‘Nothing to recover’: Nadal dismisses doubts over foot injury

Rafael Nadal has played down concerns over the chronic foot issue that resurfaced in Rome last week as he prepares to launch his bid for a 14th French Open title.

The Spaniard limped to a third-round loss to Denis Shapovalov at the Italian Open, but practiced in front of thousands of fans at Roland Garros on Wednesday without any obvious discomfort.

“There is nothing to recover,” Nadal told reporters Friday. “What happened in Rome is something that happened very often in my practices.

“I was suffering after that for a couple of days, but I feel better. That’s why I’m here.”

Nadal began the year with a 20-match winning run, capturing a second Australian Open title to claim a record 21st Grand Slam and move ahead of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

The 35-year-old then missed six weeks with a rib injury sustained during his run to the final in Indian Wells, where he suffered his first loss of the season to Taylor Fritz.

Nadal complained of a recurring foot problem in Rome, but he appears confident it can be managed in Paris.

“The pain is there always. It’s not going to disappear now. It’s about if the pain is high and strong enough to allow me to play with real chances or not,” he said.

“It’s something that I live every day with, so it’s nothing new for me and is not a big surprise.

“So I am here just to play tennis and to try to make the best result possible here in Roland Garros. And if I don’t believe that this thing can happen, probably I will not be here.”…

Iga Swiatek beats Azarenka at Italian Open for 25th straight win

Top-ranked Iga Swiatek was tested before pulling out a 6-4, 6-1 victory over former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka to reach the Italian Open quarterfinals on Thursday and extend her winning streak to 25 matches.

Azarenka took a 3-0 lead before Swiatek won five straight games in a grueling first set that lasted 1 hour, 20 minutes.

The defending champion in Rome, Swiatek is attempting to win her fifth straight tournament.

The last player to win more consecutive matches was Serena Williams, who had a streak of 27 in a row over 2014 and 2015.

Swiatek’s run makes her a favorite to win a second French Open when the year’s second Grand Slam gets underway in 10 days.

In a sign of how challenging it was for Swiatek to hold serve on the red clay court at the Foro Italico, she played more than twice as many points with her serve than Azarenka did — 98 to 47.…

Stan Wawrinka relishes ‘special’ challenge against Djokovic in Rome

Three-times major champion Stan Wawrinka said that playing Novak Djokovic is always special but added that he may not quite be ready to face a player of the world number one’s quality following his return from long-term injury.

The 37-year-old, who did not play for an entire year after undergoing two surgeries for a foot injury, battled past Laslo Dere 7-6(8) 3-6 6-4 to set up a 26th career meeting with Djokovic in the last-16 of the Italian Open on Thursday.

“It’s not the best prize, but it’s always special to play against him,” said Wawrinka, who has won his last two matches against the Serbian.

“I’m not where I want to be yet with my game, with my fitness level, with my mental (game). I need those matches, so to have a chance to play against the best player, it’s going to be really difficult for me, that’s for sure.”

Wawrinka’s victory over 14th seed Reilly Opelka in Rome earlier this week was his first in 15 months and the Swiss said he had a long way to go before regaining full fitness.

“I’m not ready to compete I think at that level, but it’s what I need. I need those challenges. I need to push myself as much as I can to keep improving.”

Djokovic, who defeated Aslan Karatsev in his opening match, is looking for his sixth title on the clay in Rome and first this season.…

Rafael Nadal wins Australian Open for record-setting 21st Grand Slam men’s singles title

Rafael Nadal made history Sunday at the Australian Open, defeating Daniil Medvedev for a record-setting 21st Grand Slam men’s singles title.

But it didn’t come easily.

In a rematch of the 2019 U.S. Open final that Nadal won in five sets, the 35-year-old Spaniard took down the 25-year-old Russian again in five sets after dropping the first two, 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.

Nadal’s Australian Open win comes after months away from the game because of a foot injury and a COVID-19 diagnosis during preparation for this event. He skipped Wimbledon after losing in the French Open semifinals to Novak Djokovic, and didn’t play at all after August.

