You don't know what you've got until it's gone.

That is how tennis fans the world over will be feeling after women's world number one Ash Barty shockingly announced her retirement on Wednesday.

Barty noted that achieving a lifelong goal of winning Wimbledon last year and being "spent physically" were motivating factors behind her decision.

The 25-year-old bows out on top having lifted her home slam at the Australian Open back in January, and is a three-time singles major champion.

Following news of her retirement, Stats Perform has delved into some of Barty's best facts from a stellar career.

SECOND ONLY TO OSAKA IN SLAMS SINCE 2016

There have been 14 different singles grand slam champions in a stacked women's game since 2016.

In that time, Barty has women three major titles – the second most alongside Angelique Kerber. Indeed, the only player to have more in the women's game over that period is Naomi Osaka with four.

Barty retires on a 13-match winning streak (all on hard courts), a run that of course includes her triumph at the Australian Open.

It matches the best run of her career, with Barty proving 13 is not unlucky for all by racking up the same amount of wins on clay and grass between May and June 2019 – that stretch having seen her lift her first slam at the French Open.

KVITOVA A FAMILIAR FOE

Barty has mixed it with the best in the women's game but she has faced no player more than two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

She has faced the Czech on 10 occasions, with the two sharing five wins apiece. Barty has also beaten Sofia Kenin, Karolina Pliskova, Shelby Rogers and Kiki Bertens on five occasions.

Caroline Wozniacki (3) and Mona Barthel (2) are the only players Barty has faced more than once but never beaten in women's tennis.

Conversely, Barty has defeated each of Marketa Vondrousova, Camila Giorgi, and Saisai Zheng four times from as many attempts, her most matches against any players against whom she has maintained a 100 per cent win rate.

STILL GOING STRONG

Never has the saying "always leave them wanting more" been truer than in the case of Barty.

She has averaged seven aces per match in women's tennis in 2022, the joint-most of any player alongside China's Qinwen Zheng and Hailey Baptiste of the United States.

Barty has made 77 aces in total in 2022, the joint-sixth most of any player but 30 fewer than WTA leader Madison Keys (107).

Moreover, she has won 94 per cent of service games, the highest rate of any player and eight percentage points higher than second-ranked Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan.

Barty won 71 per cent of her points when serving this calendar year, the highest rate of any player and four percentage points higher than second-most Rybakina.

Indeed, Barty did not lose a match in her shortened 2022 season, finishing 11-0 and winning 25 of her final 26 matches. 

114 WEEKS AND OUT

Barty is the second female player to step away from the game when ranked world number one, with Justin Henin having done so in 2008 after 61 consecutive weeks at the top.

Barty does so having racked up 114 straight weeks at the summit of the rankings, a run which represents the fourth longest in the history of the WTA Tour behind only Steffi Graf (186 weeks), Serena Williams (186) and Martina Navratilova (156).

Her accumulated total of 121 weeks represents the seventh highest of all time. Barty finishes her career with 15 singles titles in total and 12 in doubles, while she ends with a 305-102 win-loss singles record, and 200-64 in doubles.

Ash Barty stunned the sporting world on Wednesday by announcing her retirement from tennis, bowing out as the top-ranked player in the women's game.

The popular 25-year-old has not featured since winning her home grand slam at the Australian Open in January, becoming the first female Aussie singles champion of the tournament since Chris O'Neil in 1978.

Announcing the news on her Instagram page, Barty cited achieving a lifelong goal of winning Wimbledon last year as a primary factor behind her decision as well as being "spent physically".

But Barty is by no means the first sporting hero to retire at the top of their game. Below we take a look at some other examples of those who have exited as champions.

ALAIN PROST

The 1993 Formula One season was largely dominated by one man – Williams driver Alain Prost. The Frenchman had to battle hard with the iconic Ayrton Senna at the start of the campaign, with them each taking three wins from the first six races of the season. However, a run of four straight victories for Prost were followed by a string of retirements for Senna, ensuring a fourth world title that provided the ideal ending to a glittering career.

