Defending US Open champion Stan Wawrinka rules himself out of tournament and rest of 2017 season through injury

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Stan Wawrinka will not defend his US Open title and will miss the rest of the season after deciding he required a knee operation.

The 32-year-old was troubled by a left knee problem during a first-round loss to Daniil Medvedev at Wimbledon and revealed earlier this week he would miss the Masters events in Montreal and Cincinnati.

But Wawrinka has since made the decision to take direct action in a bid to cure the problem.

He said in a statement released through his management: “I am sad to announce that, after talking with my team and doctor, I had to make a difficult decision to undergo a medical intervention on my knee.

“This was the only solution to make sure I will be able to compete at the top level for many more years.”

Wawrinka won his third grand slam title in New York last summer with victory over Novak Djokovic.

Neither will be at Flushing Meadows this year, with Djokovic also calling an early end to his season to rest an elbow problem that forced him to retire during his Wimbledon quarter-final against Tomas Berdych.

It remains to be seen, meanwhile, whether world number one Andy Murray will be fit enough to compete as he continues his recovery from a hip problem.

Murray has withdrawn from next week’s Rogers Cup in Montreal but has not yet announced whether he will play in Cincinnati the following week or at the US Open.

Continuing his statement, Wawrinka said: “This is obviously extremely disappointing, but I’m already looking ahead and planning my recovery.

“I love this sport and I will work hard to get back to my top level and play many more years.”

Wawrinka has been replaced in the US Open draw by Germany’s Florian Mayer.

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Alexander Zverev on Juan Carlos Ferrero: He's a perfect guy

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Alexander Zverev is enjoying a career-high ranking of No8 this week at the Citi Open and has a new secret weapon in his corner in the form of ex-world No1 Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Zverev reached his best ranking this week after titles earlier this year in Rome, Munich and Montpellier and comes into the North American hard-court campaign confident of bigger things to come.

“It was an easy decision to bring him in. He was a Grand Slam champion and world number one,” said Zverev, who survived a tough three-setter in the Washington second round on Wednesday to come through 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) against Australian Jordan Thompson.

“To have him at the big tournaments is something special for me, for the mentality above all.”

Ferrero, the 2003 French Open champion who topped the rankings for eight weeks in September and October 2003, began working with Zverev on hard courts over the past two weeks in Tampa, Florida, in a deal that runs through the end of the year.

“Zverev is a different player. He has the manner of a champion,” Ferrero told www.atpworldtour.com. “It’s a challenge I’m keen to take on and do the best job I can.”

Ferrero is working at an event with Zverev for the first time this week in Washington. He plans to be there for him at tune-ups and the US Open, then during the ATP Asian swing and European indoor season.

Welcome to the team JCF #teamzverev #newvoice

A post shared by Alexander Zverev (@alexzverev123) on

“He’s a perfect guy. He’s so smart and understands tennis so well,” Zverev said. “He can really help me.”

Zverev asked Ferrero to start working with him at the Madrid Open in May. They have been talking almost daily since then.

“He surprised me with how strong he is,” Ferrero said. “I think he’s ready to grow up a little bit and improve the things he has to improve. It’s a good start.

“His attitude on the court sometimes is up and down. He’s young and he has to control his emotions on the court. But day by day.”

The 37-year-old Spaniard runs his own academy and had not planned on working with a player until Zverev came along, saying, “It was a great opportunity for me to be a part of his team.”

Zverev and his older brother Mischa, ranked 26th, are coached by their father, Alexander Sr., with Ferrero coming in as a second pair of eyes in the team.

“The move was really me and my dad together to bring in someone. He wanted someone we both trust and both listen to. We all get along,” Zverev said.

“He was one of the hardest working guys and he’s such an easy guy to be around. He’s not out to take my father’s place and my father is not out to take his place. From that perspective it’s a perfect fit.”

Zverev calls his father “one of the greatest coaches of all time” for guiding him and his brother into the top-25.

“He has two sons in the top-25 who play completely different styles. That’s not easy to do,” Zverev said. “I don’t know who else has done that from scratch.”

Zverev became the youngest player since 2008 to crack the top-10 after winning in Rome, his finals victory over Novak Djokovic one of four he has taken over top-10 foes this year.

The 20-year-old German next faces Tennys Sandgren in the third round in Washington.