“Without a doubt it had been probably one of the most emotional of ones my tennis career,” Nadal said after winning major title No. 21. “Having the huge support that I received during the three weeks, it’s just going to stay in my heart for the rest of my life.”

Nadal surpasses two other tennis greats, Djokovic and Roger Federer, for the most major titles in tennis history among men. Djokovic (deported for being unvaccinated) and Federer (knee injury) did not play in this tournament.

Nadal’s last major victory came in the 2020 French Open. He last won the Australian Open in 2009.…

Tennis Great Roger Federer Withdraws From US Open

A third surgery on his right knee looms for tennis great Roger Federer, casting doubt on the 40-year-old’s ability to continue as one of the world’s top players.

Federer announced his US Open withdrawal today in a video post on Instagram. In the video, he said there is no assurance he can come back from this latest setback.

“I want to give myself a glimmer of hope to return to the tour in some shape or form,’’ Federer said. “I am realistic. Don’t get me wrong. I know how difficult it is at this age to do another surgery and try it. But I want to be healthy and I’ll go through the rehab process.”

That could take months, Federer admitted.

“As you can imagine it’s not been simple,’’ Federer said. “I’ve been doing a lot of checks with doctors on my knee, getting all the information as I hurt myself further in the grass court season  and Wimbledon. It’s not the way to go forward. Unfortunately for the medium to long-term to feel better, I will need surgery. I’ll be on crutches for many weeks and out of the game for many months It will be difficult, but I know it’s the right thing to do. ‘’

Federer made it to the quarter finals at Wimbledon , which many believed was planned to be his last pro event. Federer is tied with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal for the most men’s Grand Slam titles (20). At Wimbledon, Federer was beaten by Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz. Soon after, Federer revealed his knee problem.…

Another Semi-final for Djokovic

It has been a very busy day for Novak Djokovic. After winning his men’s singles semi-final earlier in the day, he has also reached the final four of the mixed doubles competition along with his partner Nina Stojanovic. You can reach more about the world number one’s busy day.

Novak Djokovic picked up a comfortable win over Kei Nishikori on Thursday to qualify for the men’s tennis semi-finals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In the quarter-finals of the competition, the Serb beat his Japanese opponent 6-2, 6-0 in a match that lasted 70 minutes at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo.…

The Olympic Games’ medal table after day four

  1. Japan: 13 gold, 4 silver, 5 bronze, 22 total
  2. China: 12 gold, 6 silver, 9 bronze, 27 total
  3. USA: 11 gold, 11 silver, 9 bronze, 31 total
  4. Russian Olympic Committee: 7 gold, 10 silver, 6 bronze, 23 total
  5. Australia: 6 gold, 1 silver, 9 bronze, 16 total
  6. Great Britain: 5 gold, 6 silver, 5 bronze, 16 total
  7. South Korea: 4 gold, 2 silver, 5 bronze, 11 total
  8. Germany: 3 gold, 2 silver, 5 bronze, 10 total
  9. France: 3 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze, 8 total
  10. Netherlands: 2 gold, 6 silver, 3 bronze, 11 total
  11. Canada: 2 gold, 3 silver, 4 bronze, 9 total
  12. Hungary: 2 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze, 5 total
  13. Slovenia: 2 gold 1 silver, 1 bronze, 4 total
  14. Kosovo: 2 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 2 total
  15. Italy: 1 gold, 6 silver, 8 bronze, 15 total
  16. Switzerland: 1 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze, 6 total
  17. Chinese Taipei: 1 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze, 6 total
  18. Brazil: 1 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze, 5 total
  19. Georgia: 1 gold, 2 silver, 0 bronze, 3 total
  20. Romania: 1 gold, 2 silver, 0 bronze, 3 total
  21. Serbia: 1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze, 4 total
  22. Austria: 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze, 3 total
  23. Hong Kong: 1 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze, 2 total
  24. Tunisia: 1 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze, 2 total
  25. Croatia: 1 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze, 2 total
  26. Estonia: 1 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze, 2 total
  27. Uzbekistan: 1 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze, 2 total
  28. Bermuda: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 1 total
  29. Ecuador: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 1 total
  30. Fiji: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 1 total
  31. Iran: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 1 total
  32. Latvia: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 1 total
  33. Norway: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 1 total
  34. Philippines: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 1 total
  35. Thailand: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 1 total
  36. Spain: 0 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze, 3 total
  37. New Zealand: 0 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze, 3 total

