Stan Wawrinka to miss U.S. Open

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NEW YORK (AP) — Defending champion Stan Wawrinka pulled out of the U.S. Open because of an injured knee. He will have a medical procedure and sit out the rest of 2017.

“This was the only solution to make sure I will be able to compete at the top level for many more years,” Wawrinka said Friday on social media.

He joins the man he beat in last year’s final at Flushing Meadows, Novak Djokovic, in calling it quits for this season because of injury.

The fourth-ranked Wawrinka added last year’s title to his 2014 Australian Open and 2015 French Open championships. He got back to the finals in Paris in June, losing to Rafael Nadal, but was eliminated by Daniil Medvedev in the first round at Wimbledon.

The 32-year old Swiss was clearly bothered by his left knee then, icing it during changeovers. He said after the defeat the knee had been a problem on and off all season and he needed to figure out what was wrong.

He finishes with just one title this season and says he is already looking toward his recovery and playing in 2018.

“I love this sport and I will work hard to get back to my top level and play many more years,” Wawrinka said.

Wawrinka follows 2008 Olympic doubles champion partner Roger Federer in having to cut his season short because of his knee. Federer sat out the second half of 2016 but has returned strong this year, winning two majors and beating Wawrinka in the finals at Indian Wells.

Djokovic decided late last month he would miss the U.S. Open because of an injured right elbow, ending his streak of playing in 51 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. He aims to return to the ATP Tour in January.

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Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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