Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the Canadian Open as the Spaniard has not fully recovered from an abdominal tear. 

Nadal's bid to complete a rare clean sweep of the grand slams ended when he suffered an injury setback at Wimbledon last month.

The 22-time major champion pulled out ahead of a semi-final against Nick Kyrgios, who received a walkover and lost to Novak Djokovic in the championship match.

Nadal was due to return in Montreal next week, but on Friday revealed he will not travel to Canada to play in a tournament he has won five times.

The world number three wrote on Twitter: "From the vacation days and my subsequent return to training, everything has gone well these weeks. Four days ago I also started training the service and yesterday after training, I had a little discomfort that was still there today.

"We have decided not to travel to Montreal and continue with the training sessions without forcing ourselves. I sincerely thank the tournament director, Eugene [Lapierre], and his entire team for the understanding and support they have always shown me and today was no exception.

"I hope to play again in Montreal, a tournament that I love and that I have won five times in front of an audience that has always welcomed me with great affection.

"I have no choice but to be prudent at this point and think about health."

Nadal's withdrawal comes just over three weeks before the US Open gets under way at Flushing Meadows.

Djokovic has also withdrawn from the Montreal event, having been ineligible to enter Canada due to being unvaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

The men's tennis tour has scrapped plans to stage four tournaments in China later this year as the pandemic continues to take its toll on the sporting calendar.

Mandatory quarantine rules make it unfeasible for international players and tour officials to travel to the events, including the Shanghai Masters, a top-tier ATP 1000 tournament.

The lucrative Shanghai event had been due to run from October 9-16 and would have featured many of the world's top players.

Also cancelled are the Chengdu Open and the Zhuhai Championships, which were scheduled to begin on September 26, and the China Open, billed for the following week.

The ATP said it had cancelled the three-week China swing "due to ongoing restrictions related to COVID-19".

It marks a third successive year in which the run of tournaments has had to be cancelled, with China last hosting ATP events in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

At the same time as it cancelled the tournaments in China on Thursday, the ATP made provision for its players to keep earning by announcing six new events to take place in September and October.

Those events will be played in San Diego, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Florence, Gijon and Naples, the ATP said, with all at ATP 250 level, the lowest rung of the main tour.

The WTA, which runs the women's tour, announced last December it would be suspending all its tournaments in China due to concerns over the wellbeing of Peng Shuai, a professional tennis player who appeared to allege she had been sexually assaulted by a powerful former government official.

Former doubles world number one Peng has since denied making the accusations, yet the WTA has remained concerned for her safety and freedom.

Novak Djokovic became the oldest winner of the Internazionali d'Italia men's singles title in the Open Era as he fended off Stefanos Tsitsipas on the clay in Rome.

The world number one said he played a "perfect set" to race through the opener, before coming from a break down in the second to earn a 6-0 7-6 (7-5) victory in Sunday's final.

Djokovic made it a record-extending 38th Masters 1000 title in what was his 55th final at this level, and it was his sixth triumph at this event in the Italian capital.

At 34 years, 11 months and 23 days old, Djokovic is 10 days older than the previous oldest Rome champion, Rafael Nadal, who took the title last year.

He boosted his head-to-head record to 7-2 against Greek star Tsitsipas, winning their last six matches and all five they have contested on clay, including last year's French Open final where Djokovic came from two sets behind to scoop the grand slam. This victory clearly augurs well for Djokovic's upcoming title defence in Paris.

Djokovic broke serve to love in the opening game, Tsitsipas swatting a volley into the net to hand over the early advantage and set the tone for a wildly one-sided set.

Tsitsipas broke to lead 3-1 in the second set and he served for it at 5-3 but was broken to 15, sending a forehand wide on game point. The tie-break that soon followed was hard fought, with Tsitsipas looping a backhand long on match point as Serbian Djokovic earned the trophy once again.

Reflecting on his fast start, and his first title of 2022, Djokovic said on Amazon Prime: "I pleasantly surprised myself, I can say, even though I had a clear game plan and strategy coming into the match. I knew what to expect from the other side so I knew what I had to do, but I did play a perfect set, no doubt about it.