Andy Murray says winning a medal in Tokyo would be greatest achievement of his career

Murray is representing Team GB at his fourth Olympics and will play ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime from Canada in the first round of the men’s singles. The 34-year-old won consecutive matches at Grand Slam level for the first time in four years on his Wimbledon singles return last month, before he lost to eventual semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov.

“That’s the goal, to try to win another medal. I’m aware that it’s not going to be easy,” Murray said ahead of the tournament starting on Saturday.

“I’m also in a slightly different position to what I was five years ago when I would have been expected to get one. That’s maybe not the case this time around.

“But for me it would be probably my best achievement if I could do that after everything that’s gone on the last few years.

“I’m motivated for that reason alone. I still believe that I can do that. I know this could be the last one for me. I want to go out there and leave everything out on the court, fight for every single point.”

Murray questioned whether his efforts to return to the top of the sport following his physical struggles in recent years were worth it after his third-round exit at Wimbledon earlier this month.

However, the Scot, who has four children aged five and under, says a chat with his daughter helped him reassess his initial downbeat assessment.

“When I got home the day after my match, my daughter said to me, ‘Daddy you’re home because you lost another tennis match’. I said to her, ‘Yes I did but what do you do when you lose at something?’

“And she said, ‘You try and try again’. And I was like, ‘Yes, that’s what I want to do’. I want to keep playing because I enjoy it. I still think I can play at a high level.

“There’s been difficult moments obviously in the last few months and the last year with the injuries and stuff but right now this is the …

Roger Federer To Miss Tokyo Olympics

Roger Federer has announced that he will miss this month’s Tokyo Olympics due to a knee injury.

Posting on Twitter, the five-time year-end World No. 1 said, “During the grass-court season, I unfortunately experienced a setback with my knee, and have accepted that I must withdraw from the Tokyo Olympic Games. I am greatly disappointed, as it has been an honor and highlight of my career each time I have represented Switzerland.

“I have already begun rehabilitation in the hopes of returning to the tour later this summer. I wish the entire Swiss team the best of luck and I will be rooting hard from a far. As always Hopp Schwiz!”

Federer, who missed the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games due to his left knee, underwent two right knee surgeries in 2020 after the Australian Open.

He returned to the Tour in Doha in March this year and has a 9-4 match record from five tournament outings, with his best result being a run to the Wimbledon quarter-finals (l. to Hurkacz).

The 28-time ATP Masters 1000 champion won a doubles gold medal with Stan Wawrinka in Beijing in 2008 and a singles silver medal (l. to Murray) in London in 2012.…

Best Brothers, Sisters and Twins in Sports

1. Manning Brothers
Peyton Manning, QB, Retired (45)
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants (41)

Archie and Olivia’s boys — you know, Cooper’s younger brothers — are still the standard. Both Peyton and Eli are former No. 1 overall picks, Super Bowl MVPs and Saturday Night Live hosts.

2. Williams Sisters
Venus Williams, Tennis (41)
Serena Williams, Tennis (39)

Everyone thought Richard was the craziest cook in Compton, Calif., when he was training Venus and Serena. Everyone still thinks he’s a loon, but his unorthodox style resulted in a pair of champions.

3. Gasol Hermanos
Pau Gasol, C, Barcelona (41)
Marc Gasol, C, Los Angeles Lakers (36)

The Spanish 7-footers were traded for each other back when Pau was an All-Star and Marc was his baby-fatted kid brother. Times have changed. Pau is on the trade block and Marc is the All-Star.

