Associated Press

Mattek-Sands will need surgery after Wimbledon injury

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LONDON — Top-ranked women’s doubles player Bethanie Mattek-Sands needs surgery after dislocating her right kneecap and rupturing her patella tendon during a singles match at Wimbledon.

“One of the most painful injuries that I’ve had,” the 32-year-old American said on Facebook Live on Saturday, “and I’ve had a few in my career.”

Wearing a black brace on her right leg, Mattek-Sands teared up and took some moments to gather herself as she appeared for about 10 minutes , speaking about what she called “an emotional and painful roller-coaster the past few days.”

Mattek-Sands arrived at Wimbledon bidding for a non-calendar-year Grand Slam in doubles with playing partner Lucie Safarova. The duo had won three major tournaments in a row and five overall.

In singles, Mattek-Sands is ranked 103rd and received a wild-card entry from the All England Club. Facing Sorana Cirstea of Romania in the second round on Thursday, Mattek-Sands fell to the grass when her right knee buckled as she moved toward the net in the third set’s opening game.

She immediately clutched her knee and, down on the turf, wailed loudly, imploring for someone to “Help me! Help me!”

Mattek-Sands said Saturday she has not watched video of what happened, adding: “I hate watching sports injuries on TV.”

“All I remember was hearing this `pop’ in my leg and everything was kind of slow after that. It was just this loud `pop,'” Mattek-Sands said.

“I just remember trying to take a step, my leg not being able to hold me, and I just went down. I remember my knee just feeling really tight and I took a look at it and something was wrong. … Something looked so wrong about it,” she said. “And I knew it was either dislocated or broken. I think at that point, I kind of freaked out.”

Cirstea climbed over the net to check on Mattek-Sands and attempt to comfort her.

“We’re all competitors on tour, and yet so many of the girls are my friends. And I think in that moment, Sorana was there as my friend,” Mattek-Sands said. “It didn’t really matter we were in the middle of a match. And it means a lot to me. She’s an amazing person.”

Mattek-Sands said “it felt like an eternity” until medical personnel eventually put her on a stretcher to remove her from Court 17 so she could be taken to the hospital.

“I remember all these thoughts going through my mind about rehab and my chance at Wimbledon, doubles with Lucie,” Mattek-Sands said. “And I think anyone that knows me knows I’m pretty positive and I smile a lot.”

She’s popular among other players on tour, known for a gregarious personality and loud fashion statements, including the stars-and-stripes knee-high socks she sported while teaming with Jack Sock to win a mixed-doubles gold medal for the U.S. at last year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Sock wrote her name on the shoes he wore during a mixed doubles match at Wimbledon on Friday.

Mattek-Sands will travel to New York on Sunday to see more doctors.

“I’ll be out for a while,” she said.

That is nothing new. Mattek-Sands, who was born in Minnesota, lived in Wisconsin and now calls Arizona home, had hip surgery less than a week after getting married in 2008. She tore her shoulder in 2011. She broke her right big toe in 2012. Her ranking dropped outside the top 250 in singles and doubles in 2014, when she missed six months after another hip operation.

“I’ll get through this,” she said Saturday.

Toward the end of her live video, Mattek-Sands mentioned the hospital visits she received from Cirstea and others, along with messages of support that flooded in after her injury.

“There’s moments when it helps to hear so many positive things. So thank you,” she said. “And I’ll get back out there.”

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.”