Australian Open officials yesterday said they fully understood Rafael Nadal’s decision to miss the first Grand Slam of the season in Melbourne and wished him a speedy return to the tour.
The Spaniard announced his withdrawal from the tournament on Friday, saying he was still suffering from the stomach virus which caused him to cancel his return to action in the Gulf this week after a six-month injury absence.
“We consider it not appropriate to play the Australian Open since we will not have enough preparation for a great competition like a Grand Slam tournament,” said Toni Nadal, the player’s uncle and coach.
“It is simply not conceivable that his first event is a best-of-five-sets tournament, he wouldn’t be ready for that. It is true we have been quite unlucky with this, but there is nothing we can do,” he said.
Nadal, an 11-time Grand Slam title winner, also pulled out of the Qatar Open, which starts tomorrow and where he was due to play his first official event since losing in the second round at Wimbledon in June.
“It is completely understandable and we really feel disappointed for him,” Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said. “But without any match practice and without sufficient lead-up time on the practice court, it makes it virtually impossible for him to get his body ready.”
“We just hope he gets better quickly and we see him back on the tour as soon as possible,” he said.
The former world No. 1 had been due to return to action after a knee injury which saw him miss the London Olympics, where he was defending champion, the US Open and the Davis Cup final, where Spain lost to the Czech Republic.
By missing the Australian Open, which starts on Jan. 14, Nadal will face another drop in the rankings having been runner-up to Novak Djokovic in this year’s final.
The record-breaking seven-time French Open champion will slip out of the top four for the first time in more than seven years.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017