"After that it was a little bit tight, the beginning of the second for me. He used it, and at this level one or two points can turn a match around and he was back in the game. At 4-1 up for him and 30-40, the match could have easily gone into a third set, but I somehow managed to find the right shots at the right time to come back in the game, and the tie-breaker, I guess I was just an inch better, maybe calmer, and it was a tight tie-break for both of us."

Ahead of the French Open, which gets under way next Sunday, Djokovic is feeling in great shape for his title defence. Having missed the Australian Open in January in a deportation drama, Djokovic will head to Paris as a major rival to teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz.

Should Djokovic triumph at Roland Garros, he would match Nadal's men's record of 21 grand slams.

"I've been building my form in the last couple of weeks and like the previous years I knew that my best shape on clay was usually coming around Rome time," Djokovic said.

"So it couldn't be a better time, coming into Roland Garros with a title at this wonderful tournament. I'm going to Paris with a lot of confidence."

Novak Djokovic will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia final after beating Casper Ruud.in straights sets to claim his 1,000th ATP Tour win.

Djokovic secured a return to the top of the rankings by defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime on Friday and the legendary Serb, who turns 35 next week, was celebrating again in Rome on Saturday after reaching an astonishing landmark.

The 20-time grand slam champion beat Ruud 6-4 6-3 at the Foro Italico to set up a repeat of last year's French Open final, which he won by storming back from two sets down to deny Tsitsipas a maiden major triumph.

Djokovic is only the fifth man in the Open Era to reach 1,000 wins and will take his record tally of ATP Masters 1000 finals to an incredible 55 on Sunday.

A five-time winner on the clay in the Italian capital, Djokovic made a blistering start, breezing into a 4-0 lead as Ruud was unable to hold twice under huge pressure from the Serb.

Ruud warmed to the task, breaking back to reduce the deficit to 5-3, but the first set was over when the 23-year-old sliced a backhand long after being forced wide by the top seed.

Norwegian Ruud started the second set with a commanding hold to love and there were no further break points until Djokovic moved into a 4-3 lead.

Ruud had saved three break points with excellent defence on the back foot, but Djokovic was not to be denied at the fourth time of asking.

Djokovic consolidated that break to stand on the brink of the final and then broke again to seal the victory with his 20th winner of the semi-final, dispatching a forehand beyond Ruud, who he beat at the same stage of this tournament two years ago.

The Belgrade native will be out to extend his record of ATP Masters 1000 titles to 36 when he faces Greek Tsitsipas for the first time since breaking his heart at Roland Garros last season.

Stefanos Tsitsipas sank the title hopes of Alexander Zverev as the Greek star edged the Rome edition of their semi-final series on clay this season.

At the Internazionali d'Italia, Tsitsipas scored a 4-6 6-3 6-3 victory over German Zverev to earn a place in Sunday's final.

These two players have now met 12 times in their careers, and Tsitsipas holds an 8-4 head-to-head winning record.

Three of those matches have come at clay-court ATP 1000 tournaments in the past four weeks, with Tsitsipas winning a semi-final on the way to the title in Monte Carlo, then losing to Zverev at the same stage in Madrid.

This latest instalment in Italy was a gripping contest, as the players battled to take on Novak Djokovic or Casper Ruud for the title.

An early break came in the seventh game when, serving at 30-40, Tsitsipas attacked the net but Zverev hit the net cord on his backhand return. The deflection disorientated Tsitsipas slightly and he volleyed wide. One break was enough for the set.

Tsitsipas broke in the second game of the second set, with Zverev serving a double fault at the critical moment, and then got decisively ahead in the fifth game of the decider when Zverev netted on the forehand.

This was a strong win for last year's French Open runner-up, who lost that championship match from two sets up against Djokovic at Roland Garros. It carries Tsitsipas through to his first Internazionali d'Italia final, and a 20th final of his ATP career. He has an 8-11 record in finals to date, and a tour-leading 31 match wins this season.

Felix Auger-Aliassime proved no match for Novak Djokovic, who looks well set to claim his first title of 2022.

It has been a frustrating season to date for the Serbian, who reached a final in Belgrade last month before being beaten by rising star Carlos Alcaraz in Madrid earlier in May.

