Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Nadal to skip U.S. Open; Boland bolts Baylor

Rafael Nadal chose not to defend his U.S. Open
because of the coronavirus. File photo by
Paul Bauman
   Almost four weeks before the U.S. Open, the tournament is down to one of the Big Three.
   Defending champion Rafael Nadal tweeted today that he will not play in the U.S. Open, scheduled for Aug. 31 to Sept. 13, in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., because of coronavirus concerns.
   "This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel," wrote the 34-year-old Nadal, a four-time U.S. Open champion.
   Nadal likely will try to tie Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles in the French Open, set for Sept. 27 to Oct. 11. Nadal defeated Dominic Thiem for his record 12th French Open title last year.
   Nadal will not tune up for Roland Garros in the Madrid Open in his native Spain, however, because the Sept. 13-20 tournament was canceled today. 
   Federer, who will turn 39 on Saturday, will miss the rest of the year after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery for the second time this year in May.
   This will be the first Grand Slam tournament without Federer and Nadal since the 1999 U.S. Open.
   Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, a three-time U.S. Open champion, and 2019 runner-up Daniil Medvedev have entered the tournament. Djokovic, 33, ranks third with 17 major singles crowns.
   In last year's scintillating final, Nadal edged Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 in 4 hours, 50 minutes.
   Bianca Andreescu, the women's defending champion, also plans to play at Flushing Meadows, but top-ranked Ashleigh Barty declined because of the pandemic.
   WTA Tour – Kaja Juvan, a 19-year-old qualifier from Slovenia, stunned second-seeded Marketa Vondrousova, last year's French Open runner-up to Barty, 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 today on clay in the first round of the Palermo Ladies Open.
   Vondrousova, a 21-year-old Czech left-hander, underwent left-wrist surgery after Wimbledon last year and missed the rest of the season.
   Juvan, ranked No. 121, is set to meet Camila Giorgi of Italy on Thursday in the first WTA or ATP tournament in almost five months. Giorgi, ranked No. 89, beat Rebecca Peterson of Sweden 7-5, 6-4.
   Top-seeded Petra Martic of Croatia dismissed Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium 6-0, 6-3 in 66 minutes.
   World TeamTennis – CBS' broadcast of Sunday's World TeamTennis championship match, which came down to one point, attracted 556,000 viewers, the most in the league's 45-year history.
   The New York Empire defeated the expansion Chicago Smash 21-20 (7-6 Super Tiebreaker). It was the first time that the WTT Final aired live on network television.
   The previous record, also on CBS, occurred on July 19, when the Washington Kastles, featuring Venus Williams, beat the Vegas Rollers, led by Bob and Mike Bryan, 24-18.
   Colleges – Brian Boland resigned last week as the Baylor men's head coach after two years at the university in Waco, Texas. No reason was given in a news release.
   Associate head coach Michael Woodson was named the interim head coach for the 2020-21 season.
   Sacramento-area resident Jenson Brooksby, the USTA boys 18 national champion in 2018, is a freshman at Baylor.
   The Bears went 38-9 under Boland, reaching the NCAA quarterfinals in his lone full season in 2019.
   Boland previously served as the men's head coach at Virginia for 16 years, guiding the Cavaliers to four NCAA titles in his final five years (2013-17).
   Virginia won the NCAA crown in all three of Sacramento resident Collin Altamirano's three years there (2015-2017). Both Brooksby and Altamirano, the 2013 USTA boys 18 national champion, train at the JMG Tennis Academy in Sacramento.
   Boland spent one year as the head of men's tennis for USTA Player Development before taking the Baylor job in 2018.
   Junior nationals – The USTA Boys and Girls 18 and 16 National Championships have been canceled because of the pandemic.
   The boys 18s and 16s had been moved from Kalamazoo, Mich., to Orlando, Fla., and Roma, Ga., respectively. The girls 18s were to be played in San Diego, as usual, but the 16s had been moved to Mobile, Ala.
   This is the first year that the boys tournaments will not be held since they began in 1916.

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