Rafael Nadal is preparing his return to tennis after a seven-month layoff at next week’s Italian Open.

“The Foro Italico is always a special place for me and even more so this year as it will be my first tournament following a long period without playing,” Nadal, who has won the Rome tournament a record nine times, said in a video message played at the event’s presentation on Tuesday.

Because of concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, Nadal preferred not to travel to New York for the ongoing U.S. Open. He last played in February, when he won a tournament in Acapulco, Mexico.

The Sept. 14-21 Italian Open, which was postponed from its usual slot in May, will therefore be Nadal’s main preparation for the French Open later this month.

GENERALI OPEN: Kei Nishikori was beaten in his return to professional tennis after a one-year break, losing to Miomir Kecmanovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the first round of the Generali Open.

Following surgery on his right elbow in October, the Japanese player had to postpone his comeback last month after he was forced to pull out of the Cincinnati Masters and U.S. Open after testing positive for COVID-19.


CASTER SEMENYA: Caster Semenya finally lost her long legal battle against track and field’s rules to limit female runners’ naturally high testosterone levels.

Switzerland’s supreme court said its judges dismissed Semenya’s appeal against a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling last year that upheld the rules drafted by track’s governing body affecting female runners with differences of sex development.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal said CAS “had the right to uphold the conditions of participation issued for female athletes with the genetic variant ‘46 XY DSD’ in order to guarantee fair competition for certain running disciplines in female athletics.”

The ruling means Semenya cannot defend her Olympic 800-meter title at the Tokyo Games next year, or compete at any top meets in distances from 400 meters to the mile, unless she agrees to lower her testosterone level through medication or surgery. She has repeatedly said she won’t do that.


TIRRENO-ADRIATICO: German cyclist Pascal Ackermann won again at the Tirreno-Adriatico on Tuesday by sprinting to victory in the second stage.

The Bora–Hansgrohe rider edged Fernando Gaviria by less than half a wheel in the first stage and he did the same at the finish line in Follonica with another perfectly timed sprint.

“Also today we were really strong, the leadout was perfect,” Ackermann said. “It was a long sprint and probably I launched the sprint at the perfect distance to the finish.”

Rick Zabel was third at the end of the 125-mile route from Camaiore.


FORUMLA ONE: The Williams Formula One team appointed Simon Roberts as its acting team principal on Tuesday following the departure of Claire Williams.

She stepped down after last Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza, bringing to an end more than 40 years of Williams family involvement. Her father Frank Williams co-founded the team in 1977.


EPL: Everton completed the offseason overhaul of its midfield by signing Abdoulaye Doucoure from relegated Watford.

The 27-year-old Frenchman joins playmaker James Rodriguez and anchorman Allan in moving to Goodison Park in the past few days, with manager Carlo Ancelotti strengthening the weakest area of his team last season.

Everton reportedly spent 20 million pounds ($25 million) on Doucoure, who has signed a three-year deal with the option of a fourth season.

UEFA: Europe’s top soccer clubs said Tuesday they want UEFA to let teams use five substitutes in Champions League and Europa League games this season.

The option to increase the three-substitute quota and protect players during schedule congestion caused by the coronavirus pandemic was originally given to competition organizers by FIFA’s rule-making panel.

UEFA approved five subs for the completion of 2019-20 club competitions, but this season’s qualifying rounds have reverted to three subs.

The European Club Association wants UEFA’s executive committee to take up the issue when it meets Sept. 24 in Budapest, Hungary.


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