Yet with Rafael Nadal out of the picture, Djokovic is the clear favourite heading into the Internazionali d'Italia semi-finals, after he beat Auger-Aliassime 7-5 7-6 (7-1) on Friday.

The win not only tees up a semi-final against Casper Ruud, who saw off Nadal's conqueror Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (9-7) 7-5, but also ensures Djokovic will spend a 370th week at the top of the ATP rankings, after he slipped below Daniil Medvedev in the live standings.

Djokovic will add 360 points to his total for reaching the last four, and he now has a milestone 1,000th Tour-level win in his sights when he takes on Ruud for a place in the final. The 34-year-old has won a record 37 Masters 1000 titles so far in his career, including five in Rome.

"I thought it was high-level tennis," Djokovic said. "[Auger-Aliassime] did ask me to raise the level and I had to play consistently well.

"I thought I could have finished the job earlier, but credit to him for fighting back. 

"I know Felix well. He's been around the top of the men's game for quite a few years. He's got a lethal serve, honestly. He's hitting his spots in the box incredibly well with the serve, and it was not easy for me at all to return.

"He's also returning well, he's moving well. He's a very complete player."

The other semi-final will see second seed Alexander Zverev, who beat Cristian Garin 7-5 6-2, take on Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Greek Tsitsipas overcame Jannik Sinner 7-6 (7-5) 6-2, becoming the first player to reach 30 wins on the ATP Tour in 2022.

"We have similar game styles but he is one of the most difficult players to play against on the Tour," Tsitsipas said, previewing his clash with Zverev.

"I have a lot of respect for him. He has achieved a lot so far and I try and look up to him with the things he has achieved."

Rafael Nadal conceded he is "living with an injury" after suffering his earliest Internazionali d'Italia exit since 2008 against Denis Shapovalov, but still hopes to compete at the French Open later this month.

Record 21-time grand slam winner Nadal fell to a 1-6 7-5 6-2 defeat to Shapovalov in the third round in Rome on Thursday after struggling with a foot injury throughout the match.

The 35-year-old could be seen regularly limping and battling through the pain, but his resistance ultimately wilted as the Canadian surged to victory after winning 12 straight points from 2-2 in the deciding set.

Nadal, speaking after the defeat, detailed the struggles he is having on a day-to-day basis as injury problems continue to hamper him.

"I am not injured. I am living with an injury. My day-by-day is difficult," he told reporters.

"I am trying hard but of course, it's difficult to accept the situation at times. A lot of days I can't practice the proper way.

"It started halfway through the second set and it was unplayable for me. [But] I don't want to take away credit from Denis that he deserves."

Asked about his chances of being fit for the French Open, which starts on Sunday, May 22 at Roland Garros, the Spaniard responded: "[It's] still the goal, in one week and a couple of days. I'll still keep dreaming.

"Maybe in two days, things are better, the things that I have on my foot. It's true that during Roland Garros I'm going to have my doctor with me – that sometimes helps."

Defeat to Shapovalov also meant Nadal will drop to number five in the world rankings, leaving him facing a potential meeting with the top seed in the quarter-finals of the French Open, which he has won a record 13 times.

 

Rafael Nadal suffered his earliest Internazionali d'Italia exit since 2008 at the hands of Denis Shapovalov on Thursday, but Novak Djokovic advanced to the quarter-finals. 

'King of Clay' Nadal fell to a 1-6 7-5 6-2 defeat to Shapovalov in the third round in Rome, with the Canadian surging to victory after winning 12 straight points from 2-2 in the deciding set. 

The legendary Spaniard stormed through the first set thanks to a series of brilliant returns, but his opponent dominated at the net in the second to take the match the distance. 

Shapovalov then flipped the narrative on its head by winning 14 of a possible 22 return points to set up a quarter-final meeting with Casper Ruud, who beat Jenson Brooksby 6-3 6-4. 

Djokovic is one win away from retaining his status as world number one after taking just 75 minutes to see off three-time grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-2. 

After a lengthy spell out injured, Wawrinka ended a 15-month wait for an ATP Tour victory at Foro Italico before the Serbian brought his run to an end. 