ALEX FERGUSON

One of the most successful managers in world football, Alex Ferguson began a 27-year stint at Manchester United after an excellent spell at Aberdeen. The Scot won 28 major trophies at Old Trafford, including 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions Leagues. His final trophy came with top-flight glory in 2012-13, and 17 days later he brought the curtain down.

PEYTON MANNING

Considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Peyton Manning won his first Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007 and, after an injury-blighted season that raised doubts about his ability aged 39, he added a second with the Denver Broncos in 2016, bowing out on the ultimate high.

RICHIE MCCAW, DAN CARTER

New Zealand became the first nation to successfully defend the Rugby World Cup trophy by beating Australia 34-17 in the final at Twickenham in 2015, adding to their success on home soil four years prior. It proved the end of the line for captain Richie McCaw, who was at the time the most capped player in rugby union with 148 appearances for the All Blacks, as well as mercurial fly-half Dan Carter. Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Kevin Mealamu were also among an influential contingent that opted to end their international careers.

PETE SAMPRAS

In defeating Andre Agassi in the final of the 2002 US Open, the same opponent he overcame to win his first grand slam 12 years prior, Pete Sampras secured his place among the greats in men's tennis. It was a then-record 14th major singles title for a male player for the American, a milestone that has since been surpassed by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, but he did not compete again and announced his retirement almost one year later.

PHILIPP LAHM, MIROSLAV KLOSE

At 31 you still have a number of years ahead of you in football. However, after lifting the World Cup trophy with Germany in 2014, Philipp Lahm decided to call time on his international career and focus on club football with Bayern Munich. The versatile full-back made 113 appearances for his country and was joined by fellow centurions Per Mertesacker and Miroslav Klose – whose tally of 71 international strikes is a German record – in switching focus to domestic matters.

MARION BARTOLI

A first grand slam at Wimbledon in 2013 appeared to be the breakthrough moment for a 28-year-old Marion Bartoli, but reality proved very different. The Frenchwoman defeated Sabine Lisicki – who had overcome pre-tournament favourites Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska – in the All England Club final, but announced her retirement during the Western and Southern Open just 40 days later due to persistent injuries. She attempted a comeback in 2018 but continued setbacks and injuries curtailed those plans.

NICO ROSBERG

Nico Rosberg had engaged in several intense battles with Lewis Hamilton before finally getting the better of his Mercedes team-mate to become Formula One world champion in the 2016 season. Still only 31, Rosberg had potentially several more years in F1 but the German instead opted to depart having reached the pinnacle of his sport.

The Grand Slam Board has announced that first-to-10 tie-breaks will conclude the final sets of all four majors with immediate effect.

Starting with May's French Open, the decision is being adopted on a trial basis with the aim of providing "greater consistency" to the rules when matches go the distance.

Prior to Wednesday's announcement, the French Open, Australian Open, US Open and Wimbledon each had their own rules when games went to a deciding tie-break.

The Australian Open is the only grand slam to already employ the first-to-10 rule at 6-6.

Wimbledon previously played first-to-seven at 12-12, while the US Open played a first-to-seven at 6-6.

There has not previously been a deciding tie-break at Roland-Garros, with all matches continuing until a player secured a two-game lead in the decider.

A statement released on behalf of Grand Slam Board members Jayne Hrdlicka, Gilles Moretton, Ian Hewitt and Mike McNulty confirmed the changes.

It read: "The Grand Slam Board's decision is based on a strong desire to create greater consistency in the rules of the game at the Grand Slams, and thus enhance the experience for the players and fans alike.

"This trial, which has been approved by the rules of the tennis committee governed by the ITF, will apply to all Grand Slams across qualifying, men's singles and doubles, women's singles and doubles, wheelchair and junior events in singles, and will commence at the 2022 edition of Roland-Garros."

The rule change will be reviewed after a full Grand Slam year and will remain in place should it be deemed a success.

The tweaks to the current format will ensure no repeat of John Isner's marathon battle with Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010, which the American edged 70-68 in the final set of their first-round match.

The ATP, WTA, International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the four grand slam organisers have announced the Tennis Plays for Peace campaign.