24. Curry Brothers
Stephen Curry, G, Golden State Warriors (33)
Seth Curry, G, 76ers (31)

Dell’s sons inherited their old man’s 3-point stroke but mom Sonya is the real star.

5. Staal Brothers
Eric Staal, C, Carolina Hurricanes (35)
Marc Staal, D, New York Rangers (35)
Jordan Staal, C, Carolina Hurricanes (33)
Jared Staal, RW, Charlotte Checkers (31)

Quantity outweighs quality with these Thunder Bay, Ontario, thunder-stick clappers.

Novak Djokovic wins Wimbledon to join Federer & Nadal as 20-time Grand Slam champion

World No 1 Novak Djokovic wins sixth Wimbledon title to claim sole ownership of fourth place on the list for most men’s singles titles at the All England Club, ahead of Bjorn Borg and Laurie Doherty; the Serb also becomes the fifth man in history to win the first three Slams of the season

Djokovic eventually overawed his Italian opponent 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4 6-3 on Centre Court to become the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the first three titles of the year, keeping him on track to emulate the Australian by claiming a calendar Grand Slam.

Throw in an Olympic singles gold medal in Tokyo, for which he will also be favorite, and Djokovic is on course to become the first man ever to win a Golden Slam. “That was more than a battle. Congratulations to Matteo for a fantastic tournament. It was a tough match today. He’s a true Italian hammer,” said Djokovic.

“Winning Wimbledon was always the biggest dream as a kid. I have to remember how special this is and not take it for granted and be aware this is a huge honor and privilege.

“From being a seven-year-old constructing a Wimbledon trophy out of raw materials to standing here with a sixth trophy. It’s incredible.”

On drawing level with Nadal and Federer, he added: “It means none of us three will stop!

“I have to pay a great tribute to Rafa and Roger. They are legends of our sport. The two most important players I ever faced.

“They are the reason I am where I am today. They made me realize what I had to do to improve. The last 10 years has been an incredible journey that is not stopping here.”

Djokovic has been a one-man brick wall in keeping the younger generation’s hands off the biggest titles, defeating Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and now Berrettini in Slam finals this year.

Big-serving Berrettini came into Wimbledon as one of the favorites having won his first grass-court title at Queen’s Club, …

Roger Federer knocked out by Hubert Hurkacz in quarter-finals

The Swiss lost 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 to the 14th seeded Pole, who reached his first Grand Slam semi-final.

It is the first time 20-time major champion Federer has lost a set to love at the All England Club.

Hurkacz will play seventh seed Matteo Berrettini for a place in Sunday’s final.

The Italian defeated Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3 5-7 7-5 6-3 to reach his first Wimbledon semi-final.

“It’s super special for me,” said Hurkacz, only the second Polish man to reach the semi-finals at a Grand Slam.

“Playing here and the special things [Federer] has done here, it’s a dream come true.”

Hurkacz, who was six when Federer won his first title at SW19, is the first player to win a set to love against the Swiss since Rafael Nadal in the 2008 French Open final.

Federer, at 39 years and 337 days, had been bidding to become the oldest man to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals in the Open era.

But defeat marked his first straight-set loss at Wimbledon in 19 years and left pundits and fans wondering whether this could turn out to be his final appearance at the grass-court Grand Slam.

Federer himself said he “does not know” if he will play at Wimbledon again.

Off-colour Federer falls short in bid to match record

Federer had two knee surgeries in 2020 and this was only his fifth event in 17 months, but had made no secret of the fact Wimbledon was his target this year as he looks to equal Martina Navratilova’s record of nine singles titles here.

With Novak Djokovic – into the semi-finals after defeating Marton Fucsovics – breathing down his and Rafael Nadal’s necks in the race for the most Grand Slams, this could have been his last chance to pull clear of his old foes on his best surface.

