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Tennis News Novak Djokovic withdraws from Montreal Rogers Cup, Rafael Nadal becomes top seed

first_img Montreal: Wimbledon champion and world number one Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from next month’s US Open hardcourt tuneup event in Montreal, saying he needs more rest after capturing his 16th Grand Slam singles crown. The 32-year-old Serbian, who outlasted Roger Federer in an epic All-England Club final earlier this month, was joined by Argentina’s 12th-ranked Juan Martin Del Potro in pulling out of the ATP Masters Canada tournament. “I’m sorry to announce that I decided to pull out of Rogers Cup,” Djokovic said in a statement released by Tennis Canada.      “With the support of my team, I have decided to give my body longer rest and recovery time before coming back again to play. “I love Canada and I have many friends there that always make me feel like I’m at home and I’m looking forward to coming back again to play in front of all of you in Montreal.”Also Read | ‘Crowd chants Roger, I hear Novak’ – Novak Djokovic after winning Wimbledon title for the fifth time   Djokovic’s withdrawal means Spanish star Rafael Nadal, an 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, will be the top seed in Montreal when the main draw begins August 5. Nadal has captured the Canadian crown four times, most recently last year by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.Also Read | Novak Djokovic saves two match points, beats Roger Federer in final to clinch fifth Wimbledon title    Djokovic has won the Canadian event that alternates between Toronto and Montreal four times, twice in each city — Toronto in 2012 and 2016 and Montreal in 2007 and 2011. He was ousted last year in Toronto by Greek star Tsitsipas in the third round.    “We would have loved for Djokovic to have the chance to be crowned champion for the third time in Montreal, but we understand his decision and we wish him a quick return for the rest of the season,” Montreal tournament director Eugene Lapierre said.    Del Potro was injured last month at Queen’s and underwent right knee patella surgery and is undergoing rehabilitation for the setback. “In del Potro’s case, we wish him a speedy recovery, he who has experienced his share of injuries in the past few years,” Lapierre said. “We look forward to seeing him back on the court in the near future.” World number three Federer said after his Wimbledon final loss that he too intended to skip Montreal.    Frenchman Richard Gasquet and Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan will take the two available spots in the Montreal main draw as a result of the withdrawals by Djokovic and Del Potro. Novak Djokovic won his 16th Grand Slam title.Djokovic defeated Roger Federer for his fifth Wimbledon title.Rafael Nadal is the top seed for the Rogers Cup. highlightscenter_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Tennis News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Practice places focus on limiting two impact players

first_imgRedshirt sophomore running back Vavae Malepeai is on track to surpass his 2017 season rushing yard total. (Tucker Judkins | Daily Trojan)USC took the practice field Wednesday ahead of Saturday’s matchup with No. 19 Colorado with two Buffaloes in mind: junior quarterback Steven Montez and sophomore wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr.Montez is a model of efficiency, as proven by his 11:2 touchdown to interception ratio this season. He has completed 75.2 percent of his passes, good for second in the nation despite attempting more passes than anyone else in the top five. The third-year starter doesn’t only rely on short passes either; his 9.3 yards per attempt ranks 14th in the FBS.“Now he’s been in the system for a little bit, you can really see his maturity within the offense,” defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast said. “He can make all the throws, and he makes a lot of plays with his feet as well.”Unlike Montez, Shenault came into 2018 as a relatively unknown player, but he’s made a name for himself early this season. He ranks third in the country in both receptions and yards — 51 and 708, respectively — and has added six receiving touchdowns. Shenault is a multifaceted threat, reflected in his four rushing touchdowns in just five games. His 749 total yards from scrimmage rank 11th in the nation, partially a result of a creative Colorado offense.“They line him up in a lot of different spots, they do a really nice job of covering him up,” Pendergast said. “I think the most impressive thing offensively that they do is multiplicity within their formations, and he’s a big part of that.”Coming off a 13-reception, 127-yard performance against Arizona State that featured four total touchdowns and earned him Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, the Trojans will be hard-pressed to limit Shenault.Part of the Buffaloes’ offensive creativity comes from their use of trick plays and wildcat formations. Trick plays have burned the Trojans at times this year, most notably on a 71-yard touchdown run from UNLV during Week 1.“We just have to play with good eye discipline and control, and play them when they come,” Pendergast said. “They’ve got a really good package of trick plays, and they use multiple people in [them].”Although the calls may seem like a gimmick, players have full confidence in their coaches’ play-calling.“It’s a lot of eye candy no doubt, but coach [Pendergast] just says ‘keep your eyes on your luggage,’” freshman safety Talanoa Hufanga said. “We need to see where our guy goes, and make sure that we follow up. When the ball crosses the line of scrimmage, that’s when we know we have to attack.” Wednesday’s practice featured an emphasis on third down, which Helton said would be crucial against a talented offense like Colorado’s, especially with Montez’s ability to create outside the pocket at 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds.“You look at what he’s doing right now, escaping and creating, and not only running the ball and pulling it down, but actually finding his receivers,” Helton said. “We’re going to need to contain him and get off the field.”That also applied to the other side of the ball; Helton said that Colorado brings a variety of pressures on third down, and that protecting freshman quarterback JT Daniels could be a deciding factor.After a sloppy start to the season, the Trojans are looking to prove themselves in a matchup with a ranked team under the Coliseum lights.“We’re trying to get back to that Pac-12 Championship [game],” redshirt senior cornerback Ajene Harris said. “Every game is important, and we’re all aware of that. We’re just ready to compete.”Injury updateSophomore running back Stephen Carr did not attend practice due to a stomach illness. The staff held out redshirt senior center Toa Lobendahn with back spasms. Senior linebacker Porter Gustin is expected to be at full strength Saturday after recovering from an ankle injury.Senior linebacker Cam Smith left practice early with a tight hamstring. Helton said it was nothing serious, just a preventative measure. The staff also pulled Brandon Pili after the sophomore defensive lineman had his toe stepped on. Helton said they would get an X-ray as a precaution.last_img read more