Tagged in: setback

Novak Djokovic opens clay-court season with upset loss to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at Monte Carlo Masters

Novak Djokovic opened his clay-court season with a surprising loss to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday.

Davidovich Fokina stunned the top-ranked Serb 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-1 in the second round to hand Djokovic another setback as he tries to move on from the controversy surrounding his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

It makes for rare back-to-back losses for Djokovic, who had not played since being eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships in February — his only previous tournament this year after he was barred from playing at the Australian Open.

Djokovic struggled from the start as the 46th-ranked Spaniard broke him early to pull ahead 4-1 before another break handed him the first set.

Davidovich Fokina kept up the pressure and led 3-0 in the second before Djokovic clawed back. But the Serb continued to struggle on his serve and was broken three times in the decider. “He was the better player,” Djokovic said. “I was hanging on the ropes the entire match.”

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The Serb stated he was too exhausted to put up a fight in the third set.

“I collapsed,” Djokovic said. “I just ran out of gas completely … If you can’t stay in the rally, not feeling your legs on the clay, it’s mission impossible.”

Djokovic had defeated Davidovich Fokina, 22, in consecutive sets twice last year, in Rome and at the Tokyo Olympics.

Djokovic could not defend his Australian Open title in January after he was deported from the country for not being vaccinated. He had to skip tournaments in Indian Wells, California, and Miami because he couldn’t travel to the United States for the same reason.

The authorities in France and Monaco lifted most COVID-19 restrictions last month, allowing people who aren’t vaccinated into the country and back into restaurants, sports arenas and other venues.

That means Djokovic will be able to play at the French Open, which remains his “big goal of the clay season.”

“I knew that it’s going to take some time for me to really feel my best on the clay,” Djokovic said. “I have to accept defeat and keep working … and hopefully build my form for Roland Garros.”

The French Open starts on May 22 in Paris.

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Magic forward Jonathan Isaac has torn ACL in left knee

Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac suffered a torn ACL during a 132-116 triumph over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, the team announced.

The injury appeared to occur after Isaac jump-stopped past two opponents and planted on the floor in an awkward way.

“It looked bad, obviously,” Orlando coach Steve Clifford said after the game, per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “Until you hear anything, I am just hopeful, that’s all.” 

An MRI performed after the match exposed the full extent of his injury.

Once word of Isaac’s diagnosis broke, the Magic forward received an outpouring of support from his peers The loss of Isaac is a major one for Orlando. The 22-year-old is averaging 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 1.5 steals and 1.3 assists in his third season, all career highs, while shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three. 

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Isaac’s offensive game remains a work in progress, but he’s been a defensive difference-maker for the 32-35 Magic, who beat the Kings 132-116 on Sunday and now hold the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference standings. 

“My whole heart goes out to him. He’s such a great guy, such a great person,” Isaac’s teammate Aaron Gordon told reporters after the game. “… I hope it’s nothing serious. I hope it’s just something that kind of shocked him. But it was sad, man. It brought tears to my eyes.”

Isaac’s 2019-20 season has been hampered by injuries.

He missed 31 games with a left knee injury before the NBA was shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the same knee he injured Sunday. 

There’s now a possibility that he’ll miss a large chunk—if not the entirety—of the 2020-21 season, which is expected to start in December. That would be a huge setback for him.

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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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Bostons´ Dustin Pedroia has serious setback in recovery

Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has suffered a “significant setback” while rehabbing his left knee injury, a team spokesman confirmed.

“As a result, his status for spring training is uncertain,” said Kevin Gregg.

Gregg did not elaborate on the nature of this setback, which exacerbated an injury that has plagued Pedroia for several campaigns.

The 2008 American League MVP’s knee troubles started in 2017, when his left knee was injured in a play involving Baltimore’s Manny Machado. Pedroia underwent surgery in October of that year.

He also underwent a joint preservation procedure in July 2018 to remove scar tissue and another in August 2019, in which bone spurs were removed.

Pedroia’s contract includes salaries of $13 million this season and $12 million in 2021, and he counts $13.28 million toward Boston’s luxury tax payroll.

Pedroia is a four-time All-Star, was the 2007 American League Rookie of the Year and has played for two World Series championship teams in 2007 and 2013.

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The news comes at a difficult time for the Red Sox organization, which is adjusting to a new head of baseball operations and lost manager Alex Cora after he was implicated in the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme during their run to the 2017 World Series title.

After the surgery, Pedroia’s mindset shifted, and he indicated to the Red Sox that he hoped to return to the field and become an everyday player again. But news of his latest setback brings up the question of retirement, given that he is now three campaigns removed from a fully healthy season, when he played 154 matches for Boston in 2016.

Red Sox general manager Brian O’Halloran expressed optimism for Pedroia’s return as recently as the GM meetings in November.

“He’s been working out and doing well by his own account and we’re going to talk to him and learn more,” O’Halloran said. “I don’t think anything specifically has changed. I think it’s more that time has passed and he’s been feeling better.”

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