Along with the campaign, which will include efforts on social media and at tournaments, each of the seven organisations has pledged to donate $100,000 to humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine.

Russia invaded the country on February 24 and the conflict is still ongoing. Well over one million refugees are estimated to have fled to neighbouring countries in Europe.

A joint statement from tennis' governing bodies on Tuesday explained that the campaign is not just about donations.

"The seven bodies will also signal support via their social and digital platforms by prominently featuring the Ukraine ribbon icon, with everyone in the tennis ecosystem encouraged to use the hashtag #TennisPlaysforPeace," it read.

"In addition, physical ribbons will be distributed for ATP and WTA players to wear at the upcoming BNP Paribas Open tournament in Indian Wells."

Last week, the ITF banned Russian and Belarusian teams from competing at the Davis Cup or the Billie Jean King Cup. Russia are the holders of each title.

The ATP and WTA, meanwhile, allowed Russian and Belarusian athletes to carry on competing, but only under neutral banners.

That includes ATP world number one Daniil Medvedev and WTA world number three Aryna Sabalenka.

Roger Federer says he hopes to return to action by the end of the summer, with his recovery from knee surgery likely to rule the 20-time grand slam winner out of Wimbledon.

The 40-year-old underwent surgery on his right knee for the third time last August, and has missed five of the last seven grand slams.

Federer made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year, but coach Severin Luthi recently said that he "can't imagine" the eight-time Wimbledon winner featuring in London this summer.

Federer has now provided an update on his recovery to Swiss broadcaster SRF, saying that the end of summer or start of autumn is a realistic target for his return, which could mean he is back for the US Open that starts on August 29.

However, he feels "positive" about his return to the court whenever that comes.

"It will certainly be a while," Federer said. "The end of the summer, early autumn, [that's] where I'm aiming for a comeback.

"It's [the knee] fine. Much better. Obviously, I was on crutches for two months, so you have to start from the bottom.

"It [the surgery] was certainly the right thing to do, the knee wasn't right after Wimbledon [last year], so it couldn't go on.

"Currently I'm in three parts. First, the whole rehab, getting back on your feet at the beginning. Then afterwards, learning to walk and building up the whole thing.

"It's only now where I'm at the phase where I can start thinking about my comeback. I had a very good MRI a few weeks ago, which makes me feel very positive."

 

Federer's tally of 20 career Grand Slam titles was surpassed by Rafael Nadal in January's Australian Open, and the duo are set, fitness permitting, to team up to represent Europe in the Laver Cup, which takes place in September.

The timeline for Federer's recovery also means that he will miss the second slam of 2022, May's French Open at Rolland Garros.

Rafael Nadal would "welcome" seeing Novak Djokovic play at future grand slam tournaments if he is granted permission to do so unvaccinated against COVID-19.

World number one Djokovic has courted controversy for his views on being jabbed and was last month deported from Australia on the eve of the Australian Open.

Djokovic has confirmed he is willing to miss future slams after stating he was prioritising his right to choose what to put into his body above his sporting ambitions.

In Djokovic's absence, Nadal became Australian Open champion and now has 21 titles – the most for a male player.

Nadal believes that any further omissions from Djokovic would only be harmful to the Serbian's chances of history not the slams themselves, but he would have no issue with his rival playing in the sport's biggest tournaments.

Speaking ahead of his return to the ATP Tour in Acapulco, Nadal said: "It will affect Novak's [grand slam] history if he can't play.

"It will affect him, not the grand slams themselves. Whoever wins the most slams – it will be what it will be. Everyone takes their own decisions and must live with them.

"In that sense, hopefully the pandemic subsides and we stop having so many deaths around the world and this horror ends, and we can return to normality – not for Novak but for the world in general.

"There are many people that have suffered, but if Novak can play the grand slams unvaccinated, then he is welcome."

 

Nadal defeated Daniil Medvedev in an epic Melbourne showpiece to become the first man to 21 slams, but he says the achievement has not changed his life.

"Absolutely nothing has changed having 21 slams, I won't lie to you," he added.