*Provided by AFP​

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Ons Jabeur makes top-100 debut, here are Arab tennis players who have ranked as high

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New milestone: For Ons Jabeur.

Tunisian Ons Jabeur made history this week as she became just the second Arab woman, and first in 15 years, to enter the world’s top-100.

She joins an elite club of Arab tennis players to have reached such heights in the sport. The 22-year-old is enjoying a strong 2017 season, where she claimed her first top-10 win (over Dominika Cibulkova at Roland Garros), and became the first Arab woman to make a Grand Slam third round in Paris earlier this summer.

She also became the first Arab woman since 2005 to feature in a Wimbledon main draw, when she made it through the qualifying rounds in June.

Jabeur, a former Roland Garros junior champion, will gain direct entry into a Slam for the first time this month at the US Open.

On the heels of Jabeur’s historic achievement, here’s a look at other Arabs who have ranked in the top-100…

Ismail El Shafei (Egypt)

The Egyptian lefty ranked as high as No34 in the world in 1975. He won the Wimbledon junior title in 1964 and his most famous accomplishment was making the quarter-finals in men’s singles at the All England Club in 1974, beating Bjorn Borg en route. He reached the fourth round at the US Open that same year.

Younes El Aynaoui (Morocco)

His career-high ranking of No14 in the world, reached in 2003, makes him the highest-ranked Arab tennis player in history. The leader of the Moroccan tennis trio that broke through in the 1990s, El Aynaoui was famous for his five-set epic match with Andy Roddick at the Australian Open in 2003, that ended 21-19 in the decider in the American’s favour.

The 193cm El Aynaoui cracked the top-100 for the first time in 1993. He played his last ATP tournament as a 38-year-old in 2010 in Doha, where he won his first round to become the oldest player to win an ATP match since Jimmy Connors in 1995 (a record since broken by Radek Stepanek).

El Aynaoui reached four Grand Slam quarter-finals throughout his career, won five ATP titles and made 11 more finals. He claimed 16 victories over top-10 opponents.

He currently works for the Qatar Tennis Federation, coaching the national team, and at 45 years of age, played a $15k ITF tournament in Bahrain last March, where he won his first round, outlasting some of the players he coaches in the tournament.

Karim Alami (Morocco)

The Moroccan broke into the top-100 for the first time in May 1994 and peaked at 25 in the world in February 2000. Alami won two ATP titles, in Palermo and Atlanta, both in 1996, made four more finals, and reached the quarter-finals at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, where he lost to Roger Federer.

Alami beat a No1-ranked Pete Sampras in Doha in 1994 when he was just 205 in the world and claimed eight more top-10 victories throughout his career. His best Grand Slam appearances came at the French and Australian Opens where he reached the third round three times in total. Alami is now the tournament director of the Qatar Open.

Hicham Arazi (Morocco)

Arazi peaked at No22 in the world in 2001 and cracked the top-100 for the first time in June 1996. He won one ATP title, in Casablanca in 1997, and reached the Monte Carlo (Masters Series) final in 2001. The Moroccan lefty made four Grand Slam quarter-finals (two in Melbourne, two in Paris) and retired from the sport in 2007. He claimed 16 victories against top-10 opposition throughout his career.

Selima Sfar (Tunisia)

Up until last week, Sfar was the only Arab woman to rank in the top-100, before Jabeur joined her in that exclusive club. The Tunisian, who now works as a commentator for beIN Sports, broke barriers for Arab women in the sport and left her home country at the tender age of 13 to train in Biarritz, France.

She peaked at 75 in the world rankings in July 2001 and made the second round at three of the four Grand Slams. She represented Tunisia at two Olympic Games, in Atlanta 1996 and Beijing 2008, and reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals in doubles in 2008.

Malek Jaziri (Tunisia)

The 33-year-old is considered a late bloomer and he only cracked the top-100 for the first time in 2012, at the age of 28. He made his top-50 debut last October and is currently a regular fixture in the world’s top-100. His career-high ranking is 47. Jaziri has reached the third round of the Australian Open twice, in 2015 and 2017, and has made the second round and all three other Grand Slams.

He represented Tunisia at the London 2012 Olympics and has been on their Davis Cup team since 2000. Jaziri owns six Challenger titles, and has reached two ATP semi-finals.

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