre lob. Tecau’s overhead was netted by Nadal.

But in the very next game, with Tecau serving, the Spanish duo broke right back. Mergea sailed a forehand long to set up a break point, then put a volley into the net, making it 4-all.

After Nadal held for a 5-4 edge, the Spaniards broke again, converting their third match point when Mergea sent an overhead long.

Nadal and Lopez, both near the baseline, dropped their rackets and fell to the court, staying down for a few moments to enjoy the victory.

After the winners got up and shook hands with their opponents and the chair umpire, Nadal pulled Lopez in for a big hug.

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

Nastase banned from Fed Cup and Davis Cup until 2019

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LONDON — Ilie Nastase has been banned from the Fed Cup and Davis Cup until 2019 because of his foul-mouthed comments and bad behavior as Romania’s captain during a Fed Cup match against Britain.

In addition to the ban, the International Tennis Federation said Friday the 1973 French Open champion will not be able to work in an official capacity for a further two years, until 2021.

The 71-year-old Nastase was also fined $10,000. He has three weeks to appeal the decision.

“Mr. Nastase made a comment about Serena Williams’s unborn child that was highly inappropriate and racially insensitive,” the ITF said.

Nastase also “made advances of a sexual nature towards Anne Keothavong, the captain of the Great Britain team” and “made abusive and threatening comments to the match officials and to members of the Great Britain team.”

Although he will have to sit out ITF events, the ban does not apply to Grand Slam, ATP or WTA tournaments, which are not under the governing body’s jurisdiction.

Nastase was provisionally suspended in April after he speculated about the skin color of the baby that Williams is expecting and for outbursts during a Fed Cup match between Romania and Britain.

He previously acknowledged making mistakes and having shortcomings, but stressed “the cause I fight for is tennis, the sport I really love, which I cannot separate from my life.”

As Fed Cup captain, Nastase hurled abuse at British player Johanna Konta, Keothavong and the umpire. The referee ejected Nastase.

Nastase, a former top-ranked player, was barred from the French Open and was not invited to the Royal Box at Wimbledon, where he was a two-time finalist.

More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis

World Cup of Tennis put on hold for at least a year

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LONDON–The International Tennis Federation is putting off its proposal for a World Cup of Tennis Finals for another year.

The ITF said last month it wanted to combine next year’s Davis Cup and Fed Cup finals into one event to raise the profile of the two national team competitions. But on Thursday, the governing body said it would not put the motion to a vote at its annual general meeting next month in Vietnam.

Other proposals, such as reducing the men’s matches to best-of-three sets and possibly skipping the final match of the series if it is already decided, will still go before member nations for ratification at the Aug. 4 meeting in Ho Chi Minh City.

“We promised change and are already delivering change with a significant series of reforms,” ITF President David Haggerty said in a statement. “Taking another year to build consensus around the World Cup of Tennis Finals will allow us to finalize an even stronger recommendation to the AGM.”

Last month, the ITF said it wanted to start staging the World Cup of Tennis in November 2018 in Geneva. The Swiss city was to host the event for three years at its 18,000-seat Palexpo.

The ITF said then that it had made the announcement of the host city well in advance in an effort to follow the successful model used by the Super Bowl and Champions League final.

But that has now been put on hold as the governing body tries to sell its idea to its voting members.

“This decision shows that we do not act unilaterally,” Haggerty said, “and are working with all our stakeholders to find the best solution for tennis.”

Haggerty also announced the creation of a World Cup of Tennis Finals task force. Board members Katrina Adams and Bernard Giudicelli have been appointed as co-chairs.

“The World Cup of Tennis Finals will unlock considerable new revenue for investing back into the sport through the ITF’s member nations,” Haggerty said. “Investment in the development of the next generation remains the priority of the ITF and its national associations.”