"From 20 to 21 there is not a very large difference. Life goes on exactly the same. The only thing that has changed is that now I play tennis, which a few months ago I couldn't.

"I am very happy for everything that happened in Australia, it was very unexpected, especially before the tournament started. In my life, nothing has changed. No title is going to change what is important in my life, which are other things.

"Already, at 35 years old, I have a lot of experiences behind me, of successes and bad moments and these sensations already help me to live in a more calm and different way."

Novak Djokovic has said missing grand slams including the French Open and Wimbledon will be "the price I am willing to pay" for resisting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Last month, the world number one and 20-time grand slam winner was deported from Australia on the eve of the Australian Open after his entry visa to the country was cancelled.

That stemmed from Djokovic refusing to join the overwhelming majority of fellow tennis stars in being vaccinated against coronavirus, and amid controversy over how he handled getting the virus himself in December.

In a new interview with the BBC, Djokovic said he was prioritising his right to choose what to put into his body above his sporting ambitions.

The 34-year-old Serbian declared his stance is likely to keep him sidelined for "most of the tournaments" at present.

Djokovic is set to make his return to the court at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships later this month, with vaccination not a requirement. He has been included on the entry list for next month's Indian Wells Open, but that is a tournament he may have to sit out.

He confirmed in the BBC interview that he has still yet to be vaccinated, though did not entirely rule out the prospect in the future.

"I have not," he said. "I understand and support fully the freedom to choose whether you want to get vaccinated or not."

Prior to entering Australia, where he was obliged to confirm his status, it was only widely assumed that Djokovic had not been inoculated.

Now he is keen to "speak up ... and justify certain things", adding: "So I was never against vaccination. I understand that globally everyone is trying to put a big effort into handling this virus and seeing hopefully an end soon to this virus.

"And vaccinations are probably the biggest effort that was made on behalf of the planet. I fully respect that, but I've always represented and always supported the freedom to choose what you put into your body. For me that is essential. It's really the principle of understanding what is right and what is wrong for you.

"And me, as an elite professional athlete, I've always carefully reviewed and assessed everything that comes in, from the supplements, food, the water that I drink or sports drinks. Anything really that comes into my body as a fuel.

"Based on all the information that I got, I decided not to take the vaccine as of today. I keep my mind open because we are all trying to find collectively a best possible solution to end COVID. Nobody really wants to be in this kind of situation that we've been in collectively for two years."

Djokovic is the reigning French Open and Wimbledon champion and, after Rafael Nadal's Australian Open triumph, he has been bumped down to joint second on the all-time men's grand slam list. Missing majors at this stage of his career could be a crushing blow to Djokovic's hopes of finishing top of that pile.

"I'm part of a very global sport that is played every single week in a different location, so I understand the consequences of my decision, and one of the consequences of my decision was not going to Australia, and I was prepared not to go," Djokovic said.

"I understand that not being vaccinated today I am unable to travel to most of the tournaments at the moment. That is the price I am willing to pay."

He looked to disassociate himself from the anti-vax community by saying he had "never said I am part of that movement" and declaring that was a "wrong conclusion" to draw.

At the same time, Djokovic concurred when asked if he was willing to sacrifice the chance to be seen as the greatest player of all time, and to travel to Roland Garros and the All England Club this year.

"Because the principles of decision-making on my body are more important than any title or anything else. I'm trying to be in tune with my body as much as I possibly can," Djokovic said.

"I say that everyone has a right to choose to act or say whatever they feel is appropriate for them."

Crowds came flocking back in force, we had the full complement of golf majors and tennis grand slams, and sport almost ran smoothly over the past 12 months.

To boot, there were sensational moments, featuring both the biggest names in sport and some that few had heard of at this time last year.

Here, Stats Perform looks back at some of the biggest stories of the year, and the numbers that made them so remarkable.