There had been concerns over his form coming into the tournament after a last-16 defeat by Auger-Aliassime at the Halle Open last month left him despondent, and he avoided an upset in the opening

Marcus Rashford and Andy Murray Support Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after struggling with her breathing during the second set of her fourth-round match with Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic; Marcus Rashford leads defence of the teenager after she faced criticism for pulling out of the match.

Raducanu revealed she struggled with her breathing and felt dizzy during her fourth-round Wimbledon clash with Ajla Tomljanovic on Monday before being advised to retire.

Difficulty breathing was given as the official reason for her withdrawal on Monday night but the initial lack of explanation for what caused it led to intense speculation.

John McEnroe was heavily criticized after jumping to the conclusion immediately after the match on the BBC that she could not handle the occasion, and Piers Morgan said on Twitter saying she needed to toughen up.

Andy Murray weighed in, replying to a tweet from Kevin Pietersen about mental toughness being what separated good athletes from great ones, although the former England cricketer later insisted he had not been referring to Raducanu.

Murray wrote: “No question mental toughness can be what separates the best in sport but surely both of you aren’t judging her mental toughness on yesterday’s match?!

“I think some of what he (McEnroe) said was fair yes.. however the timing of it was a bit off considering nobody had any clue what her issue was injury/illness/breathings issues etc at the time of his comments.”

Several other sports stars then got behind the teenager who announced herself as a new star of British tennis by reaching the last 16 on her debut at the All England Club.

Rashford, who has taken on politicians in his bid to improve childrens’ lives for the better, drew

Angelique Kerber blasts past Coco Gauff and into Wimbledon quarter-final

Five short weeks ago, Angelique Kerber stepped up to the baseline for the first round of her Roland Garros match against Anhelina Kalinina, then the world No 139, trailing 6-2, 5-0 and seemingly lost on the tennis court. The saddest part of the grim scene was that it was no surprise given Kerber’s form over the prior two years. Kerber was eventually snuffed out 6-2, 6-4 for her third successive grand slam first-round defeat. As she flailed outside the top 25 it was fair to wonder what the future held for her at 33 years old.

If ever there is an example of how quickly fortunes can change in tennis, the 2018 Wimbledon champion now stands resolute in the quarter-final as clear proof. On a particularly manic Monday, Kerber exhibited calm and considerable experience as she outplayed Coco Gauff, the 20th seed, on Centre Court to reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon with a clean 6-4, 6-4 win.

Both players struggled early on in a swirling wind that forced them to abort ball tosses and make last-minute stroke adjustments but Kerber, the 25th seed, eventually settled into the match and was mostly faultless thereafter. The German limited her unforced errors, her defense was often impenetrable and she returned Gauff’s nuclear deliveries with depth and consistency. When the opportunity presented itself, she consistently wrong-footed her American opponent with trademark down-the-line forehands before finishing the match with an array of winning passing shots.

Faced with a champion in full flow, Gauff did all she could to maintain contact. She pieced together numerous holds with enormous serving, her first serve consistently clearing 120mph, and constantly unleashed on her backhand. But her forehand was the clear difference between the two. Each time Kerber was in danger, she directed returns or defensive shots to the Gauff forehand, which could not consistently penetrate her defense.

Despite falling in the same round as in her breakthrough at Wimbledon two years ago, the identical results belie the clear progress Gauff has made over as her game continues to grow. …

Roger Federer Beats Lorenzo Sonego, Advances to Singles Quarterfinal

After surviving an early test in the first set, Roger Federer found his rhythm in a 7-5, 6-4, 6-2 win over Lorenzo Sonego to reach the quarterfinals in the 2021 Wimbledon gentlemen’s tournament. Federer made history, becoming the oldest men’s player to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal in 44 years.

With the first set tied 5-5, weather intervened to provide both players a brief rain delay and let the retractable roof over the Centre Court close.