"It is great to see Stan back and winning. He won two tough matches. You can see he is still not physically where he wants to be. But, nevertheless, he is Stan Wawrinka and he can hurt you if you give him time," Djokovic said. 

"I managed to do well from the beginning. I really moved him around the court and held my serve comfortably except for that loss of my serve in the second set." 

Felix Auger-Aliassime stands between Djokovic and the number one spot after overcoming lucky loser Marcos Giron 6-3 6-2. 

In the other half of the draw, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Jannik Sinner will play out an entertaining quarter-final after they beat Karen Khachano and Filip Krajinovic respectively. 

Alexander Zverev, the defeated finalist in Madrid last week, beat Alex De Minaur 6-3 7-6 (7-5) and will battle Cristian Garin for a place in the final four.

Rafael Nadal wants the comparisons between himself and Carlos Alcaraz to stop as he hopes his compatriot will not come under too much pressure.

Alcaraz defeated Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev to win the Madrid Open last week.

The 19-year-old has a 28-3 record for the 2022 season and has risen to world number six in the ATP rankings, having won four tournaments this year.

His incredible form has drawn plenty of comparisons to Nadal, who was a teenager when he burst onto the scene in the mid-2000s.

Nadal bounced back from his defeat to Alcaraz by defeating John Isner at the Internazionali d'Italia on Wednesday.

The 21-time grand slam champion is going for an 11th title in Rome, but he could not avoid fielding questions about Alcaraz in his post-match news conference.

"I do not know. And I won't be able to talk every day about who will be or who is stronger that day, will I? I forgot what I was like," Nadal replied when asked who he thought was a better player at the age of 19 out of himself and Alcaraz.

 

"The only thing we can do is enjoy the career of an extraordinary player like Carlos. But stop comparing him to me. 

"If he manages to win 25 grand slams, it will be fantastic for him and for our country. But let him enjoy his personal career. I have enjoyed my personal career.

"Probably in 2005, I wouldn't have said about myself that I was great, but I thought I was good enough. That's all. Different moments. Different careers. A different way of approaching things because times are changing.

"But let's enjoy it. We don't [need to] put further pressure on him. Don't ask me every time, because I'll always tell you the same thing. 

"It's good for our sport. Honestly, in a selfish way, as a viewer, to have someone like Carlos who will enjoy their career for the next few years is fantastic.

"But now I'm still playing. I am focused on trying to do the things I have to do. That's all."

Rafael Nadal accepts he will have to perform better than he did against John Isner if he is to overcome "dangerous" opponent Denis Shapovalov at the Internazionali d'Italia.

The world number four's bid for an 11th title in Rome got off to a strong start on Wednesday as he saw off big-serving Isner 6-3 6-1 in a time of 76 minutes.

Isner twice missed the chance to break Nadal in the seventh game of the opening set and the Spaniard took control from that point on in the second-round match.

Nadal, who has won this tournament in three of the past four years, identified that hold of serve as a key point in the contest.

"The beginning of the match was not good for me," he said in his on-court interview. "He had some chances on the return and had two break points. 

"He had two not difficult balls so I was in his hands at that moment. I was lucky that he missed those shots and then I was able to break. 

"Then the match changed, of course. With the first set on the board, and having the break in the first game of the second set, everything changed."

Nadal will now face Shapovalov in a repeat of last year's last-16 encounter, which the record 21-time grand slam winner edged in three sets.

He recovered from a set down and saved two match points before beating the Canadian 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) en route to lifting the title in the Italian capital.

And Nadal, who was beaten by Carlos Alcaraz on clay in last week's Madrid Open quarter-final, is not expecting an easy task this time around.

"Last year was a joke, the match that I saved here against him," said Nadal of his next opponent. "I was super lucky. I know how dangerous he is, I need to play well. 

"I need to play better than today, but after a while without being on court it is another victory and I have the chance again to play against one of the best players in the world.

"I need to build things again after a tough stoppage and that's what I am trying now. I just need to stay with the right attitude, and let's see if I am able to make that happen."

Alexander Zverev also booked his place in the last 16 on Wednesday thanks to a 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 victory over Sebastian Baez.

Last week's Madrid Open runner-up was given a tough time of things by in-form Baez, but ultimately came through unscathed to stay on course for more silverware.

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