Getty Images

Nadal puts end to 2016 season because of left wrist injury

Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Rafael Nadal is cutting short his 2016 season so he can fully recover from a left wrist injury.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion said Thursday he is still bothered by the injury that kept him out of action for more than two months this season and wants to treat it properly before coming back in 2017.

“Now it is time to rest and start preparing intensively (for) the 2017 season,” the 30-year-old Spaniard said in a statement.

Nadal said he will miss indoor tournaments in Basel, Switzerland, next week and Paris next month. He is also ruled out of the season-ending ATP Finals in London next month.

Nadal said he forced his recovery to be able to play in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and that caused him to be in pain in every tournament since then.

Nadal has slipped to No. 6 in the rankings. He won back-to-back clay-court titles in Barcelona and Monte Carlo last spring but has not won any tournaments since then.

The statement said the original injury healed properly but the pain in the wrist area kept bothering him and kept him from performing at 100 percent.

“It is no secret that I arrived to the Olympic Games short of preparation and not fully recovered, but the goal was to compete and win a medal for Spain,” he said. “This forced recovery has caused me pain since then and now I am forced to stop and start preparing the 2017 season.”

Nadal won the doubles gold medal in Rio. He lost in the singles semifinals and also in the third-place match.

The injury had forced Nadal to withdraw from the French Open before the third round and skip Wimbledon altogether.

“I am very saddened for not being able to play next week in Basel since I have a great memory of the tournament and the final played against Roger Federer last year,” he said. “I won’t be able to compete either in Paris-Bercy, where the crowds and the staff have always treated me so well.”

Serena Williams loses in 1st round at Miami Open to Osaka

Getty Images
Leave a comment

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Serena Williams lost in the first round of the Miami Open on Wednesday, still rusty in her return from pregnancy and unable to overcome a tough draw against Naomi Osaka, who won 6-3, 6-2.

The 20-year-old Osaka, who earned her first career title Sunday at Indian Wells, showed no signs of letup and overpowered the erratic Williams. Osaka had the stronger serve, and in rallies wore down Williams working her from side to side.

The matchup worthy of a final came about because both players are unseeded. Osaka is ranked a career-best 22nd, while Williams’ ranking is 491st after her layoff of more than a year.

Another new mother and former No. 1, three-time Key Biscayne champion Victoria Azarenka, defeated Catherine Bellis 6-3, 6-0.

Williams has endured a first-round defeat only four other times, most recently at the 2012 French Open. The latest loss came at a tournament she has won a record eight times and considers her hometown event.

The match was the last for Williams at Key Biscayne, 90 miles south of her home in Palm Beach Gardens. The tournament is moving next year to the Miami Dolphins’ stadium, and Williams helped with the ceremonial groundbreaking Monday.

After her defeat, she left without speaking to the media.

Because of Williams’ ranking, she entered the draw as a wild card, and looked the part. She was a step slow to balls in the corners and often late with her swing, while she put barely half her first serves in play.

Osaka, who has both American and Japanese citizenship and lives in Fort Lauderdale, was playing her idol for the first time but didn’t seem a bit fazed. She improved to 14-4 this year.

Things may get tougher for her in the second round, when she’ll face No. 4-seeded Elina Svitolina.

More AP tennis coverage:

Sock, Querrey, Isner among U.S. Davis Cup picks

Getty Images
Leave a comment

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Jack Sock, Sam Querrey, John Isner, Ryan Harrison and Steve Johnson have been picked for the U.S. Davis Cup team that will face Belgium in the quarterfinals next month in Nashville, Tennessee.

The U.S. Tennis Association announced captain Jim Courier’s roster Wednesday. Belgium’s team hasn’t been made public yet.

Sock is the highest-ranked American man at No. 11 this week, with Querrey at 14th and Isner 17th.

The matches will be played on a hard court at Belmont University from April 6-8.

The winner will face Croatia or Kazakhstan in the semifinals Sept. 14-16. The U.S. hasn’t been to the Davis Cup’s final four since 2012.

The United States holds a 4-0 record against Belgium in the Davis Cup, but the countries last played each other in 2005.