Jacobs, the shock Tokyo Olympics sprint king

Entering 2021, Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs had a career-best of 10.03 seconds for the 100 metres. By most standards that is staggeringly quick, but at the very elite level of sprinting it ranks as only middling. To put it into some context, 34 men ran quicker than 10.03 seconds in 2021. Jacobs finished only 19th at the 2019 World Championship and few outside of athletics circles knew the name. The former long-jumper grabbed a little attention when he produced a world-leading 6.47 seconds to win the 60 metres at the European Indoor Championships in March, then he ran 9.95 for the 100m in Savona in May, but he still headed to the Tokyo Olympics as a big outsider, not expected to be a factor. Jacobs made a mockery of his lowly billing, as he powered to personal bests in the heats and semi-finals before doing so again in the final, dashing home first in 9.80 seconds to grab gold and leaving rivals gasping in astonishment. He led Italy to sprint relay gold too, a glorious double in that country's remarkable year of success.

Emma Raducan-who? From A level exams to US Open top marks

Twelve months ago – no, make that barely six – London-based Raducanu was simply not a factor in grand slam discussions. Fresh out of school, she had to fight to earn a wildcard for Wimbledon when organisers initially baulked at the idea, but they were persuaded and Raducanu went on to reach the fourth round. The teenager who was born in Canada and has a Romanian father and Chinese mother had arrived, but it was at the US Open that she roared into the history books. There was no wildcard in New York for the British youngster, but Raducanu won three qualifying matches and then raced through the main draw, defeating 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez in the title match. She did not drop a set in 10 matches and became the first women in the Open era to win 10 main-draw matches in her first two grand slams. It made her the first qualifier to win a slam and the first US Open women's singles winner since Serena Williams in 2014 to triumph at the tournament without dropping a set along the way. The $2.5million in prize money was followed by endorsement offers from across the world as Raducanu became an instant superstar. The tennis world waits to see what comes next.

No country for old men as US win Ryder Cup

The youngest Ryder Cup team ever assembled by the United States torched European hopes at Whistling Straits in September, scoring a 19-9 victory. That was the widest margin of victory by either side since Europe, rather than Great Britain and Ireland, became the USA's opposition in 1979. Dustin Johnson bounced back from losing four of his five matches in the 2018 edition to finish with a 5-0 record, just the third player in US v Europe battles to finish with a perfect record (after Larry Nelson in 1979 and Francesco Molinari in 2018). Johnson, at 37, was the oldest player on the team. European veteran Lee Westwood matched Nick Faldo's record of 11 appearances in the match, while Sergio Garcia stretched his points record from 25.5 to 28.5 as he and Jon Rahm combined well, but it was emphatically an event that belonged to the host Americans.

Veteran Mickelson still had his day 

He might have been absent for the US team's Ryder Cup triumph, but Phil Mickelson's name was up in lights again as he became the oldest winner of a men's golf major, landing the US PGA Championship title in May. At the age of 50, Mickelson caused a huge upset at Kiawah Island, scooping his sixth career major when he held off Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen on the final day. It was his only top-10 finish of the year on the PGA Tour.

Federer bagelled, Djokovic denied Golden Slam

Strange things happened in men's tennis in 2021, not least the sight of Roger Federer suffering a 6-0 'bagel' at the end of a straight-sets Wimbledon quarter-final defeat. That happened against Hubert Hurkacz in July, and it was the last match Federer played in the year. He wants to play again, and the 40-year-old believes he can, but knee surgery will keep him out of action until mid-2022 at the earliest, by his own reckoning, and that Centre Court defeat to Hurkacz could turn out to be how his eight-title Wimbledon career ends. Novak Djokovic joined Federer and Nadal on a joint-record 20 grand slam titles by cleaning up at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, and he has now spent a record 353 weeks at number one, passing Federer this year. But Djokovic could not make it a Golden Slam, losing to eventual champion Alexander Zverev in the Olympic Games semi-finals, and a Grand Slam was just beyond him too, Daniil Medvedev winning his first major when he swept the Serbian in straight sets in the US Open final.