Sonego looked like he was on the verge of taking control at the time of the delay. The 26-year-old Italian was up 40-15 at one point in the 11th game before play was suspended. After the delay, Federer was able to gather himself and take control of the match. Sonego made several mental mistakes down the stretch of the opening set that cost him. Federer wasn’t at his best in the opening set either. The eight-time Wimbledon champion committed 17 unforced errors, compared to nine for Sonego.

Once he closed out the first set in just over an hour of match time, Federer started to look more comfortable. He needed 44 minutes to wrap up the second set.

The stats from Federer’s 6-4 second-set win were much more in line with what fans are accustomed to seeing from him. The 39-year-old won 12 of his 15 first-serve points and 11 of 15 net points while committing four unforced errors.

The third set was largely more of the same from Federer. He had as many aces in the third as he did in the first two sets combined (two) and won two of his four break-point chances.

Federer has been careful to monitor his playing time at this stage of his career. The Switzerland native withdrew from the French Open after a third-round win because “it’s important that I listen to my body” coming off two knee surgeries.

The decision came after Federer played a four-set match against Dominik Koepfer that lasted 3.5 hours.

After the first set Monday took 61 minutes to finish, Federer …

Teenager Emma Raducanu reaches the third round on her Wimbledon debut

The 18-year-old, who sat her A-Levels just two months ago, overcame her Czech opponent 6-2 6-4 having been a late wild card entry into the tournament.

It follows on from her first-round win against Vitalia Diatchenko and means she is now Britain’s last woman standing in the singles at the All England Club. The world No 338 will now face Sorana Cirstea after the Romanian beat 12th seed Victoria Azarenka 7-6 3-6 6-4.

Raducanu had showcased her impressive serve early on as she claimed the first set 6-2, but found herself three love down in the second amid a fightback from the world No 42 Vondrousova, who was runner-up at the 2019 French Open.

The Grand Slam debutante held her nerve and clawed her way back to three games apiece, eventually securing a crucial break courtesy of a double fault to earn a 5-4 advantage before serving out for a landmark victory in one hour and 12 minutes.

In sealing a place in the next round Raducana will earn £115,000, almost quadruple her career earnings heading into the match having only made her debut on the WTA Tour in June.…

Roger Federer edges through after Adrian Mannarino retires in fifth set

Each year that Roger Federer returns to Wimbledon, the scene of eight of his grand slam titles and on the surface that has slotted so snugly into his game for two decades, he does so with the aim of winning the title once more. He undoubtedly arrived in London with similar intentions this year but he has some elementary concerns for the time being. After two knee operations and more than a year out of competition, he is still trying to rediscover his form after difficult months back on tour.

Under the Centre Court roof and against a quick-witted veteran opponent who knows his way around a grass court, those sensations did not quite arise even though he escaped. Federer reached the second round after Adrian Mannarino was forced to retire with a knee injury following a bad slip, the score was 6-4, 6-7(3), 3-6, 6-2 ret.

“It’s awful,” said Federer in his on-court interview. “It shows that one shot can change the outcome of a match, a season, a career. I wish him all the best and I hope he recovers quickly so I can see him back on the courts because he could have won the match at the end. I definitely got a bit lucky but who cares about that? I wish him all the best.”

Across the net from Federer stood one of the unique games on the tour. Mannarino is a diminutive lefty with some of the most compact, flat groundstrokes in the men’s game. Early on Federer looked comfortable but as the second set wore on, he became increasingly tentative with his forehand as Mannarino cut down on his unforced errors. It culminated in an extremely low-quality tiebreak from Federer, in which he made four unforced forehand errors.

Throughout the third set, Mannarino continued to play intelligently, forcing Federer to move into his forehand side and producing some excellent angled backhands as the Swiss’s form continued to drop. He fell down 0-2 after losing his serve with a meek service game: four consecutive groundstroke …

Serena Williams out after suffering ankle injury during first-round match

The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion suffered the ankle injury during the early stages of her first-round match on Centre Court; Williams was in tears on court as she tried to serve at 3-3 and then retired from the match shortly after and had to be helped off court

Serena Williams’ bid for a record equaling 24th Grand Slam singles crown ended in tears at Wimbledon as an ankle injury forced her out of her first-round match with Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

The 39-year-old, who has seven Wimbledon singles titles on her glittering CV, had broken to lead 3-1 against her Belarusian opponent when she turned her left ankle badly.

