Tagged in: 2020 season

‘Rusty’ Federer beaten on ATP tour return in Geneva Open

A rusty Roger Federer was defeated 6-4 4-6 6-4 by Spaniard Pablo Andujar on his return to the ATP Tour at the claycourt Geneva Open on Tuesday, but there were still plenty of positives for the Swiss in his performance.

Federer missed nearly the entire 2020 season after twice having knee surgery. He returned to the Tour at the Qatar Open in March, but had not played since losing in the quarter-finals in Doha.

On Tuesday, the 39-year-old went toe-to-toe with Andujar in their first-ever meeting, showing plenty of encouraging signs with his shot-making and on-court movement ahead of the French Open.

After bouncing back in the second set, Federer looked poised to run away with the contest before an uncharacteristic lapse in concentration put paid to his hopes of an extended run at his home tournament.

Andujar, ranked 75th in the world, made a strong start, while Federer struggled to settle into his serving rhythm early on.

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The top seed landed just 40% of his first serves in the first set, but still never looked like being broken until a wobble in his final service game permitted Andujar to capitalize on two consecutive unforced errors and take the opener.

The second set was a different story.

Federer broke early to take a 2-1 lead and, with his serve finally firing, began imposing himself on proceedings, shortening the rallies with his serve-and-volley game and moving his adversary about at will.

Federer earned himself two set points with his first ace of the match and forced the contest into the decider with a powerful crosscourt forehand.

The third set followed a similar pattern to the second.

After both players held their opening service games Federer edged ahead to take a 2-1 lead, earning the break with a glorious passing shot at full stretch.

He held his next two service games to love, but it was Andujar who provided the late twist, breaking back to level the match at 4-4 and then holding to go 5-4 ahead.

Federer, under pressure and serving to stay in the match, handed the Spaniard two match points with a pair of unforced errors. He saved both, but Andujar regained the advantage when Federer struck a forehand wide off the frame of his racket.

The Spaniard sealed the victory when Federer sent another forehand wide, celebrating by clasping his head in his hands, with a stunned look on his face, before running to the net to shake hands with his opponent.

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Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman, Joe Ross opt out of 2020 season

Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross are opting out of the 2020 campaign delayed by the coronavirus pandemic “for the personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones,” the team informed Monday.

Zimmerman, 35, was the Nationals’ first draft pick when the franchise moved out of Montreal and has played for the team since making his debut on Sept. 1, 2005.

“After a great deal of thought and given my family circumstances — three young children including a newborn, and a mother at high risk — I have decided not to participate in the 2020 season,” Zimmerman said in a statement.

Zimmerman has been writing a diary for The Associated Press since the coronavirus shut down sports this spring. In the 10th installment last week, he expressed concerns about playing in 2020. “I have a 3-week-old baby,” Zimmerman wrote.

“My mother has multiple sclerosis and is super high-risk; if I end up playing, I can pretty much throw out the idea of seeing her until weeks after the season is over. There’s a lot of factors that I and others have to consider. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer; it’s everybody’s individual choice.”

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Zimmerman batted .257 with six home runs and 27 RBIs in 171 at-bats last season and had a dramatic home run in Game 1 of the World Series.

“Everyone knows how much it means to me to be a part of a team, and I will miss that camaraderie dearly this year,” he said in Monday’s statement. “Of course I would love to pursue back-to-back titles. I cannot speak for anyone else, but given the unusual nature of the season, this is the best decision for me and my family, and I truly appreciate the organization’s understanding and support.”

He had been booked to play on a one-year, $2 million contract this season after the Nationals declined to exercise an $18 million club option.

“To be clear, I am not retiring at this time,” he said in the statement. “I have not decided on my future in baseball past 2020. But this year I’ll be staying safe at home and pulling as hard as anyone for our guys to defend their championship.”

Ross, 27, has five seasons of major league experience and underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in 2017. He appeared in 27 matches last season, going 4-4 with a 5.48 ERA, and was in line to compete to be the Nationals’ fifth starter.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo issued a statement of support Monday.

“Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross have decided not to participate in the 2020 season for the personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones. We are 100 percent supportive of their decision to not play this year.

We will miss their presence in the clubhouse and their contributions on the field.” Zimmerman and Ross became the second and third players known to opt out of the 2020 season on Monday, following Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake.

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Federer out for rest of 2020 after injury setback

Roger Federer revealed on Wednesday that a setback to his injured knee will require him to miss the rest of the 2020 season.

Federer, currently ranked No. 4 in the world, posted the announcement on Twitter. Federer, 38, originally had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in February, shortly after his semifinals loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open.

The recovery time would have required him to miss every tournament through the French Open — the entire clay court season. With the tour being suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and numerous tournaments either canceled or rearranged, it was possible that he could have returned from his knee injury without missing anything.

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Unfortunately, Federer’s injury setback required him to have an additional arthroscopic procedure on his knee.

With the tour season shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he’d rather spend his time recovering and getting fully healthy for the 2021 season.

Federer did something similar in 2016. He sat out the second half of the year after having surgery on a balky left knee and returned with authority in January 2017 by beating Rafael Nadal and winning the Australian Open. He also sat out clay court season in 2017 and 2018 to rest up for Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

“Much like I did leading up the 2017 season, I plan to take the necessary time to be 100% ready to play at my highest level,” Federer wrote in his post. “I will be missing my fans and the tour dearly but, I will look forward to seeing everyone back on tour at the start of the 2021 season.”

The ATP tour is currently postponed until at least the end of July amid the pandemic with organizers deciding to cancel Wimbledon this year. The US Open is still scheduled to go ahead on August 31 with the postponed French Open expected to start on September 20.

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Jets Quincy Enunwa still can’t play, out for 2020 campaign

New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, who played only one match in 2019 because of a neck injury, won’t play in 2020 after being placed Tuesday on the physically unable to perform list, the team reported.

This was the expected outcome for Enunwa, 27, whose once-promising NFL career could be over. The Jets also placed wide receiver Josh Bellamy (shoulder) on the season-ending PUP list.

Enunwa missed the 2017 season because of neck surgery, and then re-injured his neck in the 2019 opener. When the season ended, he stated he wanted to continue playing but wasn’t sure if he would be medically cleared. He continued his rehab into the offseason, but the signs remained ominous. The organization never factored him into its offseason plans.

After a promising 2018, Enunwa landed a four-year, $33.4 million contract extension, but he has played only one match on that deal.

It put the Jets in a difficult position from a salary-cap standpoint.

Because of the potential cap ramifications, they have to carry him on their payroll.

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Enunwa’s 2020 salary ($6 million) is fully guaranteed, and he will count $7.8 million toward the cap. In 2021, $4.1 million of his $7.8 million is guaranteed for injury.

His situation is the same to that of former Seattle Seahawks star Kam Chancellor, who suffered a neck injury in 2017 but remained on the PUP list for the 2018 season because of the cap consequences of releasing him. The Seahawks waited until 2019 to cut him.

Barring a financial settlement, Enunwa’s outcome probably will be similar.

Enunwa, a sixth-round pick in 2014, has 119 career receptions for 1,617 yards and five touchdowns. He sparked a controversy last season by using social media to rip team management for fining him $27,900 for missing two mandatory rehab sessions.

Bellamy, due to make $2.25 million in 2020, played only seven matches last season because of his shoulder injury. He played mainly on special teams, concluding with two catches for 20 yards.

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