Another year, more records for Brady

At the age of 43, Tom Brady was MVP in the Super Bowl as he led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in February. He now has seven Super Bowl wins behind him, another outright record, and has been MVP in the game on an unmatched five occasions. Brady, having turned 44 in August, is in the hunt for another Super Bowl ring and perhaps outright NFL MVP honours this season, although Aaron Rodgers will likely deny him the latter accolade. Still, the records keep coming for Brady. He has moved in front of Drew Brees to have the most pass completions in league history (7,200 and counting), become the first ever 15-time Pro Bowler, and in December became the first quarterback to throw 700 career touchdowns.

England's Ashes surrender calls for Root and branch review

Joe Root became the first England captain – or player, indeed – to suffer nine defeats in Tests starting in a single calendar year, in a strange 12 months for the Yorkshireman. His form with the bat has been up there with the best of his career, the 31-year-old scoring 1,708 Test runs to go third on the all-time single-year list, with only Mohammad Yousuf and Viv Richards ahead of him. Even in the Tests that England have lost, Root has made a number of handy contributions with the bat, scoring 648 runs at an average of 38.11. Overall he has scored 26 per cent of England's Test runs across the year, the highest proportion of any player for their respective team in 2021. Yet the Ashes were lost by lunch on day three of the third Test, an outrageously dismal result. Root top-scored in England's two innings in Melbourne, typically, but he cannot get a tune out of many of his team-mates, so ends the year with his future as skipper in doubt.

Curry still hot as NBA records fall

In January, LaMelo Ball became the youngest player to post a triple-double in the NBA, as the 19-year-old Charlotte Hornets prospect grabbed 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in a win over the Atlanta Hawks. Come December, the Memphis Grizzlies set two records in the same game, scoring a franchise-high number of points and winning by the biggest margin in NBA history, as they handed out a 152-79 thrashing to the Oklahoma City Thunder. December was also the month when Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors set a new three-pointer record, becoming the first man to make 3,000 threes in a career after going past Ray Allen's previous NBA record of 2,973.

Spanish tennis great Manolo Santana, a four-time grand slam winner, has died at the age of 83.

Santana won the US Open, Wimbledon and the French Open twice during the 1960s, during which time he spent a period as world number one.

He also won the men's singles tennis tournament at the 1968 Olympics, though it was not recognised as a medal event at the time, while also winning the French Open men's doubles in 1963 and the Davis Cup with Spain on three occasions.

Santana retired in 1977 and in more recent times was regularly seen watching countryman Nadal – the only Spaniard to have won more grand slam titles – from the stands.

Nadal led the tributes to Santana on Saturday with an emotional post on social media.

"I have just received the terrible news of the death of our great Manolo Santana," he wrote on his official Instagram account.

"As I have said many times in the past: thank you very much for what you did for our country and for leading the way for so many. 

"You have always been a reference, a friend and a person close to everyone.

"We will miss you Manolo; you will always be unique and special. Greetings to your family and a lot of strength at this time. We will never forget you."

Emma Raducanu has appointed Torben Beltz as her new coach almost seven weeks after parting company with Andrew Richardson.

The 18-year-old rose to international fame in September when she pulled off the incredible feat of clinching the US Open before ever even winning a single match on the WTA Tour.

Raducanu beat fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez to become the first qualifier in tennis history to win a grand slam and youngest winner of a women's major since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova took the Wimbledon title in 2004.

But she announced soon after that she and Richardson were no longer working together, with Raducanu continuing in the meantime without a coach as she scoured for someone with more WTA Tour experience.

Since the US Open, she has played just five matches and lost three of them, the latest coming on Tuesday as she suffered a 6-1 6-7 (0-7) 7-5 defeat to Wang Xinyu at the Linz Open, where Raducanu was the top seed.

But as she looks ahead to starting pre-season at the end of November, Raducanu will begin working with Beltz in the hope of building on her incredible breakthrough year.

The German was Angelique Kerber's coach during her US Open and Australian Open successes in 2016, and Raducanu is excited to get started.

Speaking after her defeat in Linz, Raducanu said: "You guys cracked it! It's obviously a great privilege to be working with such an experienced coach.

"I'm definitely very excited to work with him throughout the pre-season and into next year. I'm feeling excited about all the work that is to come.