When world No 100 Sasnovich broke straight back, Williams – her right thigh already heavily strapped – was forced to leave the court for a medical time-out and, while the American made her way back onto Centre Court in an attempt to compete, the tears were in evidence as she could barely move.

Sasnovich levelled the match at 3-3, but another slip from Williams left her laying on the ground and, amid gasps from the crowd, she was helped to her feet by the chair umpire and the retirement was confirmed

Williams has been on 23 Grand Slam titles since the 2017 Australian Open – but her last two visits to Wimbledon have yielded finals.

Having lost to Simona Halep in 2019 and Angelique Kerber in 2018, sixth seed Williams arrived with ambition of finally levelling Margaret Court’s supreme tally, but she was left disraught and released a statement via her Instagram feed.

“I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg,” said Williams.…

Andy Murray wins on singles comeback

Andy Murray recomposed himself to ensure his Wimbledon singles return ended with a dramatic four-set victory over 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili.

In his first singles match in SW19 since 2017, the two-time champion led 6-4 6-3 5-0 against the Georgian.

The Briton could not convert two match points and wobbled as Basilashvili, 29, fought back to force a fourth set.

After a break to shut the Centre Court roof, Murray returned reinvigorated to win 6-4 6-3 5-7 6-3 under the lights.

There was still more tension at the end of the fourth set, though. Murray was unable to take a third match point when Basilashvili nailed a forehand winner down the line, but clinched victory with the fourth when his opponent hit into the net.

The majority of the home fans leapt to their feet, with a relieved Murray coolly raising his arms in the air before launching into a more manic leap moments later.

“I was really disappointed I had lost the third set and had to remember what I was doing to get into the winning position. I managed to turn it back around,” said Murray, who is now ranked 118th in the world.

The Scot will have a day off playing before his second-round match on Wednesday, knowing he will play a qualifier as Germany’s Oscar Otte or France’s Arthur Rinderknech await him.

The pair saw their match suspended at 21:00 BST because of darkness – with the deciding set delicately poised at 9-9.

It wouldn’t be Andy without the drama

 

When Murray limped off Centre Court following his 2017 quarter-final defeat by American Sam Querrey, few would have predicted the 2013 and 2016 champion would not play in the singles again until four years later.

That has been a combination of the injury problems which led to him contemplating retirement and the championships being postponed last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

While it was not quite like the heady days of old on Centre Court, 34-year-old Murray did offer a reminder to those 7,500

Tennis fans shattered over Dominic Thiem announcement

Dominic Thiem suffered a wrist injury in Mallorca and will miss Wimbledon. Image: AAP/Getty

Dominic Thiem has announced with withdrawal from Wimbledon in a devastating blow for the World No.4.

The US Open champion was forced to pull out of the grass-court major on Thursday after suffering an injury to his right wrist.

Dominic Thiem, pictured here after suffering a wrist injury in Mallorca.

The Austrian star sustained the injury during a second-round match against Adrian Mannarino at the ATP event in Mallorca earlier this week.

Thiem, who had already opted out of competing at the Tokyo Olympics, will have to wear a wrist splint for five weeks.

He is now in a race against time to be fit for the defence of his first grand slam title at the US Open at the end of August.

The 27-year-old said on Thursday: “I’m going to do everything the doctors say in order to recover as quickly as possible.

“They’ve informed me that I might be out for several weeks but I will do my best to be back on court soon.

“I’m really sorry for pulling out of the upcoming three tournaments I had in my calendar: Wimbledon, Hamburg and Gstaad.

“They are very important tournaments for me. I appreciate all the support from the fans in these difficult moments – I’m determined to come back stronger.”

Fans were left shattered over the sad news.