The Sports Report: Rafael Nadal won’t play in the U.S. Open

Rafael Nadal returns a shot to Daniil Medvedev during the men's singles final at the 2019 U.S. Open in New York.
Rafael Nadal returns a shot to Daniil Medvedev during the men’s singles final at the 2019 U.S. Open in New York.
(Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Helene Elliott on the U.S. Open: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is among the top 10 players on the initial entry list for the men’s singles field at the U.S. Open, but defending champion and No. 2 Rafael Nadal said Tuesday he won’t compete in New York this year because he’s concerned about the risks of international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nadal is a four-time champion at the U.S. Open, which is scheduled to be played Aug. 31-Sept. 13 without fans in the stands and with other safety-related modifications in effect. Roger Federer, ranked No. 4 in the world, is recovering from knee surgery and had not planned to play.

Women’s world No. 1 Ash Barty previously said she won’t play in New York because of similar concerns. She was the only woman in the top 10 who was not on the initial entry list. Bianca Andreescu of Canada, who has battled injuries since she won the women’s singles title last year at Flushing Meadows, is on the entry list.

Nadal, 34, issued statements on his Twitter feed in his native Spanish and in English to explain his decision. “After many thoughts I have decided not to play this year’s US Open. The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it,” said Nadal, a 19-time Grand Slam singles champion. “This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.”


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Jack Harris on the Dodgers: The Dodgers entered the sixth inning Tuesday without a hit. By the end of the seventh, they had overturned a two-run deficit.

Behind a two-run single from Corey Seager and two RBIs from AJ Pollock — the team’s hottest hitters coming through in the clutch again — the Dodgers evened their series against the upstart San Diego Padres with a 5-2 win at Petco Park to force a rubber match in the finale on Wednesday.

For a while, it looked like the Dodgers might waste Dustin May’s best start yet this year. With an electric sinker-cutter mix, the rookie right-hander allowed only two runs and three hits over six innings while striking out eight, a new career high.

However, the Padres’ own hard-throwing right-hander, Dinelson Lamet, was a notch better early in the night. Even without perfect slider command, the 28-year-old needed just 46 pitches to record his first 14 outs and had a no-hitter with two outs in the sixth.


Maria Torres on the Angels: In his first game back following the birth of his son, and in the debut of the Angels’ most heralded prospect since his own MLB arrival, Mike Trout homered to key the Angels’ 5-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday.

Trout hammered his solo shot in the first inning. Not long after, Angels fans got a glimpse of their future. Top prospect Jo Adell, added to the roster before the game, secured his first hit on a slow grounder to the left side of the infield. He sprinted out of the batter’s box at a rate of 30.4 feet per second, according to MLB’s Statcast system.

Adell and Trout went a combined two for seven. They’ll have plenty of opportunities to wreak havoc together. Adell will play frequently. Manager Joe Maddon said veteran Justin Upton, who is batting .135 with two homers and five RBIs in the third year of his $106-million contract, into a platoon with fellow outfielder Brian Goodwin.

Adell, 21, is one of MLB’s brightest young talents. He began the season ranked as the league’s second-best prospect by Baseball America’s and sixth-best by’s Pipeline. The last Angels minor leaguer to receive that much hype before his debut was Trout.


Shohei Ohtani’s two-way experiment is on pause for the rest of the year.

The Angels star was diagnosed this week with a forearm injury — specifically, a grade 1-2 sprain of the flexor pronator mass in his right arm. He won’t be able to throw again for at least four weeks. Ramping up to pitch will take additional time.

So manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday that Ohtani will play only as the Angels’ designated hitter in 2020. With roughly eight weeks remaining in the regular season, Maddon doesn’t anticipate Ohtani recovering in time to pitch.

“It’s very nebulous,” Maddon said when asked to estimate Ohtani’s return to the mound. “I don’t have any projection on that other than he’s not going to pitch this year.”


Andrew Greif on the Clippers: Hopping a barrier separating Phoenix’s socially distant bench from the court, the Suns raced toward a flat-on-his-back Devin Booker.

Booker had slid to his resting place near the three-point arc following a complicated series of events that unfolded Tuesday in the final eight seconds of the fourth quarter. A scramble for possession led to a dribble to Booker’s left and a pump-fake to avoid the defense of Kawhi Leonard. Seeing Paul George in wait, Booker spun and pushed himself backward, his fadeaway providing the mere inches of room needed to release his game-winning shot just past George’s outstretched hand, and just before the final buzzer sounded.

As teammates reached Booker, then piled atop him, following Phoenix’s 117-115 victory, the Clippers marched, quickly and quietly in the other direction, toward their locker room.

“Give Phoenix credit,” coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought they played so much harder than us throughout the game.”

The Clippers (45-22) fell to 1-2 during the NBA restart and just like a loss five days earlier to the Lakers, this was decided by a razor-slim margin and errors that plagued them long before a doomed final sequence.


Gary Klein on the Rams: An impending contract extension expected to make him the highest-paid player at his position in NFL history is not on Jalen Ramsey’s mind.

The Rams’ star cornerback made that clear Tuesday during a videoconference with reporters that included Ramsey walking out after fielding several questions about the subject — and then returning to explain his exit.

“I’m not worried about it,” he said. “I’m worried about football. I’m worried about other things in my life. Like, my blessings will come when they come. I’ve got all my trust in God.”

Ramsey, 25, joined the Rams last October after they gave the Jacksonville Jaguars first-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. Ramsey, the fifth pick in the 2016 draft, is due to earn $13.7 million this season playing under a fifth-year option.

The Rams made the midseason trade for the three-time Pro Bowl player without an extension in place, but team officials have expressed confidence a deal would get done. Ramsey had said he would report for training camp without a new contract, and he arrived in Thousand Oaks for COVID-19 testing last week.

Today’s local major sports schedule

All times Pacific.

Lakers vs. Oklahoma City, 3:30 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet, ESPN, 710 ESPN

Dodgers at San Diego, 6 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570

Angels at Seattle, 6:30 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830

Indiana vs. Sparks, 7 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet

Until next time...

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