"I think he brings a lot of experience. Obviously he's worked with Kerber, who's such a great player and has done extremely well, won three slams. I think that experience definitely helps with someone as inexperienced as me.

"He can help guide me through, which I feel really confident about, and also he's a really positive, cheerful guy who brings great energy to the team, so I think that's also important when you're travelling on the road for quite a long time on the tour."

Twenty-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal has refused to put a timeline on his comeback to competitive tennis and will only return when he is in "good condition".

Nadal has not played since early August when he lost to Lloyd Harris in the third round at the Citi Open, before withdrawing from the US Open due to a recurring foot injury.

The 35-year-old Spaniard had in June pulled out of Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics shortly after losing to Novak Djokovic in the French Open semi-finals, saying he was "listening to my body".

Nadal, who will not return this season, has been seen training in Mallorca after last month receiving treatment in Barcelona, offering hope of a return.

"I want to recover from this injury in good condition," Nadal told a news conference.

"I don't know when I will play again, I work a lot every day, I follow a specific plan with a marked roadmap and with very clear objectives."

The next major on the calendar is the 2022 Australian Open to be played in Melbourne in January although Nadal would not commit to participating.

"I will not say what those objectives are, because there are always things that I can't control 100 per cent, but inside my head I'm clear on what my objectives are and I trust that things will follow a positive course," he said.

"Not everything depends on me, but I am confident that my daily efforts will pay off and allow me to return soon."

US Open champion Emma Raducanu has split from coach Andrew Richardson and wants to partner with someone with greater WTA Tour experience. 

Richardson had coached Raducanu in her younger days at Bromley Tennis Centre and accompanied the 18-year-old for her campaign at Flushing Meadows. 

The experience proved unforgettable as the Briton, ranked 150 in the world at the time and having played in just one other major previously (Wimbledon in July), took the title after moving through qualifying and the main draw without dropping a set. 

She became the youngest grand slam finalist since Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon as a 17-year-old in 2004 and is the only qualifier in tennis history to win a major final. 

Her astonishing triumph catapulted her to 22 in the WTA rankings and Raducanu is now looking for someone to guide her through the next phase of her career. 

 

Speaking at a homecoming event organised by the Lawn Tennis Association, she said: "Where I was at after Wimbledon, I was ranked around 200 in the world and at the time I thought Andrew would be a great coach to trial, so we went to the States but never did I even dream of winning the US Open and having the run I did, and now I'm ranked 22 in the world, which is pretty crazy to me. 

"I feel like at this stage in my career, and playing the top players in the world, I realised I really need someone right now that has had that WTA Tour experience at the high levels, which means that I'm looking for someone who has been at that level and knows what it takes. 

"And especially right now because I'm so new to it, I really need someone to guide me who has already been through that. 

"Obviously having such an experience with your team, it's tough to have that conversation with anyone, but I think for me, it's just really what I need." 

It has been suggested Raducanu could look to partner with Darren Cahill, the renowned coach who split with Simona Halep this month. 

For now, she is considering when to make a competitive return to action, with the notable Indian Wells Open coming up. 

"I'll decide in the next few days where I'm going to go to but, wherever I play next, I'm going to make sure I'm ready. I don't want to jump into things too early," she said. 

Former world number one Naomi Osaka unsurprisingly withdrew from next month's Indian Wells Masters, having flagged a break from tennis following her US Open meltdown.

The tournament confirmed 2018 champion Osaka's absence on Wednesday, with the Indian Wells Masters scheduled to take place from October 4-17 after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Osaka's US Open title defence came crashing down in a remarkable 5-7 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 third-round capitulation at the hands of eventual finalist Leylah Fernandez earlier this month.

Up a set and serving for the match at 6-5 on Arthur Ashe Stadium, four-time major champion Osaka lost her cool and composure after throwing her racquet three times in an unsuccessful second-set tie-break.

Amid boos in New York, Japanese star Osaka was also warned after hitting a ball into the crowd at Flushing Meadows.

After the surprise exit, Osaka told reporters she planned to "take a break from playing for a while."

She added: "I feel like for me recently, like, when I win I don't feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don't think that's normal. I didn't really want to cry.

"I feel like… this is very hard to articulate. I feel like I'm kind of at this point where I'm trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don't know when I'm going to play my next tennis match [tearing up]. Sorry."

It comes following a difficult couple of months due to mental health concerns as a result of "long bouts of depression" since winning the 2018 US Open.

Osaka withdrew from May's French Open having won her first-round match, after she was fined and threatened with further punishment – and possible expulsion from the grand slam – for skipping obligatory media duties.

She subsequently pulled out of Wimbledon before returning for the Olympic Games, though she suffered a surprise loss on home soil in Tokyo and was reduced to tears during a news conference in Cincinnati.

 

Emma Raducanu still has the hunger to continue improving following her record-breaking US Open triumph and is targeting a possible return to action at Indian Wells.

The 18-year-old became the first qualifier in history to win a grand slam when defeating Leylah Fernandez ​in straight sets in Saturday's final at Flushing Meadows.

Raducanu, ranked 150 by the WTA before beginning her three-week long tournament, did not drop a single set across her 10 matches.

That victory in New York capped a life-changing couple of months for Raducanu, who also reached the last 16 of Wimbledon in her only other grand slam appearance before withdrawing due to medical reasons.

After spending a few days away from the court and taking in some of the sights the Big Apple has to offer, the Briton is ready to start preparing for her next tournament.

"I have a few days' rest and recovery," Raducanu, who became the first British female to win a major tournament since Virginia Wade on home soil at Wimbledon 44 years ago, told CNBC's Closing Bell programme.

"I think it was needed after the last seven weeks but then I am straight back to training and hungry to get better and come back out and play some more tournaments."

 

Raducanu was originally due to take part in qualifying for the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic later this month, but she may instead wait for next month's delayed Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where a wildcard entry is likely.

"After the US Open I wanted to give myself this week to completely switch off from tennis because it's been an extremely intense but rewarding seven weeks," she told the WTA's official website. 

"But I've worked very hard to finish on such a high with the US Open, a whole week off was needed.

"I know I'll get back to work probably Monday or early next week to get back to training again. Schedule-wise, I'm not sure. Maybe Indian Wells, I don't know. I'm going back to London before my next tournament for sure."

Novak Djokovic was "playing for history" and suffered from nerves in his US Open final defeat to Daniil Medvedev, according to previous champion Dominic Thiem, who backed the 34-year-old to return "stronger than ever" in 2022.

Medvedev prevented Djokovic from becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four grand slams in a single year, beating him 6-4 6-4 6-4 in Sunday's thrilling showpiece.

Djokovic was seen in tears during the third set as his hopes of adding the US Open to his run of wins at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year slipped away.

But Thiem tipped Djokovic to bounce back from the disappointment of defeat and return in 2022 even stronger.

"One unbelievable goal slipped out of his hands yesterday," Thiem told Stats Perform.

 

"I expect him to be as strong as ever in 2022. I think after he won in Roland Garros, everybody was only talking about the calendar slam – first about the golden slam, and then about the calendar slam.

"He [Djokovic] was under pressure. Nobody can feel that or anything like that because of it being the calendar slam.

"I can feel it in a smaller way, probably from last year's final and from some other matches. And at some points it's just getting to you. And so, I really felt for him as well towards the end of the match.

"So, it can happen that it also makes him even stronger next year when all these talks and all this pressure is not that big anymore."

Thiem, who missed the tournament with a wrist injury that will rule him out until 2022, believes nerves were a factor in Djokovic's defeat but agreed with Medvedev's assessment of the Serbian as the greatest of all time – though he could not set him apart from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"For me, there are three GOATs in the game, and each of them has achieved something very unique," Thiem said of the trio locked on 20 major titles each.

"So it's still the same for me as it was before. The three of them are the best in the history to me.

"And I'm only super happy to be in the same era with them and to be able to compete with them. Hopefully many more times next year again."

Page 1